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Bojangles' customer gets box of cash, not chicken, raising ethics question

Alex Van Buren is the former host of an award-nominated television segment, the New York Chow Report, in her home of New York City. She has written for Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Martha Stewart Living, and InStyle, among other publications. S...

A Bojangles' customer got a box of cold cash instead of hot chicken — would you have returned the money?

The food media world is all a-jangle this week about the Virginia man who complained about a cold box of chicken at his local Bojangles’ and was told to wait while a fresh batch was fried up — only to be handed a box of cold, hard cash instead.

He opened the box in his car and shot a video, then chatted with a local news outfit about the ordeal.

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When Minor returned to the store and alerted a manager to the cash-that-was-not-at-all-chicken error, he claims the manager told him "in an arrogant, nasty attitude, being disrespectful" that "we would have called the authorities on you too" and that it was a good thing he returned it. He was then reportedly offered another meal… and a $100 gift certificate for more Bojangles’ comestibles. He’s unimpressed, telling Fox 59 that "I deserve respect, an apologetic letter from the Bojangles' company and probably a cash reward. What is a $100 gift certificate when you’re bringing in $4,000?"

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An email to Bojangles’ customer service to confirm the story was not immediately returned. If this story is true, it’s hard not to feel a bit of empathy for Mr. Minor — what good Samaritan wants to be scolded for doing the right thing? — but we also wonder where the "right thing" starts and ends on this one.

It’s like getting a bill at the restaurant that isn’t yours: Do you typically pay the bill that lands in front of you and let the restaurant sort it out? Or do you envision a harried server being scolded by a manager and immediately alert the staff to the error? If an order goes missing and is 40 minutes late (as happened to this writer last night), do you "deserve" a freebie, a drink on the house or some other goodie? It’s hard not to feel like you do. But restaurant profit margins are notoriously slim.

What do you think? Should Minor have gotten a portion of the cash?

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