web analytics
July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Vending Change

Business-Halacha-logo

Yosef, Gad and Benjy headed down to the dining hall in their high school. As they walked along the corridor they noticed a new vending machine had been installed. The three admired the machine, and eyed its beckoning display of treats.

“I wonder whom the machine belongs to?” asked Yosef. “Do you think it belongs to the school?”

“I doubt it,” said Gad. “Look, the name of the company that owns the machine is on a label. Let’s return after lunch and get a snack for desert.”

After they finished eating, the three boys returned to the vending machine. They browsed the selections: candies, chocolates, cookies, gum, potato chips, and other nosh.

“I’m going to get a large chocolate bar,” declared Yosef. “We can all share it.”

Yosef inserted two dollar-coins in the machine and made his selection. The chocolate bar fell to the bottom, and he heard two quarters drop into the change compartment, “Clink, clink.” He reached in to take out his two quarters and was surprised to find two additional quarters there.

“Wow! There’s extra change,” he exclaimed. “That saved me fifty cents!”

“Who says you can keep it?” asked Gad. “You need to place a sign for hashavas aveidah.”

“What’s the point of hashavas aveidah?” asked Benjy. “There’s no identification on the money, anyway.”

Other students joined in the discussion, debating whether Yosef could keep the money.

“Maybe you should give the money back to the vending operator,” added Benjy. “Someone said he comes on Tuesday mornings to restock the machine.”

A bit of a commotion began.

While they were arguing, Rabbi Dayan walked by. “What’s going on?” he asked. “Sounds like an earnest debate!”

“I found extra change in the vending machine,” said Yosef. “We were arguing what to do with the money?”

“It is usually permissible to take the change for yourself,” replied Rabbi Dayan, “but in some limited cases, it is proper to contact the vending operator.”

“Why can I keep it?” asked Yosef.

“At first glance, this seems to be a case of hashavas aveidah (returning lost property) to the previous customer, who lost his change,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “Since we presume the customer already became aware that he left his money, and likely does not know the exact permutation of the change or abandoned hope of retrieving it (yei’ush) – the finder is permitted to keep it.” (See Hashavas Aveidah K’halacha 12:8)

“Wouldn’t the vending operator automatically acquire the lost money that sits in his machine?” asked Benjy.

“A person’s property can acquire a lost item on his behalf, even without his knowledge,” said Rabbi Dayan. “However, this is only if the property is secure and the owner is likely to find the item left in his property. [C.M. 268:3] Here, the change compartment is not secure, nor is the operator likely to find the money, since it will probably be taken by someone else first.”

“Why did you say, ‘At first glance?…’ asked Gad. “Is this not a typical case of lost money?”

“Actually, though the change was dispensed for the previous customer, he never acquired it, since he did not take possession of it,” explained Rabbi Dayan. (C.M. 203:7) “Therefore, upon further reflection, this case is similar to a borrower who placed the money he is returning before the lender, with his permission, but the lender did not take the money. While the lender has no further claim on the borrower, what is the status of the money? R. Akiva Eiger [C.M. 120:1] writes that the money becomes hefker, since the borrower relinquished his claim to the money and the lender did not take it. Here, too, the untaken change becomes hefker.”

“In truth, the Nesivos [123:1] disagrees with R. Akiva Eiger and maintains that the money does not become hefker, but remains owned by the borrower,” continued Rabbi Dayan, “but even he would likely agree here. Since the vending operator expects the machine to dispense the change to an unsecure place, where it can be taken by anybody, he effectively renders it hefker or expresses yei’ush [C.M. 260:6, 261:4; Shach 261:3]. Thus, it is permissible to take the extra change.”

“Either way, I can take the money,” said Yosef. “What’s the difference whether it’s lost by the customer or became hefker from the vendor?”

“In most cases there isn’t much difference,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “However, in a small, observant office, shul or yeshiva, the vending operator does not necessarily consider the untaken change as ‘gone,’ so it’s proper to contact him. Even there, if you already took the money with intention to claim it, you may keep it.”

(For a more detailed treatment of this topic, see article by Rabbi Tzvi Price, “What to do when you Find Money in a Vending Machine,” at the BHI website, www.businesshalacha.com.)

About the Author: Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Vending Change”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
PUG Meeting
Abbas Reshuffles Unity Govt with Hamas, Claims ISIS Is Already in Gaza, ‘No Sense Denying It’
Latest Judaism Stories
Daf-Yomi-logo

The Day He Heard
‘One May Seek Revocation Of A Confimation’
(Nedarim 69a)

Business-Halacha-NEW

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Ahava=Love; Happy Tu B'Av!

Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land

Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews

The 10 Statements main point was not content but the encounter between G-d & His nation, Israel

Before going in, I had told R’ Nachum all of the things we were doing in Philly, and how it was very important to receive a good bracha on behalf of our newest venture, a Russian Kollel.

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-NEW

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Business-Halacha-NEW

The two decided to approach Rabbi Dayan. “What is the halachic status of conquered territory?” asked Shalom.

“Does that mean a person can simply renege after payment was made?” asked Benjy incredulously.

“But I’m already dwelling in the apartment,” said Mr. Gold. “Shouldn’t that count? I’m no worse than a neighbor!”

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

“Is the invoice signed by the students?” asked the principal. “They said they didn’t get the pizza.”

“The answer depends on the terms of the purchase agreement and local customs,” replied Rabbi Dayan.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/vending-change/2012/12/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: