Ethics

A penny for your thoughts*?” you ask
Well. actually you’ll get them for free as setting up a PAYPAL system so you could contribute a penny wouldn’t be practical and you might then want your money back if you felt my thoughts were offered at a vastly over inflated price.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about ethics as over the last few days I’ve encountered things that I think are ethically dubious and I wonder how we engage with these things AND how we meaningfully help young people to critique culture and practice in this area. I know these are not the worst examples but these are the three that have entered my radar coverage in the last few days.
Dell Computers have an add in the paper today boldly declaring that it’s the last day of their “Buy now, pay October 2008 offer!” however they ran a similar add a week or two ago. Interestingly too if you phone up they tell you (or at least told me) it’s like an interest free offer. However a bit later in the process you discover there is a substantial administration fee that is also collected alongside the payment. Ehtically, should you run an ad’ that is either not true or makes a previous claim untrue? Also should you sneak in additional charges?
Someone I met over the weekend had just bought a new car and the dealership had told them to lie to the insurance company to get the most advantage from the free insurance deal?
And this is the one that really wound me up. A well known national double glazing company quoted someone I know (a pensioner) £22,000 for Double Glazing (it’s a big house). Wisely they didn’t take up the offer but kept stalling and also got other quotes before the very same glazing company finally agreed to fit the glazing for £7800. If a cowboy builder was filmed for an undercover TV programme inflating the price of a job by around 300% then they’d be prosecuted. But a legitimate company can charge whatever they can get away with?
I think this is probably just a rant but I think there is an ethical debate that needs to happen and companies do need to be kept accountable? It’s also be a great youth session to debate, check out and campaign against unethical practice!

(*Penny for your thoughts is a British expression that has been around for a long time and never moved with inflation)

5 Replies to “Ethics”

  1. We live in a highly pressured society – making the sale, and paying the mortgage on the commission from the sale, is how many people make their living. That means there is massive pressure on them to get the best price in order to provide for their families. That’s not an excuse for dishonesty, but even good people need to make the best deal.
    Those of us who are (lucky?) enough to work in the church or in education aren’t immune to the same kind of games. We so easily inflate the numbers at our events or that we have as members to justify our work. At the same time we try to do some pretty cutthroat deals when booking residential centres or Christian artists for our youth groups (“so everybody can afford to go”) and still expect a high standard from those we pay so little to.
    We live in a society where often the quick and cheap answer is seen as the best. But that outlook is corrupting. It corrupts our values and the way we see people. But one the other hand we only have limited budgets and need to get the very best out of them. I am not sure however how easy it is for us to get beyond pointing the finger at the ethics of others and really bringing about change, but I recognise we are part of that ethically problematic world we dislike so much.
    Sorry, heavy post!

  2. I think that inflating prices, numbers or whatever is not a good ethical or christian thing to do…
    I am certainly not in the business of inflating numbers or anything else as even if I wanted to do that and I don’t, the paper evidence would show the reality…
    I was quoted a high price for double glazing and it finally came down to the price I thought was payable and I wouldn’t have paid a penny more.
    As Christians we need to be careful how and what we do and ethics is right at the heart of that!!

  3. I actually have caught a few episodes of Rogue Traders, but its interesting, reading your post, that they tend to go after the small one-man band whose bumping up the prices, rather than the big players (like national double-glazing companies). Which in itself is an ethical issue for the BBC.

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