Ethics Lessons And Ethics Dunces: The Two Young Men Who Knocked On My Door

missionaries-men-mormon2I was exhausted yesterday after five hours teaching lawyers and accountants about ethics when there was a knock at my door. I could see through the window that the visitors were two young men wearing nametags, holding clipboards, forms and brochures, and I was in no mood for a sales pitch or to being asked to help some Mormons travel to Tangiers. I opened the door prepared to give them the bum’s rush.

They were good, though. Their pitch involved a free estimate and a discount for replacing our home’s casement windows. It was a local business using recent college grads, they explained. I explained in return, curtly, that I wasn’t interested, but they persisted, being personable and low key all the while. I decided that I admired their persistence and interpersonal skills—it helped that my dog liked them–and ultimately I agreed to let them give me an estimate on roof repairs, as our roof had sprung some small leaks and we might even need a new one.

They called their office as I listened and scheduled a free assessment and estimate for today at 10 AM. I gave them my phone numbers. I took their cards. Though I was exhausted and had planned on giving them less than five minutes of my time, I ended up talking to the two for twenty minutes. I felt good about it too: they were just starting out in the workplace jungle, and had done an excellent job. They were personable, professional, and determined, spoke well and had a pleasant demeanor. One was black, the other Hispanic. I thought they had earned some positive reinforcement.

Well, it’s 11: 22 AM the next day, and they haven’t shown up, and haven’t called. When they do, I’m going to tell them that they blew it: I’m not trusting a company that can’t keep its first appointment. I don’t know why they missed their promised time, and I don’t care. The key factor is that they missed it. Continue reading

Now THIS IS An Unethical Car Dealership

Hey, Jerry! I hear Priority Chevrolet is looking for a sales manager! You’d fit right in!

Maybe the staff and management of Chesapeake, Virginia’s Priority Chevrolet aren’t quite in the vile category of Jerry, William Macy’s car salesman in “Fargo,” but even for a profession seldom mentioned in the same sentence with “ethical,” its alleged conduct in a recent transaction is appalling.

According to a lawsuit, Priority sales manager Wib Davenport sold a 2012 Chevrolet Traverse to Danny Sawyer for about $5,600 less than it was worth. There is a dispute over how this happened, but a contract for the inadvertently discounted sale was presented to the Priority customer and signed, and Sawyer quickly returned with a cashier’s check to cover what he owed the dealership after the various discounts and the trade-in.

After driving off in his new SUV, Sawyer went on vacation. He returned to voicemail full of messages from Davenport, who also authored a letter explaining that the dealership had made a mistake on the contract and had sold the car for the wrong price. He asked Sawyer to return to the dealership and sign a new contract. Right. Continue reading