Ethical dilemmas aren’t fun for anyone.
You want to do the right thing, but you’re not sure if your actions are crossing the line or not.
These dilemmas get even more complicated for some people when you throw money in the mix.
Is it really ethically wrong to save a few bucks when a huge corporation is making millions from people just like you?
Let’s explore some common situations below and I’ll let you decide in the comments below!
Related: 123 Money Savings Tips
Movie Theater Drinks and Snacks
I think most people will admit, at some point in their lives, to sneaking in a drink or some sort of snack into a movie theater. After all, the prices at the concession stands are absolutely ridiculous and you know the movie theaters are making a killing!
The real question is, are you stealing when you sneak drinks or snacks into the movie theater?
In this situation you’re paying to see the movie, but you just aren’t buying any snacks from the theater. If you say you wouldn’t have bought anything from the concession stand, does that make a difference?
Some say yes, while others say no.
Here’s an even bigger dilemma for this scenario. What if the movie theater is a local mom and pop run movie theater with only one location? Would this change how you feel about sneaking in snacks or drinks?
In the end, it really comes down to the rules of the theater. If they post signs that say no outside food and beverages allowed, you’re technically breaking the rules. The question is, do you care?
Are movie theater rules on a different level than the laws of the state or country you live in? That’s for you to decide.
The Naive Garage Sale Person
Garage sales are a great place to pick up some cheap deals. In most cases, the person hosting the garage sale knows they’re selling their stuff cheaply so they can free up some space in their house.
But what happens when the person hosting the sale puts a valuable item up for sale for mere pennies on the dollar of its true value? An ethical dilemma, that’s what!
Let’s say the person hosting the garage sale is selling some old toys that they think are worthless and put them in a box for $0.25 each. You, a vintage toy aficionado, realize these toys are worth $100 a piece, not just a quarter!
You have two options available to you. First, you can buy all the toys for a quarter each and make a killing. Second, you can tell the garage sale holder that these toys are much more valuable than they think. What is the right thing to do?
How can you do the ethically right thing in this situation and still make a profit? One solution is to tell the person that the toys are worth more than a quarter a piece and offer them more money, but not the full value.
This way the garage sale holder still makes a decent amount of money off of the valuable toys and you still have room to make profit by reselling them. Of course, what you ultimately do is up to you and how you perceive the ethical dilemma in this situation.
Finding A Misplaced Wallet Or Purse
You’re walking through a public park and you notice that someone has left their wallet or purse on a bench. You head over and take a look and find $200 cash and no identifying information.
What do you do? Do you keep the wallet and the money? This ethical dilemma is pretty tough because there isn’t really a way to figure out who the money belongs to.
You could try turning the wallet in to the nearest business with hopes that the owner comes looking for it, but you know it is a long shot and the business might end up pocketing the money. If that’s the case, why not just keep it yourself?
I had a similar situation happen once. I was walking down the road and found a $20 bill blowing in the wind. I naturally picked it up and immediately wondered what I should do with it.
I looked around, but there was no one looking for the money. I figured there was no way to find the rightful owner so I decided to keep the money.
This situation would be very different if you found the wallet and it had some sort of identifying information such as a license or a credit card.
In that case, you should definitely try to get in touch with the owner and return the wallet and all of it’s contents, including the $200.
Some people would say finders keepers, losers weepers, but I don’t think you’d want someone else to do the same to you. Aren’t ethics fun when you combine them with money?
So, what would you do in each of these ethical dilemmas? I’d love to hear your thoughts on all three in the comments? Have you ever run across these situations in real life? Were your real life actions different from what you think you’d do in theory?