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An ethics question

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46 replies to this topic

#1 Mitis angelam

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

I'm in two minds about this one, and I'd like to know what others think.

If someone offers to give you something for which you would normally have to pay, simply because they respect your profession, is it right to take it?  Or should you graciously refuse?


#2 Beanbag Warrior

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

Need more info!

Initial reaction is to accept graciously as a once off, but pay in future.

Depends on the gift and the position of he person giving it, though

#3 laridae

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

Refuse.  Could be seen as accepting a bribe.

#4 ComradeBob

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:01 PM

Depends on whether there could be a perception that you might be influenced to treat the donor in a more favourable light as a result of the gift. If there is room for doubt, refuse it.

#5 Mitis angelam

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:01 PM

QUOTE (Soprano-Cat @ 01/02/2013, 04:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Need more info!

I went to hire academic dress this morning (need it for a function tomorrow).

While chatting to the lady there, I mentioned what I'm studying now.  She refused to charge me the hire fee, or take the usual deposit you get back when you return the stuff.  (So I walked out with the stuff for free).

On the one hand, it was lovely and kind of her and I don't want to be mean about that, but on the other hand... there's something there about being put on a pedestal that has me feeling squirmy.

#6 Fenrir

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:02 PM

QUOTE (laridae @ 01/02/2013, 03:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Refuse.  Could be seen as accepting a bribe.

This. In your profession it could be taken the wrong way.

#7 FiveAus

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:03 PM

Pay it forward and keep the good karma flowing.

#8 threeinnyc

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:04 PM

Don't accept it. My dad's almost perfect reputation was tainted when he took a gift from someone who then reported it to someone that my old man took a bribe  rant.gif

#9 HRH Countrymel

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:06 PM

Depends on the context.

However I gave something to my Tai Chi instructor this morning that I was actually on my way to sell because I respect and like her!

When I was younger I would often be told "No.. you can have that, no need to pay me, your smile has made my day already.."  (I have quite a big mouth - it makes for a big smile, if you haven't become attuned to it you can get a bit overwhelmed!  - This would mostly happen when I lived in a big city.... I never lost my country bumpkin 'smile at everyone' manners..)

Sometimes people just like to give things because it makes them feel good.

If there are no strings attached - no ongoing sense of obligation - then I say 'let them feel good!'

#10 Amy 1976

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:07 PM

Does the lady who offered you the discount own the business? If she does then I guess it's her decision to lose a sale. If she is an employee, you should pay.

I will accept small gifts such as cards, chocolate or a cheap bottle of wine from clients. I don't accept anything larger as I think it creates an obligation.

#11 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:11 PM

I think PPs are right about the need to be careful and to avoid any implication that you have done something untoward like accept a bribe, however, if AV does what I *think* she does, you couldn't really be in a position to take bribes could you...certainly not in that situation? I mean, what favour could she expect from you in return .?

The deposit thing I would accept, as it is just a statement of her trust in you and your profession....maybe like a charity running a soup kitchen and needing to hire some crockery.....and the hire place waiving the bond on the equipment....but maybe insist on paying the actual hire fee?

#12 HRH Countrymel

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:13 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 01/02/2013, 05:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
on the other hand... there's something there about being put on a pedestal that has me feeling squirmy.

Oh Ange.... you are going to get put on a pedestal whether you like it or not!

You have entered a profession where respect - big gushy fawning respect - is going to come at you in spades from certain quarters.

But don't worry - the baseless rudeness from other quarters along with the horrible bits of the job (that you would know much more about than I) are going to even it out!

Smile and accept graciously.  I am sure that that person will be feeling great right now, and will entertain her family with a tale of 'the gorgeous young mother who is going to be a minister' that she met today around her dinner table tonight!

#13 Mitis angelam

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:14 PM

QUOTE (Lucretia Borgia @ 01/02/2013, 05:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I mean, what favour could she expect from you in return .?

Realistically, not anything.  I think it was pure generosity.  I think your suggestion is a good one, and I might do that when I return the stuff.

ETA: Mel, you are so right about it being balanced out!   laughing2.gif

Edited by Ange Vert, 01 February 2013 - 04:16 PM.

#14 CallMeFeral

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:25 PM

She's just trying to get brownie points for heaven... Tounge1.gif

Accept graciously. There are situations where it's a bit yucky, but in the end not accepting is not helping anybody either.

I have issues with this when Doctors treat other doctors and their families for free. I mean it's a you scratch my back I scratch yours thing, but I find it in poor taste for one of the richest professions there is, to be getting all the health related freebies that the poor can't afford. I suppose especially because it's something as basic as health. I'd rather they gave the freebies to the disadvantaged, if they can afford freebies.

But I think graduation gowns is less contentious wink.gif

#15 Mrs Dinosaurus

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:31 PM

Crikey Ange - what are you going to do when the proper bribes start laughing2.gif

Enjoy - it's just one of those things. Plus for everyone who wants to be extra nice to you just in case God is watching there will be another 10 doing the opposite because - well, because there are more asshats than nice people.

Next time one of those gross perverts tries to get too close think how much you earned the free academic dress.

And enjoy your graduation - congratulations!

#16 KnightsofNi

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:36 PM

It depends. Did you promise her access to heaven in exchange for the freebie?

#17 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:45 PM

Something tells me AV might share similar thoughts to Martin Luther when it comes to the selling of indulgences!

#18 SuboptimallyPooks

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:47 PM

I'd accept it as generosity.

Sometimes you see people who you see as doing something very worthwhile for little financial gain, and you want to throw them a freebie or something to show you that what you do is appreciated.

A friend of mine was a busker who was much liked by local shopkeepers and he got freebies a fair bit. Religious clerical folk, youth workers out on the streets, they often get freebies. Sometimes teachers and doctors and nurses will too, although maybe less these days. Coppers, now they know how to get a freebie!

Look, if it were a conflict of interest or a pattern or behaviour I'd look into it more, but as a one off, I'd accept it.

As a social worker we are told as a general rule not to accept gifts, but to be honest a few times I have- when I am no longer working with a person and it's a pure act of appreciation and generosity. If it makes the person giving the gift/freebie happy, let them original.gif

#19 Fr0g

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:55 PM

QUOTE (Time-to-Shine @ 01/02/2013, 05:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It depends. Did you promise her access to heaven in exchange for the freebie?

Lol. This.

Accept the freebie. Wish I got appreciation freebies *sulks*

#20 purplekitty

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:12 PM

Gifts are often tricky but I think you could accept this one in the generous spirit it was given if it is her business.

QUOTE (CallMeProtart @ 01/02/2013, 04:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have issues with this when Doctors treat other doctors and their families for free. I mean it's a you scratch my back I scratch yours thing, but I find it in poor taste for one of the richest professions there is, to be getting all the health related freebies that the poor can't afford. I suppose especially because it's something as basic as health. I'd rather they gave the freebies to the disadvantaged, if they can afford freebies.
It's a courtesy,what is in poor taste about it. Some do,some don't.
Surely it's up to the individual whether they accept the rebate only and lose the extra income.

There is a whole range of incomes across the medical profession ,and a lot of HECS debt. just like other careers.

#21 Mitis angelam

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:15 PM

QUOTE (Dinosaurus @ 01/02/2013, 05:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And enjoy your graduation - congratulations!

Thanks, but it's not my graduation.  Just one of those formal occasions where academic dress is required!

QUOTE (Time-to-Shine @ 01/02/2013, 05:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It depends. Did you promise her access to heaven in exchange for the freebie?

laughing2.gif  Maybe if I add that promise to the prayer request thread, it will get more traffic?

Edited by Ange Vert, 01 February 2013 - 05:15 PM.

#22 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:17 PM

QUOTE (WingBob @ 01/02/2013, 04:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Depends on whether there could be a perception that you might be influenced to treat the donor in a more favourable light as a result of the gift. If there is room for doubt, refuse it.


Given what you are studying, I'm not sure how you can pull strings for her.  It's out of your hands ....

#23 Mitis angelam

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:23 PM

I guess the thing is (I'm thinking about it a bit more) I know stuff like this happens.  In some places it's very very common, to the point that I once heard an old priest advise a bunch of newbies to always check in for flights in clerical collars, and get free upgrades.  

And I don't mind an individual's generosity, that's lovely.  But when there's a culture of treating people as special because of what we do...I see that there’s something there that speaks of the unhealthiness of clericalism, of life lived on a pedestal, of something that gets so easily abused and twisted into really dark stuff.  And I wonder if it’s an important step towards overcoming that, to refuse this sort of small privilege.  And I think it's appalling when people start to expect it!

#24 purplekitty

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:31 PM

I can see what you mean and while this is a small thing ,why you might want to start as you are going to continue.
It being the principle of the thing.
The gift is because of your position rather than as gratitude and recognition for something you have personally done for someone.

#25 unicycle

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:41 PM

I think it also has to do with clerics not being well-paid ( at least in the past) and so a tradition has formed.

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