Archive for the ‘Retail’ Category

Is it ethical to eat Chick-fil-A?

June 29, 2013

Dan-Cathy-Chick-Fil-A-DOMA-Tweet-520x400The other night I attended the grand opening of Westwood Village’s newest restaurant, a Chick-fil-A. C.R., the young owner (all, or most of the brand’s restaurants are privately owned), welcomed us with warmth and excitement at starting his own business in a friendly new—to him—city.

After speeches and music we were treated to a sampler of all the wares, from three kinds of chicken sandwiches to salads, yogurt parfaits, and finally the richest chocolate chunk (not measly chip) cookies to send us on our way.

But when I told my daughter Lisa about the event she scowled and proclaimed that she wouldn’t patronize a homophobic business like Chick-fil-A.

I protested that the views were those of the company president, Dan Cathy, not of the corporation, and I’d be shocked if individual store owners like C.R. harbored anti-gay sentiments.

But now I wonder, is it ethical to patronize a business whose owner promotes views that are abhorrent to me?

Cathy was brought up in the Bible belt with biblical warnings about the evil (more…)

Advertisements

Subway’s ‘FOOTLONG’ is a description, not a measurement

January 28, 2013

 

Subway footlongYears ago on a cold day I bought a hot dog from a vendor outside Philadelphia’s Franklin Field, and after biting into it and getting a chill in my teeth I asked the boy who sold it how he could call it a HOT dog when it wasn’t even warm. He responded, “It’s just the NAME, not the TEMP-A-CHOOR.”

Two years ago the boy’s remark was topped by a spokesman for then-Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ), who explained an outrageous lie that the Senator had told about Planned Parenthood, ‘his remark was not intended to be a factual statement.

And now Subway (Australia), whose footlong sandwiches have been discovered to be only eleven inches long, gave their explanation: ” ‘SUBWAY FOOTLONG’ is a registered trademark as a descriptive name for the sub sold in Subway Restaurants and not intended to be a measurement of length.”

(Thanks to New York Post for the photo)

 

Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart

April 21, 2012

After Top-Level Struggle Confronted with evidence of widespread corruption in Mexico, top Wal-Mart executives focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing, an examination by The New York Times found. 

The headlines are from Saturday’s New York Times. The news article details how Walmart de Mexico—that nation’s largest employer—regularly paid huge bribes to Mexican government officials to approve permits for new stores; how senior management of the Mexican subsidiary was party to the bribery; how Walmart headquarters in Arkansas investigated the allegations of bribery, and how, when the investigations turned up hard evidence, hq proceeded to bury it.

“It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” So goes the conventional wisdom, but in this case it was both: the crime was committed by top management of the Mexico subsidiary, and the cover up was by top management of the parent company.

In my business ethics courses we use Walmart as a case study: Is the company ethical or unethical, and is it good or bad for America.

On the plus side Walmart gives employment to hundreds of thousands (more…)

Let Romney lose because his opponent is better, not because of ugly religious bigotry

October 25, 2011

Reasons to vote against Mitt Romney: He’s a liberal trying to look like a conservative. He has no convictions other than a determination to appear what’s necessary to get elected. He’s willing to employ illegal immigrants as long as no one knows about it. He put his pet dog in a cage on the roof of his car and drove 500 miles.

But some people have another reason: He’s a Mormon! And Mormons aren’t Christians. Not really. Mormonism is a cult!

So said Robert Jeffress, a senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, explaining why Christians should prefer his candidate, Rick Perry, who he introduced at the Values Voter Summit two weeks ago in Washington.

Jeffress and the people who agree with him are repudiating the Constitution of the United States, which says in Article VI, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

Pretty strong statement, using ‘no,’ ‘ever,’ and ‘any’ in one clause. But Jeffress believes that Christians must prefer a Christian to Romney. That’s a religious test. It’s wrong when practiced by Evangelicals opposing Romney for the Republican nomination, and it’ll be just as wrong when liberals use it if and when Romney gets the nomination.

The theological argument over Mormonism as Christianity (more…)

An Ethics Can of Worms, All Named “Nike”

August 26, 2011

Jack Marshall writes in his EthicsAlarms.com blog that I was “open[ing] an ethics can of worms” with the piece about Nike and its $4-a-day workers. He raises a terrific set of questions that need to be argued over before deciding whether a company doing international business is behaving ethically. They’re not easy to answer. I guess I’ll try them out on my business ethics students next month. Here they are

 Q: If workers agree to work for a given price, is the company’s obligation to pay them more?

 Q: Should any company pay less than a living wage for full-time work, whether or not desperate workers assent? (more…)

I love Amazon, and my state is hurting: any connection?

August 6, 2011

I love Amazon.com. I buy all my books (electronic, of course) from them to read on my Amazon Kindle. I buy excellent coffee, all presents for grandchildren, electronic gadgets, and just about anything else. And thanks to Amazon Prime, after a yearly charge I get everything shipped for free.

Their customer service is amazing, too. Easy returns, and if you click on a link on their customer service page you’ll get a phone call from a person in seconds. Their prices are great. They don’t charge California sales tax, but California residents are liable anyway, so I estimate my on-line purchases and send the state a check.

But most people don’t. California estimates that it will lose $83 million this year in unpaid taxes on Amazon purchases, and $200 million from all on-line purchases. And the loss will grow as on-line sales continue their dramatic growth, crowding out traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.

I also love the University of California. Three of our four kids got low-cost, top-quality educations there. But today’s California kids don’t have it as good—the university is (more…)