Gloating ethics

Page 1 of 2  

At what point does a gloat become unethical or otherwise wrong?
Over on woodnet, someone posted that they were able to make an $80 off coupon code work on a delta benchtop disk/belt sander. I headed over to amazon and tried it out. Sure enough, I got the $89 tool with free shipping and $80 off. The total was $9.94.
This didn't work for the vast majority of tools. There seemed to be no sense as to why it worked for this tool and not others. Someone else discovered that this code also worked for a $160 3.25 horse hitachi plunge router. So many people placed an order for that, but I didn't.
A lot of people received emails saying that their orders were canceled. Mine shipped. A lot of people were quiet which leads me to believe that other orders shipped also. Someone posted that they got the router.
Anyway, I feel sort of bad about it. On one hand, it wasn't really a mispriced item. And I've seen online places unload things at silly prices many times before. One time, I ordered some server backup software for $9. I know this was the intended price since they were liquidating a lot of other software at really low prices. When I received it, I was surprised to learn that it normally sold for close to $1000. The real kicker was that it had a $200 rebate, which worked. So I actually made money on the software.
In hind-sight, I know that since they were cancelling orders that they didn't mean for this to work. Or did they just run out of the stock they were liquidating and only meant to sell the ones they had on hand? By the time I heard about this, mine had already shipped. Had I known, I probably would have canceled the order myself.
If this were a brick and mortar store, this wouldn't happen, since there's a human clearing every sale. But if it did anyway, I would take it back if I didn't catch it at checkout myself. This is different though. It's a faceless megacorporation and everything is done through the mail with computers. This wasn't a little old lady not knowing the value of the powermatic saw she's trying to sell. The scenario was plausible when I placed the order.
I'm not the kind of person who gets angry and expects a retailer to honor a stupid price that was a mistake. And I always correct cashiers that accidently give me too much change. But I've caught mistakes (in my favor and not) in the past after I got home and not bothered to go back to fix them.
So should I take the gloat and feel good about obtaining a good deal, or should I hide and repent?
brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
x-no-archive:yes
What is "GLOAT"
Man, How can I get a deal like that? brianlanning wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Getting an exceptional deal on some tool or wood that's difficult or impossible for others to reproduce.

You can't. It's a gloat. :-)
Get on woodnet (I can't believe I just said that) and watch the powertool forum daily for sales. Awesome sales come along from time to time. Also, you should watch ebay and the local paper for good deals.
brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
brianlanning wrote:

www.slickdeals.net can work, as well.
Last November, I saved $350 (coupon + coupon + rebate) on the hottest digicam out there right now, the Canon Digital Rebel, from Dell. Dell sold all of their 200 cameras in 7 minutes.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

So did they mean to allow you to combine coupons? Maybe that deal was unethical and you shouldn't have done it! What if they lost money, that would be just like stealing! ;-)
Amazon's coupon situation right now is really confusing. From what I can tell, they had been allowing people to combine coupons, but now they're not. I combined the current $150 off sale with a $100 off (iirc) code that was printed on the latest catalog they mailed out to get a sander at a really good price. And one of the codes only registered $100 instead of $150 off iirc like it seemed like it was supposed to, but I couldn't figure out why. I bought it anyway because it was a good price. I'm wondering now if that was somehow dishonest, since now they're not allowing people to combine the codes. Did they make a mistake before and correct it or just change their minds later?
brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
brianlanning wrote:

It was actually advertised in advance and definitely not a mistake. <G>
Dell did their very best to try to get you to buy something else while you were there. My guess is that some of these deals, including Amazon's, are simply loss leaders.
Newegg is another who does ridiculous 4 hour sales all the time.
As far as web "mistakes" go, every online vendor has the ability to check and double check a price before we, the customer, sees it. If a price online truly is a mistake, the vendor does have the ability to send me an email explaining the mistake and cancel the order. For example, here's Amazon's policy:
From <(Amazon.com product link shortened)40200997/sr=1-6/102-1340764-9272931>
"PRICING
Except where noted otherwise, the List Price displayed for products on our website represents the full retail price listed on the product itself, suggested by the manufacturer or supplier, or estimated in accordance with standard industry practice. The List Price is a comparative price estimate and may or may not represent the prevailing price in every area on any particular day. For certain items that are offered as a set, the List Price may represent "open-stock" prices, which means the aggregate of the manufacturer's estimated or suggested retail price for each of the items included in the set. Where an item is offered for sale by one of our merchants, the List Price may be provided by the merchant.
With respect to items sold by Amazon.com, we cannot confirm the price of an item until you order; however, we do NOT charge your credit card until after your order has entered the shipping process. Despite our best efforts, a small number of the items in our catalog may be mispriced. If we discover a mispricing, we will do one of the following:
* If an item's correct price is lower than our stated price, we will charge the lower amount and ship you the item. * If an item's correct price is higher than our stated price, we will, at our discretion, either contact you for instructions before shipping or cancel your order and notify you of such cancellation."
So, I don't see an ethical reason to forgo buying something at a ridiculous price from Amazon, as they reserve the right to pull it back.
Most other online vendors have similar policies posted.
Barry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<<As far as web "mistakes" go, every online vendor has the ability to check and double check a price before we, the customer, sees it. If a price online truly is a mistake, the vendor does have the ability to send me an email explaining the mistake and cancel the order.""
And unlike an error in a newspaper or magazine ad or catalog, an online vendor has the opportunity to make a correction the moment a mistake is spotted and thus cut his losses.
Lee
--
To e-mail, replace "bucketofspam" with "dleegordon"

_________________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Lee Gordon wrote:

I think a paper ad always has the out: printing "not responsible for typos"[1] somewhere in the ad. It's commonly used in the local free computer magazine, for example.
1] Something like that, anyway.
er
--
email not valid

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Brian, think of who you are dealing with. Amazon doesn't mind how many local tool supplies they put out of business or how many suppliers they hold for ramsom to offer these great deals. They are a giant company and can and should hire enough compentant people to police their offers. They should and can afford proper software to catch the problems that have been outlined here.
If you use a coupon that you have received that you are not entitled to then shame on you, but if you use a coupon that Amazon or any other faceless company issues trying to entice you to buy from them you are doing the right thing by using it.
Companies issue mail in rebate coupons because they know that the coupons help sell the product and they also know that over 85% of all mail in rebates are not taken advantage of. This type of marketing is really unfair but it will continue until we all take advantage of the unrealistic offers they make and hopefully in the future your local tool supplier will be able to make a living again.
Have been on both sides of the counter. You did nothing wrong, you took advantage of a company offer that was made to get you to buy a product. You have no idea what Amazon has arranged with their suppliers and who is actually 'losing' money, if anyone.
Remember you are not being paid by Amazon or anyone else to find and fix their mistakes. One of the rules of being in business is to make sure you make a profit. That is their job, not yours.
Bob

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What is "x-no-archive:yes" ??

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

To me, taking advantage of a website glitch to get something for practically free is no different then stealing... but that's just me.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I agree. But I've seen places like amazon intentionally unload things for silly prices before. I'm not sure why they do it, probably to free up warehouse shelf space occupied by things that aren't moving. How many 90% off sales have there been at home depot? I once bought two carts full of tile at home depot for 1c a box. The whole two full shopping carts totaled up to $6. But since amazon was canceling orders, it's kind of obvious that they didn't mean to do it. But like I said, it was too late.
So should I avoid good deals because they're too good and might not be honest? Is it ok to assume that amazon will catch this sort of thing if it's unintentional and cancel the order? (apparently not) At what point is a good deal too good?
brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Why don't you just email them and ask if this was supposed to work, and if not, offer to refuse the package? they may be appreciative of your honesty and tell you to keep it, or they might ask you to send it back.
Either way, at least you would feel better. Since you are trying to justify how it might have been legit, I imagine you are feeling a little guilty. I always say to listen to those feelings, if it feels wrong, it might be.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Yeah, that's probably the way to go. This sort of thing is annoying since I feel like I have to police amazon to make sure they're not shooting themselves in the foot.
brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I called them. The guy thought I was nuts and had no idea what I was talking about. He says they have stand-up meetings every morning to talk about orders that are supposed to be cancelled for stuff like this, and that there was nothing about this one. Maybe the cancellations were for the router and they didn't know about this one yet? He also said that refusing an order means they pay return shipping. He kept telling me that I wouldn't be charged for the return shipping if I refused it, but said that there was nothing wrong with the order. I think he was sort of surprised that I was the slightest bit concerned as to whether or not it would cost them extra money. This whole thing is weird. I'm not sure what to think now.
brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That is what you get for interfereing with the general order of things in this universe.
Remember, no good deed goes unpunished.
<G>
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
brianlanning wrote:

I guess there are two ways you can approach life. One is to try to do the right thing. Set an example for your kids. Show them how to lead a decent life by making the right decisions. Try to reverse the decline of western civilization.
OR
Rape and pillage as you go. Take no responsibility. Who cares what happens after you die. You got yours! Teach the kids how to steal and victimize. Watch violent TV all day long. Enjoy the decline of western civilization.
I guess you can choose either path, at whatever level you would be comfortable with.
If Amazon sent me the code, I would use it. It is up to Amazon to figure out who to share that code with. It isn't my job to go to woodnet and share that code. I think that's where the raping and pillaging began, when all involved jumped on the code to use it for their own personal benefit. Aw heck, we all end up paying for it in the end. Faceless companies are in the business to make money. When they lose money, the consumer gets to make it up for them by paying higher prices. Gotta make sure the CEO's get the bonuses they are accustomed to.
What the!! Where'd that soap box come from??
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
My 2c interspersed ... and not really commenting on you or this "deal" particularly

Or to generate customers/hits on their website? -- They've been doing a lot of this stuff kind of like this lately, haven't they? -- Really, really low prices for a brief period, then back to 'normal'.

This is perhaps a different scenario. In the HD case, you pretty much know their motivation. I, too, have bought tile for really, really cheap on closeout (marble tiles for sharpening substrates).
OTOH, we really don't know Amazon's motivation.

If they intended to cancel orders, why didn't they cancel all of them? Unless the product was already out the door an on a UPS truck, I'd think they have the ability to cancel at any time up to that point. (I don't remember if you said or knew exactly where in the pipeline your order was ..)

Well, IMO, a deal is "too good" if you are either intentionally screwing someone over (it seems you weren't), or if you know (or have strong suspicion) you are dealing in stolen goods (clearly not the case here).
If you are really concerned, why not call them and ask? (or email them).
In the past, either SWMBO or I've received items from vendors that we didn't order (screwup on their part). We've always called to ask about this kind of thing. In some cases, they've said 'keep it'. In others, they've sent mailers to cover the cost of shipping back to them.

Interesting topic ...
--
Regards,

JT
Speaking only for myself....
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm not sure what the chain of events was. I can't check woodnet from work. All I know is that some people had their orders cancelled, and mine wasn't. It could be that amazon intended to allow it for some people, or it could be that they didn't catch mine in time.

I posted somewhere else in this thread that I called them. The guy told me that there was nothing wrong with the order so I guess I'll forget about it.
brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The purchase was unethical. The gloat? That was just unwise.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.