SHADES OF GRAY
Sometimes business ethics are not always black and white. As a printer, I've been asked to do many things that are I consider unethical and maybe illegal. For instance, a man came into my shop and asked me to produce passports from a certain Caribbean nation. When I told him that I couldn't do that, he said it's OK, he's from the government of that country. That was creative, but the answer is still no.
I often have people coming in with diplomas, asking me if I can make an official looking copy and change the name. The reasoning being that they lost their diploma, and either the school is no longer in existence, or does not issue duplicates. If you're going to be dishonest, at least tell me the truth. Do I look stupid?
Sometimes I'm asked to produce letterhead for a large corporation. I'm happy to take the order from the company, but not from an individual that only needs to know how much it will cost for ten copies. It's probably not illegal, but someone is up to no good.
When people hear about counterfeiting, they think it's about printing currency. However, documents, tickets and other forgeries are big business. There are businesses out there that are more than ready to produce these illegal documents. The payoff is huge, but is it worth it? Not only can you lose your business and your freedom, but many people can get hurt by these actions.
Sometimes I have to question the simple act of making copies; what are they using them for? Is it my job to monitor this? I can't always be resposible for every item that comes through my business, but I try to listen to my gut feelings.
Business ethics have come to the forefront in the past few years. We have to strive to do the right thing. It's not always black and white, but we have to distinguish between the different shades of gray.
I like the story about the people who forged pennies, so as to avoid suspicion. However, it cost them more to produce the pennies than they were worth. This was not only illegal, but downright stupid. A great example of business gone bad.