- If you were employed by a shopping centre to dress up in the Puppy Dog Suit and to then offer a free helium balloon to each child of about 10 years of age and under, would you happily provide a balloon to your own child, even though you knew your child was 12 years of age, if he or she came through the shopping centre?
For most people the answer is “yes” (though some will respond “no”).
Indeed, for many people the answer is “of course I would”.
There are some people who are more cautious and want additional information regarding the nature of the boss, how strict the conditions are and so on.
The point is that often there is scope to “move” with respect to the interpretation and administration of rules based not so much upon family, but upon context (children having fun).
There is of course a consequence of this…and that is that once such a precedent has been made, then ALL children who are 12 years of age should be entitled to receive a balloon…and so one remains consistent in their interpretation and administration of the rules. After all, the question specifies “to each child of about 10 years of age and under”…and 12 is about 10.
- Would you be happy to provide two balloons if your child came through the shopping centre?
But then again, it depends upon context and precedent and the availability of balloons and how many other children may then want a second balloon. In the context of the task, if there are no foreseeable negative consequences then it is fine, but one must try to consider the range of consequences and be mindful of their decision making process.
- How about three balloons?
All right, maybe this could get out of hand (see the answer to Question 2 above) depending upon how many children are expected.
But then again, depending upon context, precedent and consequence, this could be fine too….AS LONG AS one can be consistent in their interpretation and administration of the rule.
Must avoid the situation of favoritism due to family.
- If you had 1000 balloons to begin with, and where on duty from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, and you ended the shift with 700 balloons….how many would you happily provide to your child? You may provide any qualifications that you like to explain your position.
Lots of possible answers here. Some have been discussed above in response to Questions 2 and 3. It may well be that your child is about to take possession of more balloons than can be fit into your house.
There is, however, another potential sinister aspect to this…and the looming specter of Duty-of-Care.
In all likelihood, young teenage children with an effectively endless supply of Helium filled balloons will untie at least some of those balloons and inhale the gas to enable them to speak like a “chip-monk” (high pitch squeaky voice). So even though your child may be alone for now, you should be mindful of what possibilities your child may get upto, especially if later he or she is going to be able to access all of these balloons with friends.
While this may be a common “fun” activity at parties, it may not be without consequence.
Do you think it possible that there may be any harmful side effects to children inhaling large amounts of Helium? Could their vocal cords be damaged? Could they effectively over-dose on Helium? Could they inadvertently suffer from a lack of Oxygen? Could they black-out?
And if a child does black out…then they could fall to the ground and hit their head…and it is definitely possible that such a fall could cause injury, even death.
- If you were employed to run a “fish and chip” shop and your child came in with three friends and ordered two hamburgers (each cut in half), two milkshakes (each with two straws), four scallops (each cut in half) and $2.00 of chips, would you happily throw in a few extra chips?
This is pretty much like the balloons.
After all, chips are cheap and dished-up in relatively large volumes. So provided it does not get excessive, it is unlikely that anyone will get upset, including the boss.
There are some people, however, who may feel bad within themselves for doing so as their personal ethics may view this as a form of “stealing”.
There are also “bosses” who may consider this to be an abuse of position.
- If in the course of conversation with the children in Question 5 it became apparent that the children had lost some money on their way to the shop which they had been keeping to buy lunch together, would you happily throw in a few extra-extra chips?
Depending on circumstances, there is scope to help the children out and offer a few extra-extra chips.
The extent of “how-many” extra chips is open to question based upon each individuals personal ethics of where their authority to dish out chips ends….and where it becomes abusing the system which they are representing.
- How about an extra scallop…or two….or even a hamburger as well, and how about some fish?
Most people will baulk at this. These are “big ticket” items compared to the chips, and besides, the children did not even order any fish.
Still, there is scope to help out and to do so in an appropriately ethical manner.
First off, you could ask the boss. Or you could offer the children the hamburgers and fish on the proviso that they pay you later, after all you are going to see them around a bit.
Then again, you could provide the children with the food…and just put the appropriate money into the till, even if no-one else is aware that you did this!
- Would you put into the cash register the cost of your responses in Questions 5, 6, and 7? You may provide any qualifications that you like to explain your position.
No real need to indicate your personal response here.
Note however that for some people this is the “obvious” response. For others they may need to be prompted to do so.
- If you had just been informed that the fish and chip shop that you have been employed to work in since Question 5 was using a source of fish that was cheap because of high mercury levels (a heavy metal that causes brain damage), how would you raise this with the boss, if at all?
You mean that you have just unwittingly been giving your children and his or her friends potentially harmful food? (Mercury as a heavy metal causes brain damage.)
This gets very messy. What is meant by “high levels” of mercury? Is it so high that it breeches laws? If this is the case, are you going to punch the boss on the nose? Are you going to report the shop to government authorities?
If the level is “legal” but clearly higher than what is normally the case are you going to be regretting the fact that you provided this to you child…and to his or her friends?
Will you feel EQUALLY bad about having provided the fish to the friends as you are with providing it to your child?
- If the boss, informed by you in Question 9 of your concerns regarding mercury levels in the fish, indicates very clearly that this source of fish will continue to be that used by the shop because it adds to profit, would you still sell the fish to customers who asked for “fish and chips”. You may provide any qualifications that you like to explain your position.
Depends on personal ethics and personal circumstances.
Do you tell customers the fish is “bad”. Do you recommend that the hamburgers are better? Do you give the customers tiny pieces of fish? Do you cook the fish so poorly that no-one can eat it?
Do you have another job you can go to?
- If your child came into the shop, again with the three friends from Question 5, this time laden with money and requesting eight pieces of fish and $2 of chips, how much fish would they get? Explain you rational.
Most people will do what ever is required to ensure that their child is not eating this fish. Or at least, only the smallest amounts.
What ever stance is taken with your own child should hold true for his or her friends….AND to anyone else who has the misfortune to venture into the shop.
AND…if this is so….then why is the shop still in business?
Are there any steps you could take to bring public notice to the “quality” of the fish being used?