Clint finds this to be a ridiculous policy. He wants to know what is to keep him from reporting a newspaper undelivered instead of reporting that he had to retrieve it from a few houses down. "The incentive seems to be for me to lie to them to get the credit I deserve," he writes.
"Would it be wrong to lie to the newspaper company because it has a stupid policy?" he asks.
Yes, it would be wrong to lie. Lying about finding his newspaper on someone else's porch to counter-act a policy he doesn't agree with would be dishonest.
Telling the truth is the right thing to do here. But Clint has no obligation to go looking for his missing newspaper if it was incorrectly delivered. If he didn't get the newspaper, it's the newspaper's responsibility to make sure he does or to not charge him for it.
The right thing for the newspaper company is to re-examine its policy to see if it is fair to readers. It's already getting paid for newspapers during Clint's vacation days even though he receives no newspaper then. Charging him for a newspaper that doesn't get delivered when he does want it is wrong. Ultimately, Clint may have to decide to simply stop subscribing to the newspaper if he wants to be treated with a bit more respect.
Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Simple Art of Business Etiquette: How to Rise to the Top by Playing Nice, is a senior lecturer in public policy and director of the communications program at Harvard's Kennedy School. He is also the administrator of www.jeffreyseglin.com, a blog focused on ethical issues.
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