Ethics and business – are they reconcilable?

Howdy dudes and dudettes,

I was involved in a debate yesterday with a bunch of collectors that made me realise that I omitted a key point from a previous post outlining my top ten hints for getting along better with others in the collecting community.

The previous article is here:

Ten tips for dealing with other collectors on social networking sites

In a nutshell, a collector mentioned that he had agreed to a deal with someone who then reneged on the deal because they received a better offer. Note that the deal had been completely agreed to by both parties.Several other collectors responded that this was unethical and that the seller should have honoured the original deal. Meanwhile other collectors suggested basically that it’s a dog eat dog world and that the seller had every right to renege on the deal and that we all would have done it and shouldn’t pretend we are angels.

When I stated clearly that I disagreed with this view, one collector expressed his disbelief that I or anyone else would subordinate money to morals. I’m not so schooled up in the legalities of business dealing in the star wars community but I can tell you all with complete confidence that the majority of collectors on the forums I frequent would honour their deals. When they don’t, they are quickly called out and usually heavily criticised by the majority.

Statue in Athens of the great philosopher of Ethics Socrates

Statue in Athens of the great philosopher of Ethics Socrates

I have my own personal anecdotes of sellers sticking to their deals with me. For example not long after a respected seller, and a great guy to my mind, accepted my best offer on SWFUK, he received a better offer from another member. However he stuck to our original deal. When I heard about this, I decided to pay him his original asking price as a way to reward his honesty. I have heard loads of similar stories that have convinced me that we are not all financially self-interested and that a lot of us are in it for the love of the hobby and the community, rather than for the financial dividends we may reap.

Not only is it emotionally rewarding to have some honour in dealing, it can also be financially sound in the long game as it is highly like that if you renege on deals, others will hear about it and may not deal with you (a common occurrence on the forums).

So it might be a good idea to think twice before you renege on a deal in order to save a few bucks or even a few hundred. Not only will you stand to lose financially but you also lose something that I believe is much more important – the respect and trust of your fellow collector.

I’d love to hear where you guys stand on the issue. Don’t be shy if you’d like to throw tomatoes or god forbid – even agree with me..

Thanks for reading.

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