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BK Magazine Marginally Unethical Life Hacks
Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
Cracked windshields can be expensive to replace but here's a way to get them done for free:
Next time you have a cracked windshield, be vigilant about who you are driving behind. While on the road, if you see a truck hauling rocks or wood, take note of the phone number on the back that asks for any issues or complaints with the vehicle to be reported. Make sure that the vehicle is owned by a large company or firm first, then call them up and say that a loose rock/object fell from the back of the truck and hit your windshield and cracked it. They will check records on their end and those records will show that one of their vehicles was in fact on the road and hauling materials at the time and place you indicate the incident took place. They will then most likely arrange for you to be compensated for a new windshield.
This sort of thing does happen and companies don't blame their employees or drivers for such things that are beyond their control--just in case you were worried that somebody would get fired.
I love your newsletter but again am dismayed at this "Marginally Unethical Life Hacks" section.
I cannot understand how it is anything but grossly unethical to lie to a "large company" and ask them to pay for an accident that they did not cause. Would you be happy if someone did this or the equivalent to B-K? To you personally? How is this behaviour consistent with "a world that works for all"? In what way is this essentially different from the behavior you are exorciating in the "Economic Hit Man" book that you are promotingin this month's newsletter?
I do not think that it is possible to create a world that works for all if people casually lie and cheat and steal for no reason other than "cracked windshields can be expensive to replace."
I write these tedious and humorless complaints to you because I care a lot about the ethical side of the brand of B-K to which I have for more than a decade proudly associated my own and that of Reos Partners.
Adam, I'm commenting to let you know you're not alone. I have a strained but seemingly lasting relationship with the "Marginally Unethical Life Hacks" section. I treat it as an expression of my own inner temptation to be, well, marginally unethical. It's a kind of loyal opposition. Perhaps it would relieve you to think of it that way.
Today's example, however, does not tempt me. As you well express, it crosses a line into the territory of genuine crime.
Hi Franz and Adam, I think you both are right. For the record, the majority of these are presented purey for entertainment purposes and, yes, to appeal to the "darker side" of our own nature. It is difficult sometimes to know the line--no matter how clear it may seem to you. I apologize and take full responsibility for this posting. My only guideline for writing these is to ask, "Will anybody get hurt or fired?" If not, I tend to go with it. It's not foolproof, as you have shown here.
I do, however, want to raise a tangential matter:
It is dangerous to assume that our vision of what is right is promoted as the only vision. There are many who believe that the way to save the world is for everyone to convert to a particular faith or to employ more rigid standards than our liberal sensibilities would like. Are they wrong? Perhaps, but we do not have the authority to say so, I don't think. Yes, casually lying is wrong, but some would argue that an act such as this is a solid strike against large corporations and companies that damage the environment--a strike that hits at the company's bottom line without hurting any one directly. Is it illegal? Yes, it is, just as it is illegal to sabotage refineries or doing damage to institutes that do animal testing. The motives are of course not as noble.