The Caramel Crunch (25 January 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

Your boss wants you to tell a difficult client or a customer something that is clearly misleading. It feels dishonest, but your boss suggests you find a way to couch your words so that you are not telling a blatant lie.

Okay, time for the real deal. This week I must admit I’m a bit stumped. It’s easy enough to see the issues:

  1. is telling a lie the same as concealing the truth?
  2. are you comfortable being, let’s just say less than frank, with someone?
  3. are you sufficiently uncomfortable that you’d maybe risk your income because of it?

I guess for (1) I’d say pretty much. But I know a lawyer would disagree. The truth is not the same as the whole truth. Plus this is how people sell things to us, the world over. Highlight the good things, and hope you don’t notice the crap.

For (2) I’ve never been in that position, but I’d for sure be uncomfortable, I guess most of us would. Even a so-called white lie (i.e. harmless, but that gives me an idea for another post one day, do you notice how the words black and white are embedded into certain phrases in our language?) makes me uncomfortable.

Lastly, again, I’ve never been in the situation.For me, the answer was always easy. There was always someplace else I could go, if a client was an asshole. Took me twenty years to work out that every client was an asshole in one way or another.

But I’m conscious that I was always sitting pretty. I was lucky enough that I could pick the things which were important, and give ground on the little issues. For me, dishonesty would’ve been a biggie, and I’d have walked.

I’d also judge that if a boss wanted me to be dishonest, that’d be grounds to walk. The end client wouldn’t even come into it. Most of my clients, though, were internal and I always tried to do my best by them. And, maybe the fact that none of this ever happened to me is a good thing?

But what do you say when your next meal depends on what you say?

Sorry, a wishy-washy answer this week. I realise that I’m privileged to have my easy view, but a lot of people aren’t so fortunate. Maybe you can come up with a better answer? Follow the link to see what it’s all about.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Formerly Stroke Survivor UK. Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

8 thoughts on “The Caramel Crunch (25 January 2020)”

  1. Don’t worry about sounding wishy-washy. It can be hard to know what to do at times. Years ago I made a stand with a manager, that was when I worked in finance. I could not see any way of justifying what she had told me to tell a client. It was an outright lie and it was clearly wrong. I made a stand. She and other staff were later sacked after a criminal investigation was undertaken.
    However in healthcare, there are sometimes situations where I realize staff are saying no to a person for their own welfare. Sometimes I wish my colleague would find another way to phrase things, but they are trying to make sure a patient is pacified. They don’t want to put them at risk, so they pretend to remove an option from someone. I respect they are trying to protect the patients. Whereas, in the first instance I mentioned, it was dishonesty that I could only assign to having greed as the motive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s kinda interesting, as a consumer (I’m including a patient here), you have to learn what questions to ask.
      I’ve had scenarios with medical people where they’ll say something like “if you don’t do X, then your head might drop off”. Or some such crap. What they’ve omitted to say is that there is a one in a billion chance of your head falling off.
      In your first case, even if you let it slide once, you’ve set a precedent and it’ll probably happen again over something else. So I think if you say yes once, you’re committing to it many times over.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Personally I think it helps if you explain why you are saying something. But not all patients want that.
        Friends of mine in pharmacy have had difficulties with patients/customers when they refused a sale. If someone walks into a pharmacy and asks for a decongestant like pseudoephedrine and then tells the pharmacist they are on medication for high blood pressure, the pharmacist cannot sell it. Also teenagers ask for things like codeine linctus or liquid phenergan and make up weird and wonderful stories to try to get it. Most pharmacists would deal with it by saying that they don’t stock it rather than lecture them.
        So many situations crop up and it would be wrong to give the patient what they want, but sometimes telling the truth would not go down well. Other times they would appreciate understanding the reason why they can’t have what they have asked for.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I must admit I’m uncomfortable being in a position where somebody else feels they know better. My health, at least. But then that places a burden on me to learn about my health. I’ve had to spend time in hospital because a doctor prescribed meds without telling me what side effects to look out for, so I’m cautious now. If that kills me, so be it.

          Like

          1. I think the ideal is for doctors, pharmacists and patients to all be educated and have a holistic picture of someone’s needs. I believe in patient choice and self-determination. But not everyone thinks the same way.

            Doctors, pharmacists and patients could all make mistakes or misunderstand. So frank communication and asking for a second opinion is important in my view.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The ideal for me is that the patient makes an informed choice. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists can certainly help with that *informed* process. But make no mistake, they sit at a lower level than the patient. Otherwise, we’re ultimately saying that our bodies are not ours, but somebody else’s.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I know what you mean. I have seen some very controversial issues argued in courts.

                In many cases patients put their full trust in doctors, nurses and pharmacists. I would hope that wherever possible patients are educated and equipped to make decisions regarding treatment.

                I have respect for a pharmacist who says they cannot conscientiously sell a product to someone because the risk of harm for them is too great. But I know some of my friends have received abuse when they refused sales.

                Liked by 1 person

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