Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ethics Column Advocates Unethical Conduct

Bruce Weinstein writes a column on ethics, and this week he laid a big ethical egg. The question at hand is whether or not it is ethical to bring your own food into a movie theater when the theater management has prohibited the practice.

This week’s column is a muddle-headed piece of writing, which attempts to advance the theory that it is ethical to sneak food into the theater in contravention to theater rules. Weinstein writes:

If you choose to bring your own food and drink to the movies, eat it quietly, clean up after yourself, and know that there are good reasons to believe you are doing no wrong,...

But then Weinstein appends to the above sentence,

…but you may be mistaken in this belief.

OK Mr. Weinstein, is it ethical or unethical?

Weinstein writes:

To require movie patrons to purchase snacks that are marked up significantly more than even the retail cost elsewhere is simply an unjust rule, and there is no ethical obligation to follow unjust rules.

Point of clarification: the patrons are not required to purchase snacks.

Earlier in the article, he got wrapped-up in a discussion about the profit margin of the theater, as if this has anything to do with the issue.

The bottom line is this: when you buy a ticket to enter the theater you are entering into a civil contract. You are paying your good money for the right to enter the establishment under the conditions granted by the theater management. You are not obligated to purchase food products. But if a condition of the license to enter is that you may not consume food products that are not purchased on the premises, you may not do so or you are in violation of the contract that you agreed to upon purchasing the ticket.

You have to wonder about the credibility of an author on ethics who does not understand that it is unethical to violate a civil contract.

If you don’t like the rules of the contract, go spend your money on some other activity.