Ethics Mini Case 5 Shellie or Jacked Up

Sharpe, DeVeaux, Velleman: “Jacked Up” p. 320

“Shellie Cooper, long-time owner of a small organic food store, specializes in locally produced organic foods and products. Over the years Shellie’s customer base has been quite stable, consisting mainly of health-conscious individuals who tend not to be very price sensitive, opting to pay higher prices for better-quality local, organic products. However, faced with increasing competition from grocery chains offering more organic choices, Shellie is now thinking of offering coupons. She needs to decide between the newspaper and the Internet. She recently read that the percentage of consumers who use printable Internet coupons is on the rise but, at 15%, is still much less than the 40% who clip and redeem newspaper coupons. Nonetheless, she is interested in learning more about the Internet and sets up a meeting with Jack Kasor, a Web consultant. She discovers that for an initial investment and continuing monthly fee, Jack would design Shellie’s website, host it on his server, and broadcast e-coupons to her customers at regular intervals. While she was concerned about the difference in redemption rates for e-coupons vs. newspaper coupons, Jack assured her that e-coupon redemptions are continuing to rise and that she should expect between 15% and 40% of her customers to redeem them. Shellie agreed to give it a try. After the first six months, Jack informed Shellie that the proportion of her customers who redeemed e-coupons was significantly greater than 15%. He determined this by selecting several broadcasts at random and found the number redeemed (483) out of the total number sent (3000). Shellie thought that this was positive and made up her mind to continue the use of e-coupons.”

Respond to each question in detail. The best responses will use the case material itself to show what is going on and what is going wrong.

Identify the ethical dilemma in this scenario.
What are the undesirable consequences?
Propose an ethical solution that considers the welfare of all stakeholders.

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