Between his freshman and sophomore years of college, Jack takes a job as ticket collector at a local movie theatre. Moviegoers purchase a ticket from a separate employee outside the theatre and then enter through a single set of doors. Jack takes half their ticket, and they proceed to the movie of their choice.
Besides trying to earn enough money for college the next year, Jack loves to watch movies. One of the perks of working for the movie theatre is that all employees are allowed to watch one free movie per day. However, in the employee handbook it states that friends and family of employees are not allowed to watch free movies. In addition, employees must pay full price for all concession items.
Soon after starting work at the theatre, Jack notices that most other employees regularly bring their friends and family to the movie without purchasing a ticket. When Jack stops them at the door to ask for their ticket, they say, “Jack, no one really follows that policy. Just be cool and let us in. You can do the same.” Jack even notices that upper management does not follow the policy of no family and friends watching free movies. Furthermore, employees commonly bring their own cups to get free soft drinks and their own containers to eat free popcorn.
Jack considers whether he should also start bringing friends and family and enjoying the free popcorn and beverages. He reasons, “Why should I be the only one following the rules? If everyone else is doing it, including upper management, what harm would it be for me to do it too? After all, when you watch a movie you aren’t really stealing anything, and popcorn and drinks cost hardly anything. Plus, I really need to save for college.”
Discuss the ethical dilemma Jack faces. What is the issue? Who are the parties involved?
What factors should Jack consider in making his decision?