Monday, October 29, 2012

Reader Question- Ethics, Legality, and Frugality

Before I get to today's post, I just wanted to tell all my readers on the East Coast of the United States, in the path of Hurricane Sandy, that my thoughts are with you. I can't imagine what you might be going through, especially with trees falling down left and right, being without power, etc... I hope that you and your loved ones and your property all are able to escape unscathed, and if your property does get affected by the hurricane, that it won't cause too much of a financial loss.
Please, everyone, stay safe. I know it looks like a once in a lifetime thing to experience such a Frankenstorm, but please, stay inside and watch broadcasts over the internet or something, but don't go out in the storm...

And now on to today's scheduled post.

So, there's something I've been wondering about for a while already, when ethics, legality, and frugality clash, and since I actually don't have a full answer for this myself, certainly not enough to write a post about, I actually wanted to ask you what you thought, perhaps so that we can start a discussion in the comments section.

So, you are looking for a certain product.

Mr A sells it.

He is selling it off the books, and isn't paying taxes on it.

Would you still buy from him?

Now, lets add more details to the situation.

What would you do if you could buy that product from somewhere else, someplace that is selling stuff on the books, but it is more expensive than the place that is selling off the books? Would you spend more money on the item so that you don't support people who are selling illegally? Would it make a difference to you how much of a price difference there would be between the off the books and on the books places? Like if there was a difference of a few dollars what would you do? What if there was a difference of a few hundred dollars?
Basically, will you do what you can to get a bargain, even if it means buying things off the books?

Now what if it wasn't an issue of more or less money being spent, but rather that the item you needed/wanted simply wasn't available anywhere else, only through this person selling off the books, so your choice is getting the item and paying a certain amount, that you know won't be paid taxes on, or going without entirely?

I had to buy a really expensive item recently, and when I hunted around, I finally found a guy who sold it at half the price that all the other places sold it. Only when I went to pay, I was told to pay cash, because it's off the books, and I had a dilemma.

What would you have done in such a case?

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