Does the desire to buy the lowest price product ever create any ethical dilemmas for a consumer? Why or why not?
I do think that the desire to buy the lowest price may create an ethical dilemma for a consumer. This desire has multiple factors influencing it. It could be a confrontation of an ethical dilemma that is in the control of the consumer or an ethical situation that is not in the control of the consumer but the company that the consumer I doing business with. The consumer just overlooks the ethical violations by the company they are doing business with and just focusing on the lower price that he/she is getting. As we studied in the Walmart case study (Desjardins, 2014) that federal raids on 60 Walmart stores in 2003 resulted in the arrest of 250 illegal immigrants. The raids took place in 20 states. The illegal immigrants were working as janitors in Walmart stores. This was helping Walmart get their services for lower wages than they would pay to a local person. This is grave violation of ethical standards on two levels. First is allowing illegal immigrants is both ethically and legally wrong. Secondly, paying below minimum wages is also both ethically and legally wrong. But from a consumer’s point of view, did a lot of consumer’s stop purchasing at Walmart? I believe that not a lot of people did. But this did pose as ethical situation to the consumers where they had to make a decision about buying at lowest rates of Walmart vs their ethical violations. How consumers deal with such situations is out of the scope of this paper.
Another ethical dilemma does come in focus when consumers are doing business with companies who import products from countries like Bangladesh and some African countries where the environments in which the workers produce the imports are inhumane. Especially in the garment factories in Bangladesh (Stewart, 2014). Due to poverty, people are forced to work for as low as 2 dollars a day. This surely presents an ethical dilemma to consumers in the western words who enjoy the lowest prices at the cost of the poor workers.
Ethical dilemma can also be created when a consumer thinks that they need to buy a product with lower prices but their might be quality implications. For example a consumer might be buying something for his/her kids for a lower price but it could have safety issues vs an expensive product with less or no safety issues.