What Ever Happen to Personal Integrity?

On one of the Zune Forums I visit, there are numerous postings by people who brag about getting “free stuff” from Microsoft and various online vendors. From what these people explain in their postings, they are not really getting free stuff, but rather are being deceitful and dishonest so they can steal from vendors. For example, one person explained how he lied to Microsoft Support so he could get them to send him a new set of Zune Premium Earbuds. He also encouraged others to do the same, as he was proud of his accomplishment. Another poster bragged how he lied about not receiving merchandise he had ordered so that he wouldn’t have to pay for it. Note, that most of these posters are adolescents, so it doesn’t surprise me that they feel proud or entitled to this “free stuff”.

So what ever happened to personal integrity or being an honest person? Why do young people brag about stealing, or wear their thievery as a “Red Badge of Courage”? I would certainly hope that these few individuals who are lying and stealing are in the minority of their peers, but I’m afraid that is not the case. Aren’t parents teaching their children to be honest people?

Of course, it’s this kind of stealing from corporations, defaulting on credit card debit, etc. that contributes to the increasing cost of consumer goods. I also believe in Karma, so what you do to others will eventually come back around and get you.

This reminds me of the time when I was in Engineering College and one of my professors accused me of having the textbook solution manual. He said my answers to his homework problems were too similar to the teacher’s solution manual and therefore I must be cheating. For some reason, this particular professor believed that an engineer should have the highest integrity and it was his mission to expel anyone who he felt was a “cheater”. While I certainly agree that engineers should have the utmost integrity in working their profession, I certainly didn’t share his zealot attitude of thinking that students were cheaters. In response to his question, I looked him in the eye and said, “I absolutely do not have any solution manual. Is there anything else you want to accuse me of?”. The integrity Zealot then decided to back off and said, “no, not at the moment”. I walked away in anger, thinking, “… who does this idiot think he is?”. I ended up taking two additional classes from this moron professor just to prove that I wasn’t afraid of this intimidation tactics and dare him to accuse me of cheating again (he never did). Mind you, students would delay graduating by 1 or 2 years from college to avoid taking his classes, so he was the most avoided professor on campus.

In any case, it’s good to learn that Microsoft is requiring people who request replacement earbuds for their Zunes to return the “defective” ones as an exchange. Some of these adolescent junior thieves are now “pissed off”, since they can’t repeatedly sell their stolen goods on eBay for an illegal profit. I just have to say don’t complain when you grow up and get ripped off by an investment company, or get upside down on a car loan, or get screwed by your credit card company increasing your interest rate to 22% without your knowledge. Or not getting your annual raise because the company you worked for lost money for the last three quarters because of too many product returns and warranty payouts. That’s called Karma, Junior.

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