Pic of the day: They don't spin, they don't weave, they don't worry. And they cannot be bribed, I think.
Let's say some guy buys some computer stuff for his employer. He also buys some stuff for himself, not nearly as much, and gets a nicer price on it. Is that corruption? Is it immoral to exploit your position for personal gain?
I might have thought so, or at least viewed it with some distaste - if not for the complicating factor that the guy is me. I guess these things always look different from the inside.
My task was simply to buy a portable computer. Not for myself, and it matters not who for, but it was part of my job. I am rather well qualified for the task, and I am the computer guy after all. So I wandered around and eventually found one that fit the needs, was reasonably priced, and locally available. Slightly to my chagrin, it was at Telehuset, owned by the former state monopoly on telephony. Telehuset sold me the Toshiba portable that has given me so much trouble from the first week onward. On the other hand, they also sold me Cassie the pocket PC, which has been my faithful companion ever since. And they sold me the new portable which SuperWoman is borrowing in Sweden, also a good thing. Besides, it is not the same people who work there now. They used to have a lot of employee churn back in the high days of dotcom, and even before. There are still a lot of new faces, but at least one of them remains from the fall I bought Cassie, a year and a half ago.
Anyway, the next day I went back and checked on the formalities. While I was there anyway, I asked whether they had a Wacom tablet at around $150 with USB connection, which I had seen elsewhere. I am looking around for various tools that can help my hand and wrist, and I think such a tablet would once again enable me to do some touch-up on pictures, a hobby that has laid low for a while now. I find this very hard to do with a trackball. Besides, the more variation the better. I made it clear that this was in no way connected to the previous purchase, but the seller still gave me a hefty rebate.
I would feel a lot worse about this if I had made both the deals at the same time, but the portable was already a done deal (and it was slightly below market price already, not the other way around). So I think my hands are quite clean. But I can certainly see how it may look somewhat dubious for the casual observer. And there is the quite real possibility that I might be swayed to go back to Telehuset for the next purchase, even if a competitor had a better offer. I'd like to think I wouldn't, but it could be as easy as not looking very thoroughly for an alternative. "If the house owner knew what time the thief would come, he would stay awake". It is all too easy for a human to be lured from the path of honesty.
Visit the Diary Farm for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.