Well did you buy the right presents? Did you get given a list of presents people wanted? Well children certainly send Santa a list. Makes me smile when people criticise the church for telling children God exists and then tell children that Santa is real! At least I believe God does exist. Selling an idea or a product has ethical ramifications be it God, Santa, a jumper or a car!

We buy things for all sorts of reasons but why do we buy them? Well for one we are asked for them and on the other hand we are persuaded to buy them. I went into a pub recently and was wondering which pint of beer to have. I looked along the bar and noticed amongst the available beers one with a label ‘Beer of the Week’ so I bought it. After I had bought the beer I realised I had been persuaded to drink a beer the pub might just want to get rid of and so the label convinced me to buy it. I felt I’d been conned! Had I been?

There was the programme recently about shops putting certain goods next to the till so you picked up something you would not normally do. I suppose in my religious context they tempt you! I read a great article by James Walker about ethical retailing. Did you realise some shops make the sign above a certain aisle wobble? This is the one they want you to use and the wobble attracts you down it. Did you know ‘offers’ sell out faster on an emptier shelf because we think it must be a good offer so retailers deliberately don’t fill the shelves right up? Little gifts can convince you to give more e.g. a mint with the bill increases the tip on a meal two mints you get even bigger tip!

There is apparently a huge science in selling. I suppose that’s obvious but how ethical is it? Keeping you standing makes you make a quicker decision as does keeping changing rooms hot! Encouraging a quick decision often seems a ploy so we don’t think totally through consequences. Buying a car can be done so quickly! Often you are shown high price to start then talked through a lower price and your mind is ‘anchored’ on the higher price so think getting a bargain.

There is I suppose a thin line between using good sale techniques and some dodgy retail ethical behaviours. When we are buying so much at Christmas time it seems totally wrong to use unethical methods when we are celebrating the birth of a child who came to stop dishonesty and deception and bring truth and trust!

Glyn Evans (Image thanks to AlishaMarieVlogs)