What is the price of your integrity?
“Hundreds of Thousands Without Power”, “ Boil Water Advisory”, “Six Dead in Maryland”, “Record High Temperatures”
Natural disasters tend to bring out the true nature of people. In hurricanes or storms, as homes sustain damage and power goes out and temperatures rise, hotels started to fill up. Recent reports during a storm indicate that some hotels raised their rates to $600 a night. Then on Twitter came notes that gas stations, already with deep line-ups of cars, were raising their prices.
While it’s easy to armchair quarterback this situation, any smart economist will tell you that this economic profile of supply (relatively fixed) and demand (growing exponentially) is an ideal condition for making lots of money in a short timeframe. In fact, the health of the nation as measured by the Gross National Product rises on the production and sales of goods. By extension, the health of the gas station and hotel that raised their prices was better that the health of the neighbor’s gas station or hotel that didn’t.
Many of us will have a knee-jerk response to this. What is missing from this demand/sales/price approach to measuring health of a region? How about trust, compassion, empathy, neighborliness? Integrity.
So, what is the price of your integrity?
Was the gas station owner’s integrity worth the few thousand extra dollars they are making, because that’s the amount for which it was sold. What price is your integrity? Is it the $200 you don’t pay the neighborhood gym when you pretend to work for a company that gets a discount? Is it the $5 that you don’t mention when the clerk under charges you at the store? Is it worth less than the 15 minutes of your time that need to go over and say hello to the family moving in on your street?
Success is not always measured by the goods you create, the amount you sell, and the price you charge. A successful country, neighborhood, or career can also be measured the “soul” we maintain in the meantime. It’s time to expand our definitions.
Kirsten Cameron is an enlightened entrepreneur and coach.