This week's episode of The Apprentice raised an interesting issue. The task was to buy ten objects at the cheapest possible price. Any of the ten objects not purchased would lead to a fine. Arriving back late would also be fined. It was boys versus girls.
The girls' strategy was to research by phone, and then shop. They got all ten items but were late back and paid a lot for them.The boys' team blazed a trail of unplanned hopefulness, negotiated amazing discounts, arrived on time but only got seven of their ten.
Nevertheless the boys won. Not by much.
The boys' negotiating ploy was to 'have a story.' In other words to lie. They told fibs about going to a Scottish wedding, leaving books in Nottingham and cooking a gourmet meal.
In the follow up programme The Apprentice - You're Fired this was remarked upon. One of the panelists said that, of course, retailers would be aware they were being lied to but often went with the story to see if they were entertained enough to give discount.
What do we make of the ethics though? Does the presence of a camera (I never quite know what reasons are given for a camera following the players into places) make retailers less likely to challenge? Who wants such bad publicity? But would any retailer, now seeing the programme, sue for having given a discount under false pretences?
I know Lord Sugar wants people with initiative but at what point does integrity come in?