This case is reproduced from Hill (2008), pp. 150-151. Jensen’s Nursery is a small, 75-year-old family company. Currently, it is facing an extremely difficult economic situation. To meet payroll, CEO Elmer Jensen decides to advertise Easter lilies a full two week before they are expected to bloom. Hoping that this will draw in sufficient numbers of customers who will end up purchasing other garden items, Jensen’s advertisement comments on the company’s “renowned greenhouses that make plants grow better” and has a picture of a bumper crop of lilies from a decade earlier. When Elmer’s father was alive, the company established a loyal customer base. As competing nurseries have entered the area, however, this loyalty has waned. Elmer justifies his ad in three ways. First, the customers no longer deserve (or expect) complete truthfulness in advertising. Second, if the business fails, his aging mother would have to be moved from a private to a state nursing home. An excellent spring sale is essential. Finally, he is prepared to pay the government for any fines he might have to pay for false advertising, calculating that they will be less than the money he might make in sales.
1. Do any of the five possible exceptions to truth-telling discussed in the text justify Elmer’s strategy? Discuss each. 2. What do you recommend that Elmer do? 3. As you reflect on your past experience(s) with honesty and deception, what conclusions can you draw? 4. After reading the Hill text this week and exploring the topic of honesty and deception, what have you learned? 5. Describe at least one specific way in which you can apply what you have learned about honesty and deception.