Gautam M2

As a former soldier, salesman, and retail manager, I have experienced each of the normative theories of ethics at some level in my life. Utilitarianism environments have been my favorite, and if somehow balanced with Prima Facie, I feel the ideal moral doctrine can be created. Even though each theory of ethics has different logical points, they are not equal.

As I said, I use to be a salesman. I worked at an auto dealership here in Fairbanks for 2 years. This is were I experienced my least favorite theory of ethics, Egoism. I meet plenty of individuals with stronger than average self interest motivations but this was an industry that produces and celebrates egoism, hedonism in the form of money.

It’s hard to pick a particular situation, moment, but I can simply summarize my experience in the world of car sales. Unlike hourly and salary work, commission wages can really bring out the greed in people. Having seen what people will do when money is the goal, I debate egoism is even a theory involving ethics. I always looked to balance morally helping customers while also paying my own bills, every time I affected the profit margin to make a deal I was meet with major conflicts from the sales managers. Over my 2 year career I managed to sell the 2nd most units in both years.

Despite my success, my good will toward customers consequentially brought on many arguments about my customer focused approach, I wanted my customers to get a good deal if I knew I could do that I’d make both sides happy. Egoism tends to justify their own self interest even if it negatively affects others, I wasn’t willing to financial hurt people and it was the sole reason I was pasted over for a finance manager promotion to an administrator that was in the inner circle formed in sales. I ended leaving to take less money as a Walmart supervisor and the Admin worker that beat me for the finance manager job did terrible and quit. I had opportunity to rise in that field but the high level of self interest is a little much for someone that enjoys success that doesn’t hurt other people. Dealerships are a hard environment for someone that doesn’t prioritize a larger pay check over the financial well being of a customer, and I’m looking for a life that doesn’t challenge the morals and set of ethics I have set for myself.

1 Comment for “Gautam M2”

Robert Lawton


Great write up Shawn! I can truly relate to your story being in a retail/sales position myself for a few years. I used to work retail for a cellular provider here in Fairbanks, and I can draw the similarities in selling phones with car sales. While we did have a base pay at the company I worked for, there was also commission & incentives which pushed my team and I to sell our services as much as possible.

Being a retail store specialist, we knew a basic understanding of which phones were truly worth the money and which ones were not. I always tried to balance my morality with my drive to make sales. I’d want my customer to understand what they were buying and get them into the best possible situation and have them leave happy. But I have also seen times where management would pressure us to push phones that were excess in inventory even though those phones were terrible. I’ve also seen my colleagues push inferior phones to customers if we didn’t have the phone they actually wanted in our inventory.

Everything considered, It was great learning experience but I would not want to go back to a sales position of any kind. You see too much egoism in sales, especially in a very competitive environment such as car sales.