After reading the chapter, I can think of a few situations in my life that apply to some of these normative theories. One situation that seems particularly applicable to me is retail sales. I’ve worked the past two years selling running shoes and clothing at Beaver Sports here in Fairbanks. Now, in most sales jobs, there are sales incentives or commission-based sales that would inspire people to sell things harder to earn more money for themselves, an egoistic behavior. However, at Beaver Sports, we get no commission and have no other sales incentives, so much of my sales approach while working there is following utilitarian behavior.
Because of the lack of sales incentives, my personal theory when working is to do my best to ensure that I help each customer find exactly what they need. If that means selling them a shoe that is on sale when something more expensive would provide the same result to make them happier, that’s what I do. If a customer wants to buy a shoe based on the colors, but I know that they’ll be in pain because the shoe isn’t supportive enough for them, I really try to push them into the shoe that will support them better and leave them in less pain down the line.
Utilitarian theory supports these decisions as well. In all of my sales, I consider both happiness and unhappiness generated from a decision or sale I could make. I also think about how one decision I make might affect the happiness of other customers and employees (if I give a discount to one customer in front of another customer, I offer the same discount to the other so that that other customer doesn’t get upset). Taking long-term happiness into account is the driving force between pushing one shoe over another to a customer.