Last summer I was at a grocery buying a few snacks. As I was walking to the exit, the cashier that rang me up ran quickly to me and gave me the Razzles candy that I purchased. He said he must have forgotten to put them in the bag. I said thank you, as the cashier hurried back to help customers. As I looked inside my paper bag, I saw that my Razzles were in fact there and the one I had in my hand was not purchased for. I quickly walked back to the same cashier and got in line again. I explained that he did put the candy I purchased in the bag and that I wanted to buy the packet of Razzles that he handed to me. I could have walked out of the store with two packets of Razzles and called it my lucky day, but inside me, I knew that was not the right thing to do. I felt a sense of happiness knowing that the cashier wanted to return something to me that he thought I left behind and had paid for. I hope going back to purchase the item gave the cashier a sense of happiness in someone doing the right thing.
Kant’s theory is an individual’s measure of their ethics based on goodwill and using the categorical imperative (Shaw, 2017). Kant held that only when we act from duty does our action have moral worth. Goodwill is the only thing that is good in itself. The categorical imperative describes that we should always act in such a way that we can will the maxim of our action to a universal law. My action of going back and purchasing what the cashier thought he forgot to bag, is an act Kant’s categorical imperative theory.
Shaw, William H.. Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases Cengage Learning.