WWYD? State Fair ethics question - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-09-2008, 10:23 PM
 
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My gut instinct was to say "unethical but not a huge issue"

However, I went to a festival last month where you had to buy tokens for drinks - no cash. I bought more than I needed, and when I left I gave the tokens to someone coming in. I think they were supposed to be non-transferable, so it was against the rules to give them away. At the time I figured that the tokens were prepayment on a drink - my $4 beer was already bought, I just hadn't redeemed the token to get it from the bar. Thus I was free to give my beer to another festival goer. Kind of like a giftcard.

Question is, is a wristband for unlimited rides all day the same thing? I think it's different but can't quite say why.
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RoadBuddy View Post
My gut instinct was to say "unethical but not a huge issue"

However, I went to a festival last month where you had to buy tokens for drinks - no cash. I bought more than I needed, and when I left I gave the tokens to someone coming in. I think they were supposed to be non-transferable, so it was against the rules to give them away. At the time I figured that the tokens were prepayment on a drink - my $4 beer was already bought, I just hadn't redeemed the token to get it from the bar. Thus I was free to give my beer to another festival goer. Kind of like a giftcard.

Question is, is a wristband for unlimited rides all day the same thing? I think it's different but can't quite say why.
I think it's very different. I believe the only reason one isn't supposed to give drink token to others is b/c they check age on IDs when you buy them, so they don't want you to buy tokens for underage friends.

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Old 09-10-2008, 01:07 AM
 
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As a side note, when I worked as a "carnie," they paid us a whopping $100 a week for full-time work, then proceeded to take out the $9 per shirt for the shirts they required we wear out of our crappy $100. And since most of us were underage runaways or illegal immigrants, no one could do anything about it. So regardless of if you pass on your wristband, the employees still get screwed by the company.

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Old 09-10-2008, 03:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
I wouldn't do it, though for different reasons that what I've read here. I'm a writer. As such, my work is intangible, which means people see no problem in stealing it. (We have little respect for intellectual property, but that's another soapbox.) I will not, then, violate someone else's intangible product or service by cheating them out money. I just cannot do it.
What's intangible about a carnival ride?

The difference between intellectual property and a good or service is that, with the latter, costs scale with use. It costs more to run the ferris wheel with a full load than a half-load, I bet. It takes more time to board more people (that time is time running the generators and paying the operator, plus it lowers overall capacity), it probably consumes more power when operating with a higher load, there's more wear and tear, more cleaning requirements, and so on. It takes just as long to write a story whether no one reads it or a million people read it, which is what gets so confusing about IP rights. But this is definitely about tangible services.

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Originally Posted by Rani View Post
Hello. technically it is not unethical to me. Breaks their rule? yes...unethical no...your family was leaving. The armband is for the whole day unlimited rides. If two kids were passing back and forth to get on, yes that would be unethical.

But instead..you were done with it and it was good for all day therefore, you paid for that child...do you see?
What's the difference between two children passing the wristband back and forth while both at the carnival, and someone passing the wristband on when leaving the carnival? If only one person is using it at a time, it seems to be the same issue: use by multiple persons allows higher use of that wristband than is expected when the price was set. Two people can go on more rides than one person, simply because eventually, you get bored/tired/have gone on everything and leave.

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Originally Posted by Bunnyflakes View Post
Yes, it is hard to teach your children to follow the rules if you are not following them. Like if people lie about how old their child is- the child knows how old they are, especially when they are around 4ish when how "many" they are is a huge deal to them.
My FIL is big into entitlement, and my DH remembers this happening when he was a kid (I think he was 11 and FIL was trying to pass him off as 9). He found it really embarrassing.

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Question is, is a wristband for unlimited rides all day the same thing? I think it's different but can't quite say why.
Because there is a one-to-one correspondence between tokens and drinks. The tokens are finite; you'll use them all up at a rate of $4 per beer.

The armband is unlimited; therefore, you can use as much of the rides as you can tolerate or your time allows. There's an assumption when setting prices that typically, a person will be able to stomach between X and Y rides. Two people will generally be able to double that, of course. While there are cases where one person might be capable of using their armband more times than another two people use theirs, a ton of research goes into "all you can eat" pricing decisions. When it's not well thought out, you get Comcast's "Unlimited" internet access cutting off customers for using "too much." But usually, the prices are set such that, if you pool all the armband-holders together, their price per ride averages out to roughly the same as the pay-as-you-go price, with probably a small volume discount (and, since they're not consuming tickets and can board a tiny bit faster, they actually are using fewer resources than ticket-holders).

If the average ride costs $3.50, and an armband costs $25, someone somewhere probably determined that the average person went on about five rides. There's also an awareness that, once you remove the pay-as-you-go element, people will go on more rides, and may be more likely to go on the more costly rides (raising the average price). But two people working serially will be able to go on more rides, especially since they will be more likely to ride the same thing twice.
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Old 09-10-2008, 03:16 AM
 
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all this talk about the midway makes me think of this song (originally) by Joni Mitchell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAf8BqmhHUw

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Old 09-10-2008, 08:49 AM
 
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Technically yeah, I guess it's unethical but at the same time, I'd probably still do it ... isn't it more unethical of the people to ACCEPT the armbands, knowing that the fair would miss out on it's precious $50? The OP paid her share.
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ironica View Post
What's intangible about a carnival ride?

The difference between intellectual property and a good or service is that, with the latter, costs scale with use. It costs more to run the ferris wheel with a full load than a half-load, I bet. It takes more time to board more people (that time is time running the generators and paying the operator, plus it lowers overall capacity), it probably consumes more power when operating with a higher load, there's more wear and tear, more cleaning requirements, and so on. It takes just as long to write a story whether no one reads it or a million people read it, which is what gets so confusing about IP rights. But this is definitely about tangible services.
You aren't paying for the carnival ride itself. You're paying for the entertainment value of using the carnival ride. It's actually less tangible (if there are degrees) because in my case, if you buy my book, you are paying for the materials used and have a product in your hand at the end.

I'm sure it does cost more to run the ride at full capacity, but the pay for creative services isn't just about the writing, playing the music, sculpting, etc. There's so much more time that goes into intellectual property. I'm paid for each time my words are used - and in most cases must spend time querying a new publication and hammering out contract details - rather than being paid simply for the writing produced at the end. Overall, though, I agree with the precept that what makes IP so complicated is that it's something not understood well. I think that's at play here as well.

When people talk about the "corporation" running the carnival, I'm left to wonder (and enjoy the intellectual pursuit, really) how large the companies running carnivals are. I honestly don't know if we're talking some conglomerate somewhere or just some Joe who's making a (likely decent) income for his family from running a carnival. We have a traveling petting zoo that's at pretty much every regional event. While I often balk at the admission, it's still a family-run operation. They don't make oodles of money from it although from my perspective I don't like to pay so much to let my kids pet llamas. When I think of the expenses of carnivals - travel, hotels, personnel, rental spaces, electricity to run, etc. - I realize that have a lot of overhead that I'd never really considered.

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Old 09-10-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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Okay now see...I just don't see it the way everyone does here. HOw is it unethical or wrong to continue using the armband all day? I buy the armband to use all day for one person. I leave before the end of the day and give it to another person that is coming in. That armband is still ONLY being used by one person.

I truly don't see the problem. If you are swapping or sharing the armband then yes that is stealing because two people are using the same band.

And my karma is just fine thanks.
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Time of usage is part of why I feel that it was okay to do what I did; I know people who go and let their kids ride for 6 or more hours. Adults, too. My kids rode for just about 2 hours. I think that the armbands had lots more "life" than that.

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Old 09-10-2008, 01:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post
It's unethical, yeah.

But I'd still do it, and feel good about it.


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Old 09-10-2008, 01:22 PM
 
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Okay now see...I just don't see it the way everyone does here. HOw is it unethical or wrong to continue using the armband all day? I buy the armband to use all day for one person. I leave before the end of the day and give it to another person that is coming in. That armband is still ONLY being used by one person.

I truly don't see the problem. If you are swapping or sharing the armband then yes that is stealing because two people are using the same band.
Why is two people using the armband different if they're both at the carnival at the same time vs. if they work in shifts, though? This I don't get... you can't use one armband to get two people on the ride at the same time, so sharing the armband is the same regardless of how you do it.
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Old 09-10-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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first of all in the grand scheme of things i would say that this is not a big deal.. and as far as being worried about workers wages i very highly doubt they are being paid fairly and whether you buy one band or 100 will probably not change this (makinng more money probably wont make the fair people anymore inclined to treat workers fairly) anyways i see it like this. if you buy ten tickets and use 5 and give 5 to someone else most people agree that this is ethical. you paid for ten tickets and ten tickets were used though 5 of them were used by someone other then you. the fair lost no money. you buy an arm band for use all day. you do not use it all day so you give it to someone else to use for the rest of the day. unless the arm bands are $40 when the fair opens and get progressively less expensive as they day goes on it doesnt seem that different to me. the tickets are finite but so is the arm band. all day is still finite.. they cant use it the next day week or year kwim?
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Old 09-10-2008, 04:39 PM
 
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We didn't get to go to the county fair this year... It was the first year that they had a flat rate for entry/rides. I believe it was $25 a head, per day. There were no discounts for kids of any age. No discounts for handicapped, elderly, or pregnant women (who obviously can't ride the rides). No charity donation discounts...

Every year since I can remember, the fair has been $2 admittance or canned/boxed food for the local food pantry, kids under 3 free, armbands have ranged in price from $5-$15 over the years, which each ride being about $2-4.

Well, that carnival/midway company will not be back next year because they were even charging the little 4-H kids admittance everyday, for things like dropping off their entries then coming back the next morning for judging ($50!)... Lemme tell you, this small county fair, which most people look forward to was deserted every day. It was so, so sad. I understand that gas prices, and raising prices of everything else forces the midway company to raise prices, but sheesh... They pretty much killed it for the county and for themselves. There is no way they turned a profit this year, and there is no way the county will let them "host" again next year. We might not have ANY midway next year.

So, how unethical would it be for that 4-H kid dropping off his/her project to give the armband to the next kid dropping off the project, and on down the line throughout the day? Because you couldn't step foot on the fairgrounds without one.

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Old 09-10-2008, 04:39 PM
 
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we're a poor family as well...and we typically do not go to the Iowa State Fair because we can't afford it ($8 admission? $4+ for each ride??) we go to Adventureland on the free day through my DH's work (free admission, free rides all day, the rides at Adventureland are always free, admission isn't but the rides are free) we sneak in our own food or pack a picnic in a cooler and use a gate pass to get in and out. I refuse to pay $3 for a 16.9 oz water bottle or $5 for a crappy cheeseburger and itty bitty cup of soda

Re the previous post for the 4-h'ers, that is just silly. Of course 4-h people should be allowed to come and go as they please since the fair is technically FOR them. How sad the fair company was so greedy! With our county you can come and go at the fair for free all day, it only costs to eat and ride the rides. And I think the 4-h'ers might ride for free

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Old 09-10-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thixle View Post
We didn't get to go to the county fair this year... It was the first year that they had a flat rate for entry/rides. I believe it was $25 a head, per day. There were no discounts for kids of any age. No discounts for handicapped, elderly, or pregnant women (who obviously can't ride the rides). No charity donation discounts...

Every year since I can remember, the fair has been $2 admittance or canned/boxed food for the local food pantry, kids under 3 free, armbands have ranged in price from $5-$15 over the years, which each ride being about $2-4.

Well, that carnival/midway company will not be back next year because they were even charging the little 4-H kids admittance everyday, for things like dropping off their entries then coming back the next morning for judging ($50!)... Lemme tell you, this small county fair, which most people look forward to was deserted every day. It was so, so sad. I understand that gas prices, and raising prices of everything else forces the midway company to raise prices, but sheesh... They pretty much killed it for the county and for themselves. There is no way they turned a profit this year, and there is no way the county will let them "host" again next year. We might not have ANY midway next year.

So, how unethical would it be for that 4-H kid dropping off his/her project to give the armband to the next kid dropping off the project, and on down the line throughout the day? Because you couldn't step foot on the fairgrounds without one.
That's a very different situation, than the one the OP described. I would say next time the various county seats come up for election I would be curious to know who agreed to sign the contract with this company.

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Old 09-10-2008, 07:03 PM
 
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what i think is unethical is living in a society where people aren't adequately compensated for their contributions. until that happens, i have no problem messing with the system and doing my part, albeit small, to tip the scales. i also have no problem modeling capitalist insurrection to my kid.
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ITA.
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Old 09-10-2008, 07:14 PM
 
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As a side note, when I worked as a "carnie," they paid us a whopping $100 a week for full-time work, then proceeded to take out the $9 per shirt for the shirts they required we wear out of our crappy $100. And since most of us were underage runaways or illegal immigrants, no one could do anything about it. So regardless of if you pass on your wristband, the employees still get screwed by the company.
Yup.
My cousin ran away when she was barely 17. Got a job as a "carnie" and traveled with them for a year or so. She had fun. But were they ethical to her & the others working for them? Nope.
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Old 09-10-2008, 07:18 PM
 
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You can rationalize it by saying you left early and the other people were just taking your place

I don't care if it's ethical or not. You helped someone out without hurting anyone else and that's cool

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Old 09-12-2008, 03:46 AM
 
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first of all in the grand scheme of things i would say that this is not a big deal.. and as far as being worried about workers wages i very highly doubt they are being paid fairly and whether you buy one band or 100 will probably not change this (makinng more money probably wont make the fair people anymore inclined to treat workers fairly)
Actually, economic game theory experiments imply that it would in fact help.

People who feel they are being treated fairly are more inclined to treat others fairly. If people feel that other actors in the scenario are dealing unfairly, they behave punitively toward them, even if such behavior carries a self-imposed penalty as well.

In situations where unfair behavior/treatment is expected of others, people are more inclined to behave unfairly. Games with repeat iterations will find that unfair behavior increases as the game goes on, as those who "cheat" benefit and those who "play by the rules" get shafted.

Regardless, the argument that the fair workers probably aren't being paid well anyway is pretty thin, since we know nothing about their employment conditions in this particular case, and making the fair less profitable can't possibly *help* that situation.
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Old 09-12-2008, 04:34 AM
 
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wow, what a long thread

i don't think it was ethical.

ot i can't wait for the fair here. not the state fair, but very year i go tot the fair in the small town my grandparents live in. my grandaddy was a lions club memeber and they were the one s who organized the fair every year so i 've been going to the fair there for as long as i ca nrememeber. he loved fair time more tah any other time of year........ they even mentioned it in the honarary meeting they held for him the week after he died, they said that any of his family was entitled to waive the gate fee, and yet we still usually pay it........

with the gate fee at about 5$ per person and armbands at say $20 and concessions being at least $10 for a bag or cotton candy or two and a candy apple or two, i spend about $50 (my mom pays for some of my expenses if she comes with me)

i : the fair though so i know i'm going to spend money when i go, i plan for it........
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Old 09-12-2008, 04:37 AM
 
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I think it's unethical to charge $25 a ticket.

:

I always thought fairs were supposed to be something the average guy could attend. Those prices are the same or more than a big theme park, like Six Flags, and the rides at the fair aren't nearly as cool!

We went one year and decided not to go back again. IIRC, our state fair charges just to get in the gates in addition to the cost for rides and food.

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Old 09-12-2008, 11:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post
It's unethical, yeah.

But I'd still do it, and feel good about it.
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In my mind it's like sneaking candy into the movie theaters. In a lot of places you aren't supposed to, but if they wouldn't charge an arm and a leg I wouldn't have to, KWIM?

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