This House Was Built On Plywood And Fraud

, , , , | Right | November 23, 2017

(I am a manager of a moderate-sized building supply store. We sell everything you need to build a house from the ground up. While the company is fairly sizable and modern, we still write up all our invoices by hand, with no computer system in place.)

Employee: “Um, [My Name], can you please help this gentleman?”

Me: *coming over to assist* “Not a problem. What can I do for you today?”

Customer: “Can I buy two culverts and have you write up the invoice for plywood instead?”

Me: *a little confused* “Sorry? You want me to sell you some culvert and some plywood?”

Customer: “No, I want to buy some culvert, but I don’t want the invoice to say, ‘culvert.’ If you could write up an invoice for an amount of plywood that equals the value of two culverts, then I will take the culvert and not take any plywood.”

Me: *thinking that he is joking* “I’m sorry. We can’t do something like that.”

Customer: “Well, why not?”

Me: “Because it is fraudulent and unethical.”

Customer: “Yes, you can do it. Can’t you?”

Me: “No, sir, I am not able to do this.”

Customer: “But why not?”

Me: “Because, if it were found out, or if we were audited, we could be charged and face jail time. So, again, I’m sorry, but I am not going to do this.”

(A couple of moments of awkward silence pass.)

Customer: “Okay, I guess I will have to bite the bullet and get them, anyway. I am trying to write the culverts off, but I guess I’m not going to be able to.”

(I finish the sale, flabbergasted at the gall this customer had to ask me to commit fraud and break the law. This incident was immediately followed by a quick information session to the staff about why it is bad and to never, ever, do anything of the sort.)

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