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October 05, 2010


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Brian Fels

No one ever thinks that they are (or could be) influenced by gifts from suppliers (or would be suppliers) but the fact is that we are.

The seemingly innocuous wrist calendar is like the hand fans that funeral director donated to churches before air conditioning was common. It was a way to impress on your mind that when you needed a funeral conducted, what one did come immediately to mind: the one whose name was presented to you in such a subtle way. The same is true to the pens and such that businesses give out.

As far as “free lunches”, the same things apply. Suppose that you are responsible for purchasing supplies and you bid the contract. Two bids are identical, but one of the supplier’s reps took you out to lunch and the other never did.. Who do you think you would choose? You would like to think you are above being influenced by a “free lunch” but are you? I think not.

That is why there should be a zero tolerance for any gifts from suppliers. Their gifts are given with the expectation of receiving some benefit to whoever they represent.

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