Friday, February 01, 2008

My Ethical Dilemna

I saw that PaidTwice posted about a recent ethical dilemma she faced, which reminded me to post about something I had been thinking about.

I travel a lot for work. What amenity items are really mine for the taking and which are ethically questionable for me to take? I come from an ethnic background that is stereotypically cheap. I'm not that surprised when I see hotel emblem bearing towels at the homes of friends' parents. For me, anything that is not meant to be consumed while in the hotel is off-limits. In addition, large quantities of consumables put in the room for the comfort of the guest is also off limits in my book (that would mean the extra roll of toilet paper, etc.).

However, I am a big believer in taking the mini shampoos, soaps, etc. I use some of these items myself while at home, but I have decided to donate the majority to a local homeless shelter. On a side note, I can't believe it took me several months to find a homeless shelter to donate to - I called a few, expecting to get a call back and there was no response! My web searching wasn't too helpful in finding an acceptable place (i.e. in the San Francisco), so I finally contacted the city government office on the homeless and they were able to put me in touch with a shelter that was easy to give to and very grateful for the donation.

Now the area which I am starting to question of removal of the consumable goods provided for guests is on two fronts. The first front is on the coffee and tea packages provided in the hotel room. My thinking is if I only take what I normal person would consume in one evening, it's acceptable practice. Hence if I take home a bag of tea or two, that's perfectly acceptable (I don't trust the cups in the hotel, so it's unlikely that I'll enjoy the tea there, but I'm very happy to consume it in the comforts of my home).

The second area of my thoughts might be too much information for some of you, especially the men out there. I fly a lot - pretty much twice a week. One thing I noticed was that airplane bathrooms always have feminine products. Most planes seems to only have pads, but the airline I take normally has pads and tampons. Of course, these are amenity items for passengers to use. Most of the time I'm too comfortably ensconced in my seat to bother going to the bathroom, but on the occasions that I'm there, I will often grab one or two items. Would it be unethical for me to take a pad or tampon each flight I take, despite the fact that I'm not using it immediately? This could save me from every having to purchase feminine products again! Of course, so would investing in and learning to use the divacup.


Megan said...

I haven't ever given it much thought, but I take soaps and shampoos when they're something I'll use (some hotels are using some really high end brands), and I'll take coffee or tea bags, but only if we're talking one or two. If I'm at a fancy hotel that puts out a lot of that kind of stuff? I wouldn't take it. I also wouldn't take tampons from an airplane. I would just figure they were cheap and not as effective as what I would normally buy.

Of course, I haven't bought tampons in over five years. The DivaCup is TOTALLY worth it.

bla said...

I used to travel quite a bit for work too. But never really grappled with this one and suppose i am a bit of relativist. I would second that the diva cup is worth it! And much more environmentally responsible!

calgirlfinance said...

Megan, The tampons on the plane are tampax, which is what brand I normally buy.

bla, thanks for stopping by.

For both of you guys -
I am thinking seriously about the divacup and have been for some time. I guess I'm just going to have to order it and see how it goes!