James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Equal Payment for Equal Car

A used car salesman has two cars of the same model and in identical condition. He has a $10,000 sticker price for each.

Bart walks in and eventually he drives off in one of the cars after negotiating a price of $9,000.

Then Leslie walks in, and soon drives off with the other car, having paid the full $10,000.

Shouldn't there be "equal payment for equal car?"

That doesn't make sense to the salesman. He had his reasons to want the cars to sell for $10,000. He wanted to maximize his profits, but didn't think anyone would pay more than that.

The same profit motive led him to settle for less than $10,000 when he sold Bart the first car. It's not his fault that Leslie didn't want to haggle over the price and Bart did. The salesman gets more profit from Leslie's purchase and less from Bart's, but Bart's offer was still profitable enough to make the sale.

Coincidentally, Leslie and Bart hold the same position at the same company.  Bart asks the boss for a raise, and gets it. Leslie fears souring relations with the boss, never asks for a raise, and never gets it.

But shouldn't there be equal pay for equal work?  

Why? From the boss's point of view, Bart is a less profitable employee after the raise, but still profitable enough. Leslie, who isn't given a raise, is more profitable. While would the boss voluntarily offer a raise that was never requested?

Was Leslie treated unfairly in either case? Is Leslie victimized for not knowing that Bart had better deals? Should Leslie be patronized? Should Leslie be allowed to sue for unequal treatment?

On what grounds? Both Bart and Leslie are men.

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