Don't Short the Shopkeeper

What constitutes good ethics in a sales-driven world?

Where does the shopkeeper's law apply to the vo-tech programs that major tool companies have in place? These students can get all the tool info they need and then purchase product below my cost. I regard my time invested there as benefiting the greater good so the next generation of techs will have a favorable concept of my brand. But what are the long-term consequences?

I am willing to pay a few bucks more for personal service and to support the small guy. It's not always about the lowest price — isn't that what we preach to our clients? After becoming knowledgeable about the shopkeeper's law, I look at things differently. The interpretations from the Mishnah are thousands of years old. However, when it comes to doing the right thing, it truly is "same-old, same-old."

Some things never change.

Nik Satenstein is a mobile distributor based in West Chester, Pa., for Matco Tools. You can contact Nik by email at

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