Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Escape from the cold

Ray and I just got back from Florida.  A little over a week ago we had about the fifth snowstorm from Hell.  I couldn’t stand it any more so Ray agreed (as long as I promised tennis) to point the card South.  We ended up in a beautiful resort near Orlando.  It was unusually cold in Florida this week but Ray and I didn’t care.  We loved every minute.  Ray played tennis every morning and we visited Epcot.  I love Disney.

We had a lot of chance to talk and plan in the car.  We are excited about our new ebook site.  Ray has bought a Sony reader and he also has a Blackberry Storm.  He is just like a famous president we all know, even the Secret Service couldn’t remove his Storm.  Anyway he can try out our ebooks on these devices as well as on the computer.  It still works best on the computer but you can see that some day soon it will get better.  We also made our first few ebook sales and it made us happy that people could now buy some out of print books and they did. 

As I keep hearing about dishonesty in government, business and sadly in bridge I started to think a bit about ethics in business.  It surprised me how often in my career as a management consultant I had to make ethical choice.  Here is one example.  I was working for a company which provided computer services for other companies, hosting their applications.  After making a proposal to one of our customers and having it accepted the head of computer services decided he didn’t like it because he was trying to standardize equipment and it would require two different type of firewalls.  He wanted us to go back and tell the customer that a revised proposal provided equal security (it didn’t).  The security firm we had hired to put together the security solution told me what I already knew, it was a much weaker solution.  Now, I was supposed to present the solution to the customer and tell him it was the same.  The security company wrote an ambiguous report which could be read to suggest it was equivalent.  When I complained to my boss she told me to just do it.  What should I do?  I worried about it all weekend.  Finally I came up with a plan.  I told the head of security that he had to come with me to the presentation at the clients office.  I needed someone with his expertise to explain it properly (it was beyond my feeble skills).  He agreed to came.  When it came time to tell the client the “lie” he just couldn’t do it.  He dropped the idea and the original proposal was implemented.  If he had proposed it, I would have found a way to make sure that the client got the whole story.

A friend and sometimes boss used to call it “the smell test”.  If it doesn’t smell right then don’t do it.  I think the same thing needs to apply to bridge.  It isn’t just because something is illegal or you will get caught, it is because it is right or wrong.  I remember when we played in a bridge team league.  We thought we had lost the finals but it turned out that there was a scoring error and we had won.  We worked this out during drinks after the game.  The other team agreed but refused to change the score.  I don’t think I ever forgave the captain of that team.

I have a lot more sympathy for situations where you don’t know what to do.  This some times comes in those auctions where you make a mistake with a convention.  I remember trying to figure out what to do after Ray opened 1S and I bid 4H (a splinter) except you guessed it I had hearts.  When Ray bids 4S can I “wake up”.  Unfortunately Ray had alerted so I suppose that was out.  So now I had to decided what 4S meant in the pretend auction and what I should do with my hand after that bid.  I thought it had to be an offer to play (not a cue bid) so I passed.  But I still don’t know if that was really right or just convenient.  We obviously had never discussed follow on bids in a hypothetical auction we didn’t actually play!

There just seems to be too much cheating all around us.  Its time for everyone to use an honest ethical approach to everything in life.

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