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Ethics/Trust Scenario: Empire of Suds


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I'm curious as to what folks here think of this scenario that has recently come up in my world. I know where I stand on it, but it's an interesting ethics question of sorts methinks. I find this forum to be an interesting cross section of modern society, so pose this scenario here for consideration.


If you spend the time to read this and answer, thank you in advance.

If this is too much for you, no problemo, I'll see you in another thread.


Cast of Characters:


Jebediah: Main character. Friend to most below.

Bob: Jebediah's good friend of a great many years. Oft a drinking companion.

Betty: Bartender, also a friend of Jeb. Fun loving girl, lives life to the fullest.


Megan: Bartender, Jeb doesn't know her well. Single Mom, relatively new to town. She doesn't impress Jeb with her bartending or people skills so he is somewhat indifferent to her.

Ghengis: Owner of the bar Empire of Suds, and a friend of Jeb's. Smart savvy businessman. Also an ex-cop.

Fred - Co-Owner of Empire of Suds. Known to be ornery at times.

Alexander - Former Owner of Empire of Suds, and friend to Jeb, Bob, Ghengis, and Betty.


Betty and Megan both used to work for Ghengis at Empire of Suds, a local tavern. At some point in time in the last year or so they both left his employment. Jeb doesn't know why Megan left, but he never heard she left on bad terms. He generally didn't care much either way as she didn't work on the nights he usually went.

Betty stopped working at Empire of Suds as she didn't' get along with Fred, the new co-owner of Empire of Suds. She told Jeb when asked that she left on good terms with Ghengis, and so far as Jeb knew there was no reason to doubt that. Betty had worked at the Empire for years under the previous owner Alexander, and left a few months after Ghengis and Fred took it over. Jeb was sad to see her go, and visited Betty at the new bar she worked at, until Betty moved out of state with her boyfriend.

Once upon a time, a few years back, Jeb used to hang out at Empire of Suds, with Betty (who tended bar) and Ghengis almost every Thursday. This was before Ghenghis took over ownership of Empire of Suds with his friend Fred, and was just a customer. Good times and good conversation was always had. Jeb's friend Bob was sometimes there, but not all that often. The nights would often end with just Jeb, Ghengis, and Betty hanging out having fun, long after everyone else had left.

Somewhere along the line Jeb heard that Betty and Megan had moved in together, and were roomies for awhile. Later on, Jeb heard they were no longer roommates and had some kind of falling out. Jeb knows no details other than this. However, Jeb never knew Betty to have a falling out with anyone. In his eyes, she's the epitome of the fun loving loves everyone girl.


Act 1:

One day Bob texts Jeb and says he's got some news regarding Betty that he should hear, but he can't tell him in a text. Jeb makes a mental note of this, and some time passes. Jeb eventually see Bob in a place where they can discuss things discreetly and Bob tells Jeb that he found out that Betty had been stealing from The Empire of Suds, and that's why she was no longer working there. Jeb asks how Bob found this out, and Bob says that Megan told him. Bob asks Jeb to never tell anyone what he told him as he doesn't want it getting back to him or Megan that they were the ones who said anything.

This bothers Jeb, as he considers both Betty and Genghis friends. The accusation is a very serious one. It doesn't jive with person Jeb knows. He finds it hard to believe that Betty was stealing from anyone, especially Ghengis who was their mutual friend. And if she was stealing from Genghis, did she steal from Alexander (the former owner) too?

Jeb tells Bob this. He also mention the falling out between Megan and Betty, and perhaps Megan is making things up for some reason. Bob says no, he believes Megan, why would Megan lie about such a thing?. Jeb has always known Bob to provide good information on things. Jeb doesn't know what to believe.

Act 2:


Some time passes, and this whole things bugs Jeb a bit. He doesn't want to think less of someone for no good reason,  especially someone he considers a friend. Months go by. Jeb mentions nothing to no one. One night he's hanging out at the Empire of Suds. As has happened many times before, but hadn't in awhile, it ends up being just Jeb and the owner Ghengis at the bar. Everyone else had gone home, and closing time wasn't too far off. Jeb and Ghengis are discussing all sorts of things as usual, and eventually Jeb thinks to ask Ghengis what he thinks of an accusation that Betty was stealing from him.

Jeb opens up the conversation by saying the following: 'So hey... I can't tell you who told me this, because I'm sworn to secrecy, but this bit of info has really been bugging me, and I'm hoping you can set me straight. Someone who usually gives reliable information tells me that Betty was stealing from you, and that's why she's no longer working here.'

Ghengis laughs. 'Yea... that's bull****!! hahahaha'

'Ok, good. I thought so.'

Ghengis goes on to list a number of reasons why it's bull****, not the least of which: 'If it was true, she'd have left here in cuffs, friend or not. Because, well.... she be a theif, and I hate thieves, and at that point she'd no longer be my friend.'

Knowing Ghengis, retired cop extraordinaire, Jeb knew this to be true.

The conversation moved on, Jeb felt better as he talked to one of the horses and found the accusation he was concerned might be true to be unfounded.

Act 3:

Some time later, Bob meets Jeb out for a drink. Jeb thinks, 'Hey, I should tell Bob the good news. That the accusation made against one of our friends turned out to be Bull****'. Jeb was somewhere he could speak discreetly with Bob so he begin to....

'So hey... I spoke with Genghis a little while back, and you know how you told me that Megan told you that Betty had been stealing from Genghis. Well, he says it's bull****.'

Bob: 'Hey! I thought I told you to never tell anyone I told you that!'.

Jeb: 'Don't worry. Neither your name nor Megan's name were mentioned. Genghis doesn't know who made the accusation, nor does he care. I just wanted to know the truth, and not be wondering if Betty was a thief anymore'

Bob is upset. In his eyes Jeb broke his trust by mentioning the situation to someone. And proceeds to berate Jeb. He goes on how he told Jeb to never tell anyone, and that Jeb broke his trust.

Jeb again mentions that no names were mentioned. Neither the accusers nor the person who relayed the info. And that he just wanted to follow up on an accusation against his friend. He wonders why Bob wouldn't want to do the same.

Bob in upset at Jeb for breaking his trust, and Jeb is put off that Bob thinks this, as Jeb doesn't think he did anything wrong.



A) Considering that Jeb didn't mention Megan nor Bob's name when talking to Ghengis, do you think that Jeb violated Bob's trust?


B) If yes, do you think Jeb what right or wrong to do so, given his motive?


C) Do you think it is reasonable for Bob to be upset with Jeb?



Please feel free to elaborate as much as you'd like.


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It seems like the best solution is to get less dramatic friends.

Also, check Bob estrogen levels.

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I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*


*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)


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I hope Norm and Cliff can work things out. Yes, Jeb violated Bob's trust. Both of these guys sound like terrible gossips.


I'm not sure that right, wrong, or reason really matter. If Bob sees it as a violation of trust, then Jeb should apologize for the sake of the friendship. It may seem silly or unreasonable, but sometimes you have to choose the relationship over personal convictions. This seems like the type of situation where it is best to apologize profusely and buy him a beer or three.

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Poor way to ask the cop about it, should just ask directly about the reason. Nothing out of the ordinary for that, cop won't have much reason to think it's involving a third party and not suspicious enough to mention to anyone else. Kind of stupid to inform Bob as well.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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