Software Support and Lending from Work
QUESTION 11: USING SOFTWARE SUPPORT
At work, a software company wants me to
evaluate their product so that I may recommend
that our company purchase it. They have arranged
that their technical support person will be
available to answer any questions I may have.
On a separate project I have, that has nothing
to do with the evaluation of the company's product,
I have a question that I feel their technical support
person might be able to answer. Can I call him up and
ask him this question? If I call up for a question
that does have to do with his product, can I ask
him the other question if it doesn't take too
much of his time?
RABBI BELSKY'S ANSWER
Before you ask him your own question, say to him,
"I'm very satisfied with your answers. I have a
question of my own, if it's okay with you. If it's
not, just tell me." They will always tell you, "Yes".
But you have to ask first. You can't take advantage
of the service if it's not being offered to you for
that purpose. You were told that he's prepared to
use his time, and his company's time, to do one
specific thing, to answer questions about the product
you are evaluating.
So the person on the phone has the authority
to decide to use his company's time to answer
the extra question?
Definitely he has the authority. People who are
in lower positions have a limited amount of leeway.
People in higher positions have more leeway. When
a person is working at a checkout counter of the
supermarket, he has a certain small amount of
leeway to evaluate things. If he sees that something
is half an ounce over, he can round it off to the
lower whole number. He doesn't have to cause a
disruption to ask his supervisor. If a person at
the checkout counter counts every half-ounce, it
will cause ill will by the customers towards the
company. These people are probably instructed not
to do things that will cause ill-will to the company.
QUESTION 12: LENDING A PEN FROM WORK
If my son asks me for a pen so he can use it
at school, and the only pen I have is a 10-cent
pen I have from work, can I give it to him,
being reasonably certain that it won't find
its way back to my desk at work?
RABBI BELSKY'S ANSWER
There are two possible problems. The first
is that your son might lose the pen. But if
that's the only concern, it would be fine to give
him the pen and, in the event that he does lose it,
replace it with one of your own.
The other problem is that, even if you return the
pen, your son has used the ink in the pen. But
it's hardly likely that a company would care about
the use of that ink because its worth is negligible.
I think yes, it is permissible to let him use the pen.
But don't forget about it.
What happens if you know that you'll probably forget
about the pen? That you're just not that precise,
not that much of an accountant?
Then don't give it. Get your own pens.
What if the situation is a pressing one,
and there are really no other pens around?
Then make yourself a large reminder.
Otherwise you shouldn't give it.
The bottom line is that it's the
company's pen, is that right?
I think so, unless they give away pens
to people to take home and give to their
families. If not, when a person needs to take
it home to do work, that's fine -- it's not
likely that the employer wants the pen always
to remain on a person's desk. But it's not
to be given away.
NEXT WEEK: QUESTION 13 - CAN A SON LIE TO A FATHER
TO GET TO A CLASS ON TIME?
Let's say a boy knows that his father is often late.
If he depends on his father to get to an evening
class on time, and he wants to be sure to get
there on time, can he tell his father that it
starts earlier than it really does?
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