No-Snitch Culture in American Businesses

December 17, 2015

Dec17-imageI regularly encounter business professionals who decline to reveal the identity of an unscrupulous company. In one recent interaction, a company I’m familiar with had recently engaged another company for its services, but found its practices to be designed to deceive.

The businessperson who had this encounter readily shared with me his time- and money-wasting experience, but when I asked the name of the firm, he said, “I’d rather not say.” Why protect the identity of a bad actor? Even if the harmed is unsure as to whether the behavior was intentional, why not honestly share the experience and divulge the name?

We’ve all read about the “no-snitch” culture that’s so strong in certain communities. It hinders the efforts of law enforcement personnel and protects perpetrators of crime. And I really think it exists to some extent in American business as well.

But why? The rule of law and the fair system of justice for all are absolutely essential to quality of life for citizens and efficient operation of our free-market system. Equally as important for our protection and quality of life is casual, everyday sharing of information and experience.

Whether you like it or not, gossip and “the grapevine” play a real functional role in helping us all make informed choices – and avoiding harm. When a person refuses to share the identity of a bad actor, he or she denies others the opportunity for others to avoid a similar fate.

I say that we tell the world our experiences — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and share identities. Maybe our “no snitch” culture is why so many scammers seem to be in operation today.  -David L. Perkins, Jr.

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