Sunday, June 29, 2003

Cheatin' hearts: Here's your 'fudge factor'

By Byron McCauley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Last Sunday's Forum essay, "Their cheatin' hearts," examined why people break the rules in a number of areas, in light of recent events, from Martha Stewart's possibly illegal stock trading woes, to Sammy Sosa's corked bat.

We asked you to complete a nine-question survey to let us know what you're willing to get away with. Amazingly, 18 percent of you have no shame, admitting that you'd cheat on your spouse. But, 81 percent of you said you would not. Fifty-eight percent of you said it's OK to make personal calls during office hours and 39 percent of you said you fudge on your taxes. We figure that's about par for the course.

Of course, we failed to ask whether you would cheat in filling out the survey, but surely some of you did. In any case, here are the rest of results from 236 respondents:

The responses

Making personal calls/taking excessive breaks during business hours.

Yes: 58.4 percent (137) No: 41 percent (98)

Withholding useful information on the sale of an item. Yes: 25.2 percent (63) No: 74.3 percent (172)

Using the same parking pass to get two cars into the same parking lot.

Yes: 36.2 percent (86) No: 62.2 percent (149)

Offering an estimate, when it's possible to be more exact about a deductible contribution on taxes.

Yes: 39.8 percent (96) No: 59.7 percent (139)

Failing to correct an overpayment in change at a store.

Yes: 34.9 percent (84); No: 64.6 percent (151)

Using technology that helps you get away with speeding, such as devices that scramble police radar guns.

Yes: 44.2 percent (105) No: 55.3 percent (130)

Overstating qualifications in an area in which you only have cursory knowledge, but are familiar with experts who do, in trying to gain a business advantage.

Yes: 29.2 percent (69); No: 70.3 percent (165)

Returning an item to a store for a refund after having used it.

Yes: 32.7 percent; No: 66.8 percent (158)

Cheating on a spouse.

Yes: 18 percent (44) No: 81.4 percent (190)

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