Work - Pretending or Lying?


I am in sales for wholesale clothing company. We have a huge show coming up and our companies survival depends on this show… So I received an email from my boss

"I want you to give them a call and ask if they are carrying any type of embellished or plain jeans or embellished tops/jackets like… (I just want to find out price point) at their store.

Just pretend you are a customer in the area that trying to find a store that have what you are looking for then if they said, they don’t have. Just ask what they have in the store."

So what’s the difference between pretending and lying? FYI my boss is not Catholic or even Christian she’s a Buddist.

Thanks for your feedback…


When I call a store, they do not ask me who I am "wait a minute, are you the competetion or are you a customer??"

Simply say "hello. Do you carry blah blah. Yes, great, what do those cost?"


I am trying to get them as a customer…

Usually I am very up front, introduce myself, tell them I am a vendor and I don’t get any info on their store… But I am honest.


The conversation about the price point and style they are carrying does not require you to identify yourself.

Exactly. :thumbsup:

The fact that you are trying to get them as a customer can be a separate conversation.

There is an entire industry of “secret shopping”… the products and prices that are available within stores are not trade secrets, so there is no pretending or lying necessary to find out that information.


Couldn't you also get that information by walking into the store and looking at the price tag? It's not a secret, right? So a call is no big deal. Just call and ask.

Also - I would imagine that even in negotiations with the store you could say, "I want to beat the price of the embellished jeans you are buying. What is the price point at which you purchase them now?".


[quote="Meximo, post:1, topic:184877"]
my boss: "I want you to give them a call and ask if they are carrying . . . .Just pretend you are a customer in the area that trying to find a store that have what you are looking for then if they said, they don’t have. Just ask what they have in the store." . . . .

. . . .I am trying to get them as a customer...
Usually I am very up front, introduce myself, tell them I am a vendor and I don't get any info on their store... But I am honest.


It sounds like your boss is asking you to do some 'market research', and it looks like the end-goal is to use this data to 'set offering prices' and to expand your customer base. Am I correct? If so, and this is confusing to you, (at least how to do this 'honestly' and effectively), you should seek some training on this - this is 'standard b2b sales business' and there are much more effective & honest ways to do this than what you've written here. Don't be afraid to seek training that will make you more productive.:thumbsup:


I wouldn’t lie, but I would phone and ask them the price.

Alternatively, the boss, if the information is so important, can assign funds for buying one pair, in which case you will be a customer. :stuck_out_tongue: Or you can just go and buy a pair, which is better than lying or losing the job.

Or you can dissuade your boss from the idea if you’re recognisable.


Calling around for items/prices isn’t that unusual. I used to work at gas stations and other stations (especially smaller ones) would call and ask what we were charging and we’d call ones “in the city” to find out what they were charging. We had no intention of buying their gas. Maybe 40 years ago this would of been considered sleezy but today with the compete transparency of the market and the internet taking sales…its really ordinary and actually part of business


You are doing market research. You are not stealing any information.

You want to know what they have and what they charge.

What is the problem?


There is no difference between calling the store and asking or walking into the store, browsing the racks, checking a few price tags and walking out.

Just because you browse and check prices in no way obligates anyone to buy anything. Instead of walking in, you are calling.


In saying that you are a customer. Simply asking, scouting the shop etc. are not a problem. Saying that you are a customer is, because you are not.


Oh, for heaven’s sake! Most people I know do NOT call up a store and say, “Hi, I am a customer and I was wondering if you have this item, and if so, what is costs.”

The generally say, “Hi, I was wondering if you have this item and what it costs.”

Good grief people! Scupulosity at its finest.:shrug: Don’t you have better things to do?!?:rolleyes:

Again, you are doing market research. You are finding out what someone else might have available and what they are charging. There is nothing wrong with that.


So, don’t introduce yourself when you call. It’s not necessary, and it’s not dishoest. You’re just calling to get information.


Why don’t you be honest. Ring the competitor and say, “Hi, my name is so and so and I work for such and such a company. My boss, so and so, asked me to call you and find out blah blah. Would you help me do as my boss asks?” :smiley:

You will have done as your boss requested and stayed ethical in the process. If your boss finds out and gets angry, ask him is dishonesty a policy of this company? If he fires you, make a song and dance about how your boss and the company value dishonesty over honesty.


I find it unusual that a representative of your company did not attend the clothing shows where you can (and are expected to) go look at the booths of competitors to see what they are offering and what the MSRP is for each.

At any rate, when you make the calls, I’d just identify myself. “Hi, this is Clarissa from Acme Wholesale, and I’m surveying retailers to help in our new product development. Do you mind if I ask you two questions? I was just wondering if you are selling embellished jeans and jackets this year? And what is your price range for these items.”

You’ll likely get some retailers who are happy that you are asking for their opinions and others that decline to participate, but at least you will be honest about it.


Thanks for the opinion and comments. This isn’t my first rodeo but I found out interesting that she wanted me to pretend to be a customer. I work with boutiques and buyers for some major companies their biggest compliment for our company… we’re honest. I’m just saying… :shrug:

We will be at the WWIN and MAGIC show in a few weeks just that desperate push for major sales.

Take care,


I said that because the example featured the boss wanting precisely that to be said. Fretting about the wording of neutral limited information would be scrupulosity. Fretting about not wanting to utter a direct falsehood is not scrupulosity in my book. :slight_smile:


This might be key, too, of why she wants you to do this without stating you’re a vendor. She may want to chase after the big sales with competitive prices instead of simply going after every sale. How awful for your company if you called up, “We’re XYZ company and we would like to do business with you? How much do you sell your jeans for? Really? Oh, well then forget it.”


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit