My school has a monthly sale where parents buy pizzas from a pizzeria and sell them to students for $1 a slice. I bought a whole pie at the pizzeria and offered slices for $2 to kids at the end of the long line, but a school counselor said that it was unethical. I thought I was providing a service based on the idea that “time is money.” Who’s right? —B. G., San Diego
ANSWER: Were pizza a necessity and in short supply, you might have been guilty of what some call profiteering. But there was plenty of pizza, and nobody was forced to buy your pricier slices, so you didn’t exploit anyone. Your actions were not unethical, but they were poor social policy. The $1 deal made an affordable school-wide pizza party for everyone. You turned it into a two-tiered system—kids with money don’t wait; kids without money do—shifting it to something less community-oriented.
—Adapted from ‘The Ethicist’ in The New York Times