"The Ethicist" is Randy Cohen's long-running advice column in the New York Times. Each week, Gabriel Delahaye's "The Unethicist" will answer the same questions as "The Ethicist," with obvious differences.
This week, a woman from Israel writes in with a shawarma question (natch), and someone in Colorado wrote a brochure and now they want a cookie or something.
While negotiating the sale of his share of a small shawarma restaurant to a friend of his, my husband learned that a famous shawarma chain is opening a branch near the restaurant. He fears that if he tells the friend, he will back out of the deal. It feels wrong to withhold this information. Must he tell? — Wendy Schor-Haim, Tel Aviv
Last week, a homerenter in Brooklyn submitted a question for which the only obvious answer was to follow in the lovable, TBS Very Funny approved mold of slumlord Louie Kritski as portrayed in the movie The Super. Typically, I would hate to administer the same type of advice for a second week in a row, for fear that someone in the subaltern wasteland of Gawker commenters complains about it instead of getting their boss that latte, but the truth is, once more, that Hollywood would like to help you. I know that you are in Israel, where there are no movie theaters or happiness, but perhaps you can get a betamax VCR on the black market, and watch the following documentary about your life.
Now, the easy solution is that your husband should be much more careful when he is driving, that way he won't crash into Sinbad's car and be forced to get a summer job at Good Shawarma to pay off the debt instead of having so much fun with his buddies. But, what's done is done, and now that Mondo Shawarma is moving in across the street, he's going to have to do something to stop them, namely creating a secret tahini that will draw hundreds of new customers, making steam literally blow out of the ears of Mondo Shawarma's nefarious president.
By defeating Mondo Shawarma together, your husband and his friend will be reminded of what's important and that they shouldn't let business get in the way of their friendship, which is the perfect time for your husband to manipulate his friend into paying way too much for the failing restaurant. Success!
In America, we don't have shawarma or Palestinian refugee camps, but we do have really important movies about fast food that teach us how to live in the world and fight big corporations with novelty cars and sass. You're welcome, Israel.
A colleague subcontracted to me a freelance writing job composing brochures for two local business. Both were well received, but my friend did not inform either client that I did the work for fear that the next time they might hire me directly. Shouldn't she tell the clients that the words are not hers (even if she doesn't reveal my name)? Can I present the work as mine to potential clients? — C.O., Sacramento
You are asking two different questions, so let me answer them one at a time.
Shouldn't your colleague tell the clients that you wrote the brochure?
Can you present the work as yours to potential clients?
Look, C.O. you wrote a couple of brochures. Brava. Do you know what brochures are? They are what bums stuff inside of a Taco Bell bag to make a pillow. While you say they were well received I would put money on the client forgetting to even pick them up from Kinko's. When you put the finishing touches on your extensive brochure writing resume, be sure to list your Additional Skills: boring, sad, insane, and retarded.