There’s a major food manufacturer making the news for all the wrong reasons. It’s to do with the practice of asking its suppliers for up-front payments if they wish to continue to be a supplier to the company. The practice goes under the name of a ‘pay and stay arrangement”.
According to a spokesman for the company, there is nothing illegal about what they are doing. In a letter sent out to its suppliers the company stated that “we will now require you to make an investment payment to support our growth”, although the company is attempting to pass it off as just another form of discount negotiation. Nonetheless a BBC investigation has revealed this particular company has received millions of pounds under the scheme.
Although few of us have heard about this kind of arrangement, it would seem that the practice of ‘pay and stay’ is not all that unusual amongst manufacturers. In many organisations, the practice of individual staff members accepting ‘gifts’ from suppliers is banned. That might be a meal, desk and diary set, calculator or any number of other low value items. Whilst receiving such small “gifts” is widely banned, it appears that completely different rules apply when it comes to a firm demanding “investments” from its suppliers.
Whatever this and other manufacturers may think about the practice, not everyone is impressed. The Institute of Directors, for example, is reported to be deeply disturbed by the revelations and believes such schemes risk alienating public opinion through a loss of faith in business.
The bible puts its finger directly on the attitude that underlies this practice, along with many other commercial scandals that have come to light in recent years. In writing to Timothy, his young protégé, the apostle Paul warns him that, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1Ti 6:10)
Notice that it isn’t money that is the problem but the ‘love of money’. In fact, when properly used, money can be a powerful force for good. Notice also that even the love of money isn’t unique in this sense since there are all kinds of other attitudes that can give rise to evil. Nonetheless, the wrong attitude towards money is seen to be at the root of much that is wrong in our society.
So what to do about it? The apostle Paul continues with his advice to young Timothy and what he says is not rocket science, but blatantly clear common sense. He says, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1Ti 6:11)
When will we learn that true happiness, contentment and fulfilment is not found in greed or in amassing wealth for its own sake? Sure, we need enough money for the basic things in life, but in survey after survey it has been shown that it’s the people who seek to do right, to live in godly ways and to show true love for others who can claim to really be enjoying this life, regardless of how much money they have in the bank.