Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bad Faith

This recent exchange between a Harvard Business School professor and a bartender/owner of a Chinese Restaurant cracks me up in one regard: this guy is the reason that "douchebaggery" is now a popular word.

Ben Edelman v. Chinese Mom and Pop

However, and more importantly, this exchange touches upon two important principles that seem lost in the preposterousness of the exchange:

When a bad law exist, there will always be bad actors to exercise its power.

The lineage/size/age of your business should never be used as an excuse to mistreat your customer.

The Backlash

The Apology

Having written plenty of complaint letters, I sympathize with the lawyer in getting something other than what he thought he paid for. Unfortunately, Mr. Edelman pilloried himself by approaching the matter of a $4 overcharge -- for that's exactly what happened -- as a serious violation of his rights.  Unfortunately for him, he knew not only of the Consumer Protection Act, but also that he had "rights" - dammit! - under that statute.

If he had just approached the matter as "I want to pay what you advertised I was paying" (although there is certainly an argument to be made in favor of the restaurant here as well) perhaps he would happily be eating his leftovers with four more dollars in his pocket rather than suspected of having the littlest dick in the elitist world.

As far as the bartender/public relations guru of the restaurant goes -- I don't care if you've been in business since the dawn of time and your family is from a colony of lepers (well, maybe I'd care enough to not eat there) --  if you advertise a price, honor it.


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