A Chinese restaurant and Ben Edelman didn’t see eye to eye this weekend, and now the story has made national news. According to New York Magazine, Harvard Business School professor Ben Edelman ordered takeout from Sichuan Garden in Brookline, Massachusetts. When he received his order, he realized that he had been charged $4 more than he had figured based on the eatery’s website. Rather than eat the $4, Edelman decided to email the restaurant.
Ran Duan responded to the email. He apologized for any confusion, and explained that the prices on the online menu were outdated. Duan offered Edelman a refund for the price difference, but apparently that wasn’t good enough for the customer. Instead of accepting the gesture, Edelman fired off a second email, making sure that Duan knew that not honoring the prices was “against the law,” and that refunding one person’s money didn’t really fix the problem.
The Chinese restaurant that Ben Edelman ate at was told that the authorities were contacted. Duan responded, once again in a nice manner, and told Mr. Edelman that he’d be happy to pay him whatever amount he would legally owe him, but wanted to wait to be contacted by authorities since this was now an “open case.”
Duan later reached out to Edelman again to let him know that he was going to update the eatery’s website as a step in the right direction. Duan also told Mr. Edelman that he reached out to a professional for legal advice, and that he — and his restaurant — did nothing wrong.
Well, Edelman didn’t like that. His next email sounded a bit more threatening as he asked Duan if he was working with an attorney. The exchange went back and forth quite a few times before Duan decided to share the story with the media. According to the Guardian, Edelman requested three times the amount that he was overcharged.
“Please refund the $12 to my credit card. Or you could mail a check for $12 to my home,” he wrote in one of his emails.
The Chinese restaurant and Ben Edelman clearly didn’t see this case in the same light, but Edelman says that he was doing this for the greater good, even if it sounds like he was being pompous.
Edelman gave the following statement to Business Insider.
“We all rely on trust in our daily lives that when sales tax is added, it actually applies and equals the specified amount; that the meter in a taxi shows the correct amount provided by law and correctly measures the actual distance; that when you order takeout, the price you see online matches the amount you pay in the restaurant. We all take most of this for granted.”
Plenty of things go wrong in restaurants, but most of the time, the bill discrepancies total more than $4. Check out this story by the Inquisitr about a guy who ordered a bottle of wine that cost “thirty seven fifty.” He thought the waitress meant $37.50, not $3,750.
[Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]