Daily Elysium: Read This Article Or I'll Sue!

The headline read 'Microsoft, Best Buy Accused of Net Scam', but it might as well have read 'Lazy Cashier Pisses Off Litigious Man'.  In what seems be a good example of cashing in, Los Angeles resident Samuel Kim is suing Best Buy and Microsoft for charging his credit card without his authorization for an MSN promotional service.  Now, in a different context I'm all for bringing woe upon those who inflict MSN on the world, and might even support a lawsuit against whoever is making those MSN Butterfly ads, but that's a different matter.  This is the kind of lawsuit that makes litigation over hot coffee sound reasonable.  Either read on for the ridiculous details or get ready to hear from my lawyer!

From the CNN.com article, the plantiff claims that:

he unwittingly became a victim in February after making a purchase at a Best Buy store in Los Angeles with his debit card.

At checkout, a store employee scanned Kim's debit card and, without any explanation to him, scanned a trial MSN compact disc and placed it in his shopping bag, the lawsuit said.

When Kim asked why the compact disc had been scanned, the employee allegedly said it was to keep track of inventory.

First, someone should probably sue this Kim guy for clearly not being very swift on the uptake.  I wonder if maybe I can sue him for compensatory or punitive damages (or other such legal jargon which, perhaps, has some kind of concrete meaning) after slapping my head in frustration over this, for lack of a better word, silliness.  

Even if we were to assume that Mr. Kim was gullible enough to believe the cashier, or so unaware as to not be suspicious, precisely how this is a 'scam' remains beyond me.  Perhaps if Mr. Kim was claiming that there was evidence the cashier was working on instructions from Best Buy or Microsoft.  Or, perhaps if there was evidence that this was a pervasive problems with multiple victims, but, alas, none of these situations match reality.  No, in reality, this is a singular event that can just as easily be explained away as cashier error or laziness, and instead of seeking his mighty retribution on the lackadaisical practices of a single, almost certainly poor, cashier, our fine paragon of justice seeks in sycophantic style to siphon some dollars from a multinational corporation or two.  What a guy!  

My favorite part of the article is when Mr. Kim's upstanding attorney, a champion of his fine profession, provided the following quote:

He has not been unable to get a full refund from either company, his attorney Anthony Lee of San Francisco told Reuters.

Well, I needed a good example of how to use a double-negative to manipulate the truth and create bias.  What a Cochranesque turn of the phrase!  For those of you still parsing that sentence, he said that Kim received a refund from both Microsoft and Best Buy.  I hear you out there saying, "that's not what it sounds like he said," and that, I think, is kind of the whole point.

Now, I don't actually think this is a serious lawsuit, but what I really wanted to bring to attention is that this is a CNN.com headline.  For whatever reason, people are taking this guy seriously.  In the constant American (or perhaps Western?) pursuit of categorizing all the precise ways we're getting screwed each day, media outlets (ourselves included, I suppose) dig into this stuff and project the supposed woeful mistreatment of the public by evil corporations, which feeds its own self-sustaining trend to elicit more of these lawsuits.

Now, if you'll excuse us, we're going to brace for the impending litigation.

- Elysium


That quote from the lawyer is messing with my head. I need to lie down.

Without a doubt, the legal system needs some serious reform in the area of suing. I mean, this is basically as bad as the fat people who are suing fast food chains for "making them fat."

I agree that it's out of control but let's face it, if you slipped and fell in front of Microsoft headquarters and a lawyer whispered in your ear "This has happened dozens of times and each time Microsoft settled out of court" you'd be hard pressed not to take advantage.