Saturday, December 11, 2004

Poor Wal-mart... Wait, what?!

I really hate certain people in this country. Those spineless bastards who exploit the system for personal gain.

I was reading this article on Yahoo.com about a lawsuit filed against Wal-Mart this week. A family is suing Wal-Mart because they purchased a copy of Evanesence's new album, which features a song with the "F" word.

The family is pissed because Wal-Mart failed to put a Parental Advisory sticker on the album. They claimed that Wal-Mart was aware of the explicit lyrics because Wal-Mart's online music store accurately represents the Parental Advisory.

Some how, Wal-Mart deceived this family and as a result, it apparently warrants $75,000 in compensation for the inconvenience. How does this make ANY sense? What I find infuriating about this case is that it captures how horribly greedy some people in this country are. One album, minus one sticker, some how equates to $75,000 of compensation? I don't think so.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things that Wal-Mart does that appalls me. I do not agree with many of their business practices and hate their monopolistic behaviors. That said, those circumstances do not justify frivolous lawsuits against them or any other individual or corporation.

What is quite frustrating is that our legal system is being exploited on a daily basis by a small and dangerous few, ruining it for the rest of us. With these fraudulent lawsuits filed, the average American is having the foot the bill for those greedy assholes who are on the hunt for a quick pay-out.

People wonder why insurance rates are so high, or why doctors are so expensive, or why Wal-Mart has to raise their prices. It's because a bunch of jerks in this country take advantage of these companies for hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars. The cost of the madness isn't some how magically absorbed by these company's bottom-lines, but are merely passed down to you and I, the consumer.

We need put some SERIOUS attention to tort reform in this country. I don't like the idea of making it more difficult for those who have legitimate claims to file their suits, but the fact is that illegitimate suits are raising the cost of living for every single American. This aggression cannot stand, man.

It's really quite simple, it comes down to us versus them. We, as a society, cannot keep going like this. This country was not founded for those looking to make a quick buck but for those looking to build a bright future for themselves and their children.

Every time there's a hundred thousand dollar pay-out for a scratch on rear bumper, we foot the bill. Every time someone buys a CD and sues the retailer for not putting the proper sticker on it, we foot the bill. It's completely looney.

What ever happened to tolerance? Why can't people just spend their lives trying to right their wrongs instead of just extorting the rich?

There's a biblical phrase 'an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth', I believe it attempts to capture the concept of proportional recompensation. In this society, we seem to think it's "a head for an eye". People deserve to be compensated, not rewarded, for their trouble. Until we can reestablish that concept within our legal system and society, things are just going to get worse.

-s

8 comments:

  1. You may have a point in this case, but in general the tort system does not need reform - in fact it's the US Chamber of Commerce that's pushing tort reform to the detriment of consumers. Here's a good overview.

    Some weblogs that cover this (hold your nose to stop the leftie stench) http://www.legalunderground.com/tort_reform/ and http://www.corpreform.com/There was a great article that covered a specific corporate front that was pushing for tort "reform" - I can't find it, but I think the front was the Center for Consumer Freedom.

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  2. While I definitely think this case is frivolous, I would be reticent to call for tort reform as a remedy. As others have pointed out, tort reform is more about limiting liability for corporate irresponsibility than protecting people or corporations from frivolous lawsuits.

    While there is a lot of talk about how tort reform could save us money, I would like to see hard numbers from an unbiassed source that takes into account judgments reduced or thrown out on appeal.

    In all of this, it's important to remember who our real enemy is here. Lawyers :)

    I'm sure if we put a cap on lawyer's earnings to say .5% of a judgement and a maximum hourly wage of say $30, frivolous lawsuits would drop way down.

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  3. Hey, they need to get their lawyer fees covered somehow. Also, Wal-Mart makes a huge fuss over how they don't sell offensive albums or books and how you can trust them to protect you from yourself. How is this different than slipping on an unmarked puddle of water? They slipped up, they're a commercial enterprise, they must make amends. Some parents take swearing very seriously. Wal-Mart capitalizes on that by presenting themselves as a safe place for your kids to shop. It's not like the amount was $75,000,000. They can't just return the album and pretend nothing happened, either. They have to take time out of their busy lives and hire lawyers and put things right. Wal-Mart did wrong by a customer. They are getting sued for a reasonable amount given the costs of suing. It is the order of things.


    -basu

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  4. Basu, my point is just that. People in this country are too trigger happy to sue. It's as if money solves all their problems. It's not like the $75k is going to undo the fact that their kids heard the f-word. Shit, they can hear worse language watching a night of Comedy Central than they probably did on that album.

    I'm just sick of people turning to money as a means of resolving these types of issues. When my parents had a problem with something like this, they just try to fix the problem the simplest way possible and move on with their lives. It's not about trying to capitalize on any opportunity they're presented.

    -s

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  5. Hell yeah Steev! I'm with ya!
    It makes MOST of sick so that's why I'm amazed it still happens.
    Nice to meet you.

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  6. And how would they fix it, Steve? Not shop at Wal-Mart? It's a little late now. What if the kid had had a box fall off a shelf and land on his head? Should they still not sue? Harm is harm, especially when a business goes out of its way to present itself as being a safe haven from that harm, which Wal-Mart does do in the case of explicit lyrics. And, suing is expensive, and the recipient of the suit is generally expected to pay for the cost of the suit. If the suers lose, then they will have to pay for their own costs. If Wal-Mart feels the suit is frivolous, they can counter-sue and get their costs back. Lawyers are ridiculously expensive, Steve. That's the problem here. Not people using the court system for what it was intended.

    And why do you think money can't make things right? What else is there in our society? Money's all we have for this sort of thing. Of course money can't magically fix things but nothing can. When a business harms its customers it should be sued.

    Geez, given your reaction you'd think they were suing for $75million like I said, instead of the more reasonable amount of $75k, which doesn't seem that unreasonable to me, given how much court costs and how much this is going to interrupt this family's life.

    And you and I may think the "f" word is no big deal for a kid to hear, but you have no right to force that belief onto another parent.

    Maybe you should be angry at the big companies for passing the bill from their poor business practices directly onto the consumers instead of taking a hit to their profits.


    -basu

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  7. you're hilarious for complaining about the cost of living in america. hilarious

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  8. Just keep in mind that San Francisco, where I live, is the second or third most expensive place to live in the United States.

    -s

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