Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The V8 Chronicles: Epilogue

You know, there's a reason I usually don't give previews to future posts. I like to write things down at my own pace. I need to be free, man, like the wind.

So anyway, don't expect me to give a little teaser at the end of any posts in the near future. It's tricky enough to know when I'll have a chance to sit down and write something, much less something planned.

In any event, the V8 blob! What ever happened to it? Did I end up filing a lawsuit? Did I actually eat it (y'know, for kicks)? Well, whatever I did, I didn't have much time for it. As you may know, I was keeping the blob in my freezer, to deal with at a later time. The problem therein, though, is that I had to go home for winter break. I sure as hell wasn't going to bring that blob home with me. Why, then, didn't I leave it in Berkeley? Well, unfortunately for me, the power to the room is shut off during the winter, meaning that our little friend would no longer be frozen. He would be thawed, growing...and angry.

So, once December began, I knew I needed to get my move on. So, I scheduled an appointment with the campus attorney, just for a little consultation.

Now, the attorney was in no way a personal injury lawyer, but he was still immensely helpful. He gave me pamphlets, old cases, and phone numbers to some local P.I.L.s in Berkeley.

I won't go into the nitty-gritty, but here's the takeaway point: I'm not going to be taking any sort of legal action. Here's why:
1. There are three basic divisions of civil court. There's small claims court, which covers amounts up to $2,500. There's...um...medium claims court(?) which goes up to, I believe, $25,000. Then there's the big league, which covers everything above that point.
2. According to the campus attorney, based on what I had said, this would most likely be a case for small claims court. He said it may be able to make it to the middle tier (he really thought my pictures were disgusting). However, one of the advantages of small claims court is that no lawyers are involved; just the plaintiff and defendant. If I tried middle claims court, Campbell's would send in their lawyers, and, well, that would be the end of me.
3. So the most I can realistically get out of this is $2,500. A far cry of my pipe dreams of them shoveling $100,000 under the table to my coffers, but a tidy sum nonetheless.
4. However, many of the things you can sue for in small claims court, to a claim like this, I couldn't, because it usually involves specific dollar amounts. Examples:
4a. Lost income from not showing up to work due to sickness. Being a student (and an RA, whose only income is room and board), I didn't lose any money. Hell, I didn't even miss an hour of school (well, I did, but for unrelated reasons).
4b. Medical costs. I went into the doctor's office a couple weeks after the incident, but it was for a dry skin-related issue. And even though they gave me a full checkup (as they are wont to do), it didn't cost me a dime (thanks to the student health insurance plan).
4c. Pain and suffering. According to my little pamphlet, pain and suffering costs are usually "5 times your medical bill." Well, as any 4th Grader can tell you, $0 x 5 = $0. Now, I could still put a number figure up for this, but it wouldn't be anymore than, say $500 (and even that is pretty generous).

So, I can sue Campbell's for a maximum of $500. However, my case would be pretty weak, as I didn't see a doctor the next day, etc. Truth be told, it would be an uphill battle. Yes, the pictures were gross, and the actual object would be even more gross, but I'd have to do a lot of preparation and research, I wouldn't be able to get anything done until January, and there would still be the blob proper to worry about until that time.

In the end, I figured some things aren't worth it. Suing Campbell's would just be too much effort for too little gain, and that's if I gained anything at all (which was a real issue). So, I just decided to drop the issue, mail in the blob to Campbell's (along with a stern note), and forget the whole thing.

...You wanna know a secret? When I first found the blob and dumped out all my V8, the first thing I did was throw it away. I was willing to write a tongue-in-cheek post about it and be done with it (my better judgement soon took over and I put it in the freezer).

One of my coworkers said to me, "You know, you're the perfect person for this to happen to for Campbell's, because you're the only person I know whose first instinct wouldn't be to sue." This is true. I was raised in a very non-litigious (and therefor un-American) household. Hence, I don't feel suing is the right course of action. Add to that my college persona of "not-being-phased-by-anything-or-at-least-not-showing-it" and you got yourself a cool consumer. The only reason I looked at legal action at all was because everyone told me to, and if I missed out on some huge cash settlement...well, I don't want to look like a sucker, do I?

So, here's to you, V8 blob! We had a good run, but now the saga has ended. I'm not sure how many people I've turned off to the stuff, but I'll tell you one thing: I'm only using those $9 worth of coupons on Goldfish!

1 comment:

Christopher said...

It may be gone for now, but Andrew, never forget one of the great lessons of the 1950's - "Beware of the blob..."

I think you took the right course of action. I don't think suing would've been productive in this case. I guess I'm unAmerican too in that sense, but some people think I am anyways.

-Comrade Chavez