Stephen Hawking, The Media, Lawsuits, and Junior Mints

I don’t know what it is, but sometimes the planets come into alignment, the Hand of God reaches out to nudge the Universe one way or another, a Vulcan mind meld is applied irresponsibly, or perhaps humanity reaches an apex in stupidity derived from the Butterfly Effect triggered by one of Grandpa’s SBD farts blamed on the dog.

This morning is one of those times. (Sorry, dog.)

In its ongoing desperate attempt to remain relevant and in a classic example of the inmates running the asylum of the Media, today’s Chicago Tribune runs an article with the headline “Illinois Suit  Challenges Junior Mints on Space in Packaging”.

The headline itself was enough to send me into convulsions, the result of which may be a headline tomorrow reading something like “Illinois Man Files Lawsuit After Suffering Coffee Burns to Groin Area After Reading Headline About Junior Mints Lawsuit”.  I’m still thinking about pursuing that.

Be that as it may, the gist of the article is that a lawsuit has been filed in a Chicago federal court by a woman claiming ‘there is nearly as much air as candy’ in a box of Junior Mints.

The article goes on in excruciating detail to explain the genesis of the suit (triggered by the purchase of a $1 Box of Junior Mints), the tortuous relationship between the Junior Mints contents and deceptive packaging, a discussion of the pros and cons of empty space left in product packaging (Examples:  We are told ‘the air cushion …protects potato chips from breaking in the bag’ versus in the case of the Junior Mints ‘that empty space can increase the chances that the candies will be damaged because they move around quite a bit inside the hard cardboard box’).

Next we are treated to a history of the litigation filed in various other jurisdictions, resultant court decisions, appeals filed, pending related litigation and so on which might or might not have a bearing on the Junior Mints lawsuit.

Also included is a discussion of the relationships of Junior Mints to the episode of Seinfeld which if you haven’t seen it you really should but which I won’t waste your time here explaining – all of which has absolutely nothing to do with the lawsuit filed but makes for some nostalgic reflection on the good old days when the most disturbing thing about Junior Mints wasn’t the contents of the box but the potential effects of accidentally dropping a Junior Mint into an opened wound during surgery.

(After spending the time reading the article it also occurred to me that if I were a subscriber to the paper version of the newspaper I might have thrown it onto floor laughing.  Having moved on to the online version,  I realized once again how much technology had changed my life.   Throwing my laptop onto the floor laughing would have been a stupid and costly thing to do.  Gotta love serendipity)

Anyway, a number of thoughts came to mind after reading the article.  The first was ‘How could such a thing be considered ‘News’, worth spending the time, mental effort and cost to include in a major metropolitan newspaper?’

I don’t have the answer to that one but assume the Media Gods in their infinite wisdom had once again decided for me that here was information critical to my understanding of the world and events which shape our time.  And thanks for that.

Then, I tried to picture how the conversation went between the litigant (i.e., the buyer of the $1 box of Junior Mints) and the Law Firm that decided to take this case to Court.

One possible (likely?) scenario:

PARTNER IN LAW FIRM:  “Good morning, Mrs. X, what can we do for you today?”

MRS. X:  “Well, I bought this $1 box of Junior Mints yesterday and I was OUTRAGED (see prior blog post re:  OUTRAGE) to find that the entire capacity of space available in the box wasn’t taken up by Junior Mints.  In fact, it looks to me like not only are there Junior Mints in here, there’s also AIR!!!”

PARTNER IN LAW FIRM:  “Hmmm.  How much money do you have?”

MRS. X:  “A lot.”

PARTNER IN LAW FIRM:  “Well, in that case, we’ll be glad to take it.  Your case, that is!(laughs professionally)”.

Finally, I wondered, “How would I, as maker and packager of  Junior Mints, defend myself against such a charge?”

Suddenly, I realized the answer was obvious.

If you’ve been wondering where Stephen Hawking comes into play here….wait for it….


And with that, your Honor, I rest my case.







This entry was posted in Business, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s