Shortly after Harvard Business School professor Ben Edelman, the man who threatened legal action against the owners of a Chinese restaurant where he disputed an excess charge of four dollars, defended his actions to Business Insider (“I've been pretty diligent in holding large companies accountable for their false statements of price and other attempts to overcharge passengers.
Should all small businesses get a free pass?”), he published a follow-up on his personal blog admitting that he was in the wrong:
“Many people have seen my emails with Ran Duan of Sichuan Garden restaurant in Brookline.
Having reflected on my interaction with Ran, including what I said and how I said it, it’s clear that I was very much out of line. I aspire to act with great respect and humility in dealing with others, no matter what the situation. Clearly I failed to do so. I am sorry, and I intend to do better in the future.
I have reached out to Ran and will apologize to him personally as well.”
As you may recall, Edelman had contacted Ran Duan, whose parents own Sichuan Garden, and suggested that the restaurant make up for the $4 overcharge with a triple refund of $12. A little while later, he changed his mind and suggested that he be given a 50-percent discount on his order. Duan agreed to do whatever he was directed to do by the “applicable authorities” to whom Edelman claimed he had already “referred [the] matter.”
The full email exchange was published by Boston.com, which subsequently reported that Ran Duan received an overwhelming amount of support in response.
“It means the world to know that there are still good people in this world,” Duan wrote in a statement to Boston.com. “We have been contacted by people from California all the way to Australia offering kind words and support… I appreciate all the support and increase in business we have received but you need to realize we are just one of thousands of small establishments that need your support. I ask you to not just support us but your neighborhood establishments also, your local take-out restaurant, a bodega/market down the street. If we stick together and support our local community we will grow together as a community.”