Last week the CBC reported that a 21-year-old Yale University student has filed a lawsuit against US Airways because his Xbox 360 with specialized hardrive went missing from his luggage.
Let us attempt to pick out all the things that are horribly, horribly wrong with this. Yale. Ohio. $1 million. Video game console. Twenty-one-year-old. Xbox 360. Specialized hard drive. Luggage.
Allow me to explain my logic here and why it seems to be running headlong into a brick wall. The kid is from Ohio, not exactly universally acclaimed for the quality of its education. He's attending Yale, which is. Either there has to be at least some spark of intelligence in him or he's at the centre of a very devious plot by a very rich daddy. A film major, perhaps, but he is, as we have already established, 21-years-old. This individual-- who is past the age of majority just about anywhere on Earth-- is suing US Airways for $1,700 in system reimbursement plus a million dollars for "non-economic distress." Statisticians will simply mark him as an outlier and move on with their lives, but the rest of us must wonder how Maiman intends to claim $1 million for a $300 console.
It is worth noting that a US Airways spokeswoman has already commented: "Our publicly available baggage policies specifically exclude liability for electronics checked in luggage," as well as, "Regardless of the figure in the complaint, there are federal loss limits applicable to all airlines on their liability for lost luggage and belongings, which are currently set at $3,300 per bag." Which, in spokeswoman-ese, roughly translates to "HAHAHAHA I ALMOST FEEL BAD FOR YOU I MEAN SERIOUSLY WHAT WERE YOU THINKING DID YOU EVEN READ THE RULES BEFORE BRINGING US THIS SHIT?" Roughly. In any event, it's fairly obvious that, unless the relevant judge is asleep, Maiman will almost certainly never see more than his $1,700 reimbursement-- and even that will be an uphill battle. While fortune favours the bold, the system favours the pragmatic.
Even if we assume Maiman is completely self-interested (he probably is), it's mindboggling when one stops to consider several of the details of this case. First of all, the man is taking his Xbox on a trip. While this is only somewhat abnormal behavior, it could be indicative of a man who likes his gaming just a bit too much. He placed this $1,700 setup in his luggage, which he then entrusted to baggage handlers. I cannot do the same with my $50 MP3 player.
Finally, we have Maiman's startling willingness to allow his tomfoolery to become public-- basically declaring to the world that he is not only a massive geek (in the conventionally embarrassing way), but essentially a conman.