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Harvard Professor Bugs Out When Chinese Restaurant Overcharges Him $4

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Harvard Business School associate professor Ben Edelman ordered $53.35 in food last week from Sichuan Garden in Woburn, about 10 miles north of Boston.

He was shocked when he looked at his receipt to find that he had been overcharged by $4.

So Edelman, who teaches a Negotiation, Organization & Markets unit, emailed the owner of the family-run Chinese restaurant to ask that he be compensated for the mistake.

But he didn’t just want the $4 back.

Edelman requested he be sent $12 in accordance with a Massachusetts law regarding falsely advertised prices.

When owner Ran Duan offered to refund a lesser amount, Edelman threatened to take legal action.

Here’s the full email exchange as posted by


Duan told that Edelman’s behavior “broke [his] heart,” and that he strives to maintain the reputation of his business in honor of his parents, who founded the restaurant.

Edelman said that he has informed local officials of the grave injustice but doesn’t foresee them pursuing the matter.

He is currently debating whether his life is sad enough to keep harassing Duan, whose food, he says, was “delicious.”

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