It’s a particular creepy notion, in that I doubt that many of us think “well, it’s a steak house, so I better lawyer up.” What in Pluto’s realm are these guys worried about? Class actions? Is there some history at the Daily Grill of them wiping out giant office parties with mass food poisoning? Have they gotten in trouble in the past for misrepresenting something on the menu? (Maybe the 16 oz. New York Strip is really 14 ounces?) As my kid would say, “what NOW?”
One particularly ugly part of this provision – The Daily Grill is saying that just by LOOKING at its website, you’ve supposedly “agreed” to give up basic constitutional rights such as the right to trial by jury. You don’t sign anything, you don’t say “I agree to the terms and conditions.” You just look at this, and they think that means they can infer consent. If Corporate America can define “consent” and “agreement” to be inferred from silence from looking at something, then consent has become a truly mongrelized, meaningless notion.
On the one hand, this may just seem like a ridiculous provision that no one should worry about. But another way of looking at it is how Corporate America, emboldened by a string of arbitration-loving decisions from the five member conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, has been racing to make a basic rule of operation that they don’t want to be part of the American legal system.
They don’t want to be accountable if they do anything to hurt you.
After reading this, I have a new suggested motto for The Daily Grill: “If we accidentally kill you with food poisoning after you reserved your table on-line, we’re going to try to rig the system against your family and keep it all quiet.” Who wants to eat at a restaurant with THAT motto?
Written by Paul Bland, originally posted on 11-4-2013 on the Public Justice blog.