Harvard Business School’s associate professor, who has opened an email war against a local Chinese restaurant for ‘mistakenly’ overcharging him USD 4 on a carry-out order, apologized for ‘bullying’ the owner.
Ben Edelman, an associate professor who teaches Negotiation, Organizations & Markets unit at Harvards, decided to extend his apology to Ran Duan of the Sichuan Garden and the Baldwin Bar after he failed to present his position well before the court of public opinion where he has referred the matter.
In his apology, which was posted on his website on Wednesday afternoon, Edelman wrote: “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.”
Edelman also said that he will be personally meeting Duan to extend apology.
The associate professor said that the restaurant’s act was a breach of Massachusetts General Law, Section XV, Chapter 93A, Section 9. He demanded the restaurant owner to pay him back thrice the overcharge, i.e. USD 12, for damages.
“I have already referred this matter to the appropriate legal authorities in order to attempt to compel your restaurant to identify all consumers affected and to provide refunds to all of them, or in any event to assure that an appropriate sanction is applied as provided by law,” Edelman wrote.
“Under Massachusetts law it turns out to be a serious violation to advertise one price and charge a different price,” Edelman wrote.
Edelman’s email war was also mocked by the twitteratis.
Harvard Business School prof @bgedelman — this is over $4 — is awful. #TeamRanDuan http://t.co/xPt3BNhD4Y pic.twitter.com/wgPF4XukFk
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) December 9, 2014
Initially, Duan apologized for his restaurant’s goof before the Harvard associate professor and had also agreed to reimburse him the original USD 4. But Edelman declined his reimbursement offer.
“I personally respond to every complaint and try to handle every situation personally,” Duan said while adding, “The e-mail exchange with Edelman just broke my heart…I have worked so hard to make my family proud and to elevate our business.”
Duan, a Chinese native, immigrated to Boston along with his parents when he was just 3-year-old. He took over the charge of Sichuan Garden since the early 1990’s.