Sunday, 25 May 2008

"Waiter, waiter, there's a fly in my soup!"

So here's the story. A man finds a fly in his bottle of water. This apparently has significant psychological effects on him which include:

  • mental anguish
  • changed personality
  • nightmares about flies
  • loss of sense of humour,
  • becoming argumentative and edgy.
  • trouble drinking coffee because it contained water
  • anxious about getting in the shower
  • sexual dysfunction
Now, before I go on with this post, I do have to point out that the fly never made it passed his lips - he did not even open the bottle, since he noticed the fly while the bottle was still sealed. Despite this, he went on to sue the water company for a sum of $341,775. The first court he went to, the Ontario Superior Court, ruled in his favour.
  • Waiter, there's a fly in my soup!
  • Keep it down sir, or they'll all be wanting one.
This was appealed and the second court, the Ontario Superior Court, overturned the ruling. Of course, this ruling was then appealed and it went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada - the highest court in the land. And what do you think the ruling was?

Well, we have all heard of the ridiculous cases in the U.S, such as the hot coffee in the lap and the dog in the microwave - well, how on earth was she supposed to know that you weren't supposed to put your dog in there to dry it? We all read the stupid warning labels on packages, such as

  • On a bottle of shampoo for dogs: Caution: The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish.
  • Warning on fireplace log: Caution -- Risk of Fire.
  • Warning on an electric router made for carpenters: This product not intended for use as a dental drill.
  • Warning on a cartridge for a laser printer: Do not eat toner.
  • Baby stroller warning: Remove child before folding.
  • In the manual of a chainsaw: Do not attempt to stop the blade with your hand.
  • A TV remote controller warns: Not dishwasher safe.

This is just a quick sampling - I could amuse myself for a long time with all the stupid labels out there. But what this tells us is that some dimwitted numbnut has probably tried all of these things out at some point and so now the company has to protect itself from frivolous law suits by people with an IQ in the single digits. The whole of society ends up having to pay and that is what bugs me. Even if the court dismisses the case, it costs society a bucket load of money. There are nine judges sitting on the Supreme Court of Canada, and I am betting that they all make a decent wage. Not to mention all the subordinates that do all the running around, paperwork, research etc. etc. etc. Why on earth can't cases like this just be reviewed and thrown out at a much earlier stage? Why does it need to go all the way to the top?

Now, in this particular case, I will agree that the guy did have a legitimate complaint - there should not be a fly in your bottle of supposedly pure water. But then, who hasn't found food that has been contaminated. I once had a bag of walnuts that grew larvae and eventually moths. These flour moths proceeded to invade my entire kitchen and any food that was not in sealed containers, which, at the time was most of my food, since I only started putting food in sealed containers after this incidence. Did I run off to some lawyer claiming mental anguish and near starvation, since I could no longer eat any of my food? No, I just chucked the whole lot out, bought some containers and got on with my life. In fact, the only time I ever complained about a food product was when I bought some Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts and there was not one, I repeat not even one, of the blue or pink bobbly ones. Well, even I have my limits, and I could not let this one go. So, I wrote and complained to Bertie Bassett and he sent me a replacement bag.

I will also point out that the Supreme Court may well have taken this case as an example case to make it clear what will and will not make it through a court of law. Fair enough, if we are looking at this from a lawyer's perspective. But, it still costs money and we shouldn't have to spend our money on cases where common sense provides the answer for far less. Let's face it, the guy must have had problems before this - how can a fly in a bottle of water possibly prevent a guy getting it up for his wife - come on! Perhaps she just wasn't prepared to share her bed with a man that was no longer washing due to his water phobia!?!

My advice - drink tap water - it's free, it's easy to obtain, and there is no need for manufacturing or recycling large volumes of plastic, using up valuable resources and energy. Bottled water, by its very nature, comes in bottles, and the plastic leaches chemicals into your water - well, that can't be healthy! I suspect that many bottled water companies just use tap water anyway, so you may as well miss out the middleman. When all is said and done, bottled water bugs me and it really should be banned. I am now off my soap box and I am going to check that I have enough bottled water in my garage to keep my toads happy and to see Mr. DBM and myself through a large scale break down of all infrastructure and services when the Big One hits. OK, so maybe bottled water is OK for amphibious pet keepers and in cases of emergencies.

The verdict - 9 : 0, in favour of the water company!


Anonymous said...

This bugs me too! Why can't someone in the legal system filter out this kind of senseless litigation? As for drinking tap water instead, do you know what that looks like under the microscope sometimes? LOL! Point is, we are not fragile little hothouse flowers and we can take a few nematodes and quite a lot of bacteria and not die - or even get sick - and what's more, let's face it, we HAVE clean (ish) water freely available unlike much of the world's population. Even if a lot of it is contaminated with flouride...

Anonymous said...

Ah, another one of my fav moans too ... I once found a fingernail in my Marathon (now snickers) bar .... all I got was 20 quid voucher !, also, people that sanitise everything, thats why people get ill so much, and my stomach is cast iron ....

Bought some peanuts, what does the label say ... caution, product MAY contain nuts ... it bloody well better had !!!!!

Make me soooo mad, we live in a blame society, you cannot just have a accident anymore, say, jeez, I am sorry.... no way ... off to court you go !!!!!!

I blame the americans for this !

Don't Bug Me! said...

Jay and Moon: You both raise good points - we are designed to deal with invading organisms, big and small, and in our oversanitised world, our bodies are losing the ability to fight. If we are never exposed to pathogens, we will never develop immunity to them. Which brings me to another thing that bugs me - household cleaners, tissues, toothpaste, clothes etc etc that contain antibiotics or antibacterials. Face it people, you cannot sterilise the planet! Wash your hands with soap and water and don't go around sneezing on people.
Funnily enough, I just heard of another case today, where a woman is taking a local supermarket to court because she was bitten by a spider in the fruit section. She claims the supermarket should have known there could be spiders in there and put up a warning sign. Can you imagine how many people would stop buying fruit if there was a big sign saying "Beware of the Spiders!"