The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog has what appeared initially to be a harmless posting by Ariel Porat titled If You Are Not Pleased with Our Service, You Do Not Have to Pay, relating to a sign at a hotel reception desk which greets the guests with that declared policy. As Porat observes: "Legally speaking, that means that a guest can walk away without paying."
That engendered a law-related reply (our initial interest in this posting) by Jake Walker:
"Interesting. This reminds me of litigation in Germany a few years ago about the no-questions-asked money-back guarantee of American retailer Lands End (I think). The German Supreme Court held, if memory serves, that this policy was anticompetitive and therefore illegal in Germany."
(For background and discussion of the Lands End case, see in this regard the Look Smart FindArticle Internet Helps Germany Kill Restrictive Retail Laws - Government Activity, Newsbytes News Network, July 2, 2001.)
OK. That was - apparently - that.
However, in the course of subsequent comments to the original posting by Porat, one of the posters, Chris Roach, closes his contribution with the following words, the last statement of which has led to a brush fire discussion on the topic of diversity:
"The only reason this guarantee works is because most people staying at that kind of hotel have some decency to begin with and becau[s]e America is a nation, even now, with relatively high degrees of trust. You will be less likely to find such trust in diverse settings....
In other words, in a world with too much diversity, expect worse service and less trust."Poster Erasmussimo counters:
"Good comments, Mr. Roach, although your final sentence has a nasty punch. What constitutes "too much diversity"? Must we all be the same for peace to reign? How much heterodoxy is acceptable? Given the ever-expanding nature of our social, economic, and political connections, is it not necessary for us to strive towards reducing perceived diversity?"
The subsequent discussion on the subject of diversity, the Supreme Court, related Constitutional issues, etc. is well worth a read, hitting upon fundamental questions of national and world politics today. Take a look.