Posted March 12, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk
I played the lottery a few weeks ago. Generally, I don’t go out of my way to buy tickets, but a few friends and I had been talking about how we would buy a yacht and sail around the world. Also, we would buy polar bear cubs because they’re cute and we’d employ a guy just to remind our friend Kate not to burn the bacon when she makes breakfast for us at sea. Living the good life, indeed.
To my grave disappointment, I didn’t win. (This time.) But the lure of free money remains. I want lots of money and I don’t really want to have to do too much for it—don’t I deserve lots of money? So, I can kind of empathize with Yale Junior Jesse Maiman, 21, who is trying to sue US Airways for a million bucks. Free money!
But here’s where the empathy ends and the desire to punch him in the head begins: Maiman is suing because his souped-up Xbox, valued at $1,700, was stolen out of his checked luggage. For the record, that’s .17% of that million bucks going to cover the game console and the other 99.83% going to cover Maimon’s “non-economic distress”—as he lamented to the press, “That thing was my DVD player.” (Perhaps unfairly, I prefer to imagine it as, “Dude, that thing was, like, my DVD player, bro.”)
I feel for the kid. I do. Nobody likes to get their stuff ripped off. However, I also don’t hand expensive things over to unseen strangers and expect to get it back. And then I don’t expect to get a million dollars of free money because I neglected the warnings. What warnings? Come on, does anyone really need to look through a multi-million-dollar airline’s baggage policy to know they don’t recommend checking really expensive things in your luggage and that they won’t be held responsible if said expensive things are missing?
Just for the record, US Airways Spokesperson Valerie Wunder points out that, “there are federal loss limits applicable to all airlines on their liability for lost luggage and belongings, which are currently set at $3,300 per bag." (That’s .33% of a million, by the way.) “Further,” she says, “our publicly available baggage policies specifically exclude liability for electronics checked in luggage." Yeah, that could hurt the suit.
Here’s what I’m thinking, Jesse: It does suck that your Xbox was stolen. And I understand that you’re upset. But that doesn’t mean you get a whole bunch of free money because of it. One million bucks isn’t the price US Airways will pay because your Xbox is gone; your Xbox is the price you’ll pay for being careless enough to check an expensive game console in your luggage.
I think we’re just going to go ahead and chalk this one up to a life lesson, kid.
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