Ben Edelman, the associate professor at Harvard Business School who threatened legal action against a Chinese restaurant in Boston that supposedly overcharged him $4, said that he was “out of line” in a public apology.
Screenshots of the email exchange between Edelman and Ran Duan, the manager of a bar connected to his parent’s restaurant, Sichuan Garden, were published online earlier this week and the story went viral.
Edelman released this statement on his personal website two days ago.
Many people have seen my emails with Ran Duan of Sichuan Garden restaurant in Brookline.
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.
I have reached out to Ran and will apologize to him personally as well.
In a previous statement to Business Insider, Edelman had defended his decision to alert local Boston authorities after he was charged $4 more than the total price listed on the restaurant’s out-of-date website.
“We all rely on trust in our daily lives — that when sales tax is added, it actually applies and equals the specified amount; that the meter in a taxi shows the correct amount provided by law and correctly measures the actual distance; that when you order takeout, the price you see online matches the amount you pay in the restaurant,” he wrote. “I’ve been pretty diligent in holding large companies accountable for their false statements of price and other attempts to overcharge passengers. Should all small businesses get a free pass? Some people seem to think so, I wonder if that really makes sense.”
Apparently, this isn’t even the first time Edelman has waged legal war against a neighborhood restaurant for a seemingly trivial matter. Just before his apology was released online, Boston.com received an email from the “former manager” of a sushi restaurant in the area who claimed to have taken part in a similar exchange years ago. The website published copies of the conversation between the manager and one grumbling customer who was confirmed to be none other than Harvard professor Ben Edelman. He was complaining about some Groupon vouchers that the restaurant failed to honor.
Ran Duan also released a statement on Wednesday thanking the local community and people from all over the world for the outpouring of support Sichuan Garden has received since the incident was made public.
While the two parties involved may have put the dispute to rest, it hasn’t stopped web users from taking a few digs at Edelman. “Whatever you do, don’t go over the word limits he sets,” someone wrote on the site ratemyprofesssors.com. “I once went over by 4 words and he wanted to make me write an extra 12 pages or turn me in for academic dishonesty.”