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Unbearable Harvard Guy Contacts Authorities Over $4 Chinese Food Mistake

Ben Edelman became more than a little upset about a pricing discrepancy at Sichuan Garden in Brookline.

Sichuan Garden's Woburn location
Sichuan Garden's Woburn location

Ben Edelman, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, recently had a hankering for some take-out from Sichuan Garden's Brookline location. He found the food to be "delicious," but a $4 discrepancy between his receipt and an outdated website menu led to a lengthy exchange of emails between Edelman and Ran Duan, Eater Boston Bartender of the Year, who manages The Baldwin Bar at the Woburn location of Sichuan Garden (his family owns the restaurants.)

Not content to solely send a stern email or two, accept a $4 refund, and go on his merrily well-fed way, Edelman escalated the situation to literally contacting the authorities and spouting off paragraphs upon paragraphs of consumer protection statues, at one point asking for a refund of $12, not $4, because "consumers broadly receive triple damages for certain intentional violations." Later, he upped his request to 50% of the total bill as "thanks for [his] bringing the matter to [Duan's] attention," and he noted that authorities would be "pleased" to see "generous more-than-refunds" provided "to all customers who flagged the problem." has the whole saga, including all the emails and some comments from both parties.

UPDATE: The professor speaks.

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Sichuan Garden

295 Washington St, , MA 02445 (617) 734-1870 Visit Website