I grew up hearing about this lady that sued McDonald’s over hot coffee. She won a few million bucks over something that should have been obvious. McDonald’s had been wronged by someone who was looking to use the law to make a quick buck.
Except that’s not what happened. The jury saw a company not treating injuries to people like, well, injuries to people. Despite knowing that its coffee could burn human flesh, McDonald’s kept it piping hot.
Underlying all of this is an assumption: McDonald’s made its money fair and square. Ms. Liebeck, the woman who had to get skin grafts and new sweatpants, was unfairly enriching herself. It’s okay for a company to make millions of bucks by keeping coffee hot. It’s not okay for people injured by that coffee to try to stop it from happening to anyone else.
The McDonald’s coffee case fascinates me because it serves as a good example of how skewed my society’s views of fair dealings are. It’s okay to donate money to those in need when they go viral on social media. It’s not okay to have an economic system which lets them earn enough money in the first place.
Except, it’s not foreign to people to think that people should be able to earn a living wage. It’s not foreign for people to think that it’s wrong for people to just keep hurting others. So how does the perception of fairness change?
I feel like the answer to that question might help people get past some of the current miseries they are forced to cope with.