Monday, April 2, 2007

“A Verbal Contract Isn't Worth the Paper It's Written On” (Samuel Goldwyn)

This weekend D1 and Friend of D1 decided to play a game with S2 and Friend of S2. This is a game they have played before. It involves D1 and her friend owning and operating a business establishment, a.k.a. a restaurant, and S2 and his friend patronizing said restaurant. Sounds simple enough.

However, far too many times the game has run afoul. Allegedly, D1 and her friend have laboriously created a four-page printed and bound menu, set out the table cloth and candles, donned aprons and prepared gourmet omelets, only to have S2 and his accomplice, in an act of reckless abandonment, give up in hunger, grab a microwaved pizza, and in bad faith, without notice of cancellation, leave minutes before they were to be seated at Le Gamblet (the official name of the swanky French bistro that occasionally occupies my Orem, Utah kitchen).

When called upon to judge, I am forced to recuse myself due to personal conflicts (namely being parent to both defendant and accuser). When pressed for a verdict, I must side with the defendants as case law has shown that without a contract, the girls have no recourse to recover damages. And so, too often, the boys exit freely without being found legally liable for any wrong doing.

It was S2 and his friend’s idea to play the game this time. But D1 and her sidekick were cautious. So, they presented the boys with The Contract which was to ensure completion of the game, referred to hereafter as “FOLLOW THE RULES!!!!!!!” and a form of payment, referred to hereafter as “the Keychain”. Here it is, in its entirety, exactly as I found it Sunday afternoon:

We agree to play a game with you that involves a restaurant. You can do whatever you want but Friend of S2 must give Friend of D1 the Keychain.

___________________ ____________________
Sign Here

Now D1 and her friend, as I mentioned, have been through this before and in addition to The Contract, also presented the boys with an addendum. It is as follows:

Now play talk will be involved. No laughing for any weird reason. FOLLOW THE RULES!!!!!!!

__________ _________
Initial Here

Surprisingly, both parties signed and initialed The Contract without seeking representation.

Happily, upon execution of The Contract neither party was found to be in breach of said contract at any time. The girls put on a fabulous meal, and the boys enjoyed their cheesy bacon omelets so much they even left a fifty-cent tip, along with said keychain.

Whether or not the girls will choose to adopt a set of bylaws for Le Gamblet and its future participants, is yet to be determined. However, if they don’t make it in the restaurant business, I’m confident they would do well to opt for law school.


  1. I'm going to make up some contracts right now! keep up the good work.

    Guess who?

  2. Hurray, thank you for solving all future fights in our household!! *calling* "Oh, hubby..."

  3. Anonymous AKA Guess Who,
    I knwo exactly who you are and your brother and sisters will not be obligated to sign any contracts under duress.

  4. Dear Eve,
    What have I started? Seriously, what a litigious society we've become. We need a contract for every little thing. What happened to the day when a man's word was stronger than oak? I find, that our morals have sunken to an all-time... uh excuse me - my attorney is calling - I'm taking my neighbor to small claims court next week, so I really need to take this call. In my mother's loathsome words, "We'll finish this discussion later."

  5. Yup, it's all your fault, Deb-and we have it in writing to prove it.

  6. At my attorney's suggestion, I may have to remove this posting altogether. I will be reviewing the potential liabilities both personal as well as professional, and will then determine the best course of action.


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