Junior Mints Sued Because of Air in Box
The legal system was put in place to ensure that justice was served when people and companies broke the law. However, there have always been those cases that pop up from time to time that are so strange that they feel as if you must be living in a parody of the real world. One of the recent cases like this occurred in 2018 when a federal class-action lawsuit was brought against Tootsie Roll Industries, the makers of movie-theater staple Junior Mints. After the lawsuit was filed, two other customers joined it.
Why were people suing Junior Mints? The complaint was that there was too much air in the box and people felt as though they were not getting enough candy. They argued that because of the way the candy is packaged in a non-transparent box, it was not possible for the consumer to see the amount of candy inside compared to the amount of air that was in the box. They believe that the size of the box was deceptive, and people thought they were buying more than what was actually inside.
New Yorker Biola Daniel was the woman to file the lawsuit, and she said that 40% of the box of Junior Mints was filled with air. The amount of air seems to differ from box to box, Daniel bought the Junior Mints at a pharmacy in NYC. One of the other complainants, Abel Duran from Queens, bought a box of the candy at a movie theater and found that it was only 77% filled.
Why So Much Air?
If there really is 40% air in the boxes, you might initially think that the company is trying to provide less product in the box. However, attorneys for Tootsie Roll Industries say that the air, or slack fill, in the boxes is a means to ensure that the candy stays protected and that it actually adds value to the candy. They also said that the plaintiffs in the case were not able to prove how they were entitled to damages. After all, the details on the amount of candy that is actually inside is printed on the boxes themselves.
They went on to say that a reasonable consumer would not be deceived because the packaging is very clear on the candy’s net weight, as well as the serving size and the number of pieces of candy that are in the box.
The plaintiffs in the case disagreed with the response from Tootsie Roll Industries. They said that the company markets different packages with higher amounts of candy in the same boxes and label them as XL. They believe that the company is not filling the boxes to capacity.
What Happened with the Case?
While the plaintiffs wanted to go forward with the case, a federal judge in New York ultimately threw out the claim. They said that any reasonable customer would understand that there would be some empty space inside of the box, so the case did not end up going anywhere.
We’ve All Been There
Most of us have at one point or another opened up a bag of chips or a box of candy only to realize that there was a lot less product inside than we initially thought. However, by looking at the weight listed on the packaging, or the number of pieces, we realized that the company was being honest about what was supposed to be included. It’s still no fun to have less candy than you might want, but as this case proves, it is not an act that should be brought to the courts.