Nominal nonsense, the sequel


Hey, remember back when we laughed at the lawsuit against Home Depot and Menard’s for fraudulently selling undersized 4x4’s? Well, I’ve got some half-good news.

A federal judge in Illinois – the home state of the law firm initiating the class action lawsuit – threw the case out against Menard’s for a number of stated reasons. None of those stated reasons included, surprisingly, “Geez, guys, just how stupid can you be?” Instead, Judge Edmond Chang cited that pretty much everyone who isn’t a complete knucklehead knows that 4x4s, 2x4s and other dimensional lumber doesn’t measure the actual nominal dimensions. Plus, the lumber is fully accessible in the store, allowing anyone to measure it before purchase.

And, in a victory of writers and editors everywhere, the judge also noted that there’s nothing dishonest about the names 2x4, 4x4 and others because those terms follow punctuation rules: There are no inch marks. That is, they’re not sold at 2"x4"s or 4"x4"s, meaning that the labels are, in his words, “literally true.”

As I said at the outset, this is only half-good news. Unfortunately, common sense has not yet ruled in the same lawsuit – initiated by the same law firm – currently pending against Home Depot. With luck, they’ll get the same judge.

Well, OK, sorry lawyers; I guess this one didn’t work so well for you. But, hey – Halloween is coming up. Have you considered a class action suite against Hershey, Mars and other candy companies regarding their “fun size” candy?

Sure, they’re enjoyable, but I suspect the “fun size” description is purely nominal.

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I’ve ruined a lot of projects by not leaving well enough alone, but sometimes tweaking really does improve something.