Yesterday, I was one of many who caught wind of the whole Harvard Business School professor goes to war over $4. By “goes to war”, seems to mean that he sent a whole bunch of d-bag emails to a restaurant/bar manager who doesn’t only come off as a perfectly reasonable mensch in the exchange, but was previously profiled by Boston Magazine and even featured in GQ Magazine as “America’s Most Imaginative Bartender.”

Ben Edelman (left) and Ran Duan (right) Photo Credit:
Ben Edelman (left) and Ran Duan (right)
Photo Credit:

Anyway, I’m not usually one to pay much attention to this kind of clickbait, but I was bored and curious, so I read most of the exchange posted on, and then got all enraged and stuff — you know, like you’re supposed to do when you’re using internet and reading stuff about people you don’t know. And then, because I like to tell people what I think of them and their actions, I sent the HBS prof. some hate mail via his contact form, and now I’m posting it here because, well, I think it was actually quite poignant and that it’d be a shame if no one else read it. Here it is (links added here for reference):

I read about your exchange with Sichuan Garden on, and I think you’re a complete schmuck. Really, all this over $4? What is your problem?

I understand you law types make a living by generating demand for your services by being unreasonably adversarial, but for someone who teaches business, I’d assume that you’d have a better grasp of the concepts of sunken costs and opportunity cost. Was the $4 really worth all the time and effort you put into this?

As far as updating websites is concerned, moreover, you could stand to update your own; it looks like something my great aunt Edna would design if all she had to work with was a pirated version of Microsoft Word and her glaucoma medication.

Lastly, your blog post apologizing for behavior seems suspiciously similar to the knee-jerk reaction of a self-righteous bully who is cowering in the face of a well-deserved public shaming. You, sir, strike me as a petty, puerile, and generally pusillanimous prat who, despite years of education, has still not learned to treat his fellow man with the decency and respect they deserve. Perhaps this experience will finally endow you with manners that your parents and education have failed to.

Now, whether or not Edelman actually learns to actually treat people decently or  just to fear the consequence if he doesn’t is ultimately up to him. I just hope, though, that even a fraction of the people who’ve gone out of their way to shame him on Twitter or Facebook also take a moment to show the bartender, Ran Duan, some love, too. Maybe that way, something more positive than a public shaming comes out of this all.

2 thoughts on “I Can Haz Hate Mail

  1. The best thing about moving to Chicago from the Boston area is that I am further away from Harvard. Needless to say, I was not surprised when I read this article.

    And I am sure the folks at are glad to be serving ads in Canada!


    1. As someone who’s career and personal life has hit a point where lawyers are necessary, I’ve really lost my patience with them. I truly feel that they’re only necessary most of the time because other people insist on being putz’s or schmucks — but I suppose that that’s another blog post altogether ;)

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