The 90s television phenomenon that is Seinfeld came to be known as one of the greatest series ever thanks to its creators' ability to capture oddball cultural happenings—often food- or beverage-related—and turn them into plot devices. We're talking about dealing with nasty soup chefs, racing for the last babka at the local bakery, or scamming the state of Michigan when it comes to bottle deposit refunds.
This last example, which appeared on the series in an episode featuring Kramer and Newman called "The Bottle Deposit," has reared its head again IRL this week when a man was brought into court for attempting to pull off the Seinfeld-featured scam.
It all comes down to this: Michigan has the highest bottle return refund on standard cans and bottles in the nation: ten cents. Most other states that have container deposit laws—and not all do—cap the amount at a mere five cents. In the episode, Kramer and Newman planned to arbitrage the difference between the New York rate of five cents and Michigan's more generous ten cent rate. And that's just what Brian Edward Everidge of Columbiaville, Michigan, is accused of trying to do. It's against the law to bring bottles from one state into another state to get the deposit refund.
Whether Everidge got the idea from the TV show remains to come out in court. The Michigan resident was arrested on April 27 by Michigan State Police Officer Clifford Lyden after he was caught driving a Budget box truck at 72 miles per hour in a 60 miles per hour zone. Lyden pulled Everidge over and discovered that the truck was "packed" with clear plastic bags filled with aluminum cans. Smaller dark-colored bags filled in any and all spaces between the larger bags and were also filled with cans. Officer Lyden testified, "I don't think you could have put another five or ten cans in there. It was packed."Officer Lyden asked Everidge where the cans were from; Everidge admitted that he picked them up from Lexington, Kentucky. The police officer then arrested Everidge and charged him with attempting to return nonrefundable bottles, a crime that comes with a penalty of five years in prison if proven.
Everidge's defense? His lawyer says that although Everidge told the officer he planned to return the cans, he didn't say where he would do so—in Michigan or back in Kentucky, where he got the cans.Kramer and Newman never actually pulled off the Michigan bottle deposit scheme in the episode from way back when. Whether Everidge actually intended to pull off the deed in the state of Michigan is a question that will be answered in a court of law.