There's no shame in drinking at TGI Fridays; nothing wrong with getting day-drunk on $5 Rum Punch; stumbling across the parking lot into a pet store and impulse-buying an Angora rabbit; then giving your Uber driver an extra $10 for letting you and the rabbit both ride in the front seat. Not that we know what that’s like, obviously.
But when Robert Cameron went to a TGI Fridays in Toms River, New Jersey, paying $5 for a Stella Artois didn't make him want to buy a bunny—but it did make him feel like hiring an attorney.
According to the Associated Press, Cameron had that "mass-produced beer," a soda, and a water with his meal in August 2012, and was "shocked" when he got the bill and had to pay $5 for the brew and almost $3 for the soda. (If that's all it takes to shock this guy, then he's clearly never ordered a drink at an NFL game. Or a movie theater. Or anywhere in Manhattan.) He says that he would've skipped the soda and ordered a cheaper beer—if only TGI Fridays had printed the prices on the menu.
He also found a lawyer who agreed with him when he said that the restaurant had violated consumer fraud laws, and they filed a lawsuit on Cameron's behalf in 2014. "We allege that a TGI Fridays restaurant owned by a franchisee selectively withheld prices from otherwise comprehensively priced menus as part of a carefully researched scheme to charge higher prices than the fully informed market could sustain,” his attorney, Sander Friedman, said in a statement obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
On Friday, a New Jersey state appeals court said that Cameron's lawsuit could proceed as a class-action suit, which means that anyone who "received a menu and ordered a beverage from a menu without a price” at the TGI Fridays locations in Toms River or in Manahawkin, New Jersey, might be eligible to join the class. But don't order that celebratory Rum Punch yet, Phyllis: No one will be receiving compensation or monetary damages. The only reason that a 'class' exists in this lawsuit is to ensure that TGI Fridays doesn't try to remove its drink prices again. (TGI Fridays says it added that info to its menus in August 2017.)
This is the second class action lawsuit that has been filed against TGI Fridays this year. In March, a New York woman sued the chain, alleging that it misleads consumers by not including real-life potato skins in its Potato Skins snack chips. Solange Troncoso says she bought a $1.99 bag of the chips at a bodega near her home in the Bronx and was shocked—SHOCKED!—when the package wasn't filled with the literal skins from potatoes.
"As a result of Defendant’s deceptive conduct as alleged herein, Plaintiff TRONCOSO was injured when she paid money for a product that did not deliver the qualities it promised and misled her as to its contents," her lawsuit states. "The Product is labeled as being a 'Potato Skins' Product, but in fact does not contain any actual potato skins [...] Defendant does not list 'potato skins' as an ingredient for the Products. The only potato ingredients that can be seen in the ingredient lists are 'potato flakes' and 'potato starch.'"
She is seeking "unspecified damages," according to Reuters. Robert Cameron's attorneys are also asking that he is compensated for his traumatic $5 Stella. Maybe he'll get enough to buy another round.