I have a vested interest in keeping this story going, because the owner of the PR Differently site and I disagree on how long the story will last. I say it’s got legs; hell, the urban legend version’s lasted four years, and this has audio!
For several years Snopes has been reporting a phantom cheapskate on JDate.
Claim: Man invoices his date for half the cost of dinner when she renegs [sic] on an agreement to go out with him again.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2004]
Subject: Invoice 6/12/04
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2004 17:15:59 EDT
On June 5, you agreed to accept dinner, paid for in full, by me, based on your stated offer that we would go out again. In that you have ignored all overtures to said follow up meeting, you are hereby considered in breach of contract.
To that end, you are being invoiced for 50% of the cost of the dinner, pursuant to the offer. For the record, the offer presented you with the option of not going out again and paying for half of the dinner, or going out again and not paying at all. You accepted these terms, choosing to go out again, as stated above, but have since failed to deliver your end of the agreement. In that this was merely a promise to meet, and not a promise to marry, the agreement is binding under New York law and does not require a written agreement (i.e. statute of frauds).
Furthermore, this is absolutely not a joke.
Your share is 50% of $74.51 which is a total of $37.25. Payment in full is expected within 30 days.
You may remit to:
720 Greenwich Street, #4d
NY NY 10012
Origins: This missive from a woman who meets a man through JDate (a Jewish singles network), goes on a date with him, and then receives an invoice for half the cost of dinner after supposedly reneging on an agreement to go out with him again began circulating on the Internet in June 2004.
We don’t yet know whether the message reproduced above reflects someone’s real experience…
Now, it says “Status undetermined” meaning they don’t know if it is true, but the very fact that it was on Snopes, plus the sheer outrageousness of the story, led people to believe it was a fake.
From PR Differently, and you really must go read the whole thing:
COMPLETE WITH AUDIO!!
Our story opens with some background: For the uninitiated, (those who don’t live in either New York, Florida, Los Angeles, or Israel,) J-Date is match.com for Jews. I’ve used it. I’ve had a few good dates from it, a few horrible dates from it, like most everyone has.
And when you have one of those horrible dates, you chalk it up. “Oh, it was just dinner,” you say.
That’s life. There’ll be other dates. Right?
I mean, that’s what we all do, yes?
NOT DARREN SHERMAN. Darren just felt… Well, “wronged.”
So Darren asks Joanne out. Joanne accepts. They eat at China Grill. (Nice restaurant. I’ve been there.) Darren pays, despite Joanne offering to split the check.
At some point after the meal, Darren gets the idea that Joanne didn’t like him.
Rather than just chalk it up to a bad date (hey, it happens, right?) Darren… Well, Darren has other plans.
DARREN EMAILS JOANNE ASKING HER TO SEND HIM $50 FOR HER PORTION OF DINNER.
Ya know, some people are the type to let things go. Some people are the type to accomodate assholes. Some people are the type to hide.
And then there’s Joanne, who saves his harrassing emails, records his badgering messages, and uploads them to the internet, emailing the info to her friends, who email it to their friends, and so on, and so on… Go to the site for the audio and full saga. It’s delicious.
Bonus: naturally, people thought “oh, this is just an urban legend, too. There is no Joanne, no Darren. This never happened.”
Wrong-o, as this investigation by Lowdown proves:
Would-be Romeo Darren Sherman — until recently a little-known thirtysomething business consultant on the upper East Side — is fast becoming famous.
A China Grill manager told Lowdown yesterday: “I called Joanne. She filled me in a little bit — that this was a blind date, that she chose not to see him again. I said, ‘Hey, don’t worry about the bill.'”
Yesterday Sherman told Lowdown: “The whole thing is a hoax. … Please do not contact me again via phone or E-mail. Keep my name out of this. Don’t interrupt me. … Goodbye.” And hung up.
JDate spokesman Gail Laguna said Sherman has been suspended “for behavior that violated the terms and conditions of membership. … This is a great example of why we recommend our members go Dutch on their first dates.”
But then we’d have nothing to blog about, would we? The finale, from PR Differently:
Words fail me here, guys. And seriously – for a publicist? That’s rare.
And of course, much like the Ginsu Knives commercial, just wait. There’s MORE!
Yes, you read that right. Darren has told Joanne that he called China Grill to speak to the General Manager to explain that he should not have been charged for the entire meal – i.e., He expects China Grill to call Joanne and get her half of the bill, and credit his AmEx.
People, I have no motive for lying. You can’t make this stuff up.
Finally, the fifth voice mail. From CHINA GRILL! They called, apparently as confused as we all are, asking Joanne what the heck was going on.
PR props to China Grill – When Joanne told them the story, they not only told her to not worry about the bill, but offered her a free drink the next time she stopped in. WELL DONE, China Grill’s GM. Someone got their PR training. Bravo.
At this point, kids, that’s where our story ends. Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of Darren Sherman – Perhaps he’s filing a “stop payment” on his Amex Bill…
One thing we do know, though – (and how many times have I said this?) It you put it out there, either on a voice mail, email, fax, or the Internet, it WILL come back to bite you in the ass.
You don’t believe me?
Just ask Darren Sherman.