Johnny The Paperboy

Originally posted 2014-07-24 07:00:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

“Four weeks, twenty papers, that’s two dollars. Plus tip.” – Johnny The Paperboy, Better Off Dead

There are certain things that make me sit back and really wonder what has happened to people over the course of their lives.

For all of my ranting about how dumb people can be, I actually try and be very empathetic.  I’ve said it before – nobody wants to be That Guy, and so it’s at least worth a shot at figuring out what got them to that point in their lives.

And so, as I played catch up on my email last night, and I see a notice that there’s a class action lawsuit against Norton for something…well, I used Norton, did they do something unscrupulous?  Did they break a law?  Did they have a privacy breach that nobody knew about?  Did their software not actually do anything and they were guilty of fraud?

Nope, nothing really all that serious.  It’s just that Johnny the Paperboy from Better Off Dead has grown up…but he still wants his two dollars…

ajxum…and 99 cents.

I guess that’s not bad for an interest and finance charge since Better Off Dead came out in 1985 and all.

So what does this have to do with my email?  I got to this note:

You have received this email because records of Symantec Corp. or Digital River, Inc. indicate that you may have purchased Extended Download Service (“EDS”) or Norton Download Insurance (“NDI”) for Norton products.  The Court in this case has determined that the lawsuit can proceed as a class action on behalf of people who purchasedExtended Download Service for Norton products or Norton Download Insurance between January 24, 2005 and March 10, 2011.  The lawsuit alleges that Defendants a) misrepresented that EDS and NDI were necessary if a customer wanted to redownload their software more than 60 days after purchase; and b) failed to disclose that customers could redownload their Norton software for free on Defendants’ own websites or buy EDS later if needed.  For more information about the case – now pending in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota – and your rights as a potential Class Member, please go to, call 1 (855) 382-6395 or email

Well, okay, that sounds somewhat nefarious and I guess I should take a look to see if I have anything to do with this and so let’s do a quick search through my email and…


…no seriously….really?!

From May of 2007, I find my email confirmation of purchase, and yeah, it’s got a line item on it for that service, but…

1 Extended Download Service License Certificate Download $2.99

Two dollars…and ninety-nine cents.

From more than seven years ago…you want me to worry…about two dollars…and ninety-nine cents.

Based on my normal bill rates, I burned more than $2.99 reading your email and finding that receipt, guys.

karate-kid-part-ii-drums-mr-miyagi-satoAnd so now, like Mister Miyagi staring forlornly at his old friend Sato in Karate Kid II, I find myself asking “What has happened to you?”

Where did things go wrong?  Who hurt you so badly that you felt compelled to:

1. Spend the time figuring this whole thing out.

2. Find a lawyer.

3. Go through the hassles and headaches of getting this paperwork filed.

4. Presumably issuing a subpoena to Norton and Symantec for their customer database and contact list (and sidenote: hey Symantec and/or Norton, when crap like this happens, you really ought to be forced to notify people that you’re handing over their damned contact information, just saying)

5. Open yourself up to being labeled as Johnny the Paperboy from Better Off Dead

I’m not saying all lawsuits are stupid, and I’m not saying that there aren’t some bad practices out there that deserve a good smackdown…

…but I am saying that there’s a reason why it takes real court cases so long to ever get heard.  It’s because things like this with so little real value, so low of an return on investment…

I mean, are you hoping for fame?  For glory?  To be written up in Wired or CNN as “the guys who took down the most evil business practice since Enron?”

Because right now…it just looks like you’re in it for $2.99.

lucyI’m not sure how much therapy $2.99 will buy you, but I do know where you can get 59 sessions.

Maybe even a 60th if she’s feeling generous.

Because this whole thing feels like some surreal cartoon plot anyways.

That’s all for this time, now go read something else.


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