I'm sure that by now, most of you have seen the People's Court case that aired on Dec 2. If not, you can view it at the end of this post or read the summary below.
An obviously frum couple are suing a dry cleaning establishment for $3000 for the destruction of a wig. The couple's young child put a $3000 Georgie wig into the dry cleaning bag before it went off to the cleaners. The dry cleaners saw the wig and phoned the customer what to do with the wig. The person calling had limited English skills and there is some confusion about what transpired over the phone call. The customer says that she told the dry cleaner not to wash it -- the dry cleaning employee says that she was told to wash, but not dry it.
In any event, the dry cleaner went ahead and washed the wig. The couple said that they took the wig to three different stores to see if it could be repaired, but they were told it was a total loss. The couple, however, did not bring any documentation of this (other than the receipt for the original wig purchase from Georgi back in May). The judge called a recess to consider the matter.
When the judge came back from recess, she said that she called Georgies and confirmed that the woman did indeed purchase a $3000 wig from them back in May. However, the wig was a long-haired wig (the one that the woman was wearing in court) and not a short wig (which is the one that was damaged). In addition, the damaged wig was a cheaper wig that Georgies does not even sell. The judge, in the end, tossed the suit.
What mystifies me about the couple's behavior is this:
I understand if they succumbed to temptation and decided to sue the dry cleaner to get them to pay for the more expensive wig. I don't approve, of course, but we're all human and we've all succumbed to some form of temptation or other.
However, if they did indeed attempt to perpetrate a fraud, I have to wonder what possessed them to do it on national television. It's bad enough they brought the suit in the first place -- but had this happened in small claims court, the case would have been thrown out and, at worst, a small blurb would have appeared in a local paper. But now, however, the attempted fraud is all over the internet. The video has 20,000+ views on YouTube, not to mention the many more people who actually saw the episode when it aired.
There is a reason that Chazal tell us that when one is tempted to sin they should do so in a far away place... so as to minimize the chillul HaShem that will result. I'm just utterly shocked and bewildered that they chose to attempt this on national television. To me, that's just as bad as the actual attempted fraud.