Scott Hollifield: Is potato case headed to court of a-peels?

In breaking tuber news, a class action lawsuit alleges the restaurant chain and food company TGI Fridays has deceived a snack-hungry public by selling a product advertised as “Potato Skins” that contains no actual potato skins, but a delicious blend of oil, potato starch, flakes, corn and salt.

In other words, welcome to Potatogate.

As the interim senior correspondent assigned to spud-related civil action and consumer protection for this award-winning publication, I will try to explain this complicated case in a question-and-answer format. Hold on to your tater tots, here we go.

Q. Scott, with everything going on in the world, why is a court of law devoting one single minute to someone upset about a bag of cheap salty snack food? Give us some details and none of that fake news you guys are always peddling.

A. According to various media accounts and a March 29 story on the website Top Class Actions, the plaintiff purchased a bag of TGI Fridays Sour Cream & Onion Potato Skins chips from a convenience store “because she believed it was made from real potato skins and would be healthier than similar potato-based snacks.” She filed suit because the product reportedly contains no potato skins.

Q. I bought a hot dog from under the heat lamp at the Stop-N-Go near the house believing it would provide me with the energy and nutritional support to mow the lawn after lunch, but by the time I got home I had to sprint to the bathroom where I spent the next two hours doubled over on the cold tile floor wishing I would die. Can I file a class action lawsuit against Gary, the clerk who swore to me he put those hot dogs fresh under the lamp when he started his morning shift?

A. Maybe. Gary’s pockets probably aren’t as deep as TGI Fridays but you could give it a shot.

Q. Nah, about all Gary’s got is a Nissan Sentra and some dirt weed he bought on credit from his cousin. It wouldn’t be worth my time. So, what is the plaintiff’s main argument here?

A. Top Class Action pulled this from the filing: “Defendant’s ‘Potato Skins’ representations are deceptive because the snack products do not actually contain any potato skins… This labeling deceives consumers into believing that they are receiving a healthier snack, but Defendant’s products do not live up to these claims.”

Q. Let me get this straight. This person pulls into a convenience store, possibly on her way to train for the Boston Marathon or en route to a photo shoot for the cover of Fitness Magazine, and she says, “Golly, I am hungry and would like a delicious, nutritious snack that is healthier than most, perhaps an orange or apple or granola bar or a $1.99 bag of TGI Fridays Sour Cream & Onion Potato Skins. They have the word ‘skin’ in them and everyone knows skin is synonymous with healthy eating and on the menu of every Olympic-caliber athlete. Yum.”

After consuming the TGI Fridays Sour Cream & Onion Potato Skins she is shocked to learn there are no potato skins – the part many of us eat around and discard when enjoying a baked potato – and she believes the best course of action is to file a lawsuit because if TGI Fridays is allowed to get away with this misrepresentation, what’s next? French fries won’t be imported from France? Hot dogs will contain no processed canine? Slim Jims will be available to anyone off the street not named Jim? Scott, what is this world coming to?

A. I don’t know, man. Tell Gary to pick us up in the Sentra after he gets off work at the Sip-N-Go and we’ll ride down to the river with a couple of six packs and bag of Potato Skins and try to figure it all out.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, NC and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifield@mcdowellnews.com.

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