BOSTON (CBS) – What a gift the Internet is, wouldn’t you say?

It gives us the ability to share stories with a mass audience, and make our reactions felt, exposing lies and shaming worthy offenders.

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There’s strength in numbers, and that was evident yesterday when a Harvard Business School professor named Ben Edelman was brought to heel by social media for venting his spleen at a Chinese restaurant that overcharged him for his dinner.

Edelman had used an online menu to order takeout from the place, but when he checked his bill, he’d been charged $4 more than he should have been. When he complained, a spokesman for the restaurant acknowledged that their online menu was out of date, and offered to send him the new one.

An overcharge by the Sichuan Garden prompted an angry response from a Harvard professor. (WBZ-TV)

An overcharge by the Sichuan Garden prompted an angry response from a Harvard professor. (WBZ-TV)

Understandably enough, Edelman wanted a refund. The restaurant offered less than the overcharge, and things escalated quickly from there, with the professor – as academics sometimes do, hello there, Prof. Gruber – quickly lapsing into arrogant legalisms that rightly struck those who read the email exchange on Boston.com as obnoxious.

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And the power of the social media mob was unleashed on Edelman. Obscene t-shirts dissing him were on sale by midday; Twitter tore at his flesh. By late in the day, he was issuing a prostrate apology to his victim.

Lost in all this was the fact the Edelman’s complaint to the restaurant was valid. A bait-and-switch is a bait-and-switch, and it’s wrong, a fact the mob ignored in its rush to string him up.

The Internet is a great tool, alright. But one thing it can’t do is make people think before they vent.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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Jon Keller