Forming a Contract

Sally Signer

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Sally Signer was smart and industrious. The year was 2010, and Sally was in the market to purchase a high-quality snow-cone machine. Sally had always wanted to start her business called “Sally’s Snow Show Cones.” It did not matter she lived in Wisconsin. “People love snow cones,” she thought.

Luckily, Sally was a bargain hunter and very good at the task. She would flip through bargain trader magazines, visit auction sites like ebay.com, and even travel within the border of her state to find a machine.

One day, while shopping at “Ima Shyster’s House of Wares,” Sally saw the perfect snow-cone machine: the Snow Stopper 3000. It crushed the ice, added the flavorings, and poured the delicious semi-beverage into a plastic cup – all with the push of one button! (Sonic, eat your heart out.)

A large sign outside (and inside) the store stated: “THIS WEEK ONLY, EVERYTHING IN THE STORE HALF OFF!

The owner of “Ima Shyster’s House of Wares,” Ima himself, noticed Sally looking at the Snow Stopper 3000. He approached her on the showroom floor. Their conversation went as follows:

———————————–

Ima: “I see you are interested in the 3000. She’s a good model and I can give it to you at a great price.”

Sally: “Really? You see, I’ve always wanted one of these and it would be great to start my business.” [The price tag affixed to the machine stated the product was $1,200.00]

Ima: “Is that a fact? Well, I’ll tell ya’ what I’m gonna do for you. I’ll let you have this beee-utiful machine for the low low price of only $1,000.00. How does that float your boat?”

Sally: “I don’t know, I saw this same model on ebay for only $900.00.”

Ima: “$900.00, eh? Ebay, eh? Well how about $875.00?”

Sally: “How about $500.00?”

Ima: “Lady, are you out of your mind? I could not possibly go lower than $750.00!”

Sally: “I’ll think about it. How long can you keep your offer open?”

Ima: “Only a reasonable amount of time, my dear – these babies are selling like hot cakes!”

Sally: “And you’re sure $750.00 is as low as you can go?”

Ima: “Maybe $700.00.”

Sally: “I’ll take it for $700.00 if I like the way it works.”

————————–

Sally then exited Ima’s store, thinking to herself how savvy she is for getting such a great deal. She would call Mr. Shyster later that day to work out delivery arrangements for her $350.00 Snow Stopper 3000. “After all,” thought Sally, “the sign said everything is half off.”

Little did Sally know that after leaving Shyster’s store that afternoon, an electrical fire ripped through the showroom, destroying all of Shyster’s merchandise (including the Snow Stopper 3000). Nobody was hurt in the blaze.

And little did Ima Shyster know that Sally Signer was only 15 years old. She was mature (she did have a learner’s permit), but nonetheless, only on the planet for 15 years.

Ima Shyster, meanwhile, went crazy after his showroom went up in smoke. However, everyone in the business had known for some time that Shyster had “not been quite right lately.” In fact, Shyster believed a stray dog living in the back of the store was the President of his company and Shyster would often make business calls on a phone that was not even operational.

The Fine Print

Your mission is to discuss one of the following situations (and of course, provide follow-up to two of your classmates):

a)You are an attorney for Ima Shyster.

b)You are an attorney for Sally Signer.

What, if any, contractual problems are involved with the situation above (guessing is good at this point in the game; more definite issues will arise with discussions in later chapters)? Is there even a contract? If so, what kind? How about any issues that may prevent a contract from being formed? Was there an offer? Or even a meeting of the minds? Was the offer terminated? When? What exactly was the consideration? Was there an illusory promise? Despite any problems, would a contract nevertheless be valid? Enforceable?

What I am looking for is a solid analysis of the situation, supra. You could IRAC different parts if you would like. However, no matter what, please include terms from the text and apply them to the fact situation.

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