A Michigan Man Tried The ‘Seinfeld’ Bottle Deposit Scam And It Didn't End Well
Nearly two decades after the show Seinfeld went off the air, the 90s sitcom seems to remain in our collective conscious as much as ever – not just for its characters like the Soup Nazi or its catchphrases like “double dipping” but also in the world of really dumb scams.
As fans of the show probably recall, a two-part episode called “The Bottle Deposit” from Seinfeld’s seventh season revolved around a plan cooked up by Kramer and Newman to make a profit from Michigan’s higher 10-cent bottle deposit refund rate by driving bottles in from New York where the refund is just 5 cents. Though the episode repeatedly harps on how difficult the task is to work out financially, what it doesn’t bring up is that such as scheme is also illegal. Michigan forbids people from knowingly trying to return bottles from another state.
Brian Edward Everidge is learning this reality the hard way. According to the Livingston Daily, the Michigan resident will stand trial in the state after he was pulled over speeding and a police officer reportedly found over 10,000 cans in the Budget box truck he was driving. Officer Clifford Lyden testified that, at the time, Everidge admitted the cans were from Leton, Kentucky. “He said his intent was to return them; he just didn’t say where he was going to return them,” Lyden was quoted as saying. The officer also said the defendant stated the plan was to get “deposit (money) he did not pay.”
Though it’s illegal for anyone to knowingly return out-of-state cans in Michigan, the penalty is especially tough for those with over 10,000 cans. At that point, the crime becomes a felony punishable by five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000. Saying you’re doing hard time for having too many Sprite Zero bottles probably isn’t going to earn you much respect behind bars either.
In Everidge’s defense, the Livingston Daily reports that his lawyer claims the statute shouldn’t apply to his client because he never actually made it to a dealer to attempt the return. He only “attempted to attempt,” the lawyer was quoted as saying. I swear that sounds like a lawyer I’ve heard before…