Since I've been thinking of the Doctrine of Unjust Enrichment all day
since you called while I was at HEB, I've worked up a simple
presentation to a jury...
I bought some milk, bread and eggs, and three muffins. I don't know
what they all cost together.
I went to the cash register, she scanned the bar codes, I paid her
$17.84 on my card. The money will clear from my account to HEB
account, probably before midnight. The goal from the clearing company
is T+3, or three business days, GMT.
I paid a fair price, and HEB made a fair profit.
I could have unjustly enriched myself if I had concealed three candy
bars in my pocket with my phone. I did not.
The cash register lady could have unjustly enriched herself if she had
overwritten the cash register by typing in $47.61. Neither of us
unjustly enriched ourselves.
If HEB were a mortgage company, they could unjustly enrich themselves
in many ways-
1. Charge a processing fee for each item. With 18 eggs, possibly a
deal of maximum eight items.
2. Come to my refrigerator next day and seize uneaten items for
resale to other customers. Charge me $30 for recovery and
refrigerated transport, plus debit of the original purchase value. If
the other customers only pay $4.21, the government will pay the
balance so they are whole.
3. Meanwhile, I am cold and hungry, and pissed.