I. WAS THE SIGN AN OFFER?
To determine Janet’s eligibility to a coffee, the court must first assess whether Erica made her an offer.
A. Mere puffery
Mere puffery negatives the legal efficacy of statements that are ‘evidently in jest’.[footnoteRef:1] A puff needs to be so far-fetched that no reasonable, objective person would think it legitimate.[footnoteRef:2] [1: Leonard v Pepsico Inc 88 F Supp 116 (SDNY 1999) at 126-128.] [2: Ibid at 126.]
‘Lolz’ gives Erica’s sign comical overtones. However, its contents, ‘a free coffee for torts students’, is not sufficiently unreasonable to constitute puffery. For, Janet believes the sign, and, without indication to the contrary, she is reasonable and objective. This disproves the ‘no reasonable person test’ and, as such, Erica’s defense of mere puffery will likely be dismissed.
Analysis must move to whether Erica’s sign was invitation to treat (ITT) or offer.
Ordinarily, advertisements are ITTs.[footnoteRef:3] ITTs, rather than being offers, may amount to them by instigating solicitations between parties.[footnoteRef:4] Signs are a recognized form of advertisement.[footnoteRef:5] [3: Mesaros v United States 845 F.2d 1576 (Fed Cir. 1988) at 1581-82.] [4: Lefkowitz v Great Minneapolis Surplus Store 86 NW 2d 689 (Minn. 1957).] [5: Leonard v Pepsico Inc 88 F Supp 116 (SDNY 1999) at 117-28.]
Erica’s display is a sign. It exists to draw customers in to later complete a transaction (receiving a free coffee). On first inspection, the sign is an ITT.
C. ITT or offer?
An ITT becomes a legally recognizable offer when the following elements are established:
1) Clarity.[footnoteRef:6] [6: Lefkowitz v Great Minneapolis Surplus Store 86 NW 2d 689 (Minn 1957).]
2) Reasonableness.[footnoteRef:7] [7: Grainger & Son v Gough  AC 325 at 334.]
3) Intention.[footnoteRef:8] [8: Gibson v Manchester City Council  1 WLR 520.]
4) Quid pro quo (QPQ).[footnoteRef:9] [9: Australian Woollen Mills v The Commonwealth (1954) 92 CLR 424 at 456-7.]
An offer is ‘clear, definite and explicit’, leaving ‘nothing open for negotiation’.[footnoteRef:10] [10: Lefkowitz v Great Minneapolis Surplus Store 86 NW 2d 689 (Minn 1957).]
Erica states ‘a free coffee’ means one per day, not, as Janet believes, one per person per day. The sign is thus subject to multiple meanings. A court might use this to suggest it lacks sufficient clarity.
In Lefkowitz v Great Minneapolis Surplus Store, the limiting device ‘first come first served’ specified the quantity of goods available for purchase.[footnoteRef:11] This rendered the putative offer requisitely precise and clear.[footnoteRef:12] [11: Ibid.] [12: Ibid.]
When Janet suggests Erica provided ‘no words of limitation’, she assumes that this implies Erica’s desire to give out multiple, free, daily coffees. Yet this perspective does not correspond with Lefkowitz;[footnoteRef:13]...