Sweetgreen, in case you’re not the long lunches type, is a $15 salad place. The ongoing death of retail on my commuter-abandoned street means my ‘grab a quick lunch’ options are more limited, and this is the only one I haven’t tried.

‘Quick’ turned out to be a misnomer. There are no grab and go options, and the ETA was wrong.

They also don’t accept cash, which means that you can’t buy food there without signing a TOS. Hooray online buying. Here are some of the things that TOS says.

(As always, I’m not a lawyer, although I’m more of one than the last time I did one of these, for reasons I can’t write about yet).

Sweetgreen terms of use agreement. (archive). Privacy policy.

Not about salad

You might think this is a contract governing the exchange of money for a few pieces of lettuce that you could have more quickly gotten out of the garbage. Not so:

12.4 Basis of the Bargain. The limitations of damages set forth above are fundamental elements of the basis of the bargain between Sweetgreen and you.

The real reason we’re doing these salad transactions is to help SG implement their liability cap.

Indemnification of course:

You agree to indemnify and hold Sweetgreen, its parents, subsidiaries, (list of 8 more things) (collectively, the “Sweetgreen Parties”) harmless from any losses, costs, liabilities and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) relating to or arising out of: (a) Your Content; (b) your misuse of the Services; (c) …

I’m actually impressed that this has ‘misuse of the services’ rather than ‘use of the services’, which is a slimier version I’ve seen elsewhere. Still – all I wanted was a salad. I sincerely believe that if I’m insuring a large company against legal risk, they should comp me the second topping.

You’ll note the indemnity is not mutual. Also they have a one-sided cap on liability based on total $ you paid them in a year.

I think my favorite part of this TOS is not what’s in it, but what’s missing: the word ‘salad’ doesn’t appear once. You might think you’re exchanging cash for salad? Apparently not. You’re not even guaranteed a salad if you pay!

Prices are subject to change without notice

You agree to pay for all orders made from your Account in accordance with the prices and billing terms in effect at the time an order is made from your Account, regardless of whether your actually receive the products

(‘whether your actually’ is their typo, not mine).

No shared work accounts:

You further agree that you will not maintain more than one Account at any given time

You agree to monitor your Account to restrict its use by minors and other unauthorized users and agree not to share your Account or password with anyone

Included by reference

  • LevelUp tos and privacy (I think they’re an e-commerce loyalty program)
  • Chase ‘paymentech’ (?) tos and privacy

LevelUp will share your data:

For Advertising and Marketing Purposes. For example, LevelUp or Restaurants may contact you, or engage a third-party to contact you, in relation to our Services as well as other promotions and offers that you have requested or we believe might interest you.

We may share information with third parties at the direction of the Restaurant in accordance with our agreement with the Restaurant to provide the Services, which may include point of sale providers, customer service providers, advertising and marketing partners, email service providers, texting service providers, social networks, our affiliate Grubhub and its subsidiaries and affiliates.

And Chase will sell anonymized data to all comers:

De-identified information. We also use and disclose data we collect or generate on an aggregate or de-identified basis (such that it does not identify any individual Merchant or card holder) for business purposes, where permissible under applicable laws and regulations.

Arbitration acrobatics

(Reader: do not read this section! I’m not a lawyer and have no idea about this stuff, and even actual lawyers have no idea if clickwrap / browsewrap is valid these days).

As with most salad places, you have to constantly refresh the page to make sure you’re up to date with the contract.

Subject to Section 16.9 of this Agreement, Sweetgreen reserves the right to modify this Agreement or its policies relating to the Services at any time, effective upon posting of an updated version of this Agreement. You should regularly review this Agreement, as your continued use of the Services after any such changes constitutes your agreement to such changes.

16.9 Modification. Notwithstanding any provision in this Agreement to the contrary, we agree that if Sweetgreen makes any future material change to this Arbitration Agreement, you may reject that change within thirty (30) days of such change becoming effective by writing Sweetgreen at the following address: Sweetgreen, 3000 Robertson Blvd 3rd Floor Culver City, CA 90034, Attn: Support.

You’ll note that they can modify the agreement but not the arbitration part of the agreement. This is probably because there’s case law that has overturned arbitration waivers when boilerplate contracts like this are unilaterally modifiable, on the theory that a unilaterally modifiable contract is essentially void. I’m not sure if there’s case law endorsing this kind of workaround. In practice there’s not much in the arbitration agreement to modify.

Also, lawyers have figured out that they can essentially do class action via arb (against amzn, trying to stop AT&T merger, and fairshake is I believe a company that solicits arbitration plaintiffs using google ads). I’m not sure modern TOS cares as much about arbitration.

Still – I suspect the modification clause is no bueno and this is plausibly not a contract.

Are they selling your data

To anyone with a pulse.

Joint Marketing Partners and Joint Ventures. We may also share any personal information we collect with third party companies that have entered into joint marketing collaborations or other joint ventures with Us, which may use and share such information pursuant to its own privacy policy.

Advertising Partners. We may also enable third party advertising companies to collect information about your activity on the Services for the purposes described in the Advertising section above and/or use hashed customer lists that we share with them to deliver ads to them and similar users on their platforms.

You can log into an app from the ad industry to change what ads you see. It’s like captain planet but the ‘powers combined’ are from the LUMAscape:

Mobile app users may opt out of receiving interest-based advertising in mobile apps provided by participating members of the Digital Advertising Alliance by installing the AppChoices mobile app

Or log into FB + google. Ignore the fact that logging in on a new device helps them to track you.

You can opt out-out of personalized ads from Google by visiting https://adssettings.google.com, or from Facebook by visiting https://www.facebook.com/about/ads and following the instructions to manage your ad preferences.

And also they’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel:

Please note that we also may work with companies that offer their own opt-out mechanisms or do not participate in the opt-out mechanisms described above. Even after using these opt-out mechanisms, you may receive interest-based advertising from other companies.

Note their CA ‘shine the light’ hotline is missing a mailing address. Submit my request in writing to who?

If you are a user of the Services and a California resident, California’s “Shine the Light” law (California Civil Code § 1798.83) permits you to … If this law applies to you and you would like to make such a request, please submit your request in writing to with “Shine the Light” in the subject line. The request must include your name, street address, …

They’re also doing something with camera footage:

Other Information which may be captured by security camera footage recorded at our restaurants, offices or facilities.

My point here: they sell fifteen dollar salads. If $15 salad sellers need a slimy ads side hustle to make ends meet, something is wrong with our society.

How did death of retail taste

Not awesome. I miss self-serve salad bars. Post-bezos whole foods has been worse, although the hudson yards one is pretty well stocked even post-pan. FiDi whole foods circa 2017 was peak whole foods salad bar, although the lack of baby corn and other omissions make it still far inferior to the below-grade place on st marks near astor place.

In summary: over-priced, inferior to self-serve, weirdly specific granny farts for 24 hours.

TOS these other salads

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