Tallahassee graced us with an unseasonably cool week – I drove to work with windows down at 69 degrees. Something about the promise of Fall gets me in cozy-mode. I skipped the gym last night to quilt and watch Netflix, which brings me to yet another list of documentaries on Netflix.

Hot Coffee
2011 | 88m

Quick & Dirty: Ever heard of Stella Liebeck? What about the court case where a woman was awarded over $2 million dollars because she spilled a cup of McDonald’s hot coffee on her lap? The imfamous “hot coffee case” changed the way Americans look at the civil courts and paved way for tort reform. Hot Coffee is the story of what truly happened to Ms. Liebeck and examines corporate greed.

Still not sold?: First things first, look at what 190 degree coffee did to Stella Liebeck’s body. Be forewarned, it’s graphic: click here. Long story short, the courts found McDonald’s was responsible because they instruct their franchisees to keep coffee at 180-190 degrees, a temperature that causes 1st degree burns after a few seconds of contact. Before the Liebecks pursued McDonald’s in open court, there had been 700+ other burn cases that McDonald’s had settled out of court. They had an opportunity to change their policies and chose not to.

Here comes the corporate greed. It starts with tort – a wrongful act that leads to a civil legal liability. Your doctor messes up in surgery and sterilizes you. During delivery, a mistake deprives your baby of oxygen and leads to permanent brain damage. This is the kind of case, like the hot coffee case, that is handled in the civil courts. In the 1990s, “tort reform” became a big topic of debate. Tort reform aimed to limit the amount of money you could sue a company for. Instead of getting $6.5 million from the doctor who permanently disabled your child, you can only get $250,000.

Hot Coffee looks at it all: tort reform, mandatory arbitration, judicial campaigns, buying supreme court judges and the Hot Coffee case. WATCH THIS!

Freakonomics
2013 | PG-13 | 1h 33m

Quick & Dirty: Cause and effect is something we learn in elementary school, but Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner take it to a different level. Based on their book, Freakonomics examines the casual relationships and data in some unlikely topics. Will your child’s name impact their success in life? Is there cheating in sumo wrestling? What really caused the crime wave of the 80s to fall in the 90s?

Turns out, polio and ice cream aren’t related. But if you look at the incentives and data, you can find patterns of cheating teachers and athletes. This one is a quick watch for a weeknight-in and sheds light on some really interesting topics.

True Cost
2015 | PG-13 | 1h 23m

Quick & Dirty: True Cost is focused on the fast fashion industry. In the past, stores rolled our four lines a year. In today’s staples: Forever21, Zara and H&M, you can find different styles on the rack each week. In fact, the fashion industry puts out 52 “micro season” each year. To keep up, the average American throws away 68 pounds of clothing every year.

Still not sold?: This industry, known as fast fashion, is fueled by sweatshops. Unbearable conditions and $10 a month are common. Chemicals are common in clothing, affecting those who put the clothes together and those who wear them. Purses, belts and shoes have been found to have heavy metal levels over the legal limit. Lead, formaldehyde, flame-retardants and other toxic carcinogens are present.

Quick documentary that is eye-opening about conditions for workers and the campaigns that consumers fall for. Being a conscious consumer isn’t difficult when you know what to avoid and are willing to pay for a shirt that’ll last more than two washes. 

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