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The Independent Online

It's tragic. No, really. We all recognise the problem. You buy a fancy-looking pair of shoes; only when you put them on at home do you discover that they are horribly uncomfortable. And then the shop assistant refuses to take them back, pointing to some innocent specks of dirt on the sole.

Martina Hingis, the world's number-one woman tennis player, understands our grief. Her tennis shoes were, she reckoned, uncomfortable. They were "defectively designed", and failed to provide "the support necessary to play competitive tennis".

So, naturally, she demanded her money back. Well, not exactly her money. She had, in fact, been promised $5.6m to wear the shoes and other Sergio Tacchini clothing.

None the less, the allegedly pinchy shoes made her really, really mad. So mad that she is now suing Sergio Tacchini for the shoes, to the tune of $40m. This, we feel, shows class. Cheapskates, after shelling out good money for a nice pair of shoes, may feel grateful if they get a refund of £49.99. Martina demonstrates, however, that this is quite the wrong approach. First, you get paid $5.6m to wear a pair of shoes; then you get paid $40m not to wear them. Simple, no?

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