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Marketing company chases Twitter for $7,000 over 'swag gift box for Elon'

This is just a sliver of the $400,000 allegedly owed for branded merch

Canary Marketing is the latest entity to join the orderly queue asking Twitter to pay its invoices – this time to the princely tune of $400,000.

The California-based company describes itself as a "multi-faceted marketing company that, among other things, helps businesses promote themselves by designing, packaging, and distributing branded merchandise to employees and customers."

In a lawsuit [PDF] filed January 6 in the Superior Court of the State of California, Canary said: "The business relationship between Canary and Twitter dates back to 2013; between the start of the relationship in 2013 and August 2022, Canary has delivered more than $10 million of Twitter-branded merchandise to Twitter."

However, it claims: "Twitter performed on the parties' contract for nearly 10 years, but beginning in September 2022, it stopped paying Canary's invoices. Twitter never complained about the quality of Canary's services or materials, and Twitter never communicated any objections to any invoices. Twitter simply stopped paying. The amount now owing from Twitter to Canary is $392,239.11."

Canary lists a number of allegedly unpaid invoices spanning September to November – including one charged at an eye-popping $246,801.63.

We should all know by now (he won't shut up about it) that SpaceX and Tesla mogul Elon Musk purchased Twitter in late October for $44 billion. In an early reign characterized by chaos both on and off the social media platform, a number of organizations – including but not limited to the British monarchy – have taken the company to court alleging unpaid bills.

One of the standout items in a truly fascinating index of evidence [PDF] filed in support of Canary's claim is titled "Swag Gift box for Elon" (page 40) shipped to Twitter's Market Street headquarters in San Francisco for September 23. Deeper into the document (page 81), we find out what was inside the $6,783.99 treasure trove.

The hoard includes two branded bomber jackets for $1,000, two branded T-shirts for $550, socks somehow coming to $260, a $585 cheese board, $215 of cheese to go with it, Nikka Whisky for $689, a $129.99 rocket cocktail shaker, a moon ice mold for $148, a branded magnetic box at $795, and more.

Most of these items came with a "set-up" charge ranging from $85 to $125. We dearly hope everyone enjoyed "Elon's party" as it is described in the notes of the invoice despite the thousands of layoffs that followed, layoffs that are starting to make more and more sense if Twitter was this profligate.

If we unpack the invoice that forms the bulk of Canary's complaint (pages 66-74), we find hoodies, T-shirts, socks and stickers ordered in ungodly quantities with absurd packing and shipping costs. Who spends a quarter of a million on branded merchandise? There aren't even enough people left at Twitter to enjoy them.

Have fun browsing through the invoices. We can't dissect them all here, but the amount of tat ordered is staggering, the use of "swag" indiscriminate.

The company was served the complaint on January 25 with a deadline to respond by February 24. "Twitter represents that it needs several more weeks to investigate the allegations and assess the causes of action asserted against it in the complaint," attorneys said in a filing asking for an extension to March 17. ®

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