Wine Whining (When Wine Spillage Goes Terribly Wrong)

by admin on March 6, 2012

A forum friend (granddaughter here) told this story, hoping for some advice. Her grandma holds poker parties and at these poker tournaments everyone drinks. One of her guests, granddaughter’s BFF’s fiance, accidentally spilled an entire glass of red wine all over grandma’s light beige carpet (almost white). Fiance felt terrible about it and spent an hour trying to clean it up. The wine was everywhere. It looked good when they left and they offered to come back with a steam cleaner to clean it again.

Here’s the issue: grandma asked granddaughter to ask her friend and friend’s fiance to pay her $250 deductible because grandma filed a claim with her insurance to get new carpet. Best friend and her fiance haven’t had a chance to use the steam cleaner yet.

Some background: The friend and her fiance had been to grandma’s house at least 5 times for these tournaments and know her well. Grandma is the type of person who would look for an opportunity to make someone else pay for something. Granddaughter tried to talk her out of the deductible idea and said that the fiance was really sorry and that he would definitely steam clean it. Granddaughter is embarrassed and doesn’t want to be between family and a good friend.

The stain was huge. But it was barely discernible after the hour of elbow grease in cleaning it. But grandma said it must have soaked into the pad because the wine bled through again. It’s a 6 year old carpet, so granddaughter knows that grandma sees the opportunity to get a new carpet.

An item of interest: grandma drank too much at granddaughter’s house last Thanksgiving and vomited all over her bathroom and her wall. She didn’t ask grandma to pay for anything. I don’t know if grandma cleaned it up. 0301-12

To set the stage for my reply, a few comments….

How well the wine spiller knew the hostess is irrelevant to what is required of the guest to do to remedy the problem.
Whether Grandmom was a greedy money grubber in the past is not relevant to the matter at hand.
What happened at Thanksgiving between Grandmom and another hostess is not relevant to how fiance should resolve the problem he has created for his hostess.

Grovelling apologies followed by a rapid clean up was the right thing to do.  However, the final resolution on how to remedy the problem lies with the hostess/homeowner.   Guests who spill spectacular amounts of staining liquids onto carpets or irreplaceable items in the house are obligated by etiquette to replace it.  Ditto if the guest breaks an object belonging to the host who considers it valuable.   It must be made new again or the host compensated for the loss.  The host has an opportunity to wave off these sincere offers from the accidental guest but if the host does not, the guest does have an obligation to carry through and replace what he/she damaged.

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Confused March 6, 2012 at 5:01 am

Here is my question for this scenario – if this couple were actually guests of the grandma, and not tag-alongs of the granddaughter (and the fact that they have visited multiple times before suggests to me that they are indeed guests in their own right), why does grandma find it necessary to go through the granddaughter with her request for reimbursement?? It seems to me that the compensation conversation between the spiller and the host need not include any other parties.


Margo March 6, 2012 at 5:47 am

I have to slightly disagree with Admin here.

I agree that that issue of grandma being moneygrubbing and vomiting at granddaughters home are not releventfrom an etiquette standpoint, but to me, what stands out here is that grandma has niot allowed fiance to put it right, by steam cleaning the carpet.

Until that is done, she can’t judge whether it is adequate or whether she needs a new carpet. Fiance offered to ‘make her whiole’ by cleaning the carpet using a steam cleaner. If grandma choses not to accept, then that is her choice, but she does not get to demand something differnet instead.

In the same way, if the accident had been that fiance had broken a vase, he can offer to put that right by replacing the vase. Grandma doesn’t get to say she won’t accept the vase and then demand he give her cash instead.

Also, if the carpet is replaced, she isn’t being made whole, she’s getting an upgrade (a brand new carpet, not a 6 year old one)

I thik that granddaugther and fiance should saym very politely, to grandma, that their offer to put things right by getting the carpet steam cleaned / professionally cleaned still stands. If she rejects that, then that is the end of the matter.

If she accepts, and after the claning has ben done there is still a stain, then at that point, it is reasonable to offer to make a contribution to the deductible, bearing in mind that grandma is going to get a new carpet in place of one which is 6 years old, so it’s unreasonable for her to expect fiance to pay the whole lot, and to put her in a better position than she would have been without the spillage.


josie March 6, 2012 at 6:41 am

Why is she serving red wine when she has almost white carpet? Perhaps she’s been wishing for that new carpet for quite awhile?????


Jessica March 6, 2012 at 7:32 am

A six year old carpet is not new and shouldn’t be replaced with new carpet. It should be professionally/equivalent of professionally cleaned until the stain can’t be seen, which is perfectly possible. I got bright red oil based lacquer out of just such a carpet – paint is a lot more difficult to get out than wine and I got the splodge out to the point where even we can’t tell and we know where it was. Wine can most definitely be cleaned out until you can’t tell it was ever there.

Cream carpet is an unfortunate choice from any point of view. (Aesthetic as well as practical.)However, everyone decorates to their taste – but if you plan to entertain on cream carpet you are already taking a chance.

The carpet can most definitely be restored to its previous condition – I know this for a fact – so trying to squeeze new carpet out of the situation is really classless and crass of greedy gramma.


Andi March 6, 2012 at 7:47 am

If grandma will let them try one more cleaning attempt, my store carries a product caleed “wine out” that works wonders, as does Folled carpet and stain remover. I’d be tempted to “beg” grandma for another cleaning attempt (with one of those products and the steamer) first – but if that didn’t work, I agree with Admin on replacing the carpet


ferretrick March 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

Guests are required to repair/replace things they damage. The fiance did that, and offered to do it with a steam cleaner as well. That is more than adequate. I flat out don’t believe the “bled back through” line. Guests are not required to act as fools, paying for someone to get a brand new item, when the old one is still perfectly adequate. Nor are they required to participate in someone’s immoral scam to bilk an insurance company with a bogus claim, which results in higher premiums for other policy holders. (Of course, I don’t think grandma will keep her insurance long, making frivolous claims of this nature).

I would repeat the offer of steam cleaning, decline to pay the $250, and tell Grandma that to prevent any horrible incidents like this in future, granddaughter and her friends will have to decline any future invitations to her poker parties.


MoniCAN March 6, 2012 at 8:55 am

I disagree that the final resolution is an obligation by the guest to fully replace an item, especially when it’s a matter of a spill, not a break. If something can be “made new again” with cleaning, why should the host/homeowner be allowed to cash in a brand new item?

A guest should not be obligated to replace a high price item if there is the opportunity to fix/clean it as good as new in a short time-frame.

Things like broken vases cannot be fixed like new, no matter how much you re-glue them. But this is a matter of CLEANING, not something that was broken. A carpet can be spot cleaned to the point it is cleaner than it was before the spill.

IF the steam cleaner does not work, yes, friend’s fiance should pay the deductible. But not until after there is a chance given to clean it.

If I scrape the paint on your car door do I have to buy you a whole new car?

If I drop your lamp and only the bulb breaks do I need to buy you a whole new lamp?

If I fall and dent your wall do I need to pay for full remodeling of that room?

There are just too many vagaries in situations like this that there could ever be a blanket rule of ‘obligation to carry through and replace.’ Making dirty vs. breaking shouldn’t have the same rules set.

Of course, as I said before, IF the cleaning doesn’t work, then yes, they should pay. But the chance should be given first.

Also, I loath white/light carpets when they’re in areas where people may eat or drink. White carpet in the dining rooms just blows my mind.


Oh Joy March 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

I agree with our admin in general. However, I do feel the hostess should give the guest the opportunity to remedy the damage in a cost-effective manner first if the guest chooses. In this case, allowing the guest to steam-clean or hire a professional carpet cleaning company prior to the replacement would have been more appropriate.


Surianne March 6, 2012 at 9:33 am

Completely disagree with Admin here. Grandma didn’t even give them a chance to try steam-cleaning before jumping straight to demanding money. The guest was clearly trying to fix the issue and not shirking his duty to make it right.

If I spilled something on a friend’s shirt, she doesn’t get to demand I buy her a new shirt before she even tries running it through the laundry first. It’s possible the laundry will get the stain out without any money having to change hands.


A March 6, 2012 at 9:43 am

Maybe some get togethers with less alcohol?


Jay March 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

All true.. but the guest does not have the obligation to have a great relationship with the host in the future. Sometimes you shouldn’t burn bridges.


inNM March 6, 2012 at 9:47 am

I agree that the person who caused injury should make restitution, but in a case where the damage did not destroy the item (going off what the letter writer said, it “looked good”), and is in the process of attempting to fix the problem, I don’t think that the fiance should be required to present a new carpet to replace a functional 6 year old one.
If he had done something to make the carpet unusable (burnt a hole in it with a cigarette) or damaged some other household item beyond repair, like break a vase, as there is no simple fix, I can understand requesting the item be replaced. However, in making things right, I think that efforts should be made to first replace an item at its present value before the incident (as that was the owner’s current level of enjoyment, and the goal of making things right is to restore the item to the current level of enjoyment) before going to replace it with the newest model. That is what the fiance is trying to do… who knows, he may feel so guilty that he does the whole carpet for free; and now she has a freshly steamed cleaned carpet when she did not have one before. However, if the stain absolutely cannot be removed completely, then, I will concede that the carpet’s “usage” has been damaged and grandma is within her right to request a new one.


eeelaine March 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

I think its incredibly rude to ask a guest to pay for an insurance claim for something that was clearly an accident, and that they made an appropriate amount of attempt to clean (cleaning it day of and then coming back with a steam cleaner). Maybe if they had ripped a big hole in the carpet, yes, then it should be replaced, but its a stain – offering to clean it seems to be exactly appropriate.


k March 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

I have to disagree that the hostess gets to choose the appropriate remedy. Rather, the guest must make reasonable attempts to fix what they have damaged, which this person did. A spill does not necessitate replacing an entire carpet – it necessitates cleaning the spill to the best of your abilities.

There’s also the element of assumed risk here that bothers me – presumably the hostess knew serving red wine over her beige carpet carried some chance the carpet would come out the worse for wear. It’s part of the price of entertaining.

The fiance should make good on his offer to steam clean, or offer the money he would pay for the steam cleaner toward the deductible.


Pam March 6, 2012 at 10:19 am

I do see one big problem here. Grandma should be the one talking to the wine spiller, she should NOT ask her granddaughter to handle it.


Kitty Lizard March 6, 2012 at 10:24 am

A steam cleaner wouldn’t remove the stain if it soaked into the pad underneath; however, a professional carpet cleaning company would probably be able to get the stain out because it would suck the liquid out of the pad too. I know this from sad experience. It had to do with a fish tank. I will go no further. I do not see an insurance company replacing an entire carpet because of a spilled glass of wine, so I think Granny is doomed to disappointment on that front. (Just how big was that glass, anyway??) One way or another, I think the fiance is going to be out $250.00.



MellowedOne March 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

The guest is obligated to make some time of compensation. However, it’s ridiculous to assume they pay for new carpeting (or the resulting deductible thereof), especially for a stain that was almost completely removed. It’s like someone putting a scratch on a friend’s car and the friend demanding they replace the entire section where the scratch is located.

Grandma is entitled to have her 6 year old carpet restored to its previous condition. It sounds as if this was almost completely done, and that a steam cleaner would finish the job.

The only thing I was wondering was why the guest didn’t go get the steam cleaner right then and there. OP states, “…grandma filed a claim with her insurance to get new carpet. Best friend and her fiance haven’t had a chance to use the steam cleaner yet.” If I had spilled red wine on someone’s carpet I would be making a mad dash home to bring back the steam cleaner. It is red wine, after all.


NotThumper March 6, 2012 at 10:37 am

Sorry Admin but I’ve got to disagree with some of your points here. Considering how the guest handled the incident (and the great cleaning job he did) the fact that Grandma is a greedy person IS relevant. It’s the ONLY reason she’s after him for the money. He did the right thing and apparently acted quickly enough so that the stain did not set. If she was really so concerned about damage done to her precious carpet perhaps she should switch to white whine.


badkitty March 6, 2012 at 10:45 am

I agree that the person who spilled the wine has an obligation to make it right, including paying the deductible or replacing the carpet. I do think that it’s a bit silly not to allow him the opportunity to come in and try the steam cleaner first. Her carpet wasn’t new before he spilled the wine, and if he can make it every bit as good as it was before the spill then THAT is all that is required of him. A host should not expect guests to leave the home in better shape than they found it, merely something approximating the condition when they arrived. To a certain extent, stains and the like are to be expected when one entertains; guests aren’t necessarily thoughtless, it’s just easy to miss small drops, spills, and footprints in a large gathering. Obviously this was a huge stain and the offending party wants to make it right – Grandma should let him do so, rather than expecting him to jump to the step of replacing a part of her home that was past due for it anyway (carpets aren’t meant to last much beyond the 5-year mark).


Cat Whisperer March 6, 2012 at 10:56 am

I’m with admin. Wine-spiller is on the hook for doing what’s necessary to make the situation right.

However, grandma is not owed a brand-new carpet by the wine-spiller. We have to cross the line from etiquette advice to legal advice here: if you are responsible for damaging/destroying something, you are only on the hook for the actual value of the item, not the value of the item when it was new or the value to replace it.

Paying the entire deductible for the replacement of the carpet may be an investment in goodwill, but it may not be what grandma is legally entitled to.

My advice to wine-spiller: unless he feels that the $250 investment in goodwill is necessary, tell grandma that he disagrees that he’s on the hook for the entire deductible for a carpet that’s 6 years old and was in need of replacement, and politely inform her that he thinks it’s worth the filing cost to let a judge in small claims court decide what is proper restitution. Admit fault, tell grandma that he’ll pay what the judge says is proper, and then let a judge sort it out.

While I agree with admin that grandma’s past history as a money-grubber is not relevant to etiquette, I do not agree that etiquette is a tool that polite people use to extort money in excess of what the law requires to pay for damages.

One caveat: wine-spiller needs to recognize, and accept, that if he goes to court with grandma and the judge rules in his favor, he will probably end up on grandma’s ca-ca list and that she will never really forgive him for showing her up. This may not be an issue to wine-spiller if he intends to limit his contact with grandma, but he needs to at least think about it.

One other point: it is a very bad idea to hold parties of any kind that involve fluids that cause stains and light-colored carpet. My own experience involves a bottle of red Hawaiian Punch drink and a (formerly) pretty pale peach carpet at daughter’s birthday. Fortunately it was my carpet and I was the spiller so no bad feelings were involved. I learned the hard way that if you have light-colored carpet, an inexpensive area rug that you can put over the light-colored carpet for party occasions is a darn good investment. And that hardwood floors are an even better investment.


TurtleDove March 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

If I understood the question correctly, it is how the granddaughter should handle this situation, and I think she should tell her grandmother to handle it on her own and leave the granddaughter out of it. To me, this is a situation in which perhaps the grandmother can justify asking the fiance to pay the deductible, but in my opinion she would be shortsighted to do so because of the effect on her relationships with the fiances and with her own granddaughter.


Lynda March 6, 2012 at 11:12 am

There are regular poker parties and drinks are served. I can’t believe that there haven’t been drinks spilled before and successfully cleaned up. If the stain is returning because the pad was stained also doesn’t mean steam cleaning would not have removed that.
If the stain returned then the grandmother should have advised them of the fact and that she was going to claim in on her insurance—and that she would expect them to pay the deductible. THEN they could have said they would it, or a portion. The carpet was damaged but not ruined..
If drapes or an article of someone’s clothing were stained, dry cleaning would be the answer, with complete replacement the solution only if cleaning did not resolve the problem.

Grandmom contributed to the event by providing the red wine. I don’t think this is as much a matter for proper etiquette as it is either a legal or moral responsibility. I think it’s also a matter of whether the grandaughter plans on attending any more of the poker parties.

I’m sure the value of the carpet has depreciated over the 6 years she’s had it so I think the contribution to the deductible should be depreciated as well. Sounds like grandmom’s got the gimmes and I would (for family peace) offer the cost of having a professional clean the one room (and one room only!) toward the deductible.


Angela March 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

If grandma is adamant about the money before the steam cleaning is tried, I say that friend and fiance should pay up and then never go to grandma’s house again.


GlassHalfFull March 6, 2012 at 11:27 am

I disagree a bit with the advice in that the resolution should have been discussed and cleared with the wine spiller before the course of action was decided upon. Since the spiller had offered to steam clean the carpet first, I think they should’ve been allowed the opportunity to either a) try that first and see if it worked, or b) contribute the equal amount of cash needed to rent the cleaner towards the carpet replacement. Of course, if the spiller went with option a), it would be a gamble, as if it didn’t work, they would then, etiquette-wise, be held responsible for the cost to replace. As an aside, as a host I factor in accidents to some degree as a matter of course of having people over, and don’t like to be too hard-core/expensive regarding course of action (within reason). Otherwise I’d fear there would be no people willing to take the chance of being guests in my home lest an accident happen that results in a hefty bill. Perhaps this grandma should provide her guests with a chance to pay for accident insurance in the future? 😉


Katie March 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm

There is no way in the world that I would expect a guest to pay for any accidental breakages/damage. They are your *guest*. My view is that if you invite people into your home, then there is a chance that these things will happen. If you’re not prepared to accept that risk, then don’t have parties!


Lisa March 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I believe the fiance should have been allowed to try and steam clean the carpet before an insurance claim was filed.

Yes, he is obligated to make the hostess whole, but that doesn’t mean putting her in a better position than where she started. The fact that Grandma filed an insurance claim for a carpet stain on a 6-yr-old carpet seems pretty OTT to me.


Anonymous March 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I disagree with the Admin too. The guests immediately cleaned up the wine, and then Grandma tried to claim $250 from them because she claimed that the wine “bled back through” (which I’ve never seen happen). They re-iterated their PREVIOUS offer to come back with their steam cleaner to finish the job (if it even needed finishing), but Grandma said no dice, only money would do. Does anyone else smell a rat here? I’m thinking, since Grandma has a history of trying to make people pay for things, she might not even really be looking to get new carpet–maybe the old carpet really is clean now, and she’s going to take the money to use for something else.


Xtina March 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I agree with most of our admin’s evaluation, however, I would add the caveat that the reimbursement should be reasonable to the situation. Of course someone who ruins someone else’s property should be fully expected to reimburse/clean/replace the damaged item to make it right with the owner, but I don’t think Grandma should expect an entire brand-new carpet here, when the old carpet was used, and only damaged in one spot. Yes, she wouldn’t have replaced it had fiancee not spilled wine on it, but isn’t that sort of her fault for serving red whine on a white carpet and not putting down some kind of protective covering under the tables? A fairer solution in this case–if Grandma does indeed feel that the carpet should be replaced, perhaps the fiancee should be asked to contribute to the cost rather than basically assume the whole cost.


Redneck Gravy March 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I mostly agree with Admin here.

My first questions is steam on red wine in white carpet? Not sure that is a good plan, a professional carpet cleaner should be contacted.

Grandma is not entitled to entire room replacement of six year old carpet. Although she is entitled to some financial relief if the spill cannot be removed.

Several years ago my daughter spilled a grape soda on light colored carpet (we tried everything to get it up – immediately) no luck. After consulting with professional cleaner he cut a piece out of the back corner of a closet and replaced the stained area. I then paid to have the closet recarpeted even though it did not match, it was close enough to be unable to tell without getting down at the seam and looking closely.

I agree with the pp that suggested a judge’s opinion. Maybe mediation in lieu of actual court case? Spiller needs to do something and contact should be between spiller & Grandma.


Xtina March 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm

P.S. to clarify in my post about grandma not putting down a protective floor covering–I mean that maybe that is a hazard of serving something potentially damaging when you host a party–it does not absolve the fiancee from ruining the carpet, but just saying that maybe she could have taken some steps in anticipation of just such an event occurring during the party.


Jaxsue March 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I disagree with the admin on this. First of all, one takes risks when hosting. Red wine + beige carpeting = inviting disaster. As someone already brought up, perhaps Grandma was hoping for something like this to happen? The guest should be given the chance to rectify the situation.
Secondly, filing an insurance claim for a paltry reason like this is fiscally dumb. So Grandma gets her new carpeting (may I suggest hardwood floors if she is going to host this often..much more practical), but her insurance premiums are going to rise. Just not advisable.


Jenn50 March 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I would never, in a million years, allow a guest to spend an hour trying to clean up something they spilled in my home. Accidents happen, and light coloured carpet is like a magnet. If you insist on having people eating on your stain-magnet, either serve light coloured food and drink, Scotch-guard, or resign yourself to stains. I wonder if grandmother perhaps doesn’t care for the gentleman in question? Or is she like this towards everyone?


Calli Arcale March 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I have to agree with Admin, actually. If you break something, you are now beholden to the owner of that object. You must do what will satisfy *them*, within reason, and $250 is within reason. (Professional cleaning would likely run about that much anyway.) There are reasonable limits, of course (becoming slave for life over a wine stain would be ridiculous, for instance), but paying the deductible on an insurance claim is perfectly legitimate. I’m not sure where people get the idea that Grandma might be committing insurance fraud; if her policy covers wine stains, then it is perfectly legitimate to make a claim. That’s what such insurance is *for*, and if she’s paying a high enough premium to get that kind of coverage, she might as well use it. In fact, it is entirely possible that the insurance company will be having the rug *cleaned*, not replaced. Depending on the size and nature of the rug, it will probably not come to $250 unless she’s having the whole house done.

Now, it would have been good of Grandma to accept the offer of the steam cleaning first. She comes across looking like a difficult-to-satisfy, petty, small-minded, greedy opportunist. But if she’s willing to alienate her loved ones over a carpet, then that’s her decision. If it were me, I’d pay the $250 and then have very little to do with her thereafter. After the drunken vomit episode, I would probably never invite her to my house, unless it was a strictly dry event; it sounds as if she may be an alcoholic.


Elizabeth March 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Grandma is likely wasting her time. The insurance company will pay her the value of the carpet, less the dollar-value of 6 years of wear, less the $250 deductible. It will not be enough to replace the carpet. (do you think the insurance companies are not wise to people like Granny?)

Let the poor kid have at it with the steam cleaner and you’ll be in better shape, Granny. And yes, I think this was a plot – red wine/white carpet?? You were just waiting for this, weren’t you?


Stacey Frith-Smith March 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I have to agree with Admin. Other considerations aren’t relevant here. The guest has been advised that his cost to make the host whole is $250. It’s a bargain in that the host will be perfectly satisfied and the guest will have no possible additional liability. It’s true that the actors in this scene may all have different opinions on what is fair, but property damage is the responsibility of the guest, unless the host forgives it. She didn’t, so the only alternative is to replace it. Wine is indeed a tricky stain to deal with, and it’s presence in the pad may well “bleed through” several times. Other stains can bleed through as well, as anyone who has been through a round of carpet cleaning can attest. It seems to me like the matter is best put to bed quickly, if only to avoid any further wrangling. The hostess has insurance. She is requesting a deductible. Whether her proposed solution is indeed ideal is her concern, not the guest’s. Whether her new carpet is “too good” a replacement for a six year old stained one is her concern, and her insurance company’s, not the guest’s. It’s an unfortunate situation that should not be made unpleasant by a failure to pursue a straight line to resolution and closure. Professional cleaning of the stained area and surrounding carpet would be less expensive, but the results may be less than ideal. If several cleanings were required, it’s not improbable to think that quite a bit of money could rack up in cleaning costs. The guest’s idea to steam clean it himself was not accepted, so no hope there. My sympathy is indeed with the young people and their poor pocketbooks, but not to the extent of overlooking the need to solve the issue decidedly, quickly, and while a smattering of cordial feeling still exists.


Shoegal March 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I feel this has something to do with being a gracious hostess and Grandma doesn’t sound like she is. I’m not talking about being a doormat and let guests completely destroy her home but the fact of the matter is it was all an accident. Fiance certainly didn’t mean to stain the carpet and seemed heartily sorry for it. I wouldn’t be taking this matter to such lengths – perhaps I would want my carpet steamed cleaned – but that would be that. I invite guests into my home and do expect a certain amount of wear and tear – and things have been broken in my house – I don’t make a federal case out of it – STUFF HAPPENS. If this is how Grandma is going to react to a freak accident – then she should stop inviting people into her house. I also think she should seriously rethink her choice of carpet color. She also shouldn’t be asking her granddaughter to relay this info to the BFF and fiance – granddaughter should give her their phone number and be done with it – let Grandma do her own dirty work.


Jojo March 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm

If grandma wants to claim on insurance won’t her premium go up next year just costing her more in the long run? A six year old beige carpet with only one wine stain in a home cared for by someone who entertains regularly sounds like not a bad deal to me. The couple should be given the right to repair accident to their budget, not fork out for a whole new carpet unless the situation is unsalvageable. It’s really not the place of the granddaughter to be involved at all and should be dealt with by the interested parties only.


vanessaga March 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I had a similar issue on the other side of things; my husband and I purchased a $75 air mattress when we had limited space, for guests to use. It was used once. My mother borrowed it and my younger (albeit 21 year old) brother overinflated it, and ruined it. My mother said “Ill pay you half and we’ll call it even,ok?” This was via email and I am so flabergasted, I still.don’t know quite how to answer. She further explained that she is paying less.because it is “used and therefore has reduced value.” my mother. She also asked to borrow it, we did nit offer-not that we wouldn’t have but I feel that’s relevant.


Miss Raven March 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Full-on disagree with the Admin on this one. Also join the ranks of those who have gotten red wine out of cream carpets — and all it took was some Oxy-Clean. I would say in any case where property of the host is damaged, the host gets to expect REASONABLE restitution. The guest cleans the spill or stain, or offers to pay for the cleaning/laundering. The guest replaces the broken vase or glass with a similar item of equal value. The guest provides their time and effort in righting the wrong.

The host has zero right whatsoever to demand an unreasonable sum of money to fix what is easily and inexpensively fixed. A bottle of Oxy-Clean spray is about $4. The guest actually went beyond and offered to STEAM CLEAN the stain – which may not even be necessary – just to make good. Grandma is way out of line, demanding a $250 solution to a $4 problem

Back to the car analogy. I accidentally scratch the paint on your car. I offer to run out and buy one of those kits that repairs scratches to paint, and do all the work to clean it up. The problem is my fault, and it has a $10 solution. Do you then get to reject my perfectly reasonable solution and file an insurance claim because you want your whole car re-painted? And then try to stick me with a several hundred dollar deductible? Of course you don’t. That’s lunacy. OP’s friends did their best. Not much else can be done, but do not pay that woman.


Ashley 2 March 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I guess the nicer thing for grandma to do would be to try the steam cleaning option first and then if that didn’t work go ahead and have them pay the deductible. Why make things awkard for her granddaughter when there is another option? Admin is right though that the host has the right to pick which way she wants the situation to be fixed.


Ellie March 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Granddaughter, you should give Grandma the address/es and phone number/s of BFF and fiance so she can handle the problem directly with the person who did the damage.

BTW, I’ve had red stuff (juice, not wine) spilled on a carpet, and although it was cleaned up immediately, and steam cleaned, there was always a light pink stain where the juice was spilled. I don’t think Grandma is being unreasonable, although some people would just eat the deductible so as not to cause hard feelings. She doesn’t want to, and that’s her right. What is unreasonable is expecting Granddaughter to do the negotiating for her.


AMC March 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I think anyone who regularly entertains should expect a “party foul” every now and then. Guests should always be careful and respectful of their host’s home but as they’re only human, accidents will happen. Especially when you serve red wine on a cream carpet. The young man did the right thing by trying to clean up the mess and offering to steam clean. I agree with other commentors that requesting the carpet be professionally cleaned is reasonable. Asking that the entire carpet be replaced is not. And the hostess should contact the young man directly, not put her granddaughter in the middle.


hannahere March 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Whatever it takes to rectify the situation, fiance has to do. If he had dented grandma’s car with his car on the way out of the driveway, he’d have to pay for it, most probably a deductible–there’s really no difference.

But can you REALLY get an insurance company to pay for carpet?? I mean, really??? I’d look into that one personally and see if Grandma isn’t just saying that to get an extra $250 towards her soon-to-be new purchase of the carpet she’s been wanting.

And yes, stains do come back either with the use of an in-home steamer, or a professional cleaner.


Chocobo March 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Well, the admin is technically correct. A guest who has caused accidental damage to the host’s home is bound by etiquette to do anything possible to fix it. But conversely, a gracious hostess would simply let it go and not bill guests for damages. That is in absolutely awful taste.


admin March 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm

You are correct, Chocobo. Each party has an obligation to the other and one should not necessarily expect the other to do X. A guest should go above and beyond to rectify the damage and should only back off when the host repeatedly declines the money or effort. Conversely, the host should be gracious and allow the guest to assuage some measure of guilt he/she may be burdened with by letting them clean up but shouldn’t take advantage of the situation either. But if a host expects full compensation for damage, the guest should pony up and then conveniently find him/herself pre-occupied should there be another invitation to the host’s house.


Mojo March 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I’m surprised the insurers offer a new-for-old cover. But anyway, pay the old bat and console yourselves with the fact her premiums will go sky-high next year!


Kaytie March 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Sorry admin, but that would never stand up in court. Grandma is required to try the steam cleaner first; if it does not remove the stain satisfactorily, she is entitled to the DEPRECIATED VALUE of the carpet. Depending on the size of the room, and after 6 years, I have a feeling it’s around $50. That is IF the civil judge overlooks her culpability for serving the wine in the first place when possible accidents were foreseeable.


TurtleIScream March 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm

I’m not sure I agree with Admin’s conclusion that the damaging party is obligated to meet the demands of the hostess. For argument’s sake, let’s say in this case that grandma does not have insurance (or rather more likely, that her insurance company refuses the claim). Is the fiancé really expected to pay to replace the carpet outright at a cost of several hundred to thousands of dollars? If etiquette really dictated that all guests be prepared to shell out for any accidental damage at whatever level of compensation the host demands, no one would ever accept an invitation anywhere.

I will allow that certain circumstances would warrant the hostess taking a hard line approach, such as a guest intentionally violating the rules of the house (wearing high heels on hardwood floors, carrying red wine into the carpeted areas), but for a simple accident? The guest only needs to offer what is reasonable, in this case, professional cleaning.


Mel March 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Can I just add a handy hint

Table salt is fantastic for cleaning up red wine spills. Just tip as much as you need to absorb the wine, wait for the salt to soak up the liquid and vaccum up. This saves rubbing and wiping etc


Rachel March 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Grandma sounds like a terrible person. They cleaned it to the point where it looked as good as it was. A gracious host should not expect a guest to pay for something extremely minor like this.


Jennifer March 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Being made whole again is not replacing the value of a NEW carpet though. It would replacing the value of the carpet, at its current age/value.


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