General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Items left On The Table

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kategillian:
I work as a server in a mid-range restaurant in a tourist area. Because it is a beautiful town by the sea, people often have very expensive cameras, smart phones etc on the table, because they're taking a lot of pictures, or looking at ones that they have already taken. (This is kind of besides the point, I can't remember one table that I have waited on, or seen when I was eating out, that didn't have at least one piece of expensive electronics on the table). When I was delivering dinner recently, I spilled some sauce on someones VERY expensive camera. There was much running around and getting of toothpicks and clean dry cloths. I felt so so bad, but it was an accident. Regardless of the way they treated me (person whose camera it was did not say ONE WORD to all my apologies, everyone one else at the table was very nice), this is a question that I have been pondering for a while. Whose fault is it if your $9000 camera, $500 phone, or really anything that you leave on the table gets something on it? Even if people were VERY rude to me, I would never do something like that on purpose, but accidents happen!

BarensMom:
I think the "real" responsibility is on both waiter and customer - waiter for spilling, and customer for being so careless with an expensive thingamabob (cases exist for a reason).  Unfortunately, if the customer complains, the manager will probably put all blame on the poor waiter.

camlan:
I'd say that the actual responsibility lies with the owner of the electronics. It is not just when food is being served that something could happen--anyone could accidentally spill a drink on an iPad or phone, for example.

However, the blame for a server spilling food or drink is going to rest on the server.

My solution, if I were serving food at a table with electronics on or near it, would be to ask the customers to please move their expensive toys before I started serving. "Oh, would you mind moving the gizmos off the table while I put the food down, so that nothing gets hurt?" If they choose to leave something on the table at that point, the problem is theirs.

I'd also check with my boss to see what they want the servers to do, and if the money to replace a damaged gizmo was coming out of my paycheck or their insurance.

Outdoor Girl:
Completely on the customer, IMO.  You have your expensive gadget out on the table?  You run the risk that something gets spilled on it.  No different than if you are reading at the table at home and your SO or kid knocks over a glass of milk onto it.

If I were to have something like that out on the table, I would make darn sure it was out of the way when the server arrived with my food or drink.  Just like I don't work on my laptop at home while I'm eating.  I'll work over a keyboard - they're pretty cheap to replace - but never over a laptop.

MamaMootz:

--- Quote from: Outdoor Girl on September 05, 2013, 11:33:29 AM ---Completely on the customer, IMO.  You have your expensive gadget out on the table?  You run the risk that something gets spilled on it.  No different than if you are reading at the table at home and your SO or kid knocks over a glass of milk onto it.

If I were to have something like that out on the table, I would make darn sure it was out of the way when the server arrived with my food or drink.  Just like I don't work on my laptop at home while I'm eating.  I'll work over a keyboard - they're pretty cheap to replace - but never over a laptop.

--- End quote ---

This. Absolutely this. Tables are for eating, not for expensive gadgets.

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