Author Topic: Items left On The Table  (Read 5573 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

kategillian

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 247
Items left On The Table
« on: September 05, 2013, 11:23:00 AM »
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

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2645
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2013, 11:27:37 AM »
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

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8723
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2013, 11:32:53 AM »
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.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 14241
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #3 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.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

MamaMootz

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3012
  • I'm a lumberjack and I'm O.K....
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2013, 11:56:05 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.

This. Absolutely this. Tables are for eating, not for expensive gadgets.
"I like pie" - DD's Patented Bean Dip Maneuver

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4107
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2013, 12:01:06 PM »
Both depending on the situation.  I'd expect a server to be reasonably careful to not spill things regardless of what is on the table.  That said, customers should fully accept that they are the ones who put their expensive item out there to be spilled on. 

I think it is possible that the customer was quiet because they were quietly seething - not just at you, but at themselves as well and just didn't know how to handle it.  Can't really blame you outright because it was an accident and partly their own fault, but at the same time, they are probably thinking "seriously? you had to spill right there??" I know I'd be irritated that the spill happened, but then really really irritated at myself for leaving my stuff out in the first place, the only intentional act in the situation and therefore the part that could have saved my item.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31414
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2013, 12:17:02 PM »
I can see a customer saying nothing because they were mad at the server but ALSO knew that they were at fault. And since their "extreme mad" is completely not fair, they don't want to let any of it leak out. So being quiet is a way of controlling that. Their emotional reaction is real--they can't just turn it off like a switch, probably. So they *do* control the "switch" that they can, which is the one that open their mouth. They turn THAT off.

I'd say 75% customer, 25% waiter.

A server once dropped hot tomato sauce all over my 3yo child, who was sitting next to a table. That was 75% life, 25% waitress. Poor waitress!

Arila

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 843
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2013, 12:39:51 PM »
Totally agree with NyaChan & Toots. I doubt they laid all of the blame at your feet. I had a fancy gizmo once. I had drooled over it and researched it, and followed the leaks and reviews for weeks and weeks, set personal (and difficult) goals to "earn" it  before I finally got one to use on a trip I was taking. The SECOND night of the trip SECOND!!! I dropped it, and it became non-functional. In the moments after that, I was also silent, and a bit tearful, to be honest. I'd say allow them a bit of mourning, and be thankful that it was only silence.

OTOH, I've seen some servers do incredible things with how many plates they carry at one time - it's like a juggling act in a circus! If you can't do that without spilling, maybe using a tray and one of those folding stands is in order...If the spill occurred because you had 5 plates in your hands/arms, I'd start feeling like it was more carelessness on your part.

cwm

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2427
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2013, 01:49:54 PM »
I'm with Nya and Toots as well. But I'll be honest, the reason I don't leave expensive stuff on the table is because most of the time I'm more likely than not to be the one actually spilling the food/drink/water. Either that or my niece if I'm out for dinner with her, but she mostly spills on herself.

Still, it's an accident. Accidents happen. All anyone can do is try to avoid putting themselves in a situation where accidents are likely to cause them grief. Like leaving a very expensive gadget on a table where there's food and beverage and someone outside themselves sitting there.

SamiHami

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3328
  • No! Iz mai catnip! You no can haz! YOU NO CAN HAZ!
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2013, 02:08:44 PM »
I agree with Outdoor Girl. The person with the gadget is responsible for their own stuff. By having your gadgets and gizmos out on the table, you are putting your stuff in the servers way. His/her job is to put food on the table. Your stuff shouldn't be in that space. Without a doubt servers will be careful and try to not spill anything, but in reality it's going to happen on occasion.  The server shouldn't have to worry that they might ruin some expensive thing that shouldn't be there to begin with.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

MrTango

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2434
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2013, 02:45:53 PM »
Rather than lay responsibility (i.e. blame) on anyone if a spill does occur, I think it's better if everyone involved takes responsibility for the things that are under their control to avoid such an incident.

That means that the server, as always, should exercise care to avoid spills and should look at the table to ensure nothing is in their way before they start setting things down.

This also means that the owner of the device should recognize that accidents do sometimes happen and be proactive about keeping expensive items out of the server's way and in a safe place.

I think this is the way things should be done everywhere and in every situation: we should always try to be aware of our surroundings, try to anticipate the risks of any situation or activity, and do what we reasonably can to mitigate risks.

earthgirl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 194
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2013, 03:34:00 PM »
While I think I might be annoyed if a server spilled something on my precious iPhone, I would accept that I was the one that put it on the table in the first place and therefore my responsibility if it were damaged. 

A couple of years ago one of my employees asked me to help her with her computer.  I pushed her chair to the side and heard a "crunch" -- she had left her phone lying on the floor and the chair had run over it and broken the screen.  I apologized because I really was sorry that it had happened, but did not accept her multiple suggestions that I replace it for her, because it was an accident on my part, and she was the one who had left in such a vulnerable spot.

ShadowLady

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2883
  • My mind is like a steel trap-illegal in 13 states.
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2013, 03:34:32 PM »
Slight side trip: 

When DH and I would visit his parents, we usually went to this one restaurant, where we had a favorite waitress who knew us well.  So well that she would show up with our coffee mugs and glasses of water before she had stopped at our tabls.  One day, as she was headed to our table, her load became unbalanced, she tried to catch it, caught the coffee pot before it spilled, but all four glasses of water drenched my FIL.  He immediately headed for the mens room, but came back shortly after mopping up.

After making sure he was ok, we then started making jokes with the waitress about him needing/not needing a bath.  And the jokes continued on for months.


Since it is a common occurence of people having their expensive electronic gizmos on the table, you should make it a habit to ask people to remove them from the table before they are served.

ETA: and Earthgirl, *why* the heck did she put her phone on the floor?!?!!?  One could almost think that she was trying to have an accident with it....
« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 03:37:27 PM by ShadowLady »

AngelicGamer

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4131
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2013, 03:42:48 PM »
I feel that it is completely on the owner of the gizmo.  When I'm dining out alone and on my smartphone or Kindle, it gets put in the purse so nothing happens to it. 

One time, I was really glad I did that because a kid ran by, knocked the server, and she spilled my drink right where my phone was resting a moment before.  I got an apology, the kid got a stern talking to by their parental unit (I love my home town sometimes), and no electronics were harmed. 




"Life's tough, huh?  And then you die." ~ Buck, the Magnificent Seven.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21611
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2013, 03:43:36 PM »
Take the item on out of it for a second - when the server spills sauce is it the server's fault? Yes.  When the customer spill's sauce is it the customer's fault? Yes.  If the sauce got on the customer's shirt or clutch what would we say?  The server bears significant responsibility here.  Now we can debate what that means the server should do and I don't think anybody should be expected to do any job without mistake - we are all human.  But we need to acknowledge that the server accidentally did something wrong.

I don't usually mind if somebody makes a mistake as long as they acknowledge it.  I hate it when they try to shift the blame for their mistake.