Author Topic: Items left On The Table  (Read 5204 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

QueenfaninCA

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 692
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2013, 03:50:09 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.

POD. If you are serving something that has a chance to spill, you need to make sure that there is nothing in the "splash zone" that should not get wet. If necessary ask the customer to remove the gizmo before setting down plates or glasses.

artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12828
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2013, 04:28:03 PM »
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 agree. Even the most careful server is going to spill occasionally. Even more likely, one's dining companions may spill something. You don't put valuable items in a place where they can be damaged and have any kind of moral high ground when they are damaged by what are expected occurrences. That's like sitting by the pool with your expensive phone and getting angry when it gets splashed.

Is the server at fault for spilling? Quite likely. Are they at fault for the damage to the device? Not at all.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21385
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2013, 04:33:07 PM »
If the sauce spilled and hit the hand of a two year old dining there, burning the kid, would we blame the kid or their parents because they allowed the valuable and tender little hand of a two year old rest on a table where a spill might occur? Yes a waiter might spill but when they do, it is their fault.  Now, that is not to say they have liability for property damage or injury - that would probably rest with the facility. But I do think it is the server's fault if they are the one doing the spilling.  If they walk away and the customer spills - customer's fault.

artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12828
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2013, 04:37:54 PM »
If the sauce spilled and hit the hand of a two year old dining there, burning the kid, would we blame the kid or their parents because they allowed the valuable and tender little hand of a two year old rest on a table where a spill might occur? Yes a waiter might spill but when they do, it is their fault.  Now, that is not to say they have liability for property damage or injury - that would probably rest with the facility. But I do think it is the server's fault if they are the one doing the spilling.  If they walk away and the customer spills - customer's fault.

There may be good reasons for the hand to be on the table; the hand can also move out of the way quickly. An expensive camera can't dodge falling stuff on its own. I know I sound like I'm victim blaming, but if you put your stuff in a risky place, you bear some responsibility if it is damaged.

Things that belong on an eating table: Food; plates; drinks; utensils; arms and hands. Things that don't belong on an eating table: Expensive, easily damaged electronic devices.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

DavidH

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1695
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2013, 04:40:14 PM »
I'm agree with Sharnita, having ones phone or camera on the table is not the same as on the edge of a pool where it is likely to get splashed.  The edge of the pool is typically splashed, the dinner table, not so much.  If the server has concerns, then they can certainly say, could you move your phone while I pour the coffee or something like that.  To blame the customer because the server spilled something on the table doesn't seem right to me. 

CocoCamm

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1266
  • Leader of the 3 ring circus
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2013, 05:11:01 PM »
I'm agree with Sharnita, having ones phone or camera on the table is not the same as on the edge of a pool where it is likely to get splashed.  The edge of the pool is typically splashed, the dinner table, not so much.  If the server has concerns, then they can certainly say, could you move your phone while I pour the coffee or something like that.  To blame the customer because the server spilled something on the table doesn't seem right to me.

I agree. Just because something is an accident does not mean that it's no one's fault. When someone hits my car I assume it's not on purpose. That doesn't mean that its not their (or their insurance companies) responsibility to pay for it.

Now if I'm out I have my phone on the table but on the inside (opposite side from the server) and not near my beverage. I've taken reasonable precautions to keeping it safe. If somehow a server managed to spill something on it and its damaged I would absolutely expect the restaurant to pay for it. Just like I would expect them to replace an article of clothing that was destroyed from a spill.

Bluenomi

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3580
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2013, 08:04:15 PM »
I've seen occasions where the item on the table is what has caused the spill that damages it. Sever is going to put plate down, spots phone/camera sitting on table in the road, tries last second move to put plate somewhere else so they don't put it on the item and whoops, there is a spill. If said item wasn't in the road, there wouldn't have been a spill. In that case it's all one whoever left the item there.

Just like if your kid gets something spilt on them because they run into the waitress. So not the waitress' fault.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8449
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2013, 09:31:15 PM »

I would say that the server/restaurant should take responsibility for spilling food on a customer. But the customer should accept responsibility for leaving expensive items on a table where food and liquid is being served/removed/consumed.

So if a server dumps a plate of spaghetti or a bowl of soup all over someone at the table, I'd expect profuse apologies and a comped dinner in response - this is not something I'd expect to brush off as a reasonable risk of dining in public.

If that spaghetti lands on my iPhone or camera in the process - I would accept that as a reasonable risk of leaving expensive, delicate electronic gadgets on a table in the middle of a meal and would not expect any more compensation/restitution/apologies than in the first case.

violetminnow

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 84
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2013, 10:38:34 PM »
The customer should have had her camera in a camera case. Camera's are expensive and delicate and it seems as they get more expensive, they also get more delicate. I have a nice camera and I would put it on a table, if it was in it's case. If you're not using it it should be in a camera bag. I don't have much sympathy for the damages in this case.

I think that apologizing was the right thing for you to do, but you personally don't owe the customer anything more. I don't think that the restaurant does either, but because they want good publicity and to keep the customer it's smart for them to offer something to the diner.

earthgirl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 172
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2013, 08:25:47 AM »

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....
She was charging it, I think -- but there were a couple of surfaces within the range of the charging cord that she could have put it on instead of leaving it on the floor.

Virg

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5879
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2013, 09:53:06 AM »
artk2002 wrote:

"I know I sound like I'm victim blaming, but if you put your stuff in a risky place, you bear some responsibility if it is damaged."

The same could be said of wearing an expensive suit to dinner because the server might drop your marinara in your lap.  The point is that part of the server's job is to get the meal on the table without spilling, and the fact that there's an expensive piece of electronic hardware on the table doesn't change that responsibility.

Bluenomi wrote:

"I've seen occasions where the item on the table is what has caused the spill that damages it. Sever is going to put plate down, spots phone/camera sitting on table in the road, tries last second move to put plate somewhere else so they don't put it on the item and whoops, there is a spill. If said item wasn't in the road, there wouldn't have been a spill. In that case it's all one whoever left the item there."

I disagree.  It's common sense for a server to check where the plate is going before it becomes a "last second move" unless the customer tossed the phone under the plate on the way down, since a fork or bread plate could cause the same issue.  As I said above, part of the server's job is to get the meal on the table without spilling it, and although accidents do happen that doesn't excuse the server from being responsible for the spill.

violetminnow wrote:

"I think that apologizing was the right thing for you to do, but you personally don't owe the customer anything more."

I agree that the server shouldn't be held personally liable for the damage done, because as an employee working in a professional capacity, it's the restaurant's job to cover that sort of thing.

"I don't think that the restaurant does either..."

This is where I disagree.  The restaurant's employee did something that reasonably constitutes failure to do their job properly and as a result, damage occurred.  Therefore, I do see the restaurant as responsible for the damage.  If they want to avoid liability for such things, then at the very least a blanket disclaimer (or having the servers ask people to move expensive things to a safe location during the meal) is necessary.  An expectation to be able to buy a meal without having it spilled on your stuff is reasonable.  Accidents happen, but as CocoCamm wrote, if someone hits my car by accident, it's still on them to make it right.

Virg

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9753
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2013, 10:14:57 AM »

I would say that the server/restaurant should take responsibility for spilling food on a customer. But the customer should accept responsibility for leaving expensive items on a table where food and liquid is being served/removed/consumed.

So if a server dumps a plate of spaghetti or a bowl of soup all over someone at the table, I'd expect profuse apologies and a comped dinner in response - this is not something I'd expect to brush off as a reasonable risk of dining in public.

If that spaghetti lands on my iPhone or camera in the process - I would accept that as a reasonable risk of leaving expensive, delicate electronic gadgets on a table in the middle of a meal and would not expect any more compensation/restitution/apologies than in the first case.

Agreed. I habitually put my electronics away at the table because Murphy's Law loves me too well and I don't want marinara in my laptop. However, if the server spills said marinara on my white blouse, then it's a different matter.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8793
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2013, 10:22:05 AM »
I've seen occasions where the item on the table is what has caused the spill that damages it. Sever is going to put plate down, spots phone/camera sitting on table in the road, tries last second move to put plate somewhere else so they don't put it on the item and whoops, there is a spill. If said item wasn't in the road, there wouldn't have been a spill. In that case it's all one whoever left the item there.

Just like if your kid gets something spilt on them because they run into the waitress. So not the waitress' fault.

Yeah, the circumstances of the spill make a difference. Sometimes the server spills all on his/her own. Sometimes it's because a customer grabs stuff off their tray (thus unbalancing it) or barges into them, thus customer's fault. I don't think we can categorically say, as Virg does, that it's always "failure" by the server.

Lynnv

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2486
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2013, 10:30:27 AM »
The restaurant's employee did something that reasonably constitutes failure to do their job properly and as a result, damage occurred.  Therefore, I do see the restaurant as responsible for the damage.  If they want to avoid liability for such things, then at the very least a blanket disclaimer (or having the servers ask people to move expensive things to a safe location during the meal) is necessary.  An expectation to be able to buy a meal without having it spilled on your stuff is reasonable.  Accidents happen, but as CocoCamm wrote, if someone hits my car by accident, it's still on them to make it right.

I agree.  I eat a lot of meals in restaurants by myself (I spend about 90% of my working life in a state that is not my own).  I often bring my iPad so that I can read/"talk" to my DH via chat/check email while I am eating.  If a server asks me to move my device I am happy to do so.  And I have had this happen-especially if they are serving food off the side I didn't expect them to come from. 

But they are responsible for bringing my meal to my table without dumping it on me.  While I don't think that accidents somehow a purposeful fault, that doesn't mean that the restaurant (not the server) doesn't need to make it right.

If I have actually caused the spill by grabbing something off the server's tray (people really do that?) or I barge into them, then it is on me.  But if I didn't cause the spill, then it is on the server and the restaurant. 

If a server dumped a plate full of food or a beer on my clothing, I would expect the restaurant to clean and/or replace the outfit (so long as it wasn't my fault).  If they burned me by spilling hot tea down my back, I would expect them to cover my medical bills.  And if they break my device because they didn't tell me it was in the way so I could move it, I would expect them to fix/replace it.  Accidents do happen, but the fact that something is accidental does not absolve the entity at fault from paying for the damages.
Lynn

"Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat."  Robert A. Heinlein

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28380
Re: Items left On The Table
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2013, 10:54:17 AM »
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....

CynicalTwik suggests it was time for an upgrade. LessCynicalTwik thinks maybe she was charging it, and the cord was too short to put it in a safe location, perhaps.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."