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The Sweater, The Splinter, and the Snag


RKHessel
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We went out to a very well reviewed neighborhood place here in Seattle last night to celebrate our 2nd Anniversary. :wub: We had been seated, wine had been poured, we were looking forward to a great evening. My wife got up to go to the washroom, and when she came back, as she was sliding into the booth....disaster.

A (previously) unseen splinter caught my wife's sweater and pulled a thread, effectively (according to my wife,) ruining it.

My wife was devastated. We are scraping by on my income, she is shooting out resumes as fast as she can, but, well, in this job market....The sweater that she was wearing was the one nice sweater that she had for interviews, and it will be a real stretch to get another one.

The server and the manager both came over and remarked how sorry they were, and not really anything else.

We tried to put it behind us and enjoy our meal. (It was delicious, btw.) We were thinking that we would have wedding cake for dessert. The waitress came up and we said that we were not really interested in dessert, whereupon she said that the restauraunt wanted to buy us dessert.

We (to be honest, somewhat stunned) had dessert and left.

We did not really want to make a big deal about it at the time and ruin our evening, but it is now the next morning and I am kind of pissed. I talked to a friend of mine who is the manager at another place here in town and he said AT LEAST they should have comped her meal. Especially since her sweater was so expensive. So. Is there any kind of liability on the restaurants part, and /or would it be out of line to write them a letter asking to be reimbursed for the sweater? :sad:

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Uh...

I'm sorry but I can't imagine a restaurant other than a small mom n pop's that would be that interested in what (to anyone not knowing the particulars of your situation) would be a minor snag in someone's clothing. Did they know it was your anniversary? If so, that's probably why the comped dessert more than the sweater.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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If your wife knows of a good tailor/alterations shop, can she see about what it would cost to repair? If it's repairable, perhaps the restaurant could cover that cost.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I don't see how it is the restaurant's fault. Sure there may have been a splinter, but it is up to the person wearing the clothing to navigate normal snags and etc, which I would consider the occasional errant piece of wood to be. If it is only a simple snag and not a horrendous rip a decent tailor should be able to fix it for not much anyway.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I want to know who's booths have splinnters!

I see your point but I think that they really had no other responsibility than to apologize and comp dessert, which they did.

I would however write the manager a note, via email or snail mail. I also think that asking them to cover the price of repair is a good idea. Get an estimate from an alterations shop or drycleaner asap.

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Sorry your dinner and sweater were spoiled. It sounds like you are in a tense time and what should have been a recess from it wound up adding to it.

I disagree with NulloMondo, mostly. The world is full of small mishaps. The question is who caused the mishap. If I go into a restaurant that is a special occasion destination, I think it's reasonable to expect that neither my body nor clothing needs special protection and diligence. If I trip over a torn rug or snag myself on a splinter it's because the restaurant hasn't done something it should have done, even understanding that sometimes they don't actually know about it til something does happen. If I am wearing a skirt that trips me up on the stairs and I fall (which has happened), that's not their fault. You suffered a relatively greater loss than some others might have in the same situation, so you're entitled to factor that into your decision about whether to pursue this. In better times, it might become just a funny story to you.

First, I suggest a letter to the restaurant, including a photo of the damaged sweater. I assume that this is a fairly new sweater. If you have a recent receipt, include a copy of that. If you have a lawyer friend, check if s/he might he be willing to write a letter if they don't respond favorably to your letter. And, btw, you don't need a lawyer to go to small claims court which is where this would wind up, but if it's incorporated, the restaurant probably will, so it would be in their interest to accommodate you. In the meantime check with the city where it happened to find out how long you have to pursue this legally if you choose to.

Second, it is possible that the sweater can be salvaged. If it is a tighly knit silk or cashmere, less likely, but if it is a larger looser knit, more possible (most helpful if wool). Using a needle and thread, you can encircle the loop of sweater thread with the needle thread to capture it , then pull the sweater thread from the front of the sweater to the back of the sweater by going into the hole of that loop of sweater thread. The problem is that there is usually a line of tightness to the right and left of where you've pulled the loop of thread through to the back. Pulling the thread to the inside of the sweater doesn't deal with that. But sometimes a pull can be "worked out" by stretching the knit back and forth gently. I have on some occasions managed to do this. Sometimes not. If you know anyone who knits, get them to look at it. Also try to find an invisible mender. Of course take the photo before you do anything to mend the sweater.

Edited to add: I am in business, though not a restaurant. So I do look at it from both sides of the issue and still think the restaurant has responsibility here.

Edited by Mottmott (log)

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I would just consider this an unfortunate accident. The restaurant isn't really guilty of any negligence, your economic situation sucks, but its not their problem either. You had a great meal, and dessert gratis, but to bring in lawyers? Is this really that important? I would thinkthe cost of a lawyer might be more than the sweater? Maybe in this same line of thought Judge Judy is the next step......

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Certainly my restaurant has reimbursed customers for problems of this nature. Just recently had a customer lean up against a bathroom sink that had been cleaned with a bleach solution but not wiped effectively enough. Left a bleached line right across his crotch on his brand new trousers. :blink: Customer brought us the damaged trousers so we could see how badly damaged they were. We agreed. He purchased another pair, provided us with the receipt and a check was cut to the customer as a reimbursement. This doesn't happen often (mercifully), but certainly if someone snags or rips their clothing on improperly maintained furnishing, or ruins their clothing due to our negligence, it is the restaurant's responsibility.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Please note that of course the customer acted as though we'd ruined only the bottom half of his $4000 Armani tuxedo rendering it useless, however in actuality it was a $70 pair of Banana Republic khakis. Nonetheless, it was our bad. This has also gone the other way and our magnanimous response to this has come back around to bite us on the ass. We've replaced a lost/stolen umbrella with a brand new designer umbrella that I'm certain the customer spent hours shopping for the most expensive one they could find. :angry:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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'Twere it me, I would have felt pretty happy that they acknowledged the accident with a comped dessert...

Carolyn, I agree that I'd also have been happy enough with that. But I'm not a young couple out for a holiday meal during what appears to be an economically tense time. It's fortunately long ago, but I can remember when spoiling your one good (fill in the blank) was a catastrophe.

I do feel the restaurant has responsibility and though I might not trouble to pursue it, others are justified in pursuing it if their circumstances make it worth their trouble. I don't have the sense that RK is interested in "using" the situation, but more that he feels they've had a more substantial loss than is compensated for by a dessert they weren't ordering anyway. We all evaluate such things when they happen in the light of our own situation.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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You say: "The question is who caused the mishap." Technically, the splinter caused the mishap and unfortunately splinters just happen. It's nature. This situation falls into the category of--shit just happens. Sometimes you spill coffee on your skirt or burn your mouth, sometimes splinters cause pulls in your clothing...

I find it hard to believe that it is within the restaurant's domain of responsibility to sand down their tables on a regular basis to prevent splinters. If you get a splinter walking on the boardwalk are you going to sue the people who own and run the boardwalk? If you get a run in your pantyhose on the subway are you going to sue the metro transit authority for having sharp edges--or even ask them to pay for a new pair? It's just one of those things.

"After all, these are supposed to be gutsy spuds, not white tablecloth social climbers."

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I truly feel for your predicament but I have to agree with the masses on this one, BUT... (I've got to include but's since I read the "Pork Butt" thread : )

If this splinter was a big, obvious defect which could cause permanent damage to any patrons clothing (trousers, dresses, etc...) then I would say you might be entitled to restitution.

A reasonable assessment of responsibility and liability needs to be taken. I truly do sympathize with your situation but I also feel strongly about taking accountability for situations resulting from your own actions.

Either way, I agree that you should write a letter to establishment discribing this incident.

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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The issue really boils down to: was it a splinter caused by something the restaurant did or didn't do (ie; maintenance staff repairing something else and dropped a hammer), or was it a splinter that was caused by the cowboy who ate just before you and his belt buckle?

Sweaters are notorious for finding things to snag on. But I would try to contact restaurant management (if it is corporate) or the owners (if it is local), and explain what happened. Know the replacement or repair cost when you contact them so they can see that you aren't trying to shake them down for an outrageous amount of money.

Splinter in the eye? Different story altogether...

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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The restaurant should reimburse to repair it or replace it. No question, no doubt about it. Every place I worked at would do that, including several lowlifes I worked for. A splinter is negligence, though there's probably little that can be done to prevent it. It's their fault, plain and simple. From the sound of it, they were unaware of the extent of the damage it caused and offering free dessert probably seemed fair at the time. But the restaurant admitted responsibility when they comp'd dessert.

Regardless, a mountain out of a mole hill has been made. It seems to me, if you wrote or called the place and explained what happened like you did in your post, you could probably end up with a satsifactory agreement.

Same situation - if you walked into any other business establishment and the same thing happened, wouldn't you rightfully expect compensation?

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I think you are being unreasonable. To let a snag on a sweater ruin what sounds like a great meal on an anniversary sounds kind of petty to me. Snags happen, if it hadn't happened there it would have probably happened somewhere else. It wasn't very long ago that we were on a very tight budget so I hope you won't mind a little shopping advice? :smile: Go to consignment shops or even the Salvation Army for your clothes. You can find the greatest stuff ( yes, designer stuff!) for such low prices it makes you crazy that you ever payed full price for the clothes in the first place. A sweater is replaceable (yes, even a really cute one) but a special anniversary is not. They comped you the dessert, imo, let it go.

Melissa

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I don't know yet where the blame should fall without more information. Sweaters are delicate and a rough spot can ruin one. However, if it's a real splinter, one that could jab someone's skin and cause a small wound, then you're talking about something that could have created a liability for the restaurant--in other words, serious enough so that they're just lucky it was just a sweater. If that were the case, and the sweater were actually ruined, then I do think the restaurant has an obligation to replace the sweater.

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i've been to restaurants where the rustic charm of splinters was part of the experience. some people, i think, are making some assumptions as there has been no description of the type of restaurant.

my wife gets her sweaters pulled on her rings sometimes. never ruined a meal. never sued de beers. although that might be fun.

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i've been to restaurants where the rustic charm of splinters was part of the experience.  some people, i think, are making some assumptions as there has been no description of the type of restaurant.

my wife gets her sweaters pulled on her rings sometimes.  never ruined a meal.  never sued de beers.  although that might be fun.

haha, tommy! i wonder how far we could go with this... :biggrin:

"After all, these are supposed to be gutsy spuds, not white tablecloth social climbers."

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