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Full pitcher of ice water dumped on me, do you think this high end restaurant responded correctly?


My husband and I were dining in an expensive steak chain restaurant last night. We were seated in a booth. The woman filling water glasses set the pitcher behind me on top of the wooden booth ledge. She knocked it over and it came full force over my left side. My pants were soaked, hair got a little wet, mascara even ran. The rest of the water ended up soaking my husbands legs and shoes under the table. Everyone was very apologetic and came running with towels, etc. After toweling off we were moved to another booth, where i sat on a towel and we had to have towels under our feet as our shoes were wet. We are not demanding people and really felt badly for the woman and told the manager when he came over to apologize. He said "what a pleasure to deal with gracious, forgiving people such as you. Most people aren't like that". At the end of the evening when our check came we were comped for our wine and a dessert. Our bill was $150. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before, so I'm not aware of the standard procedure, but I really thought at least my meal and wine would be comped. What should they have done?

  1. They did it. They comped you wine and a dessert. They could also have offered to pay your cleaning bill. Were you expecting a $150 comp? That seems VERY excessive to me.

    5 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      The bill was for both my husband and me. I thought they would comp my portion of the bill.

      1. re: bjeango

        Well, they didn't. Still think that would be excessive. It was water spilled. Not like they tripped you and you fell to the floor breaking your leg. If your bill, after deducting the wine and a dessert, was $150, then your half was $75. Add that to the wine and dessert and that seems a ridiculous amount for something that did no permanent damage.

        BTW, welcome to Chowhound. Hope you will have more positive experiences to share with us going forward.

        1. re: bjeango

          I think comping you for 1 meal (instead of the wine and the dessert) would have been reasonable, but I don't know what the value of the wine and the dessert were. Maybe I too am expecting a lot, but it sounds like you were more than a little inconvenienced by being soaked with water and having to move tables. I mean, what if you had to go to the theater or somewhere else after dinner? Of course, something is better than nothing, and at least they comped you for part of your meal. And it could have been worse. I've had (very hot) coffee and wine spilled on me before. I'm glad for you that it was only water.

          1. re: bjeango

            Well, to offer a different view...
            Welcome to your first posting on CH! As you can see, "not about food" posts can get quite heated and sometimes feel personal. Don't let it keep you from enjoying all the wonderful things and great advice that can be found here as well.

            It sounds like you handled a difficult situation very gracefully. It's a shame to have a nice evening not live up to it's possibilities.

            1. re: meatn3

              Thank you. I was a little suprised at the number of responses. And you're right, it can feel personal.

        2. I had a similar experience, years ago. The FOH manager gave us a "free pass" to a future dinner: We could go back and have a meal, gratis. This is the only way we ever would have returned. Our subsequent meal was delightful, and we've recommended them ever since.

          18 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            I'm curious why you would never have returned otherwise. It was inadvertent and did no real damage. If the food and service otherwise were good, did you think you were going to have a repeat of that?

            1. re: c oliver

              The manager's response was an expression of the restaurant's attitude towards its customers. If he had shrugged us off with an offer of free desserts, that would have indicated to me that they did not particularly care, and that would have kept me from going back.

              1. re: pikawicca

                While I wouldn't have expected a free meal, I totally agree with what you're saying about the restaurant's attitude. Last summer (i've told this story before), my 70 yr old mother fell from an booth who's step was unlit (they hadn't turned the lighting on), onto the tile floor, where she lay for a few minutes, and aside from a very minimal and delayed reaction from the bartender, there was ZIP. In price range of OP, and we'd had appetizers, meal, dessert, and i'd had wine.

                Now i'm not saying I would have expected a write off, but I don't know about any other place, but if an elderly woman came *this* close to seriously injuring herself due to my negligence in my restaurant, I think i'd be a little giving. Sheesh, at least make a little fuss over the woman. We didn't say anything either until later, and I tipped as per usual. Mom felt she hadn't taken as much care as she should have, but it was way too dark there for someone not so nimble on their feet.

                However, because of the restaurant's attitude about this, I will never darken their door again.

                1. re: im_nomad

                  This is often why people sue (had your mother been slightly injured). Often it's not because of the actual damages suffered, but because of the terribly uncaring attitude displayed by the party involved.

                  1. re: Leonardo

                    And that, my friend, is *exactly* why businesses pay such high liability insurance rates. Under the law, a person is entitled to sue for damages suffered, *not* because they feel "uncared" about.

                    1. re: shaogo

                      I think what Leonardo is trying to say (not to put words in anyone's mouth), is not that people seek damages not because their feelings were hurt, but because they were injured and no one gave a crap.

                      In the situation I described, my mother was hurt, she as bruised up the next day, and pretty stiff. It was a hard fall. We were on holiday at the time, and moving along, no one wanted to make a big fuss. The night of, I was more concerned with my mother's well-being than even remotely being interested in compensation. We're not the litigious type, but after things settled down that night, I did a lot of head shaking, and WTH happened in there sort of thing.

                      I admit I should have later followed up with a message to the owner or something, particularly due to the fact that they hadn't switched the lights on but I didn't care anymore about their food....i'm kinda bull headed when it comes to people I love getting hurt. And I do judge a place by how they treat old folks and such. Even on a personal level, I can't imagine being near anyone who fell and looking the other way.

                      1. re: im_nomad

                        Thank you Nomad. Precisely what I meant.

                        Shaogo: As good business practice/customer relations/common decency, it never hurts to be empathetic and caring. It is also good risk management. I have seen many cases where a person suffered provable real injury, and their decision to sue or not was based on how the business treated them.

                        1. re: Leonardo

                          I agree with you, Leonardo. However, it appears you're a lawyer. It doesn't matter what a litigant's *decision* was based upon. What's determined by a court of law is whether or not the complainant suffered physical/financial injury.

                          Of course, any business should show the utmost in compassion and concern for a person who is hurt on their premises.

                        2. re: im_nomad

                          You consider a 70 year old --- OLD???? I'm not that far from that and my husband is even closer and we are far from old. If we trip and fall, it's usually due to not being careful enough. I am particularly clumsy. But we are in NO WAY feeble and unable to take care of ourselves.

                          A few years ago I was kinda moving too fast through a restaurant to rejoin our party. All I can figure is that some oily dish had been dropped on the wood floor. My feet flew out from underneath me and my head bomped the adjacent wall and down I went. It hurt like the dickens but I was more embarassed than hurt. I quickly brushed off any suggestions of help and rejoined our group laughing at myself. I never considered that the restaurant owed me something. HAD I needed to seek medical care I would have followed up with the restaurant as they do have insurance for just such things.

                          And if an evening is "ruined," then no amount of money is going to make it "un-ruined." I think the restaurant that the OP referred to showed far more kindness with their solicitous gestures than any amount of monetary gesture would have made.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I keep thinking the same thing! Not that I don't feel awful that she fell down, was bruised and stiff. But give her a break! 70 is not old!

                2. re: c oliver

                  It absolutely DID do permanent/real damage! Their night/experience/dinner was irreversibly ruined from that point forth. The idea of comping her meal and even offering a future comp/discount is in the restaurants best interest in attempting to show they care and continue having them as customers. Furthermore, in the current world of instant internet reviews and rantings, I would think they would understand that the old adage of "a happy customer tells 1 or 2 people but an angry customer tells 10" is really more like ".......an angry person tells 10,000!"

                  1. re: nkeane

                    Cold water causes permanent damage?! My God! I was caught in a rain storm in the late fall. Who should I sue?! I got much wetter then the OP!

                    1. re: KTinNYC

                      Rain is an act of god, the spilled pitcher was the act of an idiot. One is chance, the other negligence. Personally, I think she should sue both the pitcher maker (for not making a tip-proof bottom) and booth maker (for building a ledge that encouraged negligent behavior).

                      1. re: Cachetes

                        But I watched the weather report earlier in the day and there was no mention of rain. Can I sue the network? Maybe the weather man? I'm calling Jacoby and Meyer's.

                        1. re: KTinNYC

                          I imagine they've pursued a few doozies related to restaurants!

                    2. re: nkeane

                      Oh please..."permanent damage"? What was tyhe OP the Wicked Witch of the West?

                      If someone were to tell jfood that they would not return to a restaurant because they spilled some water on them and they would not comp the whole meal plus and another free meal, jfood would whack them on the side of the head and tell them to grow up.

                      BTW - When one posts a review on line whether good or bad it reaches the same number of readers.

                      1. re: jfood

                        "If someone were to tell jfood that they would not return to a restaurant because they spilled some water on them and they would not comp the whole meal plus and another free meal, jfood would whack them on the side of the head and tell them to grow up."
                        What jfood said bears repeating. "Permanent damage"? Come on.

                      2. re: nkeane

                        I ditto what KTinNYC and jfood say above. And "in the current world of instant internet reviews and rantings" (let's put the emphasis on "rantings") I think any of us who've perused CitySearch and the likes (and Chowhound, for that matter) are acutely aware of the flaming of those who're just never happy - and those posters who give accurate, objective reviews.

                  2. If your wine and dessert cost $25, they did less than they should have. If your wine and dessert cost $150 (as my wine bill has at times), they did you OK. In between, I dunno - did you otherwise have a good time?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Good point. I was thinking maybe a conbined value of $50-$75 but I could be WAY off.

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        That's what I was thinking. See my post above. I have no idea what the value of the wine and dessert was, but if I were in the OP's place, I think the expectation of getting 1 meal comp'ed (instead of the wine and dessert) is a reasonable one.

                      2. Had they spilled red wine or Hawaiian Punch or cranberry juice all over you, your entire meal should have been comped as well as cleaning expenses. Being that it was just good old H20, they were correct in their approach to your sitch. I would've also given you a small denomination gift cert. to ensure a return visit on your part. Hopefully, it was a BOTTLE of wine that they comped and not just a glass or two... adam

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: adamshoe

                          The wine and dessert cost was $55. I guess I thought being soaked with ice water was a pretty big deal. The food was great, but it was not a completely enjoyable evening being wet and cold. We had traveled out of town for the weekend and a special meal.

                          1. re: bjeango

                            That seems more than adequate since comping your meal portion alone seems like it would have come out to roughly the same amount. I wouldn't expect to have both the food and the wine covered for just water. Yeah it's a bit frustrating, but I've certainly got less for a) glass falling on my table/seats from the balcony, b)wine spill, and c) wing sauce spill. It's just water, not something dangerous or really messy in the long run.

                            1. re: bjeango

                              They took roughly 25% off your bill... that sounds like fair compensation to me. I'm sorry you got drenched - it couldn't have been much fun - but at least it was only water and not wine or coffee or somebody's soup!

                          2. Years and years ago I was in a Perkins in Rapid City, SD. It was January and I remember thinking: What is that noise?

                            It was the sound of the waiter losing control of an entire tray of glasses filled with ice water and the pitcher as well. I was showered from head to toe!

                            After he returned to the kitchen, my table-mates asked why I hadn't "went off on him". I replied that there was nothing I could have said that would have been worse than what just went on in that young man's head. I mean, he didn't do it on purpose so why freak out?

                            The waiter helped towel me off and the manager comped my meal.

                            1. I think apologizing and doing whatever was necessary to mitigate the damage is enough since your clothes were not destroyed (since it was only water). I'm likely in the minority, but I think the whole notion that reasonable accidents require some sort of financial compensation is wrong. Essentially, it seems people are always looking to be paid for the discomfort of being a bystander receiving troublesome, but not painful or debilitating collateral damage. Sometimes people make mistakes and we get put out by it, but then we dry off and go on with our lives. I think the habit of putting your hand out at the end is a bad habit to get into.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Orchid64

                                The accident occurred out of negligence. She shouldn't have placed the pitcher there. While there was no injury or clothing damage, it certainly ruined their experience. And isn't "experience" what a nice dinner out is all about?

                                1. re: Leonardo

                                  If she had walked back to the kitchen or bar or station, we'd have a different thread complaining how the server took the time to take one pitcher to the back instead of putting it down somewhere to provide faster service to the table.

                              2. Considering the cost of your wine & dessert, that was an adequate gesture. I think that, had I been the manager however, I might have intercepted you as you left, apologized again, and handed you a "pass" for at least 1/2 off or a buy-one-get-one at your next visit. The fact that you had to eat your dinner while you were soaking wet probably made it difficult to enjoy your meal -- a stain on your clothes from spilled wine is one thing, but a soaking is quite another.

                                The resto should consider themselves very lucky that the water pitcher did not hit you on the head.

                                1. I am not one to believe that all situations should end in asking for a handout. However, while many posters seem to think that "it was just water", I would say think again. From the way the OP described it, she was soaked. Also, I'm sure most would agree that the majority of fine dining restaurants are CHILLY. If this happened to me, I can almost guarantee that I would end up sick at the end of it; definitely not a way to enjoy a meal. Because the OP decided to stay for the duration of the meal, the restaurant's gesture was probably appropriate. However, if this had happened to me and the restaurant was on the chilly side I would have had to leave as soon as possible- in the hopes of not getting sick. For that reason, I would have expected a comp or a free meal in the future. (Only because I would not have been able to stay and enjoy the meal). If however, the OP had not been soaked but merely splashed, that would be a different story entirely.

                                  1. i think they responded beyond correctly. the restaurant didn't have to comp you anything, they chose to. say thank you. move on w/ your life

                                    1. I'm a restaurateur. The wine/dessert comp the OP received was indeed adequate compensation for being drenched.

                                      The OP failed to mention the quality of the food and service (beside the klutz who spilled the water).

                                      I ditto the restaurant manager -- I've experienced diners who become irate (and loud) when a single ice cube falls in their lap -- you handled the incident gracefully.

                                      1. My commiserations. It doesn't sound fun

                                        I'm not sure how to respond about response, which seems quite decent in light of what you've said. However, I do want to know more about your experience eating there: were you freezing throughout? Did the restaurant seek to provide you with cover if you were cold? Or was the dinner manageable after this incident? I reckon it must have been if you stayed for dessert, even without knowing it would be comped. But who knows?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Lizard

                                          Yes, I was cold. Most of the water went on my shoulder, over my front and soaked my pants/legs/feet/shoes.The waitress brought me a shawl that I wore. They brought the comp dessert after we were finished eating our entrees.We didn't order it. If we had been in our hometown, I would have left and tried again another night. We had driven 4 hours from home and were staying in a hotel that night so we made the best of it. I was also shocked and a little embarrassed and didn't want to walk out.

                                          1. re: bjeango

                                            It sounds like they really went out of their way to make you comfortable after the initial deluge. If the food was good I wouldn't hesitate to return.

                                        2. Jfood also thinks that the comp was more than adequate. It was water, not broken glass that cut your leg (happened to mrs jfood), red wine spilled all over a white shirt at a lunch meeting (happened to jfood and made for interesting looks in the office elevator that afternoon) or hot soup (place another bulls eye on the bald spot on jfood's head). It was water. Uncomfortable yup, worth a free soup to nuts meal, can't get there.

                                          If you buy a shirt at a store and then it rips the first time you wear it, do you take it back to the store and demand both a new shirt and a pair of slacks. This whole multiple-times the value of a comp is just getting out of hand.

                                          1. I rarely eat out, and can't remember ever receiving/requesting/thinking-I-should-get a comp. And some of the other stories about hot soup, red wine, etc. sound miserable. But becoming an involuntary member of the Polar Bear Club? The initial shock of that icy water hitting you?

                                            If there's a single line dividing a normal experience (that could range from great to pretty lousy) from one for which the restaurant should pull out all the stops for having actively caused the misery (as opposed to calculating various dollar amounts or percentages that a particular incident is worth), a full pitcher of ice water is over that line, in my mind. Of course, this is from the human point of view, not the view of the bottom line, which shouldn't be a problem, assuming this is truly a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence.

                                            However, I'm surprised that, having not had a heart attack after being hit with ice water, you didn't leave. Most restaurants are over-air-conditioned, and if you were dressed up for a special evening in the summer, I assume you weren't wearing particularly thick clothing.

                                            1. I think that both you and the restaurant did the right thing. Accidents happen and both of you dealt with it the best that you could. Their initial response was great (apologized and brought towels) and you were gracious and forgiving. If they hadn't reacted that way and /or you weren't able to stay for a complete meal then I would say that they should have given you a GC for a future meal.

                                              A restaurant never has to comp, it's a gesture of good will. Since you and your DH were gracious and forgiving (instead of demanding and rude) you got one. Be content with what you got.

                                              1. Exact same thing happened to me, at a nice Italian restaurant. They mopped me off, and offered my dinner to go. I was with a group, and didn't want to break up the party, so I stayed. The restaurant didn't comp my meal, but they did keep my wine glass full, all night, to minimize my pain. I was OK with it, just wished i wouldn't have happened in the first place..... I was WET!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                  "but they did keep my wine glass full, all night"........that's my kinda comp :)

                                                  water? what water??...

                                                2. I agree with those who said this was an adequate gesture by the restaurant. If you were too uncomfortable to continue, you should have left (at which point they likely would have offered to comp), disappointed in not having the special meal or not. As you were just inconvenienced and weren't injured or so wet that you couldn't go on, or had stains or food or something spilled on you so that you smelled, their gesture seems right to me.

                                                  1. I’m sorry...I find the whole episode hilarious! It gives a whole new meaning to “Shock and Awe” Did you take a big deep breath when the ice water hit you??? Bless your heart! What a great story, one you want soon forget, to share with friends and future generations!!! I hope you too will soon laugh about it.... Ain’t life great? ---- Under the circumstances, the restaurant acted correctly, appropriately, and fairly!

                                                    1. They should have brought you a fancy drink with one of those little paper umbrellas.

                                                      1. While I don't own a restaurant, I do own my own business. From my point of view I'd have at least given them half off, likely comped the whole thing. Sure it was just water, but would you like to spend your entire evening out at a nice restaurant soaked in water? I think it's fair to say that put a damper on the whole experience that evening. The fact that they didn't cause a scene would be even more reason to comp their whole meal. There are plenty of people out there that would have made a scene and subsequently make others in the restaurant uncomfortable.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Rick

                                                          Haha, Rick! Put a "damper" on it- literally!! A little off-topic, I was at a wedding at the head table. The meal was served to us, with all eyes on the head table, as per usual. The server was behind me and all of a sudden I felt warm gravy running down my back and shoulder. Hard to keep your composure through that LOL!

                                                        2. what would the difference had been if they comped your meal excluding wine instead of wine and dessert?

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                            the thing is that there is a HUGE mark up on alcohol, if they comped a $40 bottle of wine, it probably cost them $12.50 or something like that. Desserts also tend to be high profit items. I am not saying that the restaurant did not rise to the occasion, i think what they did was adequate. But no more than adequate.

                                                            Both the bjeango AND dining companion were sopping wet, to the point that they had to keep towels under their feet, wearing wet socks and sloshy shoes is no picnic. We aren't talking a little splash here, we are talking about an entire quart of ice water being showered down on them. People have suffered heart attacks from lesser shocks. I think a really first class restaurant would have comped their entire meals, including wine and dessert.

                                                          2. This comp syndrome seems to be confined to restaurants. If some kind of inadvertent, no physical damage accident occured at one's doctor, dentist, lawyer, hairdresser, hardware store, grocery, etc., etc., etc., would "one" be expecting to get "comped." If so, I've never heard of that. It seems we're breeding some people who are getting pretty aggressive about this. I'm not saying the OP is that far gone but I do believe this gets to going too far.

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              what if your doctor misread his chart and gave you a rectal exam when you where in for your sore knee?would you feel like paying for that?
                                                              what if your dentist accidentally pulled the wrong tooth? even if they replaced it with an implant, would you feel the need to pay for that?
                                                              Hairdresser gives you a buzz cut when you were in for a trim, do they deserve payment?
                                                              etc, etc, etc......

                                                              Lets just say that completely ruining someones experience in your "hospitality based business" should be compensated in some way, just as the restaurant is compensated when the customer eats the food. fair is fair.

                                                              1. re: nkeane

                                                                Let's see. Here's something you wrote recently in a situation much more fraught with potential harm:

                                                                "I have never "asked" for a comp! I just wouldnt know how to vocalize that!? but I do recall one time eating about 80% of a dish and finding a 5/8" fine thread, hex-head nut in the bottom of the bowl(also found the cotter pin that apparently was in charge of keeping said nut on its respective bolt.....is that a cotterFAIL?). After pointing this out to the server with my only intention being to let someone know that a piece of equipment was obviously needing some attention, they took the dish off my bill. I did not insist on paying.

                                                                That being said, I have been back numerous times and do not hold such an obviously accidental incident against them. Nor would I have asked for the meal to be comp'd. My fellow diners never cease to baffle me........"

                                                                AND I was more thinking along the lines of what if my dentist had spilled water all over me rather than pulling the wrong tooth. I think you're getting illogical in trying to defend a position that you don't need to.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  I said I "never asked for a comp" which I have not. That doesnt mean I have never thought one was warranted in a given situation. I am simply saying what the restaurant SHOULD have done in the OP's situation. They could have done absolutely nothing and been within their rights. The fact that they did something indicates that they knew they were wrong. IMO they should have went further in the OP's case. Sure, I used a fair amount of hyperbole to illustrate my point, but my point remains. I just think comping $60(figuring 30%food costs, not menu prices) worth of goods and services isnt excessive in the least.

                                                                  1. re: nkeane

                                                                    Let's just take it to a new level- say the OP went to an extremely high end restaurant and ended up with a $1500 tab. Should she expect a $500 comp on that meal merely because it's 1/3 of the tab? it's not like the spill becomes any more damaging as the meal becomes more expensive.

                                                                    1. re: queencru

                                                                      I'm not saying I agree or disagree, but isn't this notion somewhat analogous to tipping? Just because I order a dish with Alba Truffles versus the steamed asparagus doesn't mean the server did any more work, so why should I tip them more?

                                                                      Clearly I don't adhere to that, but would you not expect the comp for an incident such as this to be higher at the French Laundry than at Fridays?

                                                                    2. re: nkeane

                                                                      They DID comp in the $60 range which you expressed an inclination for. So what's your issue? No one argued against that as far as I recollect.

                                                                  2. re: nkeane

                                                                    id say misreading a chart is a bit more egregious than spilling water, no?

                                                                  3. re: c oliver

                                                                    jfood wrote in another thread about the same issue with the following analogy.

                                                                    If you bought a shirt in the store and the first time you wore it, the sleeve ripped off the body. When you took it back would you also expect a pair of slacks?Why are restaurants responsible for 2:1 and 3:1 odds. by giving the customer a replacement of the damaged dish plus a bunch of other stuff?

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      Well, I know in Las Vegas, many people -expect- to get comped for a weekend if they plunk $20 in a slot machine! (they gotta spend at least $2,000 for a host to even -look- at them!) I know, not a perfect comparison, but Vegas is a microcosim of the comp mentality.

                                                                      This is in NO WAY saying the OP is like this, but from what i've seen, people can be extreemly greedy in wanting IT ALL., and they want it now. I've seen and heard things that have me lose faith in humanity.

                                                                      I think both parties in this scenario were fair and gracious.

                                                                    2. Maybe I have a different point of view from most of the respondents but I believe that this isn't about value of food as much as it it is about value of the experience. The experience of dining out
                                                                      was seriously compromised and though a comp wasn't required it (more than was offered) surely would have helped the customer leave with a happier memory. A restaurant can never go too far in exceeding a customer's expectations and when they do go above and beyond, the price of that one meal or turning around a negative experience is invaluable for future business from that customer and those they share their story with.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: soxlover

                                                                        I am in your camp. The experience of dining out is seriously negatively impacted by sitting in a pool of icewater. I would not be able to enjoy my experience very much in that state--regardless of how good the food is, in some sense the evening has been ruined. I think that most high-end restaurants would have comped the meal.

                                                                        1. re: soxlover

                                                                          Well put. Yes it was water, but water can still ruin many clothing materials. Traveling for a special meal and then trying to enjoy it while cold and drenched doesn't make for an enjoyable evening.

                                                                          Dining out is about the food and the experience. Restaurants know this and put a tremendous amount of energy into the design of the space and the food.

                                                                          I'm not a "gimme" person and don't ask for comps. But if I were managing this place I would have comped the meal along with doing whatever else I could to help them leave on a positive note.

                                                                          1. re: soxlover

                                                                            My evening would have been ruined.

                                                                            I tend to get cold anyway, so I always carry a wrap but sitting there wet would be miserable.

                                                                            I would also be very embarrassed. I'm thinking about having to walk to the train or my hotel soaking wet after dinner. If I had been dressed in some light filmy thing that left me basically naked after soaking I'd be more embarrassed. And plenty of fabrics and shoes would be ruined with just water. I probably embarrass easier than many.

                                                                            Do I think that the resto OWED the OP more? Probably not, but I bet that they would have done more for anyone who fussed over something more minor. Squeaky wheel.

                                                                          2. I wonder how much her meal was... $40? How much is a steak at Ruth Chris? If my pants were soaked, I think my experience would have been ruined... it would have at least occupied a majority of my conversation, I would be walking to the bathroom with big wet stains while others wondered why that lady peed in her pants, I mean who knows.

                                                                            Giving a dessert that was not ordered and calling it a comp doesn't seem adequate. Maybe the wine cost more than the meal? I guess an amount equivalent to the price of one entree would be good, whether that was wine or meal. Dessert? I don't think so.

                                                                            They don't have to comp, but the couple was gracious and were acknowledged at that. Do you think some snooty people would have reacted that way? I think not, but I bet those would normally get the great comps because they come across as demanding people you're supposed to take care of.

                                                                            1. I am surprised by the posters who say "it was just water." Water on certain clothing fabrics and shoe leathers can be permanently damaging, or the cleaning bill may be very expensive to correct the problem, if the material can even be salvaged. And sitting in wet clothes could be embarrassingly revealing. The OP was a very good sport all things considered. As to the comp - not sure there is a right or wrong answer to the question of how to calculate what is fair - but I think that the restaurant does not get hurt if it errs on the side of being very generous. As I read it, the OP was disappointed in the amount of the comp and, therefore, the amount was insufficient. The server, though accidently, ruined the entire meal for both husband and wife , so I believe that they should have paid for the entire meal. and, then , the OP would be telling us the name of the restaurant that treated her so well.

                                                                              1. Personally, my priority would be my shoes. A deluge of water would ruin the majority of my shoes. And then to have to pay a place that just ruined my shoes would make me furious. I would have wanted the restaurant to comp the entire meal. Shoes can cost well above $150. And if the water also touched my handbag, well, that's another level of fury.

                                                                                1. Not sure what happened as I posted yesterday and it did not stick???

                                                                                  A few weeks ago I was at an event and someone managed to spill a full glass of beer down my back towards the end of the evening. I was soaked - I really mean soaked. It started at the base of my back, got a big chunk of the back of my dress and my feet were truly soaked in addition the way things spilled. If I had been wearing full coverage shoes instead of sandals I guarantee that I would have had to pour beer out of both shoes.

                                                                                  My husband and I had just been shouting to each other over the band that we couldn't wait to attend the event next year when it happened. I just looked at him and told him I wanted to go home after it happened becuase it really ruined the evening for me. Luckily it was towards the end of the night at least. It was in the high 70's and humid that night but i was kind of cold from being wet, I couldn't walk well because my feet kept slipping in my shoes. i only wish it was water because I reeked! I was really embarrassed and so glad that it was both dark and that i had worn what I had - I almost wore a white skirt!!! I was so grateful that no one could see through my clothing.

                                                                                  All I am saying is that the OP would have likely been very miserable in a restaurant. I know that I am one of those always cold people in an air conditioned building but I can only imagine how cold she must have been. I really would not have had a pleasant time eating after that no matter how nice the atmosphere of company. I know that personally I would have been shivering the whole time considering that i usually do when not wet and am somewhat bundled up!

                                                                                  That being said, I feel that the restaurant didn't do a bad thing in comping the wine and desert. I am just a bit surprised that they didn't do more. I don't believe that they had to, or that it was required of them. I am just surprised that they did not in the interest of business and good reviews by the couple.

                                                                                  I do think though that if the couple had wished to be comped that they could have kindly asked for their food to go and left - that would have sent a signal to the management that they were really uncomfortable even if they were being nice about the situation. Most likely the restaurant would have comped the meal or a portion of it at that point. By staying though you were really sending a message that everything was fine, not big deal. So if it was no big deal to you, why should it be to the restaurant? I totally understand why you stayed, but see my point?

                                                                                  1. If it were January in Maine and this happened, I would have expected a full comp. But August and ice water seems much less damaging. I think it was nice they comped your wine and dessert, and I hope they were not fine Italian leather shoes (Then I would ask for replacement if they were new and ruined by this).

                                                                                    1. Let's evaluate this one from a different perspective. Bill =$150, comp value=$55, bill without spill=$205. If your server brings you a bill for $205, and offers to knock it down to $150 if you let him pour a pitcher of ice water on you, how many hounds would go for it?

                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                        I would. There's a depression on. Of course, I wouldn't afford to be in that restaurant to begin with.

                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                          I imagine that a lot of football coaches would go for it.. they are used to it, right? ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                            Thanks, Mr. Economist. I'll take the shower.

                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                              i like this analysis and i wouldn't take the offer. i go out to dinner, knowing that i am overpaying for the ingredients, because of the service, convenience and ambience. getting drenched kind of ruins that whole experience. i wouldn't chave raised a stink about it if i were the guest, but if i were the manager, i would've comped her meal. the cold water ruined the dining experience.

                                                                                              comping a free dessert i didn't order is kind of silly... marginal cost to the restaurant is meaningless, so it's a no-brainer move for them...

                                                                                              1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                Don't forget there was a bottle of wine. At a high end steak restaurant, it's unlikely it was Two Buck Chuck.

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  Probably not a bottle; recall the value of the wine and dessert was $55, very low in proportion to the food @ $150.

                                                                                              2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                I wouldn't let someone pour ice water on me for $205 before a meal much less $55. But as this was an accident the $55 comp and a sincere apology is adequate.

                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                  Good exercise, Veggo :) With today's heat, maybe. But to be accurate, you'd have to agree to go back in time and be soaked through that whole meal. I'd rather not have spent the $150 in the first place to sit wet through a (still) expensive meal.

                                                                                                  I'm all for forgiving earnest mistakes, but perching pitchers above guests' shoulders seems like it was asking for trouble.

                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                    I definitely wouldn't. I would rather eat a $150 meal dry and comfortable than a $200 meal at a $50 discount, while soaking wet and cold.

                                                                                                    In other words...if I am spending $150 on a meal I do not want to do it while soaking wet. Even if they are giving me $50 worth of stuff for free. I will keep my money and stay home, thank you!

                                                                                                    1. re: Justpaula

                                                                                                      that's why i don't necessarily agree that the comp on wine and dessert is enough... let's assume the price on the wine is $50. but in reality, the wine is probably what, $15?

                                                                                                      once i was drenched, the experience of dining out was ruined. that wine really isn't worth $50 to me, as i'm willing to pay the premium because of the benefits of dining out.

                                                                                                    2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                      Yes, a nice mental exercise, Veggo. And Miriam correctly points out that you'd have to be soaked with ice water at the beginning of the meal, not the end. There is no way I'd take the offer and I have trouble believing that anyone else would.

                                                                                                    3. I would settle for nothing less than a partial ownership stake in said restaurant.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: MattInNJ

                                                                                                        hehehe, what.....no first born ?

                                                                                                        1. re: MattInNJ

                                                                                                          I think that would be more of a penalty than a prize...

                                                                                                        2. When did the deluge happen? Before your dinner...during...or? I think the resto did a passable job - apologized, ran over with towels, moved you to a dry booth, comped you a dessert and wine. Could they have done better? Sure. If your clothing was ruined, they should offer to clean it (or replace it) and if you had decided to leave, they should have accomodated you with quick food to-go. But you didn't make a big fuss and you decided to stay - seems reasonable that the manager figured you weren't super put out about it and tried to respond appropriately (the comp) without going overboard (full comp). It would have been nice for the resto to comp your whole meal (or provide a gift certificate for a future meal) with another apology, a thanks for being so understanding and we hope you return...but that's not required. It may sound cold, but the resto should do what it can to ensure you'll return (and not trash the resto to others). In your case, you stayed for the meal, so the manager might have figured that there wasn't a whole lot of danger of you swearing off the resto and waging a bad PR campaign. If, on the other hand, you were so upset you insisted that you and your H leave immediately, the manager might have offered more (a gift certificate, free food to go)...who knows.

                                                                                                          1. I think the key here is the OP didn't order dessert but the restaurant sent it gratis. Big deal. She got something for free that she didn't want anyway. Her dinner should have been comped.

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: sparkareno

                                                                                                              She did get the wine for free, which I assume accounted for the bulk of the $55 taken off the bill.

                                                                                                              1. re: sparkareno

                                                                                                                "At the end of the evening when our check came we were comped for our wine and a dessert" - seems to jfood that means just the opposite. They ordered and ate the dessert and then the bill arrived and it was comped.

                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                  She said upthread that the dessert was brought after they finished their entrees...she said they didn't order it. So maybe (my speculation) they brought it & said "compliments of the house" or something like that. This was a high end place & they had to sit there & eat in cold wet clothes & shoes--part of what you are paying for in a place like that is ambiance. Being drenched in ice water pretty much screws that up.

                                                                                                              2. It's a bit ironic that I had already responded to the OP...and then afterwards (last night) I was out to dinner at a nice seafood restauarant in manhattan with a friend when a waitress (not ours) spilled appetizers onto my handbag and some liquid (probably white wine) onto my shorts. There was broken glass on the floor but thankfully no one was hurt. I had to wash my bag out with soap to get the stink out (thankfully it was washable but it was a pricy bag). The waitress did apologize profusely and I did stay- because I did not want to ruin the night. I was not comped a single penny. I have mixed feelings about this. Granted, I did stay- which sent a message that things were a-ok. However, it certainly was not a pleasant experience. If I had had to go to a dry-cleaners I certainly would have sent them a bill but thanfully that was not the case.

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                  squeaky wheel gets the oil. it's not how it should work, but such is life.

                                                                                                                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                    That's the truth. I am the type that would keep my mouth shut in this situation, and in many others. My mother on the other hand is not afraid to voice her issues (and she was in retail mgmt for thirty years), and she pretty much always leaves satisfied. I do think the OP gave the impression that she was okay with it, so the restaurant did not feel the need to go another step. But, to sit through an entire fine dining experience soaked in ice water is pretty crappy and I think it would serve the restaurant's best interest to go that extra step anyway. Someone like me may not make a scene or even complain, but I may not go back and I may not recommend it.

                                                                                                                    BTW, this is one of those threads that I read and had an opinion on and then after reading more responses, developed a different opinion.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Justpaula

                                                                                                                      i think its got to be a happy medium, which voicing my displeasure without causing a scene. the one thing i hate is when someone starts ranting at the staff, who oftentimes can't do anything about it. sometimes. but i'm not against discreetly pulling the manager aside to help him / her understand the situation.

                                                                                                                      1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                        My problem is that usually if something is bad enough to warrant a talk with mgmt, I am already so bummed that I just don't even want to bother. Perfect example, Galatoire's in NOLA for my 30th b-day. I was so looking forward to it, but my food was so bad it bummed me out (uncooked rice, rubbery shrimp). Our server noticed I wasn't eating my entree and asked if everything was ok. I was so bummed and let down by the food at the resto I'd heard so much about, I just told her I didn't like the dish. She insisted on bringing me a second one and I agreed to have her bring out her favorite dish - but that one was really bad, too! I just couldn't bring myself to say anything, it was such a bummer and I didn't want to make my SO feel even worse than he already did that I was having a bummer b-day meal. In hindsight I can see that maybe it's not really fair to the resto that I didn't really give them a chance to fix the second dish, but at that point, I just didn't want to bother with it.

                                                                                                                2. Just playing Devil's Advocate here, but ...
                                                                                                                  Having a pitcher of ice water dumpt on you is a shock. Sitting there in wet clothes and shoes through dinner has to be terribly uncomfortable. I think as soon as you get over the shock, you go looking for dry clothes and shoes. If they are close enough to the restaurant, you say to the manager "We'll be back in xx minutes. Please save us a table." I'm sure they would bend over backwards and do back flips on your return. If, in stead, you sit there looking woe-be-gone in wet clothes through dinner, I think you were expecting, counting on, dinner being compt. It was your chance to "get over."

                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                    I'd also thought that they should have left, changed clothes and returned. As you say, they'd have leapt through hoops to accommodate since they'd already been nice about it. I won't go so far as to say they were looking to be comped; just not firing on all cylinders that night over that issue.

                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                      Good point - It's easy to second guess when I'm sitting home in comfort and relaxed.

                                                                                                                    2. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                      The OP did state that they had traveled out of town and that this was a special meal. So, I am going to assume that it is possible she only had one outfit (and nice pair of shoes) available for a fine dining experience. Not to mention THAT IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS SUGGESTION I HAVE HEARD! Who is really ever that close enough? If I were at the quaint little restaurant five blocks away from my home, where we often go, I MIGHT go home and change, but probably, I would say, "well, now that we are home to change clothes, screw it, we go there all the time, let's just order in". Suppose I was having a special dinner out on the East Side of Manhattan, a 15 minute subway ride. AM I supposed to walk to the subway, take the train back to Queens, walk from the subway to my home, change and do the whole thing back again?" I really do not think your suggestion is at all sensible. And to suggest that the OP was "looking for a comp" because she either A) chose not to schlep somewhere to change clothes, or B) was unable to change clothes, is completely ludicrous.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Justpaula

                                                                                                                        I don't think it was that ridiculous a suggestion. I know when I travel I rarely rent a car and often stay in an area where I know there will be plenty of restaurants in close walking distance. Regardless, the OP did have the option of going home and eating somewhere else if being cold and wet was that uncomfortable. If I were in that situation and couldn't come back, I'd prefer to eat somewhere less fancy while dry and comfortable than to sit through a fine dining meal totally miserable because I was cold and wet.

                                                                                                                        1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                          I agree that the OP could have gone back to their hotel for room service or gotten into comfortable clothes and gone somewhere less upscale. Probably what I would have done. Of course, the restaurant would be out he $100 she spent even after the comp. But for whatever reason, she did decide to stay for the meal that was planned and meant to be special. What got under my skin is the implication that the OP was somehow trying to manipulate the situation to her advantage by sitting through a meal cold and wet *hoping* she may get a total comp. Besides, she made it clear how gracious she and her husband were - and we all know that in this situation, the more show your dissatisfaction is the way to the comp. :)

                                                                                                                          I do see that yayadave has softened his POV now. So, it is all good.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Justpaula

                                                                                                                            But, I do think that if the OP had decided to leave, and it this had happened before any food was served, it would have been a nice gesture for the restaurant to offer a small gift certificate- even $25 - to encourage the couple to return for a meal they can enjoy.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Justpaula

                                                                                                                          Agree completely, that logic is absolutely ridiculous. I live in the suburbs of l.a., most fine dining restaurants are in l.a. which is an hour from my home. If I have a 7:30 reservation and water gets dumped on me at 7:45, I am supposed to drive 2 hours round trip in order to first sit down to dinner at 10? No way. Even if it's a shorter trip than mine, although sitting in the restaurant soaking wet certainly ruins the night, having to leave the restaurant, travel home, change, travel back, and eat much later than I expected also ruins the night. If I was already there I would probably try to salvage things because I'm there and I'm hungry, NOT because I'm looking for a handout.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Nicole

                                                                                                                            Why don't people read the OP's posts? She said she was out of town for the entire weekend, meaning it's possible she could have been staying near the restaurant. We have no way of knowing whether she's one hour away or 10 minutes away, so it's not necessarily a ridiculous suggestion.

                                                                                                                      2. If I go to a picnic I dress according to the weather forecast and prepared to sit on a bench that may be dusty.

                                                                                                                        If I'm going out for a special meal I may choose to wear fancier garments and shoes. I am operating under the assumption that I will be seated in an area that is clean and dry.

                                                                                                                        If I am traveling I will probably only have one "nice" outfit, so changing and returning is not an option. The idea of getting a steak dinner to-go (re: the restaurant the op was at) and having it steam in Styrofoam and attempting to eat it lukewarm without proper plates and utensils or possibly even a table at my hotel is not appealing.

                                                                                                                        If the order had already been placed and starters were served the op may have felt the only options were:
                                                                                                                        *pay and leave immediately
                                                                                                                        *request meal to go, wait, then pay/leave and eat steamed steak with fingers in hotel
                                                                                                                        *continue meal and at least be able to eat it as it was meant to be served.

                                                                                                                        None of these options makes for the special night out they anticipated.

                                                                                                                        There is a difference to being at the neighborhood pub and having water splashed on your sleeve and being out for a nicer meal and being drenched to the extent the op experienced. Those who can roll with the ice water and not have it alter the experience - great! But do try to have some understanding that not everyone will be able to slog ahead and enjoy the rest of the evening in these circumstances.

                                                                                                                        Ultimately the restaurant failed to maintain a comfortable environment to match the food. It is their responsibility to make the situation right. Saying the patron "asked for it" by way of not making a fuss or perhaps not thinking of the best reaction possible is simply blaming the victim.

                                                                                                                        I don't buy the validity of the squeeky wheel theory. If a business only responds to obnoxious bores and ignores those who act with politeness, then I have no wish to give my money to them.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                          I'm not willing to reread all the posts here but I don't think that anyone thought that the OP would enjoy the rest of the evening. But also monetary compensation wasn't going to make them enjoy it any more either.

                                                                                                                        2. Well, lets see. The OP was 4 hours away from home for the week-end. That means they had a local center of operations. I'd bet that they could have gotten back to their room, changed clothes, and gone back to the restaurant in an hour. Moving your dinner time back an hour when you're on vacation is no big deal. Of course, if little bells go off in your head at the idea that you're going to get compt a high priced dinner, then you wouldn't think of that possibility.

                                                                                                                          And I recognize that it's nice to get dressed up for a special night out, but I'm sure that on any given night, every customer in Morton's or Ruth's Chris is not dressed to the tie and jacket level. There would be people in Levi's, plaid shirts, and even shorts.

                                                                                                                          I just start to wonder when people are so anxious to feel entitled.

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                            Give the OP a break for heaven's sake. This is her first time posting, and she sure has gotten full force what the infamous Chowhound snarks can do to fresh meat. She wasn't looking for a comp. She was just posing the question to a group she perceived to be friendly and knowlegable. Yes, she could have done a lot of things, but she was in an unfamiliar town/city, obviously had gotten mentally worked up to have a nice meal, and had her parade rained on. Yes, all of you Monday morning quarterbacks, I'm sure looking back on it, in your dry clothes, you can think of tons of things she could have done -- even down to suggesting that she should have been traveling with some spare clothes vacuum sealed in her purse (doesn't everyone?). The bottom line is that she tried to make the best of a bad situation, probably because she knew that if she left, the night would be done.

                                                                                                                            Was the manager obligated to give her a comp? No. He's not obligated to give her anything. Good business practice says he should, however. Giving her a free dessert that she didn't order in the first place is a nice gesture, but is somewhat meaningless. At the very least (since this was "an expensive steak chain"), the manager should have taken them aside as they left, apologized profously again, given them his name & address so that they could send him the bill for cleaning if necessary, and invited them back for for another, "dry" meal "on the house. Again, not necessary, but good business.

                                                                                                                            1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                              Why would the OP need any thing dry cleaned? It was water she was drenched with not something that would stain or even "dirty". I'm going to do laundry today should I bring all my clothes to the dry cleaner after it comes out of the washer? All the clothes will be soaking in water!

                                                                                                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                As someone that did work for a dry cleaner at one point I can say that there are some items that really are very badly damaged by water - linen is one example, silk can be another. There are others. Occasionally a dry cleaner can indeed get out the stains that water caused. The colors in some fabrics can bleed from water and it is not fixable under any circumstance.

                                                                                                                                If the manager knew they were from out of town it might have been a nice gesture in case they needed those clothing items for another day away from home. Water can completely undo a permanent press for example and a regular home iron just won't cut it to make the garment look nice.

                                                                                                                              2. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                where did people get the idea the dessert wasnt ordered? maybe im missing but i just reread all the OPs posts and i dont see that being said

                                                                                                                                edit never mind i see it

                                                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                  jfood made the same mistake. It appears in a downthread post from the OP

                                                                                                                                  "They brought the comp dessert after we were finished eating our entrees.We didn't order it"

                                                                                                                            2. Folks, this thread has degenerated into a discussion of who is being too nice and too mean to the OP on this thread. We're going to lock it now.