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When stuff goes wrong, who to blame?

Posted by somtam2000 on 24/9/2015 at 19:47 admin

I read a blogpost yesterday by a blogger on a comped trip in Africa. They were in the resort restaurant when a waiter misplaced a coffee which then spilled onto their laptop ruining it. They're seemingly lack travel insurance and are not happy. At all.

To my mind, at least going off what the post says, it was an accident -- it wasn't as if the staffer deliberately walked over and poured a latte onto the laptop -- and these things happen. While we're big advocates of using travel insurance, I'm not 100% sure an insurer would even pay in a case like this, as I'd guess they'd argue the laptop should have been kept away from drinks - due care and all that.

But bigger picture, it got me thinking about personal responsibility -- at what point does something like this become the author's fault? If they'd spilled their own drink onto the laptop I guess, but even in that case I assume some would try to blame a wonky table/too hot a glass/whatever and go the blame resort or travel insurance route.

Personally we have cataclysmic family health insurance for at home and buy travel insurance when we travel -- but we're buying it primarily for the health and medical care for if I (for example) have a motorbike accident and are injured -- not for if some lowlife swipes an iPhone or nicks a wallet (touch wood!)

Sometimes stuff goes wrong, there is nobody to blame and you just need to get on with your trip.

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,058

Posted by exacto on 24/9/2015 at 22:19

@ somtam: Stuff happens. I didn't read the blog so can't get a sense of the author's outrage beyond what you wrote. But I agree that sometimes things go wrong and you need to let it go and move on.

I was thinking earlier today about how to best protect yourself from theft while traveling. One way seems to not have too much stuff with you worth stealing. But I didn't even think about these types of events. If this incident was in Africa, at a resort, I wonder what the income gap is between the people staying at the resort and the people working there. I wonder how much of a burden it would be for the author to replace a laptop versus the waiter. And I also wonder why the author doesn't have travel insurance, but that is a different discussion. Regards.

#2 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,808

Posted by antoniamitchell on 25/9/2015 at 00:15

Presumably, as they were on a comped trip, they blog for a living. Their laptop is therefore a vital tool of their trade, and they should have taken more care of it by ensuring it was protected. If you're a photographer who relies on $5000 of camera equipment to make a living, you have your camera insured. If you're an import/exporter, who relies on moving a warehouse of goods for a living, you insure your warehouse and contents against fire/flood/etc.

I have little sympathy with this story. Stuff happens - always has, always will, and responsible adults accept that fact and attempt to mitigate it, rather than ignoring it (and complaining later).

Like Exacto says, you can either make a calculated risk (I take a cheap mini laptop with me when travelling, so if it gets stolen or broken it's not a big deal) or you can take steps to try and protect yourself (I have an expensive camera, and it was fully insured including against accidental breakage; I also backup the contents of my laptop / camera's memory cards regularly, even though it's a boring chore to do so).

And yes, I did kill my last (main) laptop by spilling a drink on it. My own fault.

#3 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 566

Posted by MADMAC on 25/9/2015 at 00:16

The original blogger isn't seeing the big picture. Maybe that hot cup of coffee was heading for his crotch where the scalding water might have seriously injured him. The laptop protected him from not being able to have sex for the rest of the trip. Some people just don't get what's important!

#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Gogomobile on 25/9/2015 at 05:10

The person should have moved their laptop when the drink arrived. Far too many people are obsessed with gadgets. Put things aside for 5 mins. It isnt difficult. No sympathy for these people.

#5 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412

Posted by chinarocks on 25/9/2015 at 05:30

Hard to apportion blame without knowing exactly what happened. Whether people are too obsessed with gadgets is a separate matter here. While clearly that is often the case, somebody is still entitled to operate their device without a careless waiter/waitress spilling coffee on it.

#6 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738

Posted by Gogomobile on 25/9/2015 at 05:55

Depends whether the table is small or not. I place drinks 2 foot away from a laptop when I use it on a table. If it spills it isnt going directly on it.

#7 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412

Posted by gecktrek on 25/9/2015 at 08:10

hey, clearly the damage isn't the author's fault, but they obviously didn't put much thought into mitigating such a loss, otherwise they would have had it covered with insurance. not sure where the author is from, but if it was from somewhere like australia with it's burgeoning 'entitlement culture', it would come as no surprise.

#8 gecktrek has been a member since 24/3/2013. Location: Australia. Posts: 171

Posted by exacto on 26/9/2015 at 08:32

I actually do feel sympathy for the bloggers, and I certainly didn't mean to blame the victims. My point was that these things can and will happen when you travel, no matter how many precautions you take. When things do go wrong, just don't let it ruin your trip.

#9 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,808

Posted by MADMAC on 28/9/2015 at 11:45

The world's an imperfect place. Have a beer and let it go, or life will suck.

#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by exacto on 28/9/2015 at 18:45

"Have a beer and let it go..."


This is good advice. It you don't think it will work, order the large beer. If that still doesn't work, order a second beer.

#11 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,808

Posted by Gogomobile on 28/9/2015 at 19:09

But make sure the beer is placed away from phone/camera/laptop.

#12 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412

Posted by MADMAC on 29/9/2015 at 01:28

"But make sure the beer is placed away from phone/camera/laptop."

My phone only costs 550 baht. I'm not a fan of I-Phones and tech devices. I have reluctantly agreed to own a cell phone, but that's it. If it dies from a beer attack, I'll just get another cheapie.

#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by chinarocks on 29/9/2015 at 03:34

Sounds like MADMAC would be more concerned about a spilt beer than irreparable damage to his electronic device.

#14 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738

Posted by MADMAC on 29/9/2015 at 05:35

"Sounds like MADMAC would be more concerned about a spilt beer than irreparable damage to his electronic device."

Now that you mention it, you're right.

#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Gogomobile on 29/9/2015 at 10:04

How do you use the internet?

#16 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412

Posted by MADMAC on 30/9/2015 at 00:03

Desk Top computer.

#17 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Nia on 26/10/2015 at 05:48

I would agree that you need to takesome kind of personal responsibility for your items - move them away from foodand drink, and accept that sometimes accidents happen. The waiter didn't do iton purpose. If there was no insurance in place, the loss is the originalblogger. We always get our personal items insured before we travel. It justwouldn't make sense not to. Plus, our gadgets are always backed up. Ifsomething goes wrong and we lose an item, there is no massive problem. It isone of those things - you move on, and take better care next time.

#18 Nia has been a member since 25/9/2015. Posts: 5


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