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Who is responsible for a ruined dish at a restaurant

Question:

I was at a restaurant and took the spice dispenser provided by them to put hot pepper on my dish. The cover was loose and as I tried to sprinkle just a little on top, the whole thing opened and all the crushed hot pepper inside spilled onto my dish. Is that tough luck on me? Or is the restaurant obligated to give me a new dish since it is normal to assume the cap was on correctly and the spices are there for our use?

Answer:

It’s a bit of a judgement call-The halocho is that when someone gives you something to use and people don’t check it the one who gave it is a garmi and liable if damages ensue since it is understood that you will rely on him totally-it is similar to one who shows a coin to an expert in determining if a coin is counterfeit in Bava Kama 99. People usually assume the top is on properly since the restaurant put it on the table to use and it is like they said use it. The reason someone could disagree is that restaurant owners don’t check spice shakers between customers so maybe one shouldn’t rely on them-but I tend to believe the first way because the restaurant owner takes responsibility for giving you a properly usable spice shaker

Yosef Fleischman

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