Silly World: Doggy Bag Waiver

For my birthday this year, Michelle and the boys took me to a lovely dinner at the Grange, a restaurant at the very nice Westin Hotel here in Beijing. At the end of our nice dinner, the waiter presented me with a waiver to sign before I could take my leftovers home. (Contrary to my brother's remarks, it was not a waiver saying that we knew the doggy bag did not contain any actual dog.)

Top portion of Westin's doggy bag waiver
(click to see the whole thing, minus the signature block)

The doggy bag itself also had bilingual instructions warning of the dangers and telling people how to reheat the food for maximum safety.

OK, I get it, there are dumb people who will leave the leftovers out, get sick, and then sue, but I still think this was a bit ridiculous. Apparently, this silliness is not restricted to China or the Westin. In Australia, restaurants are choosing between the waiver and ending doggy bags altogether due to the risk of lawsuits.

Time for a little personal responsibility, folks...

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Michelle Reply

I have to think this is some kind of overreaction to a perceived threat that just isn't there. First of all, the U.S. is supposedly a ridiculously litigious country, yet I've never heard of a restaurant requiring a waiver OR refusing a doggy bag here before. Secondly, I was always under the impression that the Chinese legal system wasn't really set up to support that sort of claim. I don't know much about their legal system, so perhaps I'm speaking out of school, but I'd be a little surprised if a government like China's would foster an environment that would make litigation over a doggy bag any sort of real threat. Anyone know otherwise?

Tony Reply

My guess is that this is a Westin-wide (or at least regional) thing and not specific to China, but who knows. Crazy in any case.

Mary Ann Jawili Reply

Ridiculous. On a related note, before bowling today, I had to sign a waiver.

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