It's A Tough Question: Should You Pay?

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A reader writes in to an advice columnist and asks this rather interesting ethical question. Well, let me share with you what the issue at hand is first and then I will talk more in details so you wouldn't be lost.

A man was approached by a tourist couple who asked if he could take their picture. He agreed. While trying to position the camera, he dropped it and the camera broke. The couple demanded money for the broken camera. He refused and argued that they approached him and it was a favor that he was doing for them. He felt he shouldn't be obligated to pay for the broken camera. Apparently, it bothered him enough to write in for a second opinion. The columnist responded by first noting three times "camera strap" "camera strap" and "camera strap" and stated the purpose of the camera strap. Although the columnist felt that it was pretty sleazy of the couple to demand payment, he felt, yes the guy should pay for the damaged camera even though it was a freak accident.

Okay, so this entire thing could have been avoided if the guy had used the camera strap. I, for one, don't ever use the camera strap but I now know I should when I take pictures with other people's cameras. Honestly, I wouldn't know what to do if I were in that guy's shoes. For one, if you asked someone to take pictures for you and that person drops the camera and it breaks, can you put the burden on that person and expect compensation for your camera? Going back to that guy's predicament, I think I would have offered to pay for the repair because I know I would be tormented by guilt for breaking the camera. If the other party blatantly asks that I pay for the full cost of the camera, I would be 1) PISSED that he/she has the audacity to even ask money for it 2) reminded that person I was not the one that offered to take the picture but was asked to do so and out of kindness I did him/her a favor.

What would you do if you were confronted with this predicament? Would you pay?


34 comments:

Serline said...

Same reaction as you, I guess. If they simply showed hurt, I would offer to pay out of my guilty conscience; if they actually demanded, I would stand firm and deny. What's travel insurance for?!? I might show them where they could get a good deal for a replacement camera...

Lazy Pineapple said...

I would be pissed too If I was asked to pay for purchasing a new camera. I would offer money to get it repaired....
On a lighter note...I would run away from that place as fast I can and pretend I do not know that couple :)

Mr. Stupid said...

Well, I would have never paid the entire price. I feel both of them were under fault. Only if the guy would have used the Camera Strap. The couple though, are wrong in asking for the entire money.

"Camera Strap" has haunted me ever since I broke my camera. I dropped it from top of a Ferris Wheel... hehe (While trying to take a picture!)

Have a good day...:)

Bananazą“• said...

Wow what a million $ question!! Just too bad who wants to be a baldie when you've got nice locks of hair right?. Situation is very complex as for me I would not ask for a single cent compensation coz this is an accident and there is no legal obligation to fulfill. It was my fault totally not to wrap the strap around the person's hand when I gave him my camera.

If the owner is adamant and gets tough and insist I pay then lets start to 'count'. How much is the price for new or second hand or repair cost. Say both parties agree for a replacement camera, then I can start to calculate my time lost and my opportunity cost including the delay that I missed the operation if I'm a heart surgeon or a stock broker that I missed the opening call and lost U$100K in my investment whereby all in all the couple is the proximate cause. OK its only fair I pay for the camera so are you ready to pay my lost? Do I have a case? ~;) tQ.

Buckeroomama said...

I'm totally with Serline on this.

It's not anything either party wanted to have happened. Both parties have to approach the situation in a rational way.

Ash said...

i would feel terribly guilty for dropping it BUT it was an accident so i wouldn't pay.....

pls follow my blog. :)

Veronica Lee said...

My reaction would have been the same as yours.

Thanks for sharing this. It'll remind me to use the strap next time a stranger asks me to take his/her pic.

Have a nice day.

Gina F said...

OH! That's a hard one to answer. I think I would of at least pay for the repairs to fix the camera. I don't think I would buy a new camera though. Sorry Buddy but you did ask me to take both of your pictures. I think I would feel really bad though. TAKE CARE!!! :)

Gina
motherof1princessand2princes.blogspot.com

KN said...

A tough question indeed. I would have to see the other person's demeanor about the situation. If they're being asses about it, then of course, no way. If they were sympathetic and said it was ok, then I would offer to pay them for the damage. I always use the camera strap. Dropped my camera before and learned a valuable lesson of using the strap.

TK said...

I wouldnt have the heart to ask for money or ask for my broken camera to be replaced. Using camera strap is a good idea. My husband always warned me about using the camera strap.

CVmom said...

Hmmm...given the situation and if the other person is being rude about it, I wouldn't pay a cent. If the person is sympathetic and tells me not to worry about the camera, I'd insist on paying for the repair or give him/her some money for the damage.

Life with Kaishon said...

that is TERRIBLE! I don't think they should have to pay at all. I probably would offer but only because I am super nice and ALWAYS feel guilty. If they were mean and demanding fugghedaboutit! : )

Janice said...

How tacky of the other person! I wouldn't pay if money was demanded like that. I would offer out of sincerity only if the other person is being cordial about it.

Janice said...

Happy Mother's Day!!

ModernMom said...

Oh My! I would treat them the same thing I treat my kids. With firm respect:)
A little I'm sorry sir but did you think I did that on puropse?

I guesss no good deed goes unpunished!

I don't think I would pay, or ever take pictures of happy couples on vacay again!

PS Thx for coming by my bloig, I'm your newest follower!

Muthering Heights said...

Yikes! I don't know what I'd do...that sounds like a tough situation!

Mei Teng said...

One of the reasons I am hesitant to pass my camera over to someone else to help snap my photo is the accidental dropping of the camera. A fellow tourist dropped my sis' camera when she asked her to help snap a photo. My sis bore the cost of the damage.

I guess it's not right to demand someone else pay for the damage, who's doing you a favour if that person happens to accidentally drop your camera.

Just my opinion.

nice A said...

Such a tough situation!
Well, the couple should not ask for damage fee or whatsoever. They did not know the person they asked to take a photo of them and it was just a favor that he extended. But the columnist should have been extra-careful in handling the camera. Even then, accidents happen so he should not bear the burden for the damage caused. A sincere apology was all he was supposed to ethically offer. But offering some counterpart to pay for the repair cost would have been a good gesture yet it's all up to the couple who asked to take a photo of them to refuse or to accept such offer.
Thanks, dear RoseBelle, for the constant visit. I always love to visit back here even if I'm quite busy as you have interesting topics worth reading.

Alicia said...

That's a hard one! I don't know what I'd do unless I was in that situation. But, more than likely I wouldn't ask for payment. Especially if it was an accident.

RoseBelle said...

@Mei - thanks for sharing about your sister's camera accident. I wouldn't ask for the money either if I was her.

RoseBelle said...

@Nice A: I appreciate you taking the time out to come by and leave a comment despite your busy schedule. Thanks for the kind words. They mean a lot to me.

Icy BC said...

After reading your post, and all the comments, I still have no answer to this tough question.

I think I would only pay for repair, and not replacing the camera.

Dorothy said...

This is so very interesting, and now I think I'll never take a picture with anyone's camera but my own, and if they ask why I shall quote this fantastic post. Wow...did you give me something to think about I'll be telling this troy many times over.

Dorothy from grammology
grammology.com

JoeyRes said...

I wouldn't pay. Of course I avoid that situation like the plague and I've only handed my camera over once when this lady was really insistent that she could take a picture of my family at the beach. She did a really nice job. I'm always afraid someone would run off with my camera. I think you're taking a risk when you give your belongings to strangers.

jen@odbt said...

I would probably offer to pay out of sheer guilt but if I were the person asking, I'd probably say that's ok...accidents happen.

Liz said...

Sorry this is off topic but I'd like to greet you a Happy Mother's Day!

Enjoy your day. :)

*hugs*

Autumn Belle said...

This is truly a difficult situation. IMHO, if the camera is broken due to my actions e.g. carelessness, then I have to take responsibility and offer to pay for it. However, if the other party is rude and demanding, then it looks like a threat, so please don't blame me for being scared and thinking that this might be a scam, so I need to run fast. I think this very much depends on the body language, e.g.tone of voice, facial expression.

This situation is very real and can happen to anyone. I must think twice before I agree to help someone take some pictures.

Lastly, Happy Mother's Day!

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Rosebelle, here's wishing you a very Happy Mother's day. Stay young, stay beautiful.

Re the camera, I guess if I dropped it, I'll pay...hopefully its not a Nikon D3000, ha ha.
But I guess it must be a small pocket camera as big SLR cameras would have a strap.
Have a nice day, Lee.

Cheryl said...

I agree with your thoughts. I now use the camera strap after dropping my camera so many times that I broke it! Lesson learned. Happy Mother's Day!

Xiao Yen Recipes said...

I would pay. I broke it, I would pay. I had a choice to decline the offer to take the picture for the couple. If my butterfingers caused the slip up, I would be guilty as heck so even if the other person was rude about it, I'd pay.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Hazel said...

Happy Mother's Day to u..

outdoor.mom said...

i don't think i'd ask for money, but i also wouldn't pay it either. it is what it is. i'd probably get away from those people as fast as i could. either that or maybe i'd start making a hysterical scene. who knows?
Happy Mothers Day!

Ebie said...

Hi Rosebelle, I hope you are enjoying your day off, today, Happy Mother's Day.

Regarding the camera, I am so careful to use the strap so this would never happen to me. But it was an accident, I think I would just share with the cost, 50/50.

Wendy said...

Wow, this will make me think twice if someone asks me to take a pic! I think I would also feel really really really bad, but would be pissed if I were asked to pay. I would feel guilty, but honestly, I'm really not sure how I would handle it. I mean, if we're talking like a $1000 SLR, I really don't have even 1/2 to give a stranger.

On the flip side, I'd be really PISSED if someone was clumsy and dropped my camera. Then again, if I ask someone to take a photo, I'm definitely really careful about the person I ask - I usually ask someone with a similar camera. Next time, I'll also look for someone with the camera strap around his/her neck!