Every once in a while we come across warning labels that seem to fall under common sense like “don’t put your PlayStation in the microwave” or “don’t engage in sexual activity with your Pepper robot.” But it’s rare to actually see one of these in the making, so next time you’re in a hotel room and a sign tells you not to boil crabs in your room’s electric kettle, you’ll know exactly why.
As reported by legal news website Bengoshi Dot Com, an unidentified hotel was claiming damages of 40,000 yen from a guest who, over a stay of several days, used the electric kettle in their room to boil crabs on two occasions.
The hotel said that the makeshift cuisine caused an odor that was difficult to remove and made them unable to rent room for days while it was removed. The guest challenged that, saying it was unlikely the room would have been booked every day afterward anyway.
The hotel conceded that point and reduced their demands to 17,000 yen ($130) for the deodorization of the room and 5,000 yen for a new kettle. The guest, however, was still not satisfied with paying any form of restitution, claiming that the air purifier was turned on while cooking and there was no written rule against boiling crabs in the kettle.
The court of public opinion, meanwhile, sided unanimously with the hotel in this matter and felt the guest simply didn’t have a crab leg to stand on.
“I’m glad I don’t run a hotel.”
“It scares me to know there are people out there that do stuff like this.”
“It’s OK to do because no one said not to. That’s the typical logic of idiots.”
“It never even occurred to me to put anything other than water in a kettle.”
“There was nothing written against drawing on the walls either, but you still shouldn’t do it.”
“Isn’t part of going on vacation and staying in a hotel letting someone else cook your meals?”
“I heard some people use those kettles to clean their underwear, so I wouldn’t use it anyway.”
“Can you even boil crabs in electric kettles?”
It is a little surprising that a hotel’s electric kettle has the size and heat retention to thoroughly boil crabs, but since the guest doesn’t appear to be riddled with flatworms, it apparently does work.
As for the legal liability in such a matter, Bengoshi Dot Com spoke with a lawyer who explained that the guest is absolutely on the hook for any and all damages incurred from boiling crabs. Firstly, when renting the room the hotel and guest enter a contract which obliges the guest to not engage in behavior that would damage the room.
Furthermore, boiling water for tea or coffee would be the normal use of an electric kettle by anyone with sound judgement. So anyone using the kettle for any abnormal purpose, such as cleaning underwear, playing baseball, or boiling animals alive, is liable for damages incurred to hotel property in said act.
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