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Old 10-13-2006, 07:45 AM   #1
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Question are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

I heard once that food establishments were required by law to provide a free water cup of some type if you asked for it, and I've never had a place refuse to give me a free cup of tap water or something like that. Until just a moment ago, when the girl at the Java City here in the school library didn't want to give me a cup of tap water (I was coughing on a piece of bagel ) because I was supposed to buy the bottled stuff. She eventually gave in because the nearby water fountain was broken, but that was really weird.

Anyone know for sure about this?
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Last edited by JMiller; 10-13-2006 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 10-13-2006, 07:49 AM   #2
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

From what I understand, they can't charge for tap water since it's free to everyone. However, most places get around that by having a $5 minimum or whatever per person.

When I was a kid one ice cream place used to charge a quarter for a cup of water--they said it was the charge for the cup itself rather than the liquid.
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Old 10-13-2006, 07:51 AM   #3
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

No, they are not required to give you free water in a cup, though I'm unsure about if a water fountain is required. There are several places around here that will charge for water and rightfully so as the cup typically costs more than the soda you'd be ordering, anyway. So you just ordered something that still takes time from their employees, cost them for a cup and ice... but expect it free instead of for a dollar something? I'm not saying they should charge you, but understand if they do charge you, on paper it's costing them 95% as much to give you a water as it does a soda or tea.

Now with that said, our restaurant gives free SMALL waters. If you insist on a large water, it's 25 cents.

We do have a waterfountain, too, but I'm not sure if we were required to or not as it was in this space before we even got here.
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Old 10-13-2006, 07:51 AM   #4
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jared Miller
I heard once that food establishments were required by law to provide a free water cup of some type if you asked for it, and I've never had a place refuse to give me a free cup of tap water or something like that. Until just a moment ago, when the girl at thr Java City here in the school library didn't want to give me a cup of tap water (I was coughing on a piece of bagel ) because I was supposed to buy the bottled stuff. She eventually gave in because the nearb water fountain was broken, but that was really weird.

Anyone know for sure about this?
It's true!

I was in jail one time with a bunch of restaurant owners that had refused water to customers!

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Old 10-13-2006, 07:51 AM   #5
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

The water is "free" but there is no requirement to provide a container for the water. 'Free" is a misnomer as someone is paying for the water bill.

I understand encouraging that people purchase a product, but any resistance at all when someone is choking on food is asinine.

I do not know the legalities involved.
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Old 10-13-2006, 07:52 AM   #6
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

I have never heard that it is required, but I have never been turned down.

"*cough* *cough* I am choking, I need water..*cough* *cough*"

"I see that...I would be glad to help....for a $1.50."


That is messed up...
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Old 10-13-2006, 08:05 AM   #7
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

Or... just go to the rest room and stick your mouth under the fawcett.
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Old 10-13-2006, 08:08 AM   #8
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

Any restaurant that charged me for water.. whether it be "large or small" would quite possibly immediately lose my business.
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Old 10-13-2006, 09:04 AM   #9
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

Starbucks has the best tap water ever! RO for the win

there's is free and it works wonders on hung over mornings!
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Old 10-13-2006, 09:20 AM   #10
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

I wish I knew tap water was free to everyone, the dang water company has suckered me and my workplace into paying a lot of money this year!
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Old 10-13-2006, 09:24 AM   #11
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

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I wish I knew tap water was free to everyone, the dang water company has suckered me and my workplace into paying a lot of money this year!
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Old 10-13-2006, 10:02 AM   #12
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

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Originally Posted by Javier97Z28
Any restaurant that charged me for water.. whether it be "large or small" would quite possibly immediately lose my business.
You ask for a water at my place, you are by default given a small, for free. If you specifically ask for a large water you are advised that it will be 25 cents, but a small is free.

Beggers can't be choosers. If you *have* to have a large water, and not a small, you can afford to pony up a quarter.

A large water w/ lemon costs me more to make for you than a large coke or sweet tea without lemon. Only here in the US do people assume tap water is free - in the rest of the world they either don't drink tap water (they consider that dirty or weird- and in some areas, well, you wouldn't want to drink the tap water), or if you do order it you'll be charge just as much as you would for a beer on tap or whatnot.
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Old 10-13-2006, 10:09 AM   #13
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

Most places, from what I've seen, charge at least a small fee just to pay for the cup. Places that serve their drinks in a glass usually give it to you for free although I think a lot of it deals with the fact that restaurants using glasses usually have more expensive food. Either way I don't see charging a small fee is wrong, they need to cover expenses, yet to deny you water when you're choking is a bit extreme.
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Old 10-13-2006, 10:13 AM   #14
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

All of the gas stations charge you for ice cups. Same type of thing.

They can charge you for anything they want. It's a private business.
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Old 10-13-2006, 10:17 AM   #15
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Re: are food establishments required to give you free water if you ask for it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threxx
You ask for a water at my place, you are by default given a small, for free. If you specifically ask for a large water you are advised that it will be 25 cents, but a small is free.

Beggers can't be choosers. If you *have* to have a large water, and not a small, you can afford to pony up a quarter.

A large water w/ lemon costs me more to make for you than a large coke or sweet tea without lemon. Only here in the US do people assume tap water is free - in the rest of the world they either don't drink tap water (they consider that dirty or weird- and in some areas, well, you wouldn't want to drink the tap water), or if you do order it you'll be charge just as much as you would for a beer on tap or whatnot.
wtf...it's a sit-down place, right? Do you give free refills on water? Besides the lemon I don't see how a large water would cost you significantly more than a small

For a to-go order, I can see charging for water, it costs you money for the cup and whatever...but I've never seen a sit-down restaurant charge for a glass of water.
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Old 10-13-2006, 10:17 AM
 
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