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Author Topic: Restaurants must serve free water?
BacardiSpice
Deck the Malls


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From 1 August 2004, NSW legislation made it mandatory to have free drinking water available to patrons at all times liquor is sold or supplied in licensed venues.

This was in response to complaints from patrons who were denied access to tapwater to take medication or relieve dehydration, or where bottled water was the only water available. It replaced earlier legislation requiring free or 'reasonably priced' drinking water to be available.

They're enforcing it, too - a few restaurants have been pulled up for trying to charge.

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TheBobo
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by kendor:
Why would one assume the water should be free? You pay for it at home, don't you?

Then why don't they charge you for using toilet paper? You don't get it free for your home.

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mr_chaos
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Ha! i remember a "rest stop" somewhere in Baja Ca. where we paid a coupla bucks for TP...
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Fitz
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Embra:
Well, in the case of clubs in the UK, it's a response to the fact that people dancing frantically while on drugs such as ecstasy tend to forget to drink water, and become dehydrated and over-heated. A spate of E-related deaths in the 80s and early 90s is probably responsible for the usual licence requirement to serve free water in clubs.

Here in the US an anti-rave law that was passed in the last few years could make giving away free water at a rave a crime. The law prohibits property owners from allowing events that promote the use of illegal drugs. As for exactly what that is having cool down rooms where ravers can drink water and relax between dancing so they don't overheat could be seen as facilitating or encouraging the use of illegal drugs.

As they are federal laws it’s up to the states to enforce them and here in GA they have. Gone are the massive raves held at large arenas like the civic center and promoted through the mass media. These days the electronic music events are held at smaller clubs and advertised on the internet at through fliers passed out at events are music shops. The events can’t be called “Raves” for fear of that giving law enforcement probable cause to raid the place. They are “parties”, “shows” or “performances“. Some clubs now have outside areas that people can use as cool down areas. One club around here got around the cool down room thing by having a separate room in the club with an acoustic band playing mostly 90s grunge songs. Such songs aren’t exactly easy to dance to so everyone came in there to sit and chill. My friends and I loved that anyway cause we were all born circa 1980 so covers of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Sound garden was like a trip down memory lane. As for water, the usually bottled stuff that they charge an arm and a leg for. We’d buy one bottle, pass it around and keep filling it up in the sink in the restroom.

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Embra:
I should add that I've never come across a restaurant or pub in the UK that wouldn't serve me free tap-water when asked for it.

I have, although it was a few years ago - in about 1994, I think.

It was the Rose and Crown in Jericho, Oxford. I went to the bar to get a pint, and a glass of water for a friend who'd asked for it as part of the round. (We were sitting outside on a hot day). When I asked for the water, the barmaid looked at me in alarm, and the landlord gave me a dirty look and took over. They begrudgingly gave me a very small glass like a whisky tumbler about half full of water (maybe one or two mouthfuls), and they asked me to drink it at the bar. I said that it wasn't for me, it was for a friend who was outside, and after a few more glances between them and dirty looks, they let me take it outside but refused to give me a bigger glass. They charged me something like 30p for it, and when I asked "Are you allowed to charge for tap water?" the barmaid just said "Yes." (I probably wouldn't even have queried it if they'd actually given me what I'd asked for in the first place - I wouldn't have minded paying for the service, in theory, if there had actually been any.)

I assume it must have been because this was at the height of rave culture, and they couldn't imagine anybody wanting a glass of water unless they were ON DRUGS... it really pissed me off at the time, though. (edit) Well, it was actually a few years later than the height of rave culture, but since they appeared to be completely out-of-touch, maybe it had only just filtered into their consciousness. I think there had been some well-reported deaths from "ecstasy use" around that time.

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Red Squirrel
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quote:
Originally posted by kendor:
Why would one assume the water should be free? You pay for it at home, don't you?

Although water metres are becoming more common (and are compulsory in new builds) most premises have a set water bill so they don't pay extra for any extra water used. In effect it's free for those propritors.

I went to a club last weekend that didn't do tap water- me and a frined shared a small glass bottle of luke warm mineral water- utter rubbish.

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The Sqizzle formally known as Lexi

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Monkster
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I know in that in Geelong, Victoria all premises must provide free drinking water (that is generally provided for them by Barwon Water anyway) or they run the risk of being fined. A friend of mine was refused free water at a club some months ago and complained to Barwon Water about it. I believe the club was given a fairly severe warning not to do it again.
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Fitz
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Here in the US an anti-rave law that was passed in the last few years could make giving away free water at a rave a crime. The law prohibits property owners from allowing events that promote the use of illegal drugs. As for exactly what that is having cool down rooms where ravers can drink water and relax between dancing so they don't overheat could be seen as facilitating or encouraging the use of illegal drugs.

As they are federal laws it’s up to the states to enforce them and here in GA they have. Gone are the massive raves held at large arenas like the civic center and promoted through the mass media. These days the electronic music events are held at smaller clubs and advertised on the internet at through fliers passed out at events are music shops. The events can’t be called “Raves” for fear of that giving law enforcement probable cause to raid the place. They are “parties”, “shows” or “performances“. Some clubs now have outside areas that people can use as cool down areas. One club around here got around the cool down room thing by having a separate room in the club with an acoustic band playing mostly 90s grunge songs. Such songs aren’t exactly easy to dance to so everyone came in there to sit and chill. My friends and I loved that anyway cause we were all born circa 1980 so covers of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Sound garden was like a trip down memory lane. As for water, the usually bottled stuff that they charge an arm and a leg for. We’d buy one bottle, pass it around and keep filling it up in the sink in the restroom.

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Joseph Z
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quote:
Originally posted by Mickey Blue:
Well in VA you must be, the Taco Bell in town charges 30 cents per cup (although that could be for the cup and such, mentioned above).

Isn't Taco Bell amongst other fast food restaurants charge the cup and you can get refills including tap water from their fountain machine?

At least in Subway it is following that procedure.

In regular restaurants however, your charged for the drink you choose and if you change beverages, you may be charged for that beverage as well unless it's subjected to SODA DRINK instead of Iced Tea and then Diet Coke.

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Joseph Z

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abigsmurf
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
I have, although it was a few years ago - in about 1994, I think.

It was the Rose and Crown in Jericho, Oxford. I went to the bar to get a pint, and a glass of water for a friend who'd asked for it as part of the round. (We were sitting outside on a hot day). When I asked for the water, the barmaid looked at me in alarm, and the landlord gave me a dirty look and took over. They begrudgingly gave me a very small glass like a whisky tumbler about half full of water (maybe one or two mouthfuls), and they asked me to drink it at the bar. I said that it wasn't for me, it was for a friend who was outside, and after a few more glances between them and dirty looks, they let me take it outside but refused to give me a bigger glass. They charged me something like 30p for it, and when I asked "Are you allowed to charge for tap water?" the barmaid just said "Yes." (I probably wouldn't even have queried it if they'd actually given me what I'd asked for in the first place - I wouldn't have minded paying for the service, in theory, if there had actually been any.)

They were actually breaking the law charging you. UK licencing laws requires all pubs to show the prices for their beverages. As I very much doubt they had 'tap water' on their pricing boards, charging you for it was illegal as the price wasn't advertised
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Sullen Moon
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quote:
Originally posted by Embra:
I should add that I've never come across a restaurant or pub in the UK that wouldn't serve me free tap-water when asked for it. I do remember going to a couple of clubs in the late 80s that only served bottled water for a price, but in my (extremely rare) clubbing jaunts more recently I have been able to get tap-water for nothing.

Mind you, last time I went to a gig in London (a couple of weeks ago) I saw people being made to leave bottled water that they had with them outside the gig. I don't know whether this was a licensing issue - was the "water" really gin etc. - or whether it was a sneaky ruse to force us to drink the venue's own bottled water. I stuck to beer all night so I had no chance to test the theory.

I believe here in Chicago clubs and bars won't let you bring in outside drinks on principal - i.e. they want you to drink their alcohol, soda, or water. However one time i was out with my friends i had been sick so i had a bottle of "Vitamin Water" with me. I knew the bartender and he told me i could have the water as long as he opened it and poured it for me.

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***sig line edited for content***

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Chia
I Saw Three Shipments


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When I worked at a Jamba Juice, I was told we weren't allowed to charge for water per se, but we'd charge for the cup.

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It's on, baby, like a Baptist's V-Chip! - Get Fuzzy

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Jacob's Child
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Here in Canada, I've always heard that restaurants were prohibited from charging for water, but that they could charge for the cup (presumably, only fast-food places).

My personal experience has been that I've never been charged or refused a glass of water at any sit-down restaurant or pub. It's my habit to order a large glass of water after drinking several pints to help stave off the next day's hangover, and I've never had a problem with that. At pubs especially, I get a pint-sized glass full of ice and water at no charge.

Judy

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I keep hearing that getting a glass of water for free here in England is a rarity so I must be very lucky then. I've never been refused a glass and more often than not it comes with ice and a slice of lemon. It's just good customer service really. Perhaps the rationale against doing this is that offering this courtesy will pull down their profits, but I really wonder how true that is.

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I keep hearing that getting a glass of water for free here in England is a rarity so I must be very lucky then.

Join the club - i've received water every single time i've asked for it in pubs, restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs and i've never been charged.

Once or twice when i've asked for water i've been handed expensive 'mineral' water, so I ensure I make myself clear by requesting 'tap' water - nobody ever has a problem with this - if they did I would flourish the finger and my ass would be out of the door! [Big Grin]

Come to think about it - there is never a case for refusing somebody a glass of that most important of things. In the days before hydropacks and demand valves I used to knock on random doors to politely request a refill for my canteen or bike bottle and was always obliged.

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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
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I don't remember ever being refused tapwater when I've asked for it. My only gripe is that if you go to a restaurant they don't automatically start you off with a nice big jug of tapwater just to be going on with.

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
I keep hearing that getting a glass of water for free here in England is a rarity so I must be very lucky then.

Who keeps telling you it's a rarity?

The only time I remember it ever being an issue to me is above, and it was over ten years ago, and it was unusual and annoying enough that I still remember it...

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First Amongst Daves
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I have been charged for the service, but not the water. A fine distinction.

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incandescent

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RubyMoon
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In Maryland most cafeterias and fast food restaurants, and neighborhood bars will only give you tap water in a paper cup, and you have to buy the cup (25 cents). Must be legal, because that is the case even in the state run employee caffeteria.
There have been one or two years in my adult life when you could not get tap water at any restaurant unless you bought bottled water -- but those where years when we had dought conditions.

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Top Kat
Deck the Malls


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I live in Maryland, in the DC area. I often ask for ice water in fast food restaurants and am given a cup (usually smaller than the soft drink cups) to use at the self-serve fountain. I have never in my life paid for a cup! I don't go to cafeterias much, though, so I don't know what happens there.
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Kid Kilowatt
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Most places who "charge for the cup" do it to keep track of inventory. 7-11 is like the Gestapo of cup inventory; you can't look at a cup without them trying to charge you for it. I often wonder what kind of meetings the franchisees have about these things with corporate. Very scary, I presume.

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The book says, "We might be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us."
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Pogue Ma-humbug
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quote:
Originally posted by Fitz:
Here in the US an anti-rave law that was passed in the last few years could make giving away free water at a rave a crime.

Care to provide a cite for this?

Pogue

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Dizzygurl
The Red and the Green Stamps


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It seems like everyone is taking guesses on this issue. Is there really a law that govern this rule? Where can you find out for sure?
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Rough Rider
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I think this whole thing is a misunderstanding of a different law. I remember about 20 years ago it was common for a waiter/waitress to bring you a glass of water when you first sat down, before you ordered. Most people would then order a Coke, beer, or whatever, to go with their meal. The water would be wasted. Several states (I believe California was the first) passed laws that prohibited serving water unless the customer asked for it.
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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Rough Rider:
... Several states (I believe California was the first) passed laws that prohibited serving water unless the customer asked for it.

Why were the states so obsessed with this very particular type of water waste that they passed a law about what restauraunts could serve without a specific request?
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EthanMitchell
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The water issue in a London pub or whatever is just a reflection of the real battle, which is going on in the South. In many countries that have either had no water meters, or no public water supply in the first place, it's getting privatized and then sold on a cost-recovery basis. Most infamously in Bolivia, where people were told that they couldn't draw water from wells that they themselves had dug on their own land. But it is a huge problem, since the poor have flocked to major cities, among other reasons, because there was a free and dependable water supply there.
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Missy_pooh1997
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About a year ago I was almost charged for water. I went to mcdonalds with 2 adults and 4 kids and afeter ordering all our food it was like $40+ and I asked for water. The girl tried to charge me 50cents for tap water. I was so pissed I canceled the whole order and went to Wendy's.

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robbiev - singin' off key
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quote:
Originally posted by Rough Rider:
I think this whole thing is a misunderstanding of a different law. I remember about 20 years ago it was common for a waiter/waitress to bring you a glass of water when you first sat down, before you ordered. Most people would then order a Coke, beer, or whatever, to go with their meal. The water would be wasted. Several states (I believe California was the first) passed laws that prohibited serving water unless the customer asked for it.

Here in the south (at least in my area) it's pretty common for a restaurant to bring water as soon as you sit down.

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Silver
Deck the Malls


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It's about 60 -40 here in Washington. At sit down restuarants, I've never been charged for water, and they often bring a large pitcher of ice water for us to continue refilling our glasses.
At fast food restaurants, it depends on the restaurant whether I get charged -- "for the cup". Usually it's free.
Never been to a bar.

ETA: Just remembered - When I was underage, like 19 0r 20, I used to stop in at the bar whilst rollerblading home and ask for water bottle refills. They always obliged at that particular bar. I would have to wait outside or sit in the eatery section while they refilled it, though.

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Question everything . . .

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STF
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Most fast food places charge for the cup and no longer give free water. One reason for that is that many people ask for a water cup and then go fill it up with whatever they want wich is obnoxious imho. It has probably ruined a good thing for everyone else too.

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Esprise Me
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Charging for the cup may sound silly, but in most cases it really isn't. I used to work at a diner on the pier in Newport Beach that also had a take-out window in back. We used to give out water for free, until the Junior Lifeguards figured this out and started coming up in droves to demand water--and then not ordering anything. One time we ended up giving away an entire sleeve of cups. After that, our policy was: free water on request for anyone who BUYS something, 25 cents for the cup if you're only getting water. Not only did it keep our costs down, it kept the little snots from coming back, which freed up our takeout window for real orders.

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dodint
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Tabby + claws - sanity:
If somebody brings in their own glass, you cannot charge them or refuse to fill it.

Bit of a health code violation there. You can't refill a dirty/outside glass from a fountain. Maybe from an actual tap, but any decent sized restaurant is already using a fountain anyway. Even for the coffee/tea water.
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Deansinger
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quote:
Originally posted by Rough Rider:
I think this whole thing is a misunderstanding of a different law. I remember about 20 years ago it was common for a waiter/waitress to bring you a glass of water when you first sat down, before you ordered. Most people would then order a Coke, beer, or whatever, to go with their meal. The water would be wasted. Several states (I believe California was the first) passed laws that prohibited serving water unless the customer asked for it.

I seem to recall the automatic glass of water vanishing during a few years of drought, but I don't remember if it was driven by law or not.

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Squishy0405
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When I lived in VA I believe tap water was free. Once here in NY I ordered a dbl cheesburger (which was NOT on the $1 menu and a water) I was one pissed pregnant girl when they told me they couldnt give it through the drive through window. One broad even claimed she was the manager. However the guy in the basically took my order(maybe he didn't understand english, he had a thick accent). WTF! I don't go there anymore [Smile]
Posts: 1119 | From: Bronx, NY | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Samantha Vimes
Jingle Bell Hock


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In California, during the drought, there was an agreement, rather than a law, (I believe) for restaurants to serve water only on request. There really were gallons being wasted, and everyone was being requested to do things like take shorter showers, cut back on washing, etc.

Likewise during our energy crisis, a lot of public requests for conservation were made-- however, it was still legal to waste electricity.

Now, most restaurants still are serving water only on request, although some have gone back to pouring it automatically. If you request water with food, you will not be charged for the water.

If you ask for water at a movie theater or fast food place, the usualy thing is a charge of 5 to 25 cents for the cup and ice.

I have also heard it's a law they can't charge for water, but I don't know for a fact.

Posts: 457 | From: Sacramento, CA | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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