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But Not a Drop to Drink

May 2, 2014

Bottled water is an environmental catastrophe. There is the massive amount of petroleum needed to manufacture the bottles, the staggering amount of fuel needed to truck all the heavy water from the factory to the store, and then all the waste from the bottles that don’t make it into the recycling bin.

And that’s just for starters.

Which isn’t to say that there isn’t some charming bottled water on the market. I love that crisp and refreshing taste of France one can find in Volvic bottles at NYC bodegas. The high mineral content of Badoit sparkling (especially in the hard to find glass bottles) is always a treat too. Calistoga sparkling water never fails to remind me of my time in California. And seeing a blue bottle of Saratoga water beyond the borders of the 518, fills me with regional pride.

But most of the time I drink tap water. At least at first. Sure, some municipal water is better than others. And there are some finer restaurants that employ a water filtration system. So even if your town has brackish water, you shouldn’t necessarily assume the water will be unpleasant when eating out.

If the tap water tastes bad, then I will absolutely consider other options. What has me fired up today is the rare scenario when the only option at a restaurant is to support the decline of civilization.

Don’t tell me there is no tap water.

This has happened to me on multiple occasions. Mostly in pizza parlors, which is patently ridiculous. You know, because they make dough. Their business is based on flour and water. Of course you have tap water. You just don’t want to give it to me.

Look, I’m not opposed to restaurant operators making a buck. I know all about slim margins and increasing food costs. I understand the upsell, and if it’s subtle and well done, I don’t particularly mind. It’s always a pleasure to see sales professionals ply their craft.

Here’s the thing. I just want a cup of water. I don’t want the plastic bottle. I don’t want to support the corporation that charges a 1000% markup on what should be a virtually free human right. I don’t want to contribute to the waste and the madness.

Charge me for the cup of water. Make it cost the lost potential profit from your average soft drink sale. Or if that seems unreasonable, charge a little less since you don’t have to pay the electric bill to keep tap water cool, nor do you have to spend your time placing orders, taking deliveries, or reconciling invoices from the beverage distributors.

One of these days I’m going to have it out with someone who tells me that they don’t have tap water. Sometimes I relent and buy into the bottled water scam. Other times I hold my ground and go without any hydration at all in protest.

The best bet, of course, is to lug some water with you. Earlier this year I picked up a pretty spiffy glass sports bottle. Drinking water out of metal just doesn’t taste as good, and this has been a great alternative. But more often than not I’ve left my water bottle at home in the fridge.

Luckily, most places still have enough human decency to hand over a cup of water when politely asked. Those that don’t… well, how can you trust them?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 2, 2014 10:07 am

    They have ICE, right? Coffe? I wonder how those are made?
    Absolutely ridicules for ANY place to deny a customer a glass of water. That is pure knucklehead right there.

  2. May 2, 2014 10:10 am

    It’s simple really. No water? Take your business elsewhere. People understand that.

  3. Amanda permalink
    May 2, 2014 10:24 am

    I agree with you on you’re point about bottles being wasteful, but I can’t say I’ve ever asked for tap water and been denied. How much would you pay for a cup of tap water? $1 or $2 + tax and tip? I think restaurants are making a lot of profit on most beverages, but I don’t know the numbers.

  4. May 2, 2014 11:59 am

    I suggest you start by contacting the Health Department because OBVIOUSLY no one is washing their hands, either….

  5. starkiller99 permalink
    May 2, 2014 1:20 pm

    Most places I go either have a paper cup for water to be filled from a soda machine or give me a plastic glass of water the same size as their other glasses. Most don’t charge for it.

    • May 2, 2014 2:40 pm

      I forgot to add that most places use a ‘post-mix’ soda system…Which means the soda is actually a concentrated syrup that is mixed with carbonated water at the fountain. The water is tap water that is blended with Co2 at the location.
      There is usually a button for water on the soda fountain, that is typical. For anyone to suggest they have no potable water in a food service establishment is ridicules. As jenh718 said, “take your business elsewhere”.

  6. buffsoulja permalink
    May 3, 2014 12:49 am

    Dango’s in Saratoga told me that they don’t serve tap water only bottled water. Last time I will ever walk into that establishment.

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