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Old 10-01-2009, 05:15 PM   #1
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Free tap water?

couldn't find an answer to this, so i was hoping that some of you guys in the biz could help

are bars in NY required to provide free tap water? i was at a beach vball tournament a few weeks ago, and on the beach is a bar/snack stand. though technically the bar and the beach are two separate entities (bar is private, beach is town owned), they pretty much go together....so, a few hours into the tournament, my wife and i walk into the bar and ask for water...we were told no, and that they sold bottled water....i basically pleaded with the guy, saying we were hot from playing all day, had previously bought beers (which was true, but he didnt remember us), and that there was no water fountain available...he basically said that it wasn't their job to supply water for the tournament, and that it was seperate from them (again, technically true, but the league is named after the bar, so there must be some sort of sponsorship thing going on - but thats prob irrelevant anyway)....it really annoyed me since we were paying customers, there was no other option besides bottled (which i never buy because i think its a stupid invention), there were no water fountains, and the tournament was providing tons of customers even if they weren't technically involved

this has also happened to me before at random bars - you ask for water later in the night, and some bartender who is either to busy or too big of a jerk refuses just to exercise some power.....it really bugs me

so is this illegal, or just poor customer service?

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Old 10-01-2009, 05:38 PM   #2
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I've heard of places doing that. They have to pay a water bill so they want you to buy something. Maybe they had got a lot of people in there just for a free glass of water and nothing else.
Just like the restrooms. They can limit the use of them to paying customers.
When I was in Dallas, I was parked by a meter. Went into a local store to get change and they wouldn't give it to me unless I bought something from them. (I bought a postcard with a 20)

So I guess it is and they can do whatever they want in that matter. Although it's poor relations with the public if you ask me.
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:45 PM   #3
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I don't know the law in NY but I'm not at all surprised they refused you. The fact that you had a beer there at some other time is pretty much irrelevant. They are in the business of selling drinks. Water is a drink. If they were on the ball they would have set up a booth outdoors selling water and other drinks.
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Old 10-02-2009, 08:58 AM   #4
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no, it was the exact same day that i had been buying drinks, not long before i had asked for some water....tipping them and all....and i told the guy this
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:06 AM   #5
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I think the snack bar is in the right here. They are in the business of selling food and drinks. Had you been sitting there drinking a beer at the time and then asked for a water I think you would have gotten it no questions asked, but you had been a patron and then left so you were no longer a patron. The snack bar workers can not be expected to remember every customer they have and they should not be required to take your word that you were previously a customer. Even assuming that you were a customer, they are under no obligation to give you anything for free. The water is not free to them don't forget.

Try to see it from their side. There is a volleyball tournament going on. I would assume this means there are quite a few players all working up a thirst. If they give you a free glass of water then what is to stop all the other players from going up expecting free water. Not only does this cost them money, but it interferes with their business. They are serving people who are not paying anything who are taking up space at their counter and the time of their employees.

Just because you think bottled water is a stupid invention (I do not disagree) does not mean that you did not have the option to purchase it anyway. It was just your choice not to spend money on it. I think bottled water is a huge scam, but when I am at an event that only has bottled water and I am thirsty then I reluctantly pay.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:23 AM   #6
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all fair points, but i still think they could have handled it differently....i mean, sure, if they give a glass of water to one person, they should give it to everyone....but, in reality, are people going to see me walking along the beach and think "oh, they are giving out free water! i better get me some!".....i understand that water costs them money, but it's minimal - do they charge for flushing the toilets or washing your hands? this place even has a hose outside, that people often forget to turn off, that is used to wash the sand off you....the extra amount of water they could give me is negligable....plus, if it wasn't for the tournemant full of thirsty players (this was in september, an otherwise dead day at the beach) they would have sold no beer (and they were selling plenty of beer and food) and the guy was not busy at the moment i decided to ask.....they can afford to give out a bit of water, keep their customers happy, and still make a profit

so it looks like the answer to my question is "no, they are not required to give out free tap water,"....ill just have to accept that

but, i think given the circumstances, it would have been nice/fair/good customer service to give a glass of water to a paying customer when they are pouring the stuff down the drain right outside....they lost out, because my team and i had planned on buying more drinks, but stopped after this happened
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:34 AM   #7
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No question about it, they could have handled it differently and most likely would have been in a better situation if they had. It was their prerogative to make that decision though, no matter how poor it might have been.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:37 AM   #8
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true....well, i hope the $0.05 glass of water was worth it, because they lost some customers over it

hahaha, like they are ever going to notice, or care, that we dont come back....well, it makes me feel better at least!
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Old 10-02-2009, 04:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoodleIncident View Post
true....well, i hope the $0.05 glass of water was worth it, because they lost some customers over it

hahaha, like they are ever going to notice, or care, that we dont come back....well, it makes me feel better at least!

I'm not sure I understand your anger point. Even tap water, ice, paper cup, etc., cost money to create, produce, or provide.

To expect it *free* is not a reasonable expectation. OTOH, it might be a positive customer service gesture.

But that is the fact's Mam.

If it cost money to provide, you should expect to pay for it. If you are a long term customer, that would be different.

Bob
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Old 10-02-2009, 04:48 PM   #10
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i guess my annoyance is that in general, most places will supply water without question....it is not required, and may even cost them a tiny amount, but it is a courtesy that most establishments will extend.....i consider this to be even more true if you are buying something during the same visit (the drinks we bought)....since, at least in my experience, it is more normal to give out water than not, that means that this place went against the grain to deny me.....and this is before we even consider the fact that the water they are unwilling to give out is being freely distributed in high volume to wash sand off people's feet...

it is sort of like if you drop your stuff while walking down the street....no one is required to help, and technically they are not in the wrong if they ignore you, but for the little bit of effort (or $) it costs, it creates alot of goodwill and is just the nice thing to do....it will not ruin their day to help, and i dont think that some water will cause the bar to collapse (even if alot of people started asking)

so i realize that i do not have any right to be annoyed with them, but i dont think im crazy for feeling that way

just for the record, im not some nutball who is all bent out of shape about this....it happened and i stopped caring minutes later, but i just wanted to get people's opinion on it...so its really more for the sake of a discussion, which im enjoying
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