Restaurants Tricking Me to Buy Bottled Water?

Published On July 6, 2010 | By Tomás Bosque | Articles

A blogger at Bon Apétit magazine recently complained about restaurants attempting to trick him into buying bottled water when all he wants is some lovely, refreshing tap water with ice in it. Instead, the waiters offer water without offering tap as an option at all. Most customers either didn’t notice the ruse, or didn’t care.

Here’s the scene, at a seafood restaurant in Las Vegas:

Tall Suit: “It looks like you don’t have any water yet. Can I get you flat or sparking?” Me: “Flat is fine, thanks.” Tall Suit: “Okay, I’ll bring you a bottle of flat.”

He starts to walk away. I’ve seen this trick before, so I catch him before he’s out of earshot.

Me: “Actually, we don’t need a bottle. Tap is fine.”
Tall Suit (thrown off): “Oh. Okay. Tap then.”

By not offering tap water as an option, it’s clear that he intended to trick us into buying a bottle of water. Judging from the amount of bottles of water at the tables around us, a lot of people fell for it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been through this routine at restaurants and, frankly, I’m tired of it.

I haven’t been through this routine, at least in the US, but maybe I don’t eat in nice enough restaurants. Have you experienced it?

I’m Sick of Restaurants Trying to Trick Me Into Buying Water [Bon Apétit]

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One Response to Restaurants Tricking Me to Buy Bottled Water?

  1. Josh says:

    This seems like something you would encounter more often in Europe than in America. In all my years, I don’t think a waiter has ever taken “we’ll take some ice waters” to mean “we’ll take some ice-cold bottles”.

    At upscale restaurants, waiters usually (and should) ask if you would like tap or bottle, and then the next question is flat or sparkling. Perhaps this Vegas waiter was European? Otherwise I can’t see why he would want to force bottled water on anybody, besides upping the price tag of the bill and thus his tip.

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