Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Jun 22, 2010 04:04 AM

Here's another rule on how to be a good customer I read about last night

We've all read those tiresome lists of "rules" on how to be a good customer so your waiter won't spit in your food.

Here's a new rule I read last night. I had never heard of this one before.

If you're not ordering a drink, you can't just ask for a glass of (free) water. No, you must buy bottled water! LOL! I'll have to remember that next time.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Says who?

    Was the article written by the manufacturer of bottled water?

    1. Hah! Good luck trying to get me to follow that rule.

      1. Here's jfood response. You insist he drinks bottled water, give it to him. Remember a few years ago all the rage was to have an open bottle of water on the table to scam the customer into thinking it was free, then zappo, an $8 charge. Now jfood insists that the bottle comes unopened and they open it at the table. No refilled bottles please.

        1. "If you're not ordering a drink, you can't just ask for a glass of (free) water. "

          Ummm, yes you can. Not sure where this "rule" came from - waiters expecting larger tips? Bottled water consortium? The only time I ask for bottled water is if there's a boil advisory in the restaurant's town. And how often is that?

          1 Reply
          1. re: LindaWhit

            I agree. I personally think bottled water is completely unnecessary when ordering still (panna). I do order sparkling on occasion. Bottled water in not environmentally sound and I don't even drink it at home. On the rare occasion I do buy bottled there is a specific reason, like being required to be able to close my drink completely as opposed to having a fountain "opened" drink.

          2. I'm glad to see I'm not the only water scofflaw around here... I very rarely drink alcohol, and sometimes I'm just not in the mood for a soft drink or tea, so water it is. As a general rule, I don't drink bottled still water. For the most part tap water in the US is clean, safe, and cheap. Most bottled still water in the US comes from municipal water systems with little or no additional treatment. My local water utility charges between $2.58 and $19.40 per 1000 gallons of water, depending on the volume used. If I'm going to pay more than a fraction of a penny per gallon for a beverage, then I want some kind of added value beyond pouring into a glass.

            9 Replies
            1. re: mpjmph

              I am not supporting this supposed rule, however the point obviously is that when you dine in a restaurant there is a reasonable expectation that you spend reasonablyl. Picture the parsimonious patron who drinks tap water, orders only an appetizer and lingers over a cup of tea. The tap water in and of itself is not a problem, in my view, however it is one of those choices like sharing an entree (even with a plate splitting fee) and foregoing all other courses, that has a negative impact on the restaurant and the servers bottom line. You might choose to do one of those things but not a bunch of them and you really should try to make up for it. If I am not particularly hungry and know that I will want only and appetizer I make a point of spending a reasonable amount at the restaurant by spending on wine or drinks and if I am still below the cost of a more typical meal I will tip above 20%. I view it as a social contract, if I am going to take up space in your restaurant I will be sure to spend a reasonable amount of money.

              1. re: Kater

                Difference of opinion on this one K. The social contract is to tip on the amount consumed, not the opportunity cost to the server or the restaurant. Long day, hot weather, do not want to cook, nothing in the house, let's go out to dinner. The customer is now supposed to hit the mean or above on the reasonable expectation scale on what to order and the nominal tip to leave. Maybe on a food board you will see people agree but not a reasonable expectation from jfood's POV.

                1. re: jfood

                  Anyone who knows me on Chowhound will know that I almost always take the side of the server. But in this case I'm with jfood merely because he articulated his p.o.v. so well.

                  As much as I'd love for diners to go "soup-to-nuts," there are, indeed, times when you're just not really hungry and a big meal is not the thing to do. Of course, one wouldn't choose, for example, a steak house nor some other sort of place which is well-known for sending diners packing into the night wielding huge "doggie bags;" but it's reasonable to expect that one's level of service should not be tarnished if you only want an app, salad and a glass of wine, let's say...

                  1. re: shaogo

                    I certainly expect the same high level of service I usually enjoy but I feel better about making sure that my server and the restaurant don't get short shrift. It's not hard to do unless you're in a BYOB.

                2. re: Kater

                  I agree that I usually tip the waiter a bit more if I'm splitting a meal with my husband (or having an appetizer, using a coupon, etc.) I do this because of the waiter's work and not out of concern for the restaurant, necessarily.

                  However, I may rethink this if I make reservations at a restaurant that is clearly full at the time we're dining. Ninety-nine times out of 100, however, we go on the spur of the moment to our favorite local restaurant and eat in the spacious bar area (and there's an even-more-spacious dining room). If I'm eating a bowl of gazpacho and calling it dinner, there's no lobster-craving, wine-guzzling big spender waiting for my table or being turned away.

                  And bottled water? No way! We have great tap water in Southwest Michigan, and I don't do bottled water unless traveling.

                  1. re: Mestralle

                    I agree that it is a great idea to eat at the bar when you know you're not going to place a full order!

                    1. re: Mestralle

                      I don't feel "less-than" other restaurant guests if my choice is to order two appetizers and call it a meal, and I've never felt compelled to sit it out at the bar because of my menu choices. Next time I'm back, I'll likely order a drink or a bottle of wine, an app, an entree and maybe even dessert. It all balances out.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        I'm with you there. I'm a non-drinker and don't always want to sit at a bar just because I want to have a light meal that night.

                    2. re: Kater

                      I'm not going to order things I do not want just to make the server happy. Then again, if I'm not hungry enough to make my order worth the server's time chances are I'm not going to a full service restaurant. There are plenty of long standing rules of etiquette concerning how much to order and tip. It rubs me wrong when people in the restaurant business try to create new "rules" to increase their bottom line. Some people will spend a lot, other will spend little. Some will tip well, other won't. Most people fall somewhere in the middle.