UnderCover Waitress: Please Bring Water

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Please Bring Water

Funny how such seemingly tiny things grow to massive importance.

It used to be that water was simply brought to customers when they were sat in a restaurant. Bringing water is a mark of good service. I remember living through drought in California. Area restaurants changed their policies to only bring water when requested, which made sense given the situation.

But it does not make sense everywhere and all of the time. I think restaurants that don't train servers to bring patrons a glass of water are cheap. It's penny-pinching and lazy.

But this is too funny: a waitress has gotten so upset about people having the audacity to ask for water and not finish it that she has written to an advice columnist about this source of infernal injustice. Her letter is published right under the letter from a woman whose husband of 35 years is having an affair. And to read the waitress' letter, these problems seem to be of equal importance.

"Do you have any idea of how much water we have to throw away a day? People: If you don’t drink it, don’t order it! Someday we may need all the water we can get. -- Frustrated Waitress"

Of course, with Armageddon right around the corner she may have a point. Or, maybe the Mayans were right and we all have less than 2 years before -- no water!

I do enjoy Ask Amy's answer:

"... this does not obligate people who order water to drink it, any more than someone ordering the cheesecake is required to finish it."

And in closing, I offer two pieces of advice to our frustrated friend:

1) Water the plants with the leftover water.

2) Get out more. You need a hobby or maybe some new friends.


  1. Funny what annoys you and what aggravates another waitress. Everyone has their pet peeves - it is just what you find ridiculous you choose to write about, as did that waitress.

    To each his/her own.

    Unless water is requested it is an absolute waste. I realize we won't run out of it anytime soon, but there is no reason to serve it every single patron, every single time just because YOU think it is good service. You can only water plants so much and the dishwashing involved adds up, plus the extra work given to the server.

    You have taught your children to turn the sink off while brushing their teeth, haven't you?

  2. "You have taught your children to turn the sink off while brushing their teeth, haven't you?"

    Nah, we just leave the water on. It masks the sound of the toilet constantly running.

  3. I don't mind bringing water to someone, but I am irritated when people order water and another drink, then don't touch it. It's more work for me, more work for the dishwasher and bussers, and a waste to the restaurant. I also dislike it when people order waters for everyone in the party when they don't know if everyone wants water. I don't expect people to finish it, but come on... why order it just to let it sit there? What's the point, just to make you work harder?

    1. I think what adds to my frustration is I work at a huge restaurant and we have 1 drink station. 1.

    2. I'm laughing (with you) at your second comment. 1. Ouch!

      I have to admit that when I am dining out, I am guilty of wanting a glass of water -- I usually drink some, but at least once I didn't drink much of it at all, and I thought about this debate at the time. I don't order for other people, however, unless it is my children.

      Probably because I have worked so many years in a place that requires wait staff to ensure everybody's water glass is always half full, I have come to consider not being brought water as a mark of substandard restaurant policy/service. I have had managers yell at me because somebody's water glass was empty, but the person didn't want more. The mark of a bad manager: yell first, don't bother asking questions later.


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