Pet peeve: McD stingy with water

Here’s one of my pet peeves. I recently went to McDonalds (although other fast food outlets are guilty of the following as well). I was hungry, so I got two sandwhiches and an extra-large fries. Now, what to drink with that? Well, I didn’t want anything with either sugar or caffeine (and I don’t drink coffee). Hmmm… no pop that is both caffeine and sugar-free. “Ok, I’ll have a water please”.

Now some places are decent enough to give you a reasonable size cup of water, with some ice in it so it’s cold. At my local McD’s, I got a tiny dixie-cup size glass of tepid tap water. “COME ON PEOPLE!” I mean, I just bought nearly five dollars worth of food! It isn’t like I’m some wino who’s going to park at a table nursing a cup of water and some catsup packets for two hours. Are they really that resentful that I didn’t buy some of their 800% profit margin pop?

That’s because they’re using all that water to water down the OJ–they just can’t spare anymore.

One of the last times I went McD’s, I ORDERED an OJ. What I actually RECEIVED, however, was an orange colored beverage which tasted like water, with a very slight aftertaste of oranges.

Yes, it’s a struggle getting real water from the fast food places. I had a simiar experience as Cabbage, but in a Chinese buffet; I saw the help-yourself soda dispensers and asked if they had water; the waitress pointed toward one of soda dispensers. I went over -it was an orange drink dispenser with a handwritten note taped on it saying “water.” I poured some; it looked like water with a little orange color in it. I took a pass on that. But even more of a pet peeve with me is that a lot of good restaurants don’t automatically give you water; you have to ask for it. And many times, I’ll ask for water, and they bring ONE glass for me and not for my companion. Then we have to ask again. Why so stingy with it? They don’t want to have to wash the glasses or what?

Soda and ice are free; it’s wax cups that cost $1.19 each !

In defense of the poor kid in the silly visor, fast food joints are usually shackled by a health department rule that doesn’t permit them to give out free water. The cost of the cup and ice are, as I understand, an implicit contract of merchantability. Yes, merchantability for water.

I was once working as a volunteer at a stadium concession stand when a woman walked up and asked for a small cup of warm water for her baby’s bottle (no baby in evidence). I apologized as nicely as I could, citing the health department rule and feeling like a genuine jerk.

She asked one more time, I declined one more time, and she walked away… and took her clipboard out from under her jacket. Inspector !

“You can’t tell me what sucks!” - Beavis, a true Objectivist

What is exactly is this rule about not giving out free water? Or rather, what exactly are they protecting us from??

Here in the midwest I havn’t had any trouble getting a decent-sized cup of icewater with my fastfood.

Try ordering a “large icewater please”…

BTW, I used to go to McDonalds for free ice for my cooler…as long as they had enough (which they did every time I asked), they’d fill up my cooler with their ice for free…

Contestant #3

Ah, I leave out details and they are rapidly identified.

The inspector’s key was asking for warm water. She knew that there was a hot-water tap in the back part of the concession stand.

While that water’s probably OK, I would have violated several food service codes by getting (1) an unapproved container and water from an (2) unsanitized tap without (3) changing gloves.

I’d like to say I saw it coming when she said it was for a baby bottle. Hot Dogs + warm water + baby bottle = litigation.

Oh, wait, this wasn’t about me?

In the case of the fast-food restaurant I think it’s actually half health code, half fountain-drink freeloaders.

If there’s a soda fountain behind the counter, odds are there’s no water tap on it because that’s just another applicance to clean and clutter. Taking water from the utility tap won’t please the health board. Same deal as the hot-dog stand.

If there’s a fountain in the dining area, well, SDMBers are polite enough not to freeload soda, but syrup and CO2 do add up eventually.
I’m not a food-safety weenie, I just sympathize with the kids in the uniforms trying to follow the rules.

Now let me get started on the 80/20 ice to Coke ratio…

“You can’t tell me what sucks!” - Beavis, a true Objectivist

What part of the world do you frequent? In California, we have enough experience with drought that I think they actually passed a law during the last one to the effect that restaurants could only give out water when asked for. Even if it’s not law, it’s SOP out here. During times when I’m catching the cold water in a bucket waiting for the shower to warm up, nobody wants to set a glass of water in front of someone who isn’t going to drink it, resulting in waste of the water in the glass plus the water to wash the glass.

For heaven’s sake, people, DON’T let the water run while you are brushing your teeth!


All this discussion when the most obvious point of all this is to NEVER GO TO McDONALDS
for any reason! Why is that so hard to understand?

Just to weigh in on the topic:

I worked at a McD’s in high school. We had a “water” button on the “Orange” spout. We were allowed to give out the little Dixie cups of water (with or without ice) for free, but if the person wanted it in a larger cup (i.e. one of the soda cups), we had to charge them for a soda. And yes, the water came out with an orange tint; most of us would let it run for a bit to decrease the “orange-ish-ness” of the water.

At the Mickey D’s around here they’ve all begun selling brand name (don’t know which) bottled water.

Now I understand that there are health code issues, but they must be easy to comply with to provide fucking water to customers. Its a necessity of life for chris’sake, pop on the other hand isn’t. I refuse to believe that is anything other than a desire to bleed the customer for every penny. (A shame cosidering I truly love eating at McD’s) I understand resturaunts not automatically providing water for meals, it actually seems like a noble gesture to help the environment. I do hate the concept of many restaraunts and events not providing free water to paying customers. Recall that Woodstock 99 debacale? Bottled water is a premium, and should not be the only option. Bastards, we need legislation on this, not the freaking Ten Commandments.

If there’s no water tap on the soda dispenser, can’t you fill up a cup from the drinking fountain (“bubbler”)? I’ve never seen a fast food joint without a drinking fountain.

I’ve never had a problem getting water at fast food places, including McD’s, when I ask for it. The cup they give you is teeny, but then again, you can fill it up as many times as you want, and get more ice from the ice machine too. I usually refill 2-3 times for a typical meal.

I drink almost nothing but water when dining out. Out of my favorite (non-fast-food) restaurants brings glasses and a lovely decanter with ice water and a lime wedge. The whole table can fill from it and they’ll bring you a new one when it runs low. It’s good! Makes you wonder why soda is so popular.

peas on earth

Around here, we too have MC D’s with bottled water…I did find that if I asked for a large icewater, they would give it to me (with a slice of lemon in it if I wanted). I used to work there, and our store policy was to give a small (but not teeney) water if it was requested, just to save on the cups.

Some mornings it just doesn’t seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.

Where in the country are these health regulations in effect? I’ve worked in a bagel bakery and a coffee shop (both in VA) and I’ve never heard of such a thing. Never had any trouble getting water in most East Coast states, either.

“Had I been around at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.”

  • Alfonso X

THANK you, TennHippie.

I’ve been having the same reaction, and stifling it for some reason, every time I see someone start another McDonald’s thread.

All these brainy people here, and some of 'em still eat that stuff. Oy. Are there no diners? Are there no coffee-shops?


Ah,I was just thinking about McDonalds on my way here.How what they serve is called food,but I know better.It’s actually cardboard.They have talented artists on the payroll who make it LOOK real,and they spray the correct smells on it,but it’s not REAL.I think Ronald McDonald is the Antichrist!Getting water is the best you can do there!

Nobody said things would be easy,and nobody was right-George Bush.

Melin -I’m on the east coast - near D.C., and no, we’ve not had drought conditions severe enough to restrict water usage (that I recall) until this summer, and yes, while in the middle of the drought, restaurants could not, by law, give water automatically, but if you asked for it you got it. this not giving water has been going on for years, before the drought. And, pul-e-e-eze, you’re worrying about “wasting” a glass of water? I wonder how much good food is thrown out by the same restaurants. I bet you all leave your lawn sprinklers on for hours out there in sunny funny California, don’t ya? I think it comes down to doing as little as possible, and, as I said, cutting down on the dish washing. (BTW, I turn the water off when brushing.)

When I worked at a theater the reason we didn’t give out large glasses of water was that the cups were inventoried by cost (for example, if 20 small sodas had been used that day, then we should have (x) amount of $ to show for it, used (x) amount of syrup and (x) amount of CO2.) Giving out a cup for free would show up as a monetary shortage and throw off the yields. Of course the real reason the water (courtesy) cups were so small was because about half the time people just want a cup of ice (dead give away!) to pour their smuggled soda or booze into. The company was, of course, more than delighted to sell you a bottled water at the bargain price of $2.50 for a half liter or $3.00 for a liter – d’oh! Get this, at one of the area Burger Kings around here, there is a sign posted saying what the charges for refills, water, and extra dipping sauce! Now THAT is insane!

Come live through a real and protracted drought some time. The kind where you’re catching water in buckets waiting for the shower to warm up (so that you can fill the pets’ water dishes, or water the plants), where you have “only flush for number two” signs over the toilets, where you figure you can let the lawn die so that you can save the roses (or try to keep the trees alive), and where it’s illegal to wash your car in your driveway. I’ve gotten so used to taking showers under a “low flow” showerhead that when I visit my sister back in the water-rich Great Lakes area I am overwhelmed by the amount and force of the water coming out.

Back in the drought in the 80s, rationing in Marin County was 50 gallons of water per person per day. Think that’s a lot? We’re not just talking water for drinking, or making coffee, or showering or brushing teeth or shaving, we’re talking water for washing dishes and clothes, watering plants, trying to keep the lawn alive, etc. Watering the lawn was strictly regulated, and you could indeed get a ticket – or face having your water service cut off – if you ignored the rules. Although it’s technically illegal, manny people would divert their grey rinse water from the laundry out to the yard, to try to keep at least some things alive. People have DIED over water rights in California and other parts of the West, ferchrissakes.

Yup, in those circumstances I worry about the amount of water sitting untouched in a glass of water at a restaurant, because that 8 or 10 ounce glass may be multiplied by fifty customers in that restaurant times how manny thousands of restaurants in Southern California times how many days in how manny years of drought. And, as I said, it’s not just the water in the glass, it’s the water that it takes to wash the glass, too. There’s very little burden in having to ask for a glass of water at a restaurant, and a great deal of benefit in eliminating waste.


I invite you McDonalds flamers to do it in the follwing BBQ Pit thread:

Contestant #3