Water...Is Not a Basic Right?

This weekend my friend and I went out. As is the millennial way, we pregamed. The goal is always to buy one drink if we have to buy a drink at all. I’m always comforted to find non-grad student friends that share this outlook.

However, I will ask for water when out. This is for both hangover prevention and I want to have something in my hand while I pretend that I know how to dance (hey, it’s one less limb I have to coordinate). I always tip for water, though, because I understand that’s what makes the bartender go round.

This weekend that did not work out so well.

My friend asked for the waters because she was female and the bartender we intended on asking was male (that’s how a wingwoman works, right?). However, a female bartender intercepted us (not that gender has anything to do with this). I watched the bartender disappear only to return with two water bottles.


My friend is about to hand her $5 (what is she thinking?!) when I interrupt: “Are you paying for water? Don’t you dare! Water is supposed to be free.”

So it turns out my facts are wrong, or so Google tells me. Restaurants do not have to provide water for free – BUT YOU ARE A DOUCHE IF YOU DON’T. You dehydrate my mitochondria and then drive another nail into the coffin of my probable hangover by withholding the key to all life on Earth? I’m not even asking for sparkling or nutrient-enriched H2O; just give me tap water – or a plastic cup to go to the water fountain. Unless you want me in the restroom cupping my hands under the faucet while a line forms behind me.

Nonprofits exist for free water. I live in a developed nation. I will not patronize an establishment that doesn’t support free access to water. We are not in the middle of a drought (or California).

And let me anticipate your objections, you service workers: So the bartender doesn’t know I’ll tip her for the free water, so why should they give me something free? Well, guess how much water costs? A penny for every gallon of tap water! One cent! You can’t afford to give me water? I'm willing to wait. And the bartender has no idea whether I ordered a drink from a different bartender.

Charge me thirty cents for the plastic cup – just don’t ask me for $2.50 for a bottle; this is not a sports stadium event. And who wants to carry a bottle around in the club?! I would pay to not be given a bottle.

So what did my friend and I do? For the second time in my life where this has happened (looking at you, Señor Frog and Siné ), I left. Take that, you inhumane water hoarders.