Bartender gets upset when customer orders water, charges her 50 cents

@a173nn/TikTok New Africa/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I have NEVER been to a bar that charged me for water: Bartender gets upset when customer orders water, charges her 50 cents

‘If that lady’s making you pay for ‘the cup and the straw and the ice’ her business is failing miserably.’


Jack Alban


Working behind the bar when things are fast and having customers request drinks can be pretty stressful, but as hectic as it can be, a vast majority of bartenders make their living off of tips and gratuities.

So it’s understandable if when someone asks for a cup of water while you’re busy cracking open hard seltzers, pouring beers, and measuring out cocktails, you get a little miffed. It’s not like you’re earning any money on these waters.

At the same time, many would argue that it’s just good customer service to hand over free water to a thirsty patron. Plus, if the customer likes the spot and the people who work there, they’ll probably be back or spend money either that night or down the line.

However, it seems like it’s safe to say that this TikToker’s experience with a bartender won’t be inspiring her to visit that bar again.

TikTok user D (@a173nn) posted a viral clip that’s accrued over 71,000 views as of Monday. In it, she shows an “insane” bar server handing her a cup of water, claiming that it costs 50 cents.


D doesn’t mince words in the caption of the post, writing, “THE MOST INSANE BARTENDER I’VE EVER MET. OMG I CANT BELIEVE PEOPLE LIKE THIS ACTUALLY EXIST.”

The video begins with the bartender walking towards D with a big plastic cup of iced water with a lid and a straw.

“Oh I didn’t need all that,” D tells the woman, who stops in front of her. “I just needed a cup of water.”

The employee responds, “OK, 50 cents regardless.”

“Oh, for water?” the woman says.

“Yeah,” the bartender replies. At this point in the video, D places the phone down and digs into her purse. She asks again if the price still includes tap water. The employee retorts that there’s a “fountain across the street,” implying if D wanted free water, that’s where she should go.

The worker continues to explain the justification for the charge, saying, “We went and paid for the cup, I paid for the ice, I paid for the water.” D continues going through her purse to get the money for the water.

“I thought I said that to you, you said ‘please,’” the bartender continues. “That’s why I went out of my way when I should be visiting my grandchild right now.”

D appears to try and diffuse the situation by asking her whether she’s not supposed to be working, and whether she’s just hanging out at her workplace. After some back and forth, the bartender reiterates that she “paid for the glass, the ice, and the straws.”

“I feel you sister,” D says as she continues to look through her purse for the money.

“If you don’t have it that’s OK why don’t you just go to drinking fountain,” the bartender finally says.

D then places 25 cents on the counter but then sees that the bartender took the cup away.

“Wait what? I have change,” she tells the employee.

She continues to record the employee, who is happily conversing with other customers as she pours out a beer. D seemed to think that the scene was strange as the woman just chewed out D because she wasn’t able to spend time with her grandkid.

The video then cuts to the woman handing D some cash and change, presumably because she decided to hand her over a bill instead of coins to pay for the water. D thanks her and the bartender says, “You’re welcome” and continues to go about her job.

One commenter said that if a business owner is that concerned about the costs of cups and straws, then it’s probably not doing too hot.

“If that lady’s making you pay for ‘the cup and the straw and the ice’ her business is failing miserably,” the top comment read.

Someone else also didn’t seem to appreciate the bartender’s attitude towards D, writing, “The way the bartender continued to go on and on and be mean to you when the entire time you were being polite.”

Another TikTok user couldn’t understand why the bartender didn’t just place the water inside of a glass so she could drink it.

“What bar doesn’t have glass cups that can be washed out,” the user quipped. “Do these people not understand cost of operating business?”

One person claimed that in their area, it’s illegal for a business to charge for tap water.

“In my state water is free it’s literally against the law to charge for water,” they said.

According to Earth911, there are no laws in the United States that indicate restaurants must offer customers free tap water, but many do as a complimentary service.

The Daily Dot has reached out to D via TikTok comment.

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