bottle with sparkling water, a hand will pour water into a glass in a restaurant, two empty glasses for wine, on a white tablecloth, lunch with a wine tasting

Elena Chevalier/Shutterstock (Licensed)

‘I’m not going to pay $18 for water’: Woman issues warning about ‘trick question’ customers get asked in restaurants after being charged $9 for water

'They got my family at Fogo de Chao.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Feb 5, 2024   Updated on Feb 14, 2024, 12:50 pm CST

Going out to eat can result in numerous unexpected charges.

For example, some restaurants tack on service charges that they specify are not the same as tips, which confuses diners. Other restaurants simply automatically add a tip without the shopper’s consent, or charge extra for taking a meal to-go.

Now, a user on TikTok has sparked discussion after sharing her advice on how to lower your bill at a restaurant.

In a clip with over 47,000 views, TikTok user Minna (@badgurlmimi) explains how you might end up paying more for water at a restaurant than you originally thought.

“When someone asks you ‘still or sparkling water?’ You say ‘Neither. I would like tap water, please,’” Minna states.

She says she learned this tip from experience.

“Two days ago, I was at this bar lounge and they asked me, ‘still or sparkling,’ and I was not thinking,” she recalls. “I was so disappointed in myself. I said ‘still.’ I think I paid like $9 for a bottle of still water. Does it look like one bottle of water will quench my thirst? Because no. One bottle of still water is not going to cut it. I will need about two, but I’m not gonna pay $18 for water when I can just have tap water.”

“Avoid this trick question,” she concludes. “They’re just trying to get money out of you.”

While there are no national laws in the United States regarding free water at restaurants, most will extend eaters the courtesy of providing them with a free glass of water when asked.

In the comments section, many users claimed to have had similar experiences.

“They got my family at Fogo de Chao,” shared a user. “It was $70 for water at the end of the night bc we were getting refills.”

“At Bergdorf Goodman restaurant I heard a woman ask for ‘New York’s finest’ as a way of saying tap water and I was inspired tbh,” added another.

“As a former server, our restaurant made sure to tell us to say ‘still, sparkling, or tap’ and everytime I hear still or sparkling, I automatically read it as greedy,” stated a third.

Minna has since removed her video from the platform. The Daily Dot reached out to Minna via email.

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*First Published: Feb 5, 2024, 8:00 am CST