To think that if you are going to charge a pound for a mug of hot water, you should make it clear?

(233 Posts)
pussycatwillum Wed 17-Jul-13 09:50:15

Yesterday I went out for lunch with a group of old ladies. One of them only ever drinks hot water. The waitress provided this for her. We then had lunch and asked for the bill.
The mug of hot water was charged at one pound.
The lady concerned was a) not happy to be asked to pay so much, although she did concede that she would have happily paid 50p as presumably they do have overheads to pay.
b) cross that nowhere on the menu was it mentioned and the waitress did not say 'There will be a charge of a pound for that, madam' which would have given her the chance to say no.
So was she being unreasonable?
It was at a place I have been to lots of times and when I mentioned that she wasn't happy the waitress immediately deducted the charge, but I think this was to avoid a scene.
Is it reasonable to charge for hot water, and is one pound a reasonable amount?

weisswusrt Wed 17-Jul-13 09:58:40

When I was at college, they only charged 5p for hot water, but when they saw I had bought my own herbal tea bags they upped the price to the same as tea or coffee! Just out of spite.

We started charging for hot water as we used to get elderly ladies coming in and ordering a pot of tea then asking for hot water and making more brews in the teapot. A few even used to bring their own teabags. They'd be sat at the table for hours for free when we were turning customers away who wanted to order food and eat it in the cafe. Tbh we very rarely ending up charging for hot water. It was more of a deterrent.

Birnamwood Wed 17-Jul-13 10:03:08

They should charge a small fee to cover overheads, but £1? That's ridiculous angry

My local shitty, extortionate soft play charges £1.40 for a slice of dry toast shock I can buy two loaves for that in my local shop!

Its not spite weiss. They have a business to run.

starfishmummy Wed 17-Jul-13 10:17:57

I have a friend who drinks herbal tea. If we are out for a meal, she will ask if they have it - some places do. If not she asks for hot water and has never been charged; however between us we have usually spent a lot on food and other drinks.

However she also does it in coffee shops, even if they have her "brew" because she is a skinflint objects to paying their prices for a teabag; she is completely oblivious to their overheads. I do believe that this is not on and make sure she goes to the counter herself!!

weisswusrt Wed 17-Jul-13 10:20:06

Yourma, but then why offer hot water for SALE at 5p then? What I do with my purchased cup of water is none of their business. I didn't even drink it in the canteen, I took it to lectures. They refused to stock herbal tea as well, I asked.

badguider Wed 17-Jul-13 10:22:19

well... given that you often pay up to £2 for a cup of tea, and a teabag obviously doesn't cost anything like a pound so I wouldn't be surprised to be charged a pound for a cup of hot water... there's the boiling of the water, the washing of the cups, the waitress...

Weiss they're offering it as a drink. Lots of people drink hot water. If you took it away from the cafe then fine. If it was in a plastic/polystyrene cup then they would have made a loss on your 5p.

weisswusrt Wed 17-Jul-13 10:42:49

The water came out of a big urn, into a plastic cup. I poured it myself, no work involved at all for the canteen staff. This was a college canteen, you know...for students, who are often skint! The bitchy staff members just felt like I'd got one over on them....and they'd show me for being an upstart!

weisswusrt Wed 17-Jul-13 10:45:51

Yourma, but.....they offered it FOR SALE at 5p, if that's a loss for them then they are stupid for selling things at a loss.

ClangerOnaComeDown Wed 17-Jul-13 10:49:17

Lol I thought you meant the water should be clear...and yes, yes it should <helpful>

Pennyacrossthehall Wed 17-Jul-13 12:30:53

It depends:

If all you want is a mug of hot water, £1 is fair enough.

If you (and others in the group) have ordered/paid for a load of other stuff, I would expect it to be free . . . . . and complain loudly if it wasn't.

pussycatwillum Wed 17-Jul-13 21:47:02

Penny the bill for the group came to around 10 pounds each, so it wasn't as if my friend sat there without paying for anything.

SantanaLopez Wed 17-Jul-13 21:50:19

YABU; I would have expected to be charged and I would not have expected the waitress to tell you the price.

FirstStopCafe Wed 17-Jul-13 21:53:17

Yanbu. I wouldn't expect to be charged for water

pussycatwillum Wed 17-Jul-13 22:07:18

YABU; I would have expected to be charged and I would not have expected the waitress to tell you the price. but everything else is clearly priced and the menu states that service is not included, so every customer knows where they stand for other items, so why not the water?

would you go to a cafe with your own food and ask for a plate, and get grumpy if you were charged a pound?

its just so blinkin' entitled. If you want to pay 5p for hot water, go home and boil it yourself. job done.

Just so you get the metric, the water would actually be costed at 25p for the water, 25p for the overheads, 25p for the staff and 25p for some profit. This allows you to sit in a lovely warm place with your mate and have what you want.

But it doesn't come free.

hot water is not a commonly requested item, therefore the manager will usually make a judgement call. If you did this every day, stay for two hours blocking tables and not buying anything else I would simply not provide it.

you would be amazed at the amount of off-menu requests cafes get, and they have to do a calculation pdq as to the right amount to charge.

I always remember the joyous occasion when a picky NY customer came for brunch at my cafe and demanded I change her scrambled eggs because she said all she could taste was butter (er, and the problem with that is?). Dutifully scrambled more pdq without butter she then demanded that I give it to her for free because I had not toasted another round of expensive sour dough bread for her.

I told her it was a cafe in Hackney, not the bleedin' Ivy.

She flounced.

All the other customers fell about laughing.

And just to remind you, the waitress is not authorised to cost out an item, she just takes the orders.

If you were going to drink the water just as it was, then I would be shock at paying a £1, I do think that asking for water and then using your own teabag is taking the p***!

domesticslattern Wed 17-Jul-13 22:40:23

Like Penny, I'd expect it to be free only if you were buying lots of other stuff. (Which it sounds like you were, if the bill was £10 each!).

Sounds like you won't be going back so the cafe owner loses out overall...

TeamEdward Wed 17-Jul-13 22:43:51

My nan drinks hot water, and we are rarely charged.
Cold tap water has to be provided free, so it's not much different to serve hot water (same cup/wait-staff/water costs, just the energy to heat it and in most places it comes from an urn already turned on)

Having said that, adding your own teabag is out of line.

babybearsmummy Wed 17-Jul-13 22:45:19

Seems a bit rude. I've been out to places that have given me whole bowls or jugs of water to stand dd's food in to warm it and I've never been charged a penny.

YANBU x

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