Dunkin Doesn't Serve Cup O' Ice Water Or Any Variant Thereof

You gotta wonder what lead up to the creation of this sign at a Dunkin Donuts in Bushwick (a DMZ-esque area of Brooklyn being penetrated by the forces of gentrification) covering every possible angle of not giving you a cup of ice water. Maybe there were even previous versions of the sign that had to keep being tweaked as people kept coming in asking for a vessel of chilled H20. How might that encounter have gone? Let’s take a peek inside The Consumerist Miniature Theater Machine:

“Can I have some ice water?”
“No ice water, read the sign.”
“Ok then, how about an empty cup?”
“Why not, it’s not on the sign?”
“Get out! I call cops!”
“I’m coming back with my boxcutter, just as soon as my friend is done using it to hold up struggling musicians.”
Door slams.
“Damn, we need to make a more comprehensive sign.”

Annnd scene. Hey, at least they’re celebrating earth day by reusing the buy 6 donuts get 6 free signs.

Free H20 In Any State, Won’t Be Served At Dunkin’ Donuts [ANIMAL]


Edit Your Comment

  1. davebg5 says:

    Name that movie:

    “Got any shoda?”


    “Aw…c’mon now, cut a brutha’ a break. Fuck the cup. Pour it in ma’ hand fo’ a dime!”

  2. @davebg5: i’m gonna get you sucka

  3. mgy says:

    I like the other sign –


  4. smirky says:

    Can you bring your own cup?

  5. SkokieGuy says:

    Assuming the Dunkin Donuts, like many fast food joints has self-service beverages and free refills, they in effect are selling the cup. The cup becomes the inventory control device that needs to correlate with beverage sales.

    The error is in the ungracious wording of the sign. They could, like many fast-food outlets, have a discreet sign and perhaps a reduced charge (example, additional cup $.075).

    Since the sign has no logos, it is probably not Duncan corporate policy, just a local franchisee or manager tired of customers asking for free cups.

    Reasonable policy / bad execution.

  6. pmathews says:


    Dang it, now I have to watch that movie again.

  7. Black Bellamy says:

    What’s funny is that they aren’t fucking around with their donut promotion.

    It’s 6 (SIX), bitches!

  8. Whitey Fisk says:


    I’m Gonna Git You Sucka

    “How much for jus’ one rib?!?”

  9. tedyc03 says:

    55,000 unemployed lawyers out there and this Dunkin’ Donuts gets THIS asshat as a manager…

  10. Traveshamockery says:


  11. morganlh85 says:

    Aren’t restaurants required to have regular water available? Or something to that effect?

  12. thufir_hawat says:

    Reminds me of a weird Waffle House policy which excluded patty melts from the Tuesday All You Can Eat night (which, thinking back on it, was not the best idea I ever had anyway). No one could explain why, so we would try to order it anyway.

    Q:”Could I get a cheeseburger with grilled onions, but can you bring it out open-faced?”
    A:”Sir, that would be a patty melt, so no.”

    Q:”Can I get a cheeseburger plain, but with grilled onions, on toast? But only the one piece of toast?”
    A:”Okay, so cheesburger on toast . . . wait a second. No. That’s a patty melt.”

  13. I’ll have to see what they are doing in AZ because it is Arizona state law that you can not refuse a person water.

  14. Starsmore says:

    “Can I have a container of hydrogen dioxide kept at between 32 and 40 degrees F, please?”

    “OMG! TERR’IST!!!1”

  15. Hanke says:

    I just want to know which immigrant group will replace the Indian/Bangledeshi as their primary employee, as they have replaced your average idiot teenager.

    Doesn’t matter who they had behind the counter, they still can’t get the order right.

  16. Nytmare says:

    Maybe fast food restaurants decided to kill the cup of water freebie when they found people will buy bottles of it for $1.39.

  17. Gokuhouse says:

    I wonder, do they sell bottled water? AND what do they have against folks that want to drink something for free? C’mon, peeps! I usually ask for a water at most restaurants rather than pay for a pop or whatever else they serve. Maybe someone wants a donut and a cup of water, not a donut and a coffee!

    I have a new suggestion for their sign:
    “No toilet water”

  18. TPS Reporter says:

    @SkokieGuy: I assume you meant $.75 not $.075. I would be hard pressed to come up with 7 and 1/2 cents. I wouldn’t have exact change.

  19. Asvetic says:

    This should be illegal. If someone needs water, you should be obligated to provide it free of charge.

    They probably put the sign up because they’re too lazy to tell the one guy (hobo?) that keeps coming in every 30 minutes that he can’t have anymore water that day. So, everyone suffers.

  20. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Is this where all the unemployed mortgage broker MBA guys work now? The sign gives away a lot…

  21. SkokieGuy says:

    @MrBill38: It was so much easier in the days when (typerwriter) keyboards still had a ‘cents’ key.

  22. ohiomensch says:

    Panera puts little water cups right next to their drink dispenser.

    I usually have it with fresh lemon.

  23. WV.Hillbilly says:

    If you want water, pay for it.
    If they don’t want to sell it or have it on their menu, it’s their business.

    Probably too many bums & winos coming in wanting something free.

  24. bonzombiekitty says:

    @MrBill38: Well according to Verizon, it’s the same thing

  25. soulbarn says:

    Some info:

    1) This is Brooklyn.

    2) Dream on if you think the fast-food places around here have those self-fillable soda fountains. (See number one.)

    3) The reason they don’t give you water is because THEY DON’T FUCKIN’ WANT TO! (See number one.)

    4) I don’t know, buy six donuts, get six free seems like a pretty good deal to me. If that’s the price of letting a few freeloaders go thirsty, fine. Let them drink out of goddamn puddles. (See number one.)

  26. ptkdude says:

    I love the “SIX” in parentheses for people who can’t read numbers.

  27. Shadowman615 says:

    @SkokieGuy: Perhaps, but posting on the internet sucks with a typewriter!
    Try Alt+155 (on the keypad) –> ¢

  28. SonicMan says:

    @Asvetic: It probably is. But this may just be about free cups. They may have a water fountain there.

  29. Nighthawke says:

    Just get a small soda and use the cup to have water. The majority of the soda dispensers have a water only lever on their decarbonated spigots.

    Some of the fancier vendors have soda water too.

  30. mergatroy6 says:

    @Starsmore: How many Dunkin Donuts actually stock H202?

  31. ludwigk says:

    @thufir_hawat: Wait, so if you get both pieces of bread with the cheeseburger, were you ok? I’m so confused.

    @Asvetic: This should be illegal? Obligated? That goes past even socialism and WAY into hippy commune territory, where restaurants don’t even exist. What if I ‘need’ a donut? Are they then obligated to give it to me? Or, if I need water, but with a slice of lemon?

    I’ve sat in a restaurant waiting for my lunch order (less than 10 minutes) and seen multiple people stop in, demand a glass of ice water, drink it, then leave. The mgr was a nice guy, and obliged, but he was clearly being taken advantage of. Restaurants are not a community service. Even if its a restaurant that I frequent, I wouldn’t show up some day, ask for a glass of water, drink it, and leave. That’s abusive and tacky.

  32. WV.Hillbilly says:

    H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide. I don’t think anyone wants to drink that.

  33. RandomHookup says:

    I was in a DD on Sunday and they were charging 25 cents for the cup when someone asked for water.

  34. @Asvetic: As an ex worker of 7-11 I can semi explain this. When you buy a bucket of soda, what they charge you is what the price of that CUP is. So a cup will cost over a dollar. I found this out one day when I messed up taking a order in. When a location starts buying more and more cups, they start to give you a small break on the price of the cups. My boss would also collect cups that were defective, which we would return for a credit. At my 7-11, my boss paid for courtesey cups(smaller and non-sellable) that we gave out to people in uniform(trust me, at a 24 7-11 off a main road, having cops and MP’s from the local Army/Naval base come in for their free coffee during my graveyard shift was worth the small amount we paid for those cups), as well as to the employees to drink out of(I had a mug). So this D&D would be losing whatever the cup would cost if it were coffee if they gave it to you w/ water in it for free. So it doesn’t matter what beverage is in it, what the cost of your drink is is very close to the price paid for the cup alone. So if you don’t expect them to give free coffee away, you can’t expect them to give free water away. I hope this explains it.

    @morganlh85: @tawni: I think at a resturant, yes they do. But at a resturant/diner, they are using plastic/glass glasses, which are nowhere near the cost that this D&D is paying for their paper/foam cups.

  35. dantsea says:

    I think some clues as to why this sign exists can be found in the post we’re responding to, namely “a DMZ-esque area of Brooklyn”. When you’re in an area like that, a business gets a reputation as “the place where you can get free stuff,” among the local trash. Not only will they rotate into the store every five minutes asking for a freebie, they’re loitering outside and harassing paying customers (if not scaring them away entirely). Subltelty and diplomacy does not work with this demographic, rude “get the fuck out” signals do.

    And unfriendly as the sign may seem, in most cases, a paying customer would be provided a cup of water upon request.

  36. mac-phisto says:

    @SkokieGuy: alt + 0162. ¢¢¢¢ <–see? easy peasy!

    i don’t see a problem with this policy – you want free water? there’s a sink faucet in the free bathroom with all the free tap water you want.

    but if i were owner/manager, i simply wouldn’t post the policy. i would just inform the employees that cups are not to be distributed free of charge. they can be purchased empty or with ice at the advertised rate for the equivalent size with coffee in it.

  37. @mergatroy6: I think they all have a little bottle of it in their first aid kit. But it says “Don’t drink me” on the bottle.

  38. Kraki says:

    This is interesting. In Texas, businesses are required to provide free water. They don’t have to provide ice, but they do have to provide water, which is probably a good thing since temperatures get up in to the 110s during the summer.

  39. Pinkbunny says:

    Clearly not a lot of you work in customer service. Where I work we once had a parade of street people and cheap students asking for free hot water for their tea, ramen noodles and who knows what else. These people would then sit in the cafe for hours wanting water re-fills and sometimes stealing tips. Now, we charge 50 cents for a cup. Sorry folks, it’s not our job to provide free water and bathrooms to random people. Plan ahead or become a customer. Fork over $2.00 for a coffee. Really.

  40. katylostherart says:

    this is a reasonable policy. it costs money for the cup not just what’s in it. it also costs money to filter the water for the ice and fountain machine. if you’re that ghetto, find a local park, use a drinking fountain.

  41. mac-phisto says:

    @Shadowman615: omg! alt+155 does it too? ¢¢¢ it does!

    dude, you just saved me like 6,000 keystrokes/year.

  42. katylostherart says:

    @Kraki: it gets over a hundred in brooklyn too during the summer. new york is one giant baking slab of concrete and stale air july through september.

  43. DashTheHand says:

    Simple, ask for a cup of water or an empty cup. When they refuse, order a cup of the cheapo coffee. Then pour it out on their counter once you’ve paid for it or better yet into their tip cup. Use now empty cup to get some water.

  44. MrBiggles says:

    @Starsmore: Liquid hydrogen dioxide (H2O2) is not something anyone wants to drink. I think you mean dihydrogen monoxide.

  45. eightfifteen says:

    But 6 (SIX) donut? Even the great commentator Emmit Smith thinks that’s dumb.

  46. jeff303 says:

    @ludwigk: How about a compromise? Give you free water if you buy at least $x worth of food.

    I couldn’t find anything about a law though it’s often “cited” in these discussions. Apparently even UK does not have such a thing on the books: [www.bbc.co.uk]

  47. Trai_Dep says:

    @Shadowman615: I’d follow your suggestion, but try as I might, I can’t find the “155” key.

  48. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I drink water with my donuts because I hate coffee, I can’t drink milk, and I don’t want anything sweet with the donuts. If this place refuses to serve me water, I’ll simply take my business elsewhere.

    Oh, and did I somehow wind up on the wrong blog… it’s “cheap” and “ghetto” to choose to drink water with your meal? Christ on a skewer, people, is it responsible consumer behavior to pay over a dollar for a quarter’s worth of Coke?

  49. chiieddy says:

    @mergatroy6: That’s dihydrogen dioxide rather than hydrogen dioxide.

  50. ptr2void says:

    @Starsmore: You mean dihydrogen monoxide, a highly dangerous chemical…

  51. MrBiggles says:

    @chiieddy: And neither of them is water

  52. katylostherart says:

    @DashTheHand: why is it so hard to imagine that it’s completely reasonable for a business to ask payment in return for goods they have to purchase from a distributor in order to sell to their customers? it’s probably a tongue in cheek suggestion, but some dipshits actually do stuff like that. if you want the water so bad or find a sink or a water fountain or go home and use your own free cups and paid for water. or since it’s bushwick, an open fire hydrant.

  53. dayron422 says:

    I have a notion why they posted that sign. I used to work in a corner bar in Baltimore across from a liquor store. The bums and drunks would come in to get a free vessel in which to pour their liquor. Ice is a bonus. I know they weren’t just thirsty because if they asked for a “cup of ice water”, I’d put it in a glass. They didn’t want that–free ice water. They wanted the styrofoam cup! That’s why the sign lists all variants of that question. The establishment shouldn’t have to supply free cups to the public unless you are buying something.

    Its sort of like how the addicts would come in asking me to change their quarters into dollars. As a bar, I used to do it because I needed quarters until I figured out the “crackman” don’t take change.

  54. katylostherart says:

    @speedwell: no it’s ghetto to want the supply for free when the vendor has to pay for it.

  55. katylostherart says:

    @chiieddy: hydrogen peroxide is not so tasty.

  56. ludwigk says:

    @jeff303: Well this be ok. I don’t know if its the same in the UK, but a glass of ice water is almost universally complimentary with any purchase at a restaurant, even to-go orders while you wait.

    The exception would be places that have customer facing soda taps. In some places, its a common problem that people will walk in with a cup, fill up with coke, and leave without buying anything. In New York, lots of fast food places have signs indicating that free refills are only for the same visit, because people will carry cups around and steal soda and think its somehow ok. I mean, its sad we even have this issue, because it all boils down to common courtesy, and it would all work itself out if things weren’t abused so much.

  57. hi says:

    Here’s my two alt+155’s: Probably people/kids getting drinks for free after getting water or a cup.

  58. Saboth says:

    Hello, may I have H20 in a cylindrical container with H20 at 0 degrees celsius broken down and dispersed throughout?

  59. BillyShears says:

    I guess a lot of their customers are sneaky lawyers.

  60. compuwarescc says:

    Rhode Island requires that establishments provide access to free water. It’s up to the company to decide how they want to do that.

  61. Balisong says:

    Is there a list of what states require businesses to provide water? And is the law different for malls, where there’s several businesses in one place along with water fountains in strategic locations? I’ve always wondered if it was legal for this chick at the sandwich place in the mall to refuse me a cup of water…

  62. hi says:

    @compuwarescc: There’s a hose round back –>

  63. Munsoned says:

    @hi: Or the toilet in the bathroom…

  64. Mayor McRib says:

    Forgot to put
    “Kool Cup”

  65. jjeeff says:

    The napkins are still free!

  66. freshyill says:

    I think I used to live near that Dunkin’ Donuts, if it’s the one on Graham I’m thinking of.

  67. freshyill says:

    Wait, I was thinking of the one on Grand. I always used to confuse the two. Still, pretty close.

  68. ekthesy says:

    @Git Em SteveDave:

    Have you ever read this?:


    This was around in the early days of the Internet and provided me with hours of fun reading. I worked the night shift at a 7-11 for a summer back in high school (1995) and kept a copy of this behind the counter.

  69. MercuryPDX says:

    @Black Bellamy: Those damn dyslexic’s and their friggin “I bought six donuts, where’s my nine free ones?” whining!

    @nytmare: Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner!

    @mac-phisto: I bet you 25¢ that out of frame there’s a “Bathroom is for customer only”(sic) sign.

  70. Jimbo64 says:

    To everyone mentioning the bathroom as a source of drinking water – THIS IS BROOKLYN. (Please see Soulbarn’s comments above)

    The bathrooms at Brooklyn fastfood places are always locked. Otherwise every bum, wino, crackhead would be using it as a personal day spa. If by some chance you could get it unlocked, you would not want anything in that bathroom near your mouth.

  71. scottr0829 says:
  72. theysaidwhat says:

    Cups cost more than the fountain drinks that they contain, so no, I can’t see why they should have to give away the cups.

    And no, napkins aren’t free. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you’d have heard that lecture from your manager. ;)

  73. ironchef says:

    too many panhandlers and freeloaders. It happens.

    Just like when they start hoarding sauces, dips, and packets of splenda.

  74. Starsmore says:

    Whoops. Ruined the joke. :(

  75. elislider says:

    might even be a Q

    seriously who is in charge of making these signs? a 12-year-old AOLer?

  76. JackAshley says:

    Having been a fast food monkey for years, here’s how it works:

    You ask for cup of water. Take said cup, empty it, and go to the fountain drink station and fill up. End result = FREE POP!!! They probably had this happen too much, and were sick of losing money.

  77. ViagraJunkie says:

    Can I get two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen on the rocks please?

  78. trujunglist says:


    WTF MAC-phisto (if that’s really your TRUE identity), I am so highly disappointed in you right now I don’t know whether to cry or scream. You’re not supposed to give advice to the enemy! You’re supposed to remind them, as snarkily as possibl,e that on a Mac, all you have to do is hold down the option key and start pressin’ away. For shame!

  79. ☺ haha that sign is spectacular ◄ ☼ ►

  80. no.no.notorious says:

    isn’t that sort of illegal? like if someone asks for tap water (since you need it to live, and it’s free), don’t they have to give it to you?

  81. EBone says:

    For some reason, I just don’t feel the “Thank You” at the bottom of the sign is sincere…

  82. nardo218 says:

    @ekthesy: :D I’m saving this for book research purposes.

  83. jimconsumer says:

    This is fucking stupid. I will never give my money to a place who can’t be bothered to have plain water available for people. I understand why they do this: They think customers are cheap and are merely trying to avoid paying for a soda. Unfortunately, they forget people like myself and my entire family who, quite honestly, really only drink water. I don’t like pop. I will occasionally indulge in a lemonade, but 99% of the time, I want plain water. And no, I’m not paying $2 for your bottled water. I just want a cup of tap water. I’ll be happy to pay you a quarter for the cup if you want to get anal about it.

    But an utter refusal to serve a cup of water is ridiculous and that store would lose my business.

  84. @jimconsumer: Are you forgetting the family of the owner of the D&D, who would be out nearly a dollar for every cup he gives away for free? Is he supposed to fire someone, or deprive his family so someone can get a water? If you want cheap water, then buy your own cheap water.

  85. BugMeNot2 says:


    First off, tap water is not free. It may be not be expensive, but it still costs, whether in the form of an invoice from the public water supply district or taxes.
    Second, as several others have pointed out, this appears to be along the same line as “bathrooms for paying customers only” signs. There is a non-zero chance that if someone really and truly needed water, they would provide it. They just don’t want people taking advantage of them by using their cups nonstop.
    As an example, the company I work for has water coolers located in the store fronts. You wouldn’t believe how often people dash in for a a cold drink of water, never buying anything, ever, merely because they know we have the water coolers.

  86. takotchi says:

    When I worked in fast food, people would ask for “free water” and then go fill the cup with soda. We tried using clear plastic cups, but they were so shameless they’d still fill it with soda; and not just something water-looking like lemonade or Sprite, they’d get Fanta Orange or Coke or whatever.

    The OTHER thing they’d do is just come in for free water, take it, and leave without getting anything else. Cups and water aren’t free to the restaurant, so I don’t see why they should be to the customers either, unless maybe they actually BUY SOMETHING.

  87. @ekthesy: I literally had at least one cop in my store every hour. Between the free coffee/soda, bathroom, and out of date food, they loved my store. Kids would have to be very stupid to try it at my store. Since it was privately owned and my boss/owner was Italian, I think I could have smacked them one, and gotten away w/it.

  88. I think everyone should also remember that in times of emergency, D&D has helped out. They were there helping out on 9/11, when Starbucks was CHARGING for water. I think if you came in dying of thirst after arriving at the lone oasis in the vast emptiness of NYC, they would give you water. They are people. There is a big difference between giving something away to a mooch and saving someones life.

  89. krom says:

    Or, they could, you know, save the time in making, editing, remaking, etc. that sign, and just, you know, JUST SELL CUPS OF WATER ALREADY

  90. khiltd says:

    People will abuse anything given the chance. There’s an old guy in my neighborhood who used to steal all of the deposit envelopes out of every ATM on the block every day for no apparent reason. Now that they’ve all been replaced with the envelope-free variety, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went around stealing paper cups instead.

  91. youbastid says:

    @SkokieGuy: Well, actually, any business that uses cups as inventory also has non-inventoried cups that employees use. So it’s not like they don’t have ’em.

    @takotchi: Back in the day, you used to be able to go anyplace and get a cup of water for free. That was when, you know, people who ran businesses realized that you earn consumer loyalty when you treat your customers well, even if they aren’t paying that one time. Or maybe they weren’t thinking that, but just had a good sense of human decency. A chunk of the reason bottled water is such a burgeoning industry is because you can’t do this anymore. I understand that people scam the fountains, but those used to not be self serve either.

  92. flidget says:

    As a customer, yeah it looks like overkill – as an employee, though, I’d love it.

  93. youbastid says:

    Also, why are people calling it D&D? There’s no “and” anywhere in there.

  94. @davebg5: “Got change for a hundred?”

  95. loueloui says:

    This is so frigging scummy. I’m sure it may be possible they may be doing this to prevent the homeless, or other freeloaders from coming in and asking for water repeatedly, but come on. I see nothing wrong with charging a small fee (like $.10) to cover their cost if they had to, and maybe waive that if someone purchases something else but to just universally say no is petty, and rude.

    I see a lot of businesses offer water cups for free near the dispenser just take them, and go. They are usually of a cheaper quality, and clear to let everyone know if you are sneaking a free soda (unless it’s sprite).

    @Git Em SteveDave:

    I have never put any stock into this excuse. By that logic if I brought my own cup into a 7-11 then the soda would be free. I used to work as an assistant manager for a sonic drive in many years ago, and I remember a case of 500 cups was like $40 making each one worth about 8 cents. A complete cup with lid, and straw was less than 10 cents. This is a false economy. If it takes someone 2 minutes to retrieve this cup and save it you just lost money.

    I have also seen managers for convenience stores wash out cups which had been abandoned by unscrupulous people, and put them back in the stack for sale. One guy did this right in front of me, and I took the 2 cups, and threw them away right in front of him (I was buying a soda). When he complained I told him that was nasty, and his 10 cent cups were not worth me possibly being exposed to hepatitis or herpes or whatever else.

  96. @thufir_hawat: You should have asked for that Patty Melt in Five Easy Pieces.

  97. azgirl says:

    h202 keeps my mouth so clean. Yum.

  98. XTC46 says:

    @Asvetic: why? its not free for them. THere is the cost of the cups, cost of the water, cost of electricity to cool the water and make ice, cost of the time to help the non-customer, etc.

  99. sugarpox says:

    @freshyill: It’s the one next to the JMZ Myrtle Ave train station. I used to go in there all the time.

  100. Scuba Steve says:

    I equate restaurants that do not offer free water/ice/cups with people who don’t tip.

    Legal? Sure.

    Bit of a Dick move? Absolutely.

    That’s why I wasn’t surprised that this happened in NY.

  101. Hayden1028 says:

    Okay, I can understand that a business should have every right to refuse to serve someone, and refuse to server something. Since we live in a capitalist nation, businesses are at their own discretion to the conduct which they hold themselves, as long as they stay within a certain boundary.

    Here’s my point: It’s some water. Seriously, just water. It may “cost” them something, but its still only water.

    Now, if you were a business owner, would you refuse to serve someone water? If you were a customer, would you expect them to serve yourself?

    It’s not smart business, its caring for another human being, something we have forgotten about. We don’t NEED to share, but we live in a society and we can only function as well as the people within it.

  102. pine22 says:

    i had a summer job at a convenience store (UDF) when i was in high school. i remember the only cups of value were the foam coffee ones, all the paper ones weren’t worth jack shit.

    we used to have these plastic ones, that cost a little more but you could bring them back for really cheap refills. the logic is that we can make money off the other stuff they buy if they come back. people would bring their own coffee mugs, plastic cups, and we would only charge .99 cents for any refills, i think we even had free coffee refill mondays.

    i dont understand why DD can’t just charge for the cup at cost instead of not offering water anymore. i mean if someone buys stuff from there, it wouldn’t kill them to give out free cup of ice water.

  103. What is up with all the harshness towards “bums & winos?” Didn’t we used to have some fucking empathy? And do not get me started on the grammar issues.

  104. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Why should I have any fucking empathy for bums & winos?
    They stink and and I’m sick of panhandling. They’ve chosen their lives.
    Things would be much more pleasant if they’d lock them up the way they used to.
    I’d turn a fire hose on the filthy bastards.

  105. BugMeNot2 says:

    I worked in at a small diner, and the owner was basically eking out a living. He didn’t mind customers drinking water, but he did ask that they pay for the cup. When the profit margin is so thin, he just couldn’t afford not to charge customers for his cost.

  106. sean77 says:

    @morganlh85: only in arizona. Also in arizona, if some dude shows up on my doorstep and asks for water, I’m required by law to give it to him.

    Of course that’s probably a law that has never been tested in court.

  107. Asvetic says:

    @WV.Hillbilly: @xtc46: @ludwigk: @Git Em SteveDave: These are all silly excuses to deny someone a glass of water.

    It’s only a matter of time till someone figures out how to charge for the breathable air in their restaurants.

  108. WV.Hillbilly — Your kindness is truly inspirational

  109. mbz32190 says:

    I know some of the Dunkin’ Donuts around here have drinking fountains in them, so this would get around the need for any kind of cup. But I think it is a law that if you make a food purchase, free water must be provided on request…but the sign seems to be more directed to freeloaders.

  110. ironchef says:


    a glass of water isn’t a right. It’s a convenience.

  111. TruPhan says:

    @sean77: You took the words out of my mouth

  112. chrylis says:

    @Shadowman615: Or using a system that supports Compose (OS X or any flavor of Linux/Unix), it’s Compose, c, /: ¢!

    (Invaluable for typing in Romance languages…)

  113. StevieD says:

    There is nothing free for any business…. we pay for everything. What we “pay” for the item is sometimes quit irrelevant as we must judge the total cost of the service or product.

    The city requires me to have public toliets. I am industrial supply house in a business park with miminal in-store traffic. WTF do I need with public toliets? But I got them. I also have a sign that says no pubic toliets.

    What does it cost me to provide a public toliet? I say $18 per user per event. How do I compute $18? I used the base salary of my janitorial staff, added the appropriate payroll taxes, benefits and overhead charges for 1 hour of work. Why 1 hour? ‘Cause I had to pay a janitor for an hour of work to clean up the fecal mess left behind by a bum with poor anal control.

    The no public restroom policy went into effect the very same day.

    Of course if your 3-year old has to go tinkle and the McD’s across the way has busy restrooms, by all means you may use my public restroom. A car load of teenagers? Nope, go visit McD’s.

    I have soft drink station. It is a “free” benefit for employees. Cups, concentrate, CO2, ice, janitorial service to clean up the stations and handle the trash. I figure it costs me $1.12 per employee per day to operate the drink service.

    I could have a dispensing service that sold sodas by the can or bottle, but then I would have to deal with the trash and recycling of plastic bottles or AL cans.

    See, nothing is “free”. At least this way the employee can “see” the free benefit because the cost of the beverages don’t come out of the pocket of the employee AND I can reduce the cost of refrigerators to store employee beverages brought from home.

    If you are a real customer the drinks are free. For everybody else the drinks cost $3 per serving. That $3 really keeps the bum traffic coming into the store ’cause McD’s has cheaper sodas and bigger cups.

    Just a hint for DD. Ice/water/cups are $3 or free with 6 donuts.

  114. DeltaPurser says:

    Why the hell should an establishment be forced to provide free water?!?!

    When I’m out jogging, should it be required that the DD on my way home provides me with water if I ask for it?

    Sure, they may do it as part of customer service, but to be FORECED to do it? Absolutely rediculous…

  115. Pink Puppet says:

    Aaah, I wish I’d had been allowed to make a sign like that when I worked food service. We were forbidden to give away cups for water. If you wanted water there, buy a pop and fill it with water instead. Franchises have to penny-pinch to turn a profit or survive sometimes.

    And yet people still would honestly go “Then can I have a cup for ice?” if they couldn’t have a cup for water.

    It kind of made my brain bleed.

  116. Difdi says:

    It’s their business, they can do what they want. It’s crappy customer service, but it *is* a private business.

    Of course, if they were in Arizona, the manager could actually get arrested for putting out a sign like that, due to a state law there regarding requests for glasses of water…

  117. banmojo says:

    no donuts get bought here
    no donuts
    no dunkin
    no donuts
    f$#@ dunkin donuts and their no free h2o
    even your enemy will give you freakin h2o
    this is ridiculous
    dunkin donuts bites ballz

  118. LUV2CattleCall says:


    Can two girls share one cup?

  119. MercuryPDX says:

    Actually I do remember one place that not only gave away free ice water, but advertised that fact on billboards for at least 1500+ miles:


  120. MercuryPDX says:

  121. SJActress says:

    We’re required in Texas to offer free water to people as well.
    Sometimes, we’re too busy to deal with running to the sink and give them a bottled water for free instead(I work in a bar).
    When you pay $4 for 30 bottles of water and charge $1 each, you’re making a ridiculous profit anyway.
    These guys just need a water fountain.

  122. arcticJKL says:

    I have no problem with a business not giving away free cups or ice. But whats with the quotes?

    Its water, not “water”.

  123. @Asvetic: @loueloui: “excuse”? It’s the TRUTH. I didn’t get reamed out by my boss b/c he lost a few bucks. This was a thousand cup or so crate, and it cost him a shit load of money. As to your Sonic, I don’t know who owned it, but some franchisers make their money off supplying the franchises w/ their branded merch. If the crate I had screwed up on only cost $100, my boss would have been cool. But it didn’t. As to your assertion that you can just walk in and take soda, no you can’t. I don’t know the exact way to explain it, but as you keep buying more and more cups from the supplier, you get a “premium” or “commission” type break. This reduces the price of the cups a small amount and starts to pay for the soda, which is relatively cheap per unit when done w/ a fountain machine. In the end, you want a large volume so you make a few cents selling each cup of soda, and when you multiply that by hundreds of cups, if adds up, albeit slowly.

    This is not about “denying” someone a glass of water. Would you say expecting a place give you free food and drink and them refusing is “denying” you? I will put five dollars on the table that if ten people walked in there tomorrow and asked how much a cup of water is, they would get a price, and the store owner would accept the money and give you the cup. This sign merely lets people know they can’t get a FREE cup of water, and prevents time wasted in telling EVERY person the same.

  124. guevera says:

    I’ve got plenty of sympathy for small business owners eking out a living, but a lot of these places that have become total pricks about a glass of water seemed to have stayed afloat before the advent of bottled water. Five years ago, free tap water. Now, $1.29 for tap water in a bottle. Total b.s.

  125. Veeber says:

    @SkokieGuy: I was at a 5 guys the other day and the manager got into a shouting match with a couple of teens who had asked for “water” and were drinking orange soda instead. They actually tried to convince the manager that it was water!

  126. Veeber says:

    @Scuba Steve: That’s a low blow on New Yorkers.

  127. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I just got back from a business trip to Aberdeen, where the tap water is better than the bottled water is over here in the States. I mean, right now I wish I could have a glass of the tap water at the frigging hotel. Undiluted with the local whisky, even.

    And those idiots drink bottled water all the damn time. In a restaurant, you order water, and they ask you, “Still or sparkling?”, and they bring you a bottle unless you SPECIFICALLY ask for tap water. Nuts.

  128. MayorBee says:

    @Git Em SteveDave: Cups don’t cost a dollar a piece. More likely the soda inventory sold during a period is guesstimated by the number of cups used during that period. So if you lose a cup, you are short on your audit whatever the price of the soda that would have filled the cup. Because it’s comparatively easy to tell how many cups have been used during an audit than to take your beginning inventory of syrup (usually a bag in a box) plus your purchases and less your ending inventory.
    That’s also why convenience stores have different cups for soda vs. slurpees, or don’t have a universal hot/cold cup for all beverages. Coffee’s easier to count than bags of syrup, so they don’t want that to mix up the numbers.
    I do agree that they should be able to charge for a cup of water, say a dime or a quarter per cup,

  129. moorem2 says:

    @Git Em SteveDave:

    BULL. There is no way those cups cost a dollar each. These places are franchised, DD corporate buys those cups for pennies. This is just a case of not having to be kind to people and calling it “policy”.

  130. ChuckECheese says:

    Since the sign has no logos, it is probably not Duncan corporate policy, just a local franchisee or manager tired of customers asking for free cups.

    No, I believe I heard Rachael Ray herself say it on the Dunkin’ Donuts TV–

    “No ice water,
    no empty cup;
    No cup of water,
    or cup of ice.
    Buy six donut,
    Yum-O ! EVOO!”
    Rachel’s all about them cups.

  131. BensAngel says:

    “Cups provided to customers only. Thank you for your understanding.”

  132. Bruce says:

    @tawni: If somebody does refuse water, we ‘Zonies would be more than happy to change their mind for them with a 12ga. shotgun.

    In the summer months, it gets hot enough around here that some asphalt streets literally melt and soften enough that cars can leave their tread patterns in them.

  133. loueloui says:

    @Git Em SteveDave:

    I can understand your point. I just think your boss is a dick, and he’s lying to you. If you check out this site [www.dollarnights.com] I, you, or anyone else can buy 32 oz. styrofoam cups at retail for $.06 each. These are even better than the flimsy ones they usually give out for free. You can bet he is spending that much or more in advertising per customer.

    Fountain beverages are one of the most profitable items in any restaurant or store. Why do you think you can buy a double cheeseburger for $1? Because you want something to drink with that right?

    I can only take this to mean one of a few things:

    The owner of this Dunkin Donuts just doesn’t give a shit about his customers, and would rather make them pay for something to drink or he has a problem with kids, the homeless, freeloaders, or whoever coming in to ask for water. This is easily remedied by charging a small amount (10-25 cents) to recoup his costs. What about a sign that said ‘water or ice cups 10 cents’ ?

    This to me seems to be an ignorant solution, and it’s a problem I have seen with a lot Dunkin Donuts. They seem to be willing to give anyone with a pulse a franchise. Maybe they should spend less on flighty celebrity endorsements, and focus more on customer service.

  134. zibby says:

    Yeah, if this is Brooklyn the policy is more for bum control than anything else. Any freebie you can stop giving away will reduce bum traffic – as well as the number of atrocities committed in your rest rooms.

  135. scoosdad says:

    A long time ago when I worked summers at a place that served beverages, we reconciled sales for that day by counting the cups we had left over, versus what we started with at the beginning of the day. We weren’t supposed to give out free cups because our number would be off at the end of the day. Each employee was given one cup a day to use over and over again for their own drinks, and we subtracted those off the total used for that day.

    Nowadays when every corner store uses a computer POS (no, not that POS) system, that’s not necessary anymore.

  136. Rider says:

    I love it when people who have never worked one day in the Food and Beverage industry reply to these threads. Those paper Pepsi cups, 50 cents each, Starbucks paper cups 75 cents each. If you own a restaurant in a busy area with lots of foot traffic you could quickly find yourself giving away hundreds of dollars a week. Why is the sign written like that, because I hate to point this out to you, but people are assholes. It’s the result of having idiots bug you all day long.

    How would you like it if random strangers came in and demanded 50 cents from you 10-20 times a day.

    I don’t understand this gimmie something for free attitude people have when it comes to the service industry.

  137. Confuzius says:

    Yeah, it especially sucks because you totally can’t make up those costs with the $0.17 worth of sugar syrup and water that you fill the cup with and charge $2.49 for….

    That aside now what the hell am I supposed to pour my 40 of Colt45 into while I loiter in the back of Dunkin?!

  138. radio1 says:

    No Dunkin Donuts ever has had a soda fountain. Just coolers with juices, milks and sodas.

    It would be nice if they provided cups and water for free. But all they really have to do is charge a quarter or fifty cents for the privilege.

    I don’t quite get how people here equate a free water with lemon in it from Panera or Starbucks to a Dunkin Donuts…

    Yep, Panera and Starbucks– leather seats, cushy chairs, free wi-fi, fireplaces, and upscale sandwiches that cost up to $7.00., Yeh, I better expect a small dixie cup of ice water with lemon.

    Dunkins– busy, crowded, sometimes cramped and dirty. Oh yeh, gimme free water. The people who ask for that are lucky they don’t dunk a cup in the toilet and give it to you. And I like Dunkin a lot.

  139. bvita says:

    As someone who has operated food concessions I’d like to offer a few insights:

    1. Many food concessions keep track of their “shrink” rate by counting cups and comparing it to what was wrung up. If 100 cups are consumed during a shift and only 75 are rung up, you’ve got a problem. Most likely staff members are either comping their friends or pocketing some of the sales. The usual work around is to have a separate type of cup, distinctly different from your saleable cups, for water.

    2. Busy city venues usually come complete with their own share of neighborhood “color” (not racist here). These are street people, homeless, mall rats, etc. These are not your customers but loiter in your business driving away your customers. Do you want to be sipping your latte next to the guy with the tinfoil hat who hasn’t bathed in months and is talking to aliens on a broken transitor radio? You are operating a business not a shelter.

    3. The cost of freebies adds up. You could easily go through a case of cups in a month ($60), lids ($30), straws, etc. If these are folks who are likely to be customers, then its the cost of doing business. If these are folks who are just leeching from you, then no.

    4. If its a busy venue, as I suppose the DD was, they also take your staff away from paying customers or doing what they’re supposed to be doing. This can really add up to one employee a month on your payroll doing non-business related work.

    5. I would always give a paying customer water. You buy a coffee and want a glass of water for some meds, no problem. I had an issue with this at a Starbucks at the Mirage in Vegas. I ordered $25 worth of their overpriced drinks and asked for a glass of water to take some pills with and was charged a buck. I told them to keep the rest of the order.

    My rule was if you came into my store and were now or before or potentially ever a customer, you’d get the water. If you were a street person or a “mall rat” that was just going to use my cup of ice to chill the drink that you bought at the convenience store across the street, no.

  140. bvita says:

    @scoosdad: Actually with a POS system its just as important. You could easily have rung up only 3/4 of what you gave out.

  141. HuntersCanvas says:

    @katylostherart: It doesn’t usually ever go over 100 degrees in Brooklyn. The all time record is 102, and it’s usually low 90’s at its highest.

    If someone asks for water, sell them a cup and fill it with water.

  142. wellfleet says:

    I used to live in a real city coffee shop, and often when random people asked for water, they would use it to shoot up in our bathroom stalls or right outside. We didn’t want to encourage that, so we gave water to customers we knew only.

  143. wellfleet says:

    We would also have shady people use the empty cups to go over to our milk and cream jugs and serve themselves a cup of milk. If you’re really thirsty, you can go in the restroom and drink from the tap!

  144. Narockstar says:

    @soulbarn: Thank you. I was reading the comments and yelling the same things. Seriously people, I love my ‘hood, but this DD is in what I like to call the “ghetto strip mall.”

    If they gave out free cups, every crackhead in a mile radius would be begging with a DD cup and coming in for water every half hour, scaring off the actual paying customers.

    And no, you can’t just have the staff discretely inform them of the policy. You need it in writing, a big sign.

  145. @loueloui: These weren’t plain cups. They were 7-11 branded cups. I saw the manifest later, and saw what the price was(I forget the exact figure now), and also had this explained by one of the others workers to me. Perhaps things have changed, but judging by this article from consumerist on Quiznos [consumerist.com] (read the NYT article, and they mention the restriction franchise owners are binded to, such as buying goods from only ONE retailer at inflated prices)which has a 7-11 owner talking about how bad messing w/ the corp can be and cost.

    @moorem2: You are right. D&D gets them for pennies. But since you can’t by the “required” D&D cups at Sams Club or Costco, you have to by them from D&D. How do you think a franchiser makes their money? They make it by selling franchises and the supplies therein.

    @MayorBee: True, the cups don’t COST a dollar. But that is how much the franchise owner pays for them. Do you think resturants charge you what their food costs? No, that’s how they make profit. 7-11 sells the cups to the franchise and they make money. The 7-11 sells the cups to you, and they make a small amount of money. The more cups you buy from 7-11, the more of a “break” you get on pricing, which adds a little more profit to each cup you are now selling. Since you can’t sit on the cups, it encourages you to sell as many as you can so you can start to earn money.

  146. dequeued says:

    Oh my god!
    I know that place!

    I actually just moved out of Bushwick a few weeks ago, I remember that place, it was right under the JZ El.
    It was without a doubt the dirtiest dunkin doughnuts I have ever been in.

    I was with my girlfriend once, and we just wanted a cup of ice, and they charged us 50 cents, and gave us a receipt for a “munchkin”

    I can see why they did it though — there are at least permanent homeless people living in the station outside.

    Also, I am almost certain that it is *illegal* in New York City, for a food service establishment to refuse to give someone tap water on demand.

  147. hexychick says:

    @Black Bellamy: That made me laugh way too hard.

  148. dequeued says:

    FYI, I am pretty sure this is a trend the Dunkin Doughnuts in Manhattan also do that.

    I get tap water a lot.
    When I roam around in the city, I just go into the nearest Starbucks or McDonalds to get ice water for free, and I have never had them give me trouble about it.

    What else should I do? Buy bottled water? LOL

  149. elephantattack says:


    ALT 4 on a mac will do ¢

    Interestingly enough ALT 5 is ∞

  150. curlysue says:

    So if I want water at this particular D&D my only option is overpriced bottled water that most likely came from a municipal water source to begin with and was packaged and produced so some huge corporation could make a fast buck? No thanks.

  151. nefarious248 says:

    I happen to work at Taco Bell. Its not that we want to make people buy water (which we aren’t, it’s just the CUP.) We have recently had to do this because of the same stupid, unsupervised teenagers that come in and ask for it jus to get soda with it. I do give it to families w kids and RESPONSIBLE adults, however these kids have to pay. I have looked it up online for a law and all I see is we have to have water AVAILABLE. I did this because, while every one else complied, this one kid went n complained to his friend who then proceeded to get crazy on me. While I was on my break, and told me it was a federal law, ha, I can’t wait to tell him what I’ve found.

    With all that said, I’m sure this is the same way. If someone dessperately needed water I’m sure they provide it, it was probably dumb kids who decided to abuse that PRIVILAGE and ruined it.

    Im 21, these kids are between 16-18. Here’s a thought, Parents-Teach your kids respect and how to be honorable and have some integrity, then maybe this wouldn’t happen. I mean seriously, they are going in, spending ALLOWANCE or GRANTED money (money they didn’t EARN) and then wanna act like they are better because I’m bein a MAN and providing a life for me and my fiancee. I’m only there as a SECOND job until I go to Basic for the Army to where I can actually get a good paying job. Half of the so-called “stupid workers” as you refer to them as, are there to get through college or as a second job to make ends meet in this crappy economy. Show some respect!!