We took a good friend and his spouse for dinner on Saturday night to celebrate a special occasion...a 70th birthday. It was a very upscale and beautiful Michael Mina restaurant where we had dined before, and which we knew was expensive. Upon being seated we were asked, and I quote "Would we like sparkling or still water for the table?". We replied "sparkling". I assumed, regrettably, that since we were not asked if we wanted bottled or tap water, that water service was an included part of the dinner service at this fine restaurant. It would have been awkward to ask in front of our guests whether this was the case.
I was shocked to see that on our bill we were charged $24 for 3 bottles of water...with tax and tip it was $30 for water that was untouched by 2 of the 4 of us. Was I unreasonably naive to assume that since the question was "sparkling or still" rather than "bottled or tap" that water was an included part of the dinner service? I was so "ticked" at our server that I almost (but didn't) deduct the $30 from his large tip (our bill was $500, and I tipped $100). I felt very "ripped off". Should I have, or was I simply stupidly naive? Would it have been reasonable to deduct the water charge from the waiter's tip...he indeed did lead us into this trap? Whatever, I've learned my lesson, nevertheless it would have been uncomfortable to ask if water was included in front of my guests.