Glass of water

Thank you for your input. Clearly there is a little bit more to this scenario than meets the eye. Since you are (hypothetically) working in a bar, drinks are your core business and source of income. You can opt to overlook the cost to the business, which is, let’s face it, not a huge sum.

You could risk being taken for a hard-nosed bar steward and make up a price for the service of filling a glass from the tap. Your guest might have medication to take and need a swig of water to help it on its way. In that case, it could be seen as unfriendly.

Point blank refusal could lead to a scene, but might be necessary. In France, a law passed in 1967 backs bar owners who do not want to compromise their core business. A bar earns its keep from selling drinks in whatever form they come.

Had the fictitious customer gone to a restaurant in France and ordered a meal, the establishment would be expected to provide a place setting, which would include a carafe of water and bread. This is because the meal forms the core business and the place setting is part of the service.

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