I was recently at Agni's Oven, a new Indian restaurant in Chicago, where I had a nice meal complete with appetizers, soup, and some of the hottest chicken curry I've ever had. But the fiery food is not the source of my complaint.
Knowing what spices do to me, I mixed a packet of Benefiber in my water about halfway through my meal so as to ensure regularity throughout the night. Later, when I received my bill, I noticed that I had been charged for my water. Let me make it clear that I drank only water in a glass, poured from a pitcher, nothing bottled. I checked the menu, where I found no notices of charging for poured (what I can assume was tap) water.
After asking my waiter about the water charge, he said his manager had added it to the bill and, in so many words, that he hadn't chosen to do so. Upon asking what the charge was for, he went and fetched his manager, who appeared and asked how he could help me.
I explained not understanding the charge for water—my friend had also drank water and wasn't charged, and it appeared as a single item. He explained that it was indeed a charge for just my water because he had seen me add a “packet of something,” which meant it was “value-added” which therefore meant it was “[his] right to charge [me] anything he wanted.”
Needless to say I took issue with this and asked politely that he take the charge off. I even ensured that I'd make up the difference in tip to the server. He refused, saying that he does this all the time to people who bring in tea bags and drink packets. He even made a point to tell me that he had charged a woman after he saw her add sugar to her water.
During the course of what had turned into an argument, which his patrons could all plainly see and hear, he told me he'd comp my meal if I agreed to never come back and “pollute [his] restaurant with [my] filth.” At this point I was so angry that I figured the comp was as good as it was going to get, so I left.
Has anyone ever heard of places charging for tapwater if you bring your own additive? I've seen places charges for to-go cups, but not this.
I filed a complaint with the Chicago Better Business Bureau, but I wanted to let the Consumerist know about my treatment at Agni's Oven and see if anyone else has ever dealt with crap service like this before.
One week later, I'm still in complete disbelief.