Okay, people. There's a fight going on in the world right now, and I'm about to drag you into it.
Picture this: You're ordering at a fast food joint, and the cashier asks if you want anything to drink. You don't want soda or lemonade, so you ask for a free water cup. You get one of these bad boys:
You then head over to the drink dispenser, and fill that free cup with soda water.
So here's the question: IS THAT STEALING?
If you ask me, the answer is NO, that is not stealing. After all, the soda water that comes out of that fountain is just tap water with bubbles in it. WHO WOULD PAY FOR MERE BUBBLES?
But as it turns out, some people think it IS stealing. This was brought to my attention in a recent episode of the podcast "Judge John Hodgman," in which writer and comedian Hodgman delivers verdicts on all sorts of everyday minutiae.
Someone wrote in asking Hodgman if it was stealing to put soda water in your free cup — and his answer was an unequivocal YES. Oh, and his co-host agreed with him.
"It is not just water. It is also soda. And that soda comes out of CO2 canisters that cost money," Hodgman explains. "Obviously, they're spending fewer portions of a cent on that CO2 than the fractions of a cent they are spending on syrup per glass, but it is still money. It is still a good that they are providing."
"And your intent is clearly duplicitous, because you are asking for one thing and then taking another," he adds.
Okay, all I can say to this is: WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! That soda water is FREE.
Does it cost a teeny, tiny fraction of a cent for the restaurant to carbonate water? Sure! But guess what? It also costs a teeny, tiny fraction of a cent to provide that water in the first place. Sometimes restaurants have to pay for things that are ultimately free to the customer.
Case in point: You wouldn't say someone was stealing for putting a straw in their free water. You wouldn't say they were stealing for putting ice in their free water. Heck, you wouldn't say they were stealing for putting a lemon wedge in their free water! WHY DRAW THE LINE AT BUBBLES?
IT'S NOT STEALING! And if it is, send me to JAIL.
But maybe, at the end of the day, my dad has the right answer.
So, what do you think? Is this stealing, or is it free? Let me know in the comments. I want answers!
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