With all the possible beverages to choose from today, it’s still the best choice for quenching one’s thirst, but if you want to order it with a meal on the go, it’s often the most difficult to get. The simple fact is that most fast food chains are just not set up to offer it to their customers.

In a world that’s becoming increasingly fat conscious, you would think that the opposite would be true. McDonald’s, for instance, is now putting nutritional information on all their products, they’ve cut out trans fats and they’ve added health conscious choices to their menu; but try to order a large cup of ice water with your health conscious meal, and you won’t get it without a fight.

Here’s how it usually goes:

Me: I’d like a number two and, for my drink, I’d like a large ice water with extra ice.

The next thing I usually see is the computer screen charging me for the meal (which includes the drink charge) and then an extra 25 cent charge for the water.

What? They’re charging me EXTRA for water, the least expensive beverage they have? That can’t be right!

This is usually followed by my attempting to explain that I’ve already paid for the drink with the meal, so I shouldn’t have to pay an extra quarter just because it’s water. If I win the argument, I drive to the next window, only to be handed a tiny “curtousy cup” of water. So, once again, I have to tell another person that I paid for a large beverage, and I want my ice water in a large cup. This person will usually argue that they are not allowed to give water in a large cup to which I answer that they are allowed if I pay for it. Sometimes the window person calls the manager to the window to explain it to me, and often, I have to argue with that person, too. Inevitably, if I have enough energy, I can get the water, but what a fight!

Not to single out McDonald’s, mind you. It happens no matter what fast food restaurant I go to, save one. I make the order, always adding, “I’ll be happy to pay for the large cup if I have to,” and when the food arrives, I have either:

  • A bottle of water (which I don’t want; I don’t really like water without it being icy cold, so the ice is important). No ice at all there.
  • A small or tiny cup of water.
  • Some other cola drink in a large cup and a tiny cup of water.
  • A medium sized cup of water.

No matter which of these I get, I hardly ever get the extra ice either. This I kind of understand. People are creatures of habit, and they’re used to giving only a certain amount of ice with a drink. (There are often guidelines telling them exactly how much ice they are allowed to give.) The problem is that the water usually comes out of a tap, so the ice quickly melts (or is already melted by the time I get it), and I’m left with tepid water.


Only one fast food place I know of gets it right every time, and that’s Sonic. (As a matter of fact, Sonic almost always gets EVERYTHING right, and that’s very unusual for a fast food restaurant, proving that the chains can get it right if they want to.) This, of course, leads me to go to Sonic more than I do the other chains. It’s nice for me to get what I want without an argument, and it’s nice for them that their revenue goes up due to their great service.

Does this mean that the other fast food chains are conspiring to keep us drinking beverages filled with sugar and caffeine? I don’t think so. I think a better answer might be that they either a.) Don’t want to give us something free, so they don’t want to make water an option or, b.) That they’re simply unaware that there is a growing contengent of customers who are trying to eat healthier or who just like the stuff better than those syrupy sweet drinks.

Either way, it’s time for fast food chains to get on the bandwagon and put water in their point-of-sale computers. We don’t mind paying for it; we just want it available to us.

So, water-loving customers unite! Start making your voice heard and ask for ice water in a large cup, and if you don’t get it the first time, ask for it again until you do. It’s the only way we’ll ever get our drink of choice and ease our frustrations! And remember, not all fast food chains are managed by Kim, so feel free to mention it to the manager, so he or she can pass the word on.

Sooner or later, the fast food chains will come around. They always bow to popular demand, so keep that demand coming. In the meantime, get an ice machine, a water softener and a filtration system at home and drink to your heart’s content.

And, those of you who are hooked on the caffeine and sugar, go get yourself a tall, refreshing drink of delicious ice water. It’s hard to break free, but once you do, you’ll never want to go back. Give yourself two weeks to try it, and then once you’re free of all those toxins in your system, join us in the fight to win the right to order ice water anywhere!