The Bull Og

Onine since 1994. Offline since 1976.

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Woah. This had been sitting in the drafts folder since November 14th of last year. It's even funnier a year later after I met an Austrian in the States who spent a half hour defending the waiter...

A friend and I were in a Viennese cafe the other day when he orderd a beer and a glass of water and I ordered a coffee. It's not normal to order a water with a beer (though it is customary of course to get a water with coffee.) My friend wanted to insure that the waiter accurately heard the order so he emphasized one more time before the waiter left our table "... and please bring a water with that beer."

Promptly, the waiter brought us our drinks: a coffee with accompanying water (as usual) for me and a beer for my friend (no water.) We were both a little non-plussed given the extra effort to communicate that a beer *AND* a water were desired.

This might be a good time to mention that the entire conversation was in German. Both my friend and I have accents but we're fluent so it's not as if it was a language issue.

The waiter had dropped the drinks and was on to the next table so we waited about five minutes, hoping the second (ordered) water would show up. It didn't of course. Finally, my friend caught the waiter's attention and politely asked him for a glass of water.

Exhibiting typical Austrian customer-friendly service, the waiter, walking away from us, turned back and sneered as he said...

"WASSER PASST NICHT ZUM BIER!"

("WATER DOESN'T GO WITH BEER!")

Five minutes later, he appeared with a glass of water.