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  1. #1
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    Getting H2O (only) at Circle K, etc?

    Not exatly trying to start a debate on whether or not it's "right", just looking for the legal info.

    Can a conv store deny you water or not? I know there are a couple Circle Ks in the valley that are frequented quite often by cyclists (mostly roadies of course), and more often in the summer and weekends.

    I was talking to a lady yesterday who said that an employee at a Circle K really hassled her about getting water from the fountain drink machine. I know I do it in summer when you're going through a bottle or so an hour on the road bike.

    Lots of these same cyclists probaly buy other food, but regardless, could an employee deny you water?

    I've always heard it was illegal in AZ to deny water...but that could also be just a popular opinion.

  2. #2
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    Pretty sure if they sell food they have to give you water.

  3. #3
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    I've heard the same thing, not sure on how the law is written, assuming there really is one. Not sure how someone could deny another person water, it is the right thing to do. I normally carry extra with me during the summer in case I run into someone on the trail who is in trouble.

  4. #4
    slow uphill
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    I don't think it is even limited to selling food. I worked in a customer-facing non-food establishment for a while, and we were always instructed to give water due to the legal requirement. I'm not familiar enough with city code or state laws, but there is something out there that says (at least in the summer months) that businesses must provide customers water at no charge if requested.

  5. #5
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Got this from a different forum

    The answer depends on the circumstances involved.

    The law is generally more strict with business entities or a state agencies in addition to physicians, health care providers, and other medical professionals. However, for individual persons, there are certain laws that apply.

    For example, Arizona Law (A.R.S. 36-2281), provides that a person shall not deny an infant (less than 1 year of age) of nourishment with the intent to cause or allow the death of that infant for any reason. Under this law, a person has a duty to an infant with water (and food, nutrients, oxygen, etc.). SO it would be illegal to deny a glass of water.

    In general, there is no law forcing you to act or to rescue someone, subject to a few exceptions. For example, if your actions place the person in a position of danger (like if you take a glass of water away from a person and they die as a result), then there is a duty to act because your actions placed the other person in that dangerous situation. In addition, there is a duty to act with familial relationships (if the person you are giving water to is a parent and child, etc.).
    Everyday of my life, I'm forced to add another name to the list of people that piss me off!

  6. #6
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    I think it should be okay as long as you are using your bottle. I grew up here and we were always told it was illegal to deny water to someone in the desert, one of those old western day laws. Not sure if the code was ever written in that form or just a humanitarian type law. Could just be a wives tale.
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  7. #7
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    I'm assuming the owner has a water bill just like the rest of us. If he pays for what is used, then I could see him taking an issue with it. Sometimes there are groups of 10+ guys coming in filling up 2-3 water bottles each. I usually pick up a banana or something to try and patronize them, but it's hard to find a lot of healthy riding food at Circle K!

  8. #8
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    "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone"
    Sound familiar?
    That being said, you would have to be a pretty big d!ck to hasssle someone over something so trivial. I used to live downtown, and there was always smelly bums in and out of the circle k at 7st/McDowell. the clerks never had a issue with them unless someone complained or the bums hassled customers.

    What is the rest of the lady's story? Sounds like there's more to it.

  9. #9
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    I have also heard about the possibility of there being a law about giving people water but if that is the case then how do they get away with busting people for leaving water out for immigrants.

    Seems like if you are not willing/able to carry enough water for an entire ride then you should be willing to buy water when stopping at a business.

    For bikepacking races we have a no begging rule one racer I know insists on buying water not wanting to impose/beg for water at a restaurant even if we are eating/spending money there.

    On the other hand if you are out in the field and run out of water or meet some one who has then it shouldn't have to be a law that if you have water you should share.
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  10. #10
    slow uphill
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    ArmedMonk - thanks for the educational reply.

    Interesting to see how a thread evolves over time at mtbr... the OP asks about what a retailer can or can't do, and subsequent posts discuss what should or should not be done.

    Regardless of what a rider or business should or should not do, what must a retailer do?

    Any insight from someone on city code?

  11. #11
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    you can afford a 3k road bike, plan a ride in summer, and don't carry a dollar to buy something at the convenience store that you are using as a SAG stop? weak sauce says i.

  12. #12
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    "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone"
    I'm sticking to my guns on this one.
    I find it hard to believe that there is an enforceable law on the books, or a city/municipal code that requires free water be available.
    Water costs $. No matter how little it costs, it still costs.
    Why would businesses (sp?) have removeable handles on their spickets then?

    If you can't deny free water, How about free ice. Landscapers across the valley would love to fill up their 5 gallon coolers every morning at QT (crushed ice kicks@ss).

    No facts to back this up, I'm just going with common sense, which in this day and age is a crapshoot.

  13. #13
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    I doubt a law exists demanding that stores/restaurants give out free drinking water...but I do know this is a liability concern. We live in a hot place. People here frequently get tired, sick, or worse from the heat. I know for a fact that a store/restaurant is 100% liable if a person walks into the store and displays obvious signs of heat stress (i.e. sweaty, tired, red face, etc...just like any cyclist or runner would look), requests water, is denied water, and then keels over. That's an immediate lawsuit with huge legal expenses on the head of the business owner.

    On top of that, imagine the negative publicity that would occur when the news helicopters show up. It would be a business owner's worst nightmare...all in the name of saving 1 cent on their water bill.

    So as far as getting free water goes, I've never had any establishment complain about it in AZ.

    Now when I was riding last summer in Michigan? Different story. I ran out of water in a Detroit suburb and went to a local convenience store to fill up (big chain...forget the name of it). The store manager saw me go to the soda machine and start to put water in my bottles (no ice...just water). He then freaked out demanding that I pay for bottled water instead. This was my second stop so I had no money...only 25 cents in change...and he asked me to leave. I was pretty pissed and told him I was not from Michigan (from AZ) and was seriously thirsty. He huffed and puffed, walked into the break room, and gave me water from the sink. His attitude took me totally by surprise.

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  14. #14
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    Not a legal answer but , in 40 + years of riding in AZ. I have never been refused water , ever anywhere in this state , never have even been given a sideways glance when I have asked for it .

  15. #15
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    Just "surfing" over here from California - We had quite the debate recently on a store that supposedly wouldn't give someone water even after they bought some food. I could sure see a store owner getting teed off about folks just coming in for free water if it is a regular thing. I've always made a point of thinking about where I could water up if in need: schools, parks, tennis courts, public spaces and buildings are pretty good bets.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cru_jones
    Not exatly trying to start a debate on whether or not it's "right", just looking for the legal info.

    Can a conv store deny you water or not? I know there are a couple Circle Ks in the valley that are frequented quite often by cyclists (mostly roadies of course), and more often in the summer and weekends.

    I was talking to a lady yesterday who said that an employee at a Circle K really hassled her about getting water from the fountain drink machine. I know I do it in summer when you're going through a bottle or so an hour on the road bike.

    Lots of these same cyclists probaly buy other food, but regardless, could an employee deny you water?

    I've always heard it was illegal in AZ to deny water...but that could also be just a popular opinion.
    I'd hate to be the cashier who denied water to the person who died of dehytration. Right or wrong, legal or not, denying somebody water is risky at worst, silly at best.

    If the store is concered about setting a presedecne, they can point the rider to the spicket outside.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  17. #17
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    try going into a place asking to use their washroom. if they tell you 'its not for customers"... thats when you say, "I'm not buying anything" and crap on their floor...

  18. #18
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    yes water. no cup.

    i can't remember where i heard it, but i've tested it thousands of times - a store cannot deny you water, but is not required to provide a cup. sounds like urban legend now that i type it out loud.

    when i ride, i bring enough water. when i drive around town with my kids, i am always refilling my thermos bottle with cold water from the soda fountain, at convenience stores along the way. no clerk has ever even seemed surprised.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajmelin
    "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone"
    Sound familiar?
    ...
    I was just going to say the same thing
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  20. #20
    Shovel Ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny-tire
    If the store is concered about setting a presedecne, they can point the rider to the spicket outside.
    I agree with that comment and Chollaball's. It's 1 thing to fail to assist someone in need of water when ill. Another to have the same cyclists week after week walk in your store and do nothing but take some water. Buy a gallon of the cheap stuff. What's it cost these days $1:75.

    The spicket reminds me of a hot rod show we were at last year. Next to our booth was a burger and fresh lemonade booth. Setting up we watched the guy walk over with his 5 gallon igloo and fill it full of water from a spicket. Then pour in Country Time mix. Big sign out front said fresh lemonade. He filled that 5 gallon igloo up 4 times that day. Sign was correct it was fresh that day.

    I never was in the food service industry. But is there not a cross contamination issue that could be brought up?
    Last edited by Cycle64; 08-22-2010 at 06:23 PM.
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  21. #21
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    It never crossed my mind that when on a road ride, as a grown adult, I would hit the local Store and use it as my personal watering fountain. I just always assumed people pay for things they need. Get new friends...
    As a kid I did sometimes stop in and ask for some water but that was rare. Usually stuck to riding around the neighborhood and going to a friends house.

    Oh and btw, I don't know the law but I know what is the right thing to do.
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  22. #22
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    Being from Michigan originally, I recall a long ride out to the big lake and I ran out of water. I went in to a store bought a Gatorade and wanted to fill up a different bottle with water. I asked if I could use the soda fountain water tab and the clerk pointed out the window and said the free water was " out there".

    cash rules.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by trb2929
    ...
    I never was in the food service industry. But is there not a cross contamination issue that could be brought up?
    Good question. Depends on the dispenser. Lotsa places legally let you refill drink cups or your own coffee cup.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jibro
    It never crossed my mind that when on a road ride, as a grown adult, I would hit the local Store and use it as my personal watering fountain. I just always assumed people pay for things they need. Get new friends...
    As a kid I did sometimes stop in and ask for some water but that was rare. Usually stuck to riding around the neighborhood and going to a friends house.

    Oh and btw, I don't know the law but I know what is the right thing to do.
    I'm confused: we're talking about "water" right? This is the stuff that comes out of a public restroom sink, or a drinking fountain at a public park? Would your comments be different if you had to pay to say use a public restroom?
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny-tire
    Would your comments be different if you had to pay to say use a public restroom?
    I've never seen one first hand, but my parents have told me about pay toilets in Chicago back in the day. 5 cents to get into the stall, $2 to get out.

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