While delivering papers in the heat this week, I had another thought about the national decline in customer service that I harp on from time to time. Maybe this is a North-South thing, but I remember when I was a kid that lots of businesses had water fountains for customers. Nearly every gas station did, usually right by the pop machine, plus lots of department stores, grocery stores, even fast-food restaurants. I think every Dairy Queen in Texas had a water fountain.
Now? On my delivery route, with well over a hundred stops, I can think of two with water fountains, at the courthouse and at a home for seniors. Maybe there is one at Rimrock Mall. When I do the Medical Corridor route, I can hit the water fountains at Billings Clinic. Are there others? I can't think of any. If I want water (and I constantly do), I have to pay a buck a quart for it.
P.S. The general comment should not cover up the kindness of certain businesses, or at least of certain employees. Off the top of my head, I can think of a half-dozen occasions when businesses either offered me a drink for free or refused to take my money when I tried to buy something. I won't name names for fear of endangering the job of a good-hearted employee who may be working for a hardhearted owner.