Water, water everywhere, yet only bottles we’ll drink.

Since we’re eating so unhealthy, instead of consuming natural sugar in soda we should be consuming artificial chemicals instead.  Stated like that, it really doesn’t make any kind of sense does it?

Sugar is a crop that costs money to grow, harvest, process, package and transport.  In comparison, the chemical sweeteners primarily used in soda costs virtually nothing to produce – yet somehow the “diet” versions cost consumers precisely the same as the natural sugar based versions.  How are we convinced to consume chemicals designed to trick our taste buds into thinking we’re tasting sugar?  Corporations sell these artificially created chemicals as something somehow better for us than sugar. What are their motives for advertising so-called diet soda so constantly?  From a commercial perspective, it makes perfect sense.  If you’re making two versions of a product where one version costs you 5 cents to manufacture, and the other costs you 10 cents, but you sell both for the same price, which are you going to advertise?  The one that makes the bigger profit!

Now let me be clear that I’m not saying we should all be consuming soda loaded with sugar – indeed I don’t think we should be consuming soda at all.  However, I am saying we should not be falling for clever sales and marketing nonsense.

Which finally brings me to the purpose of this post – namely water, a fundamental need of every human, and indeed of all life as we know it.  And that raises the subject of bottled water…

Bottled water is often sold for even more than soda – once again based on the overused mantra, “it’s good for you so it must be worth more”.  I have no doubt pure water is better for you than naturally or chemically sweetened soda – unfortunately bottled water is very bad for your wallet.  Spend a few minutes of research on the internet, review the science behind water in all its forms, and you’ll find that pure water is simply, well, pure water.  Spend a few minutes of your time doing said research, and you may well save yourself hundreds, if not thousands {I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not} of dollars – and who of us doesn’t need to save money?

The scientific description of pure water is, “A colorless, odorless, tasteless liquid”.  Strangely, the impurities within water give it flavor – so when we’re taught to like the flavor of bottled water, we’re really being taught to like a different set of impurities than those which we can get virtually free from our household spigot.  As for the misconception that bottled water is better for you than tap water, do a little research – you’ll find that at best, bottled water is no different.  Indeed sometimes the very minerals that give certain varieties of bottled water their distinctive flavor make it significantly worse for you.  Those are the real differences, however real doesn’t matter if we can be taught something else.

And with water {and too many other things to name, but which will be the subjects of further blog posts} we are taught something entirely different to reality.

Advertising teaches us to believe bottled water is better.  Naturally, “better” always comes at a cost…

I am the first to admit I don’t really enjoy the flavorful impurities found within our municipal tap water.  The flavor of water which I prefer, is pure – aka tasteless, odorless, and colorless.  To that end, when I feel the need for a glass of the good stuff, I use the filtered outlet provided on our refrigerator.  The cost per glass?  Whatever I happen to be paying for municipal water, and very occasionally a new filter for the fridge.  {No, I don’t know how much the filter costs so I’m not going to factor it in – we’ve only had the fridge about two years and the water still tastes as wonderfully tasteless as it did when the fridge was brand new.}

So what do I estimate it costs me per glass of water dispensed from our fridge?

My guesstimate was about a tenth of a cent per large glass.

Turns out I was wrong!

The cost per large glass is actually substantially less than one fiftieth of a cent.  Go ahead and compare the fiftieth of a cent I’m paying with what you’re paying per bottle.  I don’t think you’re going to like the comparison a whole lot, especially if you took the time to do the research, and the knowledge gained while doing said research proves your bottled water is a significantly less than pure.

Or maybe not – apparently many people enjoy spending three thousand times as much per glass than they need to.

On the very interesting, and well cited, Environmental Protection Agency site I linked above, and from which I derived those numbers, I found this interesting tidbit, “If you drink your daily recommended 8 glasses of water per day from the tap, it will cost you about 50 cents per year.  If you choose to drink it from water bottles, it can cost you up to $1,400 dollars.”

The bottom line.

Are you doing your kids, or yourself, a favor by buying bottled water?  I think you’re doing them an enormous disservice by literally pouring money down the drain, to say nothing of the pollution billions of unnecessary plastic bottles generate.  {Yes, the factories making them generate pollution, discarded plastic generates more, and the reprocessing in the recycling stage generates still more.  That is what I call a lose, lose, lose situation.}

While we’re talking about the watered-down truth {pun intended} lets looks at another type of lie – that of the media repeating something enough times that it assumes the mantle of truth.

The example I’m referring to is that of Peter Braback, the infamous CEO of Nestle Corporation who said water is not a human right.  Search the internet and you’ll find literally thousands of websites and blog posts headlining with the infamous quote, “Water is not a human right.”  The problem is that Peter Braback never said that.  His actual words were, “The one option which I think is extreme is represented by the NGOs who bang on about declaring water a public right.”

Am I defending this Mr. Braback?  Not in a month of Sundays.  The evidence accumulated against Nestle Corporation on illegal and immoral practices is quite overwhelming – but why should we be surprised?  Nestle isn’t an exceptional corporation.  Indeed they’re pretty much like every other corporation, regardless of size – their motivation is profit, not people.  And as long as people continue to consume their products, they’ll continue to make profit.  Profits, to the tune of an alleged $35 billion annually on bottled water sales alone.

Think about that number.

Thirty-five billion!!!

In decimal digits, it reads 35,000,000,000.

It is a big number…  Indeed, it’s so big we have difficulty understanding it and tend to trivialize it in order overcome our lack of understanding.  In order to understand it let us look at thirty-five billion in other ways.  How many people are there in the world?  Last I checked, it was “only” around 7 billion.  If you took thirty-five billion one dollar bills and placed them end-to-end, the resultant string of dollars would be over three million miles long.

Still too big to comprehend?

That string of dollar bills could wrap around the world… one hundred and thirty six times, and still have enough left over to tie a decent knot that dangled far into space.

Thirty-five billion is an extraordinarily large profit for an unscrupulous company to make on sales of something that we should be getting virtually for free.

But it gets even worse!

Nestle is not alone in this rampant display of corporate greed.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other vendors of bottled water, each making insane profits by selling us the Brooklyn Bridge {or maybe the stuff that flows beneath it?}.

Now, having spent your time reading this blog post, I’m willing to make a startling prediction.

My prediction is that you won’t listen to me, to logic, to your wallet, to your own research {you never did it, did you?}, or to your taste buds.

Sadly, you’ll listen to the incessant noise of corporations telling you what to think as they advertise products you don’t need.

You’ll continue flushing your hard-earned paycheck down the toilet.

In short, if you’re a bottled water drinker, you’ll continue drinking bottled water.  And worst of all, you’ll probably be listening to yourself repeat the mantra of lies the marketers of a product that should be a human right {yes, I do mean pure water} are pounding into us each and every day.

You’ll be murmuring something like this to yourself…

I don’t care that I could drink water virtually for free – this flimsy plastic bottle is worth every penny I paid.  And hey, I intend recycling the plastic, so there’s my good deed for the day.”

{P.S. The processed things we eat, aren’t truly treats.}

About C.G.Ayling

Musing misuser of words, lover of lyrical literature, author, occasional contrary thoughts. An honorable man’s name, in memoriam.
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One Response to Water, water everywhere, yet only bottles we’ll drink.

  1. dave grigger says:

    I can still remember when bottled water came out. My first thought is “why in the world would ANYONE pay for something they could get for free (oh my naivety of how gullible we as a species are).
    And amazingly as the “green movement” is supposedly picking up steam; people still don’t factor in the non-“green’ness” of bottled water (not to mention that the carbon footprint to ship tap water to your grocery store).
    Or shipping & trucking sugar water (soda) to your favorite retailer.


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