SO I WAS OVER AT The Mad Pigeon's site when I noticed he had posted a couple of links about the environmental impacts of people drinking bottled water. Apparently, drinking bottled water used to be good, until too many people started doing so and then it became bad. As I myself started buying bottled water just recently, I can only conclude my decision to start buying the stuff in bulk is behind this shift in attitudes.
This should be no surprise to anyone, as my purchasing habits are perhaps single-handedly the best indicator for America's marketers to determine when particular goods or services are no longer cool. After all, what happened after I bought my swell new television set a few years ago? Everyone started buying flat-screen TVs. What happened when I bought my DVD player a short while before that? It wasn't much longer before talk of a "format war" between the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats started popping up. So now that word got out that I started buying bottled water -- in those plastic-wrapped cases, no less -- it is only natural that bottled water would be scorned, shunned, mocked and reviled by the fashionable elites.
I could, of course, care less about this. That's because I do not buy plain bottled water, but rather the flavored bottled water that tastes like something other than water, yet has water-like properties. It's value-added water! This, then, somewhat justifies the price I pay for it, which works out to something on the order of 42 cents a bottle, 84 cents a liter, or $3.16 per gallon. This is, I realize, wasteful and decadent -- at least when viewed alone. However, when viewed in proper context -- as an alternative beverage purchase -- it is not all that expensive. It is slightly less expensive than the diet, flavored iced tea I buy (50 cents a bottle, $1 a liter, or $3.80 per gallon) and slightly more expensive than the diet cola I buy (this week, 24 cents a can, or 69 cents a liter, or $2.61 per gallon). And since variety is the spice of life, I can somewhat justify the purchase.
Yes, it would be far cheaper to have a glass of tap water with dinner, but the tap water here tastes ... well, it tastes off, like everywhere else in the country. And although that could be rectified with a good water pitcher, which retails for about $25 or so, I like the metallic raspberry tang taste that goes with my value-added flavored water beverage product.
In any event, I am confident the market will work all this out in the end. It stands to reason that if people start to value the environmental risks as untenable compared to the reward they'll get from an icy cold bottle of purified water, fewer people will buy bottled water. This should cause the demand (and eventually the supply) of bottled water to fall accordingly. Hopefully this will lead to some kind of bottled water glut, in which the stuff goes on sale and I can get a whole bunch of it cheap. Thus, market forces should make everyone happy -- at least until the latest new craze came along for people to get in a sniff about.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at September 4, 2007 05:46 PM | TrackBack