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The amazing bottled water ruse



When I want a drink of water I usually grab a handful of ice out of the fridge, dump it in a glass, stick the glass under the kitchen faucet and fill it up. The ultimate refreshment on a hot summer day and it’s also very economical.

My wife, on the other hand, goes into a panic if there is no commercially bottled water in the house. She sticks bottles inside the door of the refrigerator and monitors them to make sure nobody else has sneaked a sip. If she inadvertently takes the bottle out and carries it to the table or somewhere else in the house, she angrily accuses everybody else of stealing her water.

Now, let me explain to you how commercially bottled water works. In various locations throughout the land, as we speak, there are companies working round the clock manufacturing millions of plastic bottles per day. Other locations are using injection molders to manufacture the little caps that go on the bottles.

Said bottles and caps are shipped to a central location (bottling company) where any number of hoses are attached to a city water main. The water may or may not be heated or strained before it goes inside the bottle. But the bottles are rapidly filled with water from the public supply that serves your faucet at home. A conglomeration of whirring machines assure that this process is expedient.

The bottled water is then labeled, placed, in lots of 24, on cardboard containers, shrink wrapped, placed on a pallet and loaded on an 18-wheeler. After going through a middleman (wholesaler) or two, the pallet loads of water arrive at your favorite retail outlet. Depending on how much of a sucker you really are, and also on your vanity, this stuff can fetch anywhere from a dollar up to five bucks per 20 ounces if you purchase it by the bottle. It’s way cheaper by the case — anywhere from 6 to 10 bucks for the low end stuff , 10 to 20 bucks if the label is written in French or claims to be Canadian.

I have to admit that the empty bottles do come in handy at our place. I will take one of Lo’s empties, fill it up in the kitchen and put it on my nightstand. The cap keeps flies and such from getting in and it is somewhat safer than keeping an open glass sitting there. Of course an empty soda bottle would serve the same purpose but I’d have to scald and rinse one out.

Anyway, once the water arrives in your store and you purchase it by the case, you are looking at a package that weighs about 20 pounds that has to be lifted and placed in your grocery cart, lifted and placed on the checkout conveyor, lifted back into the cart, lifted out of the cart and placed in your car in the parking lot, hauled home and lifted and carried into the house and placed wherever you store your water. Then, if you are like Loretta, it’s packed, one or two bottles at a time to the fridge. Two weeks later you drop the empty bottles, caps removed, at the recycle center and repeat the process.

There probably is something to be said for the exercise value of using bottled water and heaven knows that we have become a lethargic society, but that’s where the value ends.

Of all the ruses foisted on the American buying public, bottled water has to be among the greatest farces of all time. And one of the biggest wastes of money I can think of.

I’m thirsty now. I believe I will go to the sink and spend about one-fourth of a penny to get myself a drink. I’d feel guilty if I spent a quarter on the same stuff by sneaking a bottle out of Loretta’s case.


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