Thursday, May 1, 2008Over the weekend I read an article that explained how far we have gone with luxury items. Water, apparently, has become one.
When I was in high school my luxury items were things like a can of Dr. Pepper and Crinkle Cut Salt and Vinegar chips. At Uni it was the extra CD or the rave tickets I could afford. A few years later I would splurge on a $40 MAC eyeshadow. Or a L'occitane soap or Lavender Water for my sheets.
Now with a small child and me only working sporadically (not for lack of work but lack of time) the list has of course gotten longer, items more pricey and perhaps, for lack of a better word, necessary. Things like Homer Hudson ice cream, wrinkle cream. Egyptian Sheets.Cocoa Butter, Salmon. More perfumes. Designer bags and Matrix hair products all make an appearance. I also like my daughter to have Innoxa toiletries which aren't expensive, but there is a cheaper alternative; most likely with the same result.
So in one sentence, I am a person that likes to indulge in the little things. You may consider my list to be quite normal or maybe outrageous. But its my list.
I was, however, horrified. No, dumbfounded. Surprised even, to learn that water is a luxury item. And I am not talking about the drought, global warming or over use. No. I am talking about 750mls bottles of water costing as much as $91.
I had the same reaction as you did.
Most of us live according to our paycheck. The cars we drive reflect our lifestyle most of the time. What we eat, where we live. Even what we drink. But water?
Johnny Davis writer in the Weekend, Herald Sun Saturday April 26, 2008 wrote -"In the last 20 years our bottled water consumption has grown 1000-fold. Last year we spent $385 million on 252 million litres of water. Americans go through more bottled water than coffee, milk or beer."
He goes on to tell us the variety of waters you can buy. Did you know that some LA five star hotels are employing water sommeliers to advise on the best water to accompany your braised pork or fillet or trouffled leek. People need other people to tell them what water will make their food go down.
I drink water to keep me hydrated, to quench my thirst and to keep me alive. I would assume that Bling H20, Elsenham water, 10 Thousand BC, or any of these designer waters do anything but that. Tap water does exactly what I want it to do and at $1 and $1.20 a tonne I would be deluded not to drink my own water and with the added bonus that its home delivered.
I would be a hypocrite to say that I have never bought water. I have even splurged $10 at a club for what seemed to be a miniature sample of Perrier, which I thought was one of the most expensive up until last weekend. But this is too far.
So who will we blame for this scandal? Is it Duncan McFie who started bottling King Island water, in Tasmania called Cloud Juice and sells it for $21 for 750mls. Or Michael Johnstone, who found, under his Jam factory, a "pure confined aquifer" which is apparently the best water you can find. That is if you can afford $68 for 750mls. Volcanic water from New Zealand will set you back $48.
The $91 bottle is Bling H20, wich comes in a frosted-glass bottle with Swarovsky crystals applied by hand. Launched by Kevin G. Boyd, a Hollywood producer. Apparently its for the luxury consumer.
Should we point the finger at the consumer then? They guy who orders a $300 bottle of champagne and it stupid enough to buy water for almost a third of that. Considering that Bling H20 came in at a pitiful 22nd place in a blind taste test run by Decanter, the wine connoisseur's magazine its the most ridiculous way to spend almost $100, no matter how many of them you have! Tap water came in at number 3.
Do we blame the overindulgent nature that we have acquired? The instant gratification society we live in and the constant urge to have something better than the next person. More, better. Overpriced.
In retrospect, its just water. What do we say to our ancestors who would walk for days trying to find water? Who do we answer to when we have proof that this is our sole survival tool and we have bottled it and sold it to the highest bidder?
How do we accept this behavior and call it luxury? The most basic item to our survival and we have reduced its magnificence to the most lowest of those items: a commodity.
I will opt out and spend on a pretty bottle and fill it with tap water!
Thanks for reading!
Some samples but too expensive to share
The bottle is pretty tho!
Deep Sea water... Salty water?
NZ's 420 Volcanic @$48
Made here in Australia @$21
From a small town in England behind landfill @$68
Retrieved from melted ice in British Columbia's coastal glacial range. @$34