The old saying attributed to H.L. Menken, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American public” – came to mind when I read the story about Fiji Water, the number one bottled water in America.
Paying for bottled water is stupid.
Menken’s quote really pertains to the bottle water industry. However, this stupidity is compounded when consumers think they are somehow being environmentally conscious when they purchase water bottled half-way across the globe. A recent story in Mother Jones magazine points out that the success of Fiji water has allowed a dictatorship to flourish on this South Pacific Island nation while its inhabitants live in squalor and poverty.
Politics and popular culture issues aside – if Obama and P Diddy want to drink Fiji so be it – think about how stupid it is to pay for bottled water. People pay more money for bottled water than for gasoline. People are getting rich – have gotten rich – by bottling and selling the most abundant resource on the planet. A resource that’s practically free. While most people have their panties in a bunch about the price of gas, I’m pissed that the price of water and milk is higher.
The dirt on Fiji water is that they buy their bottles from a Chinese company who uses twice the normal amount of petroleum/plastic in the manufacturing of the bottles, the water is shipped to America from the other side of the globe and therefore has a huge carbon footprint (that’s “neogreen-speak” for produces a lot of pollution) and sells for three times that amount of supermarket-brand bottled water.
However, in a “do as I say, not as I do” age, good public relations spin and the embrace of the environmental movement trumps all. The people who bottle Fiji water say all the right things, and consumers lose their minds and common sense. The owners of Fiji water contribute money to all the right causes and know all the right people so their disgusting displays of conspicuous consumption and waste have gone unnoticed until recently.
Check out the Mother Jones article to get all the dirty big secrets that the Fiji water company doesn’t want consumers to know, like the typhoid outbreaks suffered by their workers, the complex corporate structure of Fiji water that has companies set up in countries known to be tax havens, and the military junta that Fiji water has helped keep in power. This story points out the absolute absurdity of people spending tons of money on bottled water.
Buying the occasional bottle of water while on the road is one thing, but regularly purchasing bottled water whether it comes from Maine of Fiji is insane; it’s available, pretty much for free, right from your tap! And for people who fancy themselves as being environmentally sensitive, the decision to buy bottled water is even more mystifying.
Stop buying bottled water, buy a water filtration system and save a lot of money and, if you care, the environment.