Salon, your instructional guide to your daily outrage over the imperfectability of mankind – sorry, sorry, humankind! Sexism! It’s so institutional! – had a piece about how Big Beverage forced you to pay a lot of money for bottled water. (Since the industry has Big in its name, you know you’re supposed to boo and hiss, unless it’s Big Government, in which case you should fall to your knees so fast you crack the marble.) Bottled water isn’t any better than good ol’ municipal water, so you’ve been swindled with booshwa, and paid dearly for your ignorance. Big Bev compelled you to waste your money with marketing and advertising, and like most people whose brains are shallow dishes of agar waiting for the implantation of capitalism’s horrid spores, you went right along.
Well. Let’s take a look at the target market for bottled water. For the most part, people who fret about Toxins Toxins Everywhere, and prefer their produce to have been banked with night soil instead of pesticides, and abhor anything that has been genetically modified. They regard drinking tap water as the equivalent of Tchaikovsky drinking from a stagnant pail during a cholera epidemic, and besides: if the bottle says FIJI WATER it’s a sign to everyone else that you’re the sort of person who would like to go to exotic places, providing the tour operators paid the locals a living wage and contributed 10% of their profits to saving the reefs, somewhere.More