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VINSON: Designer bottled water comes at high price

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Over the years, I’ve stated many times the concept of “bottled water” falls somewhere between one of the biggest scams of all time versus one of the most brilliant marketing strategies of all time.

The other day, I dropped by this local roadhouse bar to say “hello” to some of the regulars.

Walking inside, there were seven or eight of these regulars sitting at the “Liars Table,” throwing a few down the hatch and conversing about a variety of subjects: politics, the economy, sports, best car for your money, and so on.

Not wanting to imbibe that particular day, I purchased a 16-ounce bottle of water for $1. After purchasing the bottled water, removing the cap and taking a swig, I commented, “Having made fun of people, all these years, for buying bottled water, and here I sit doing the very thing for which I laughed at others — the joke’s on me, now.”

Everyone kind of chuckled and agreed with me.

About that time, one of the fellows who works at the bar — having heard us — piped in that if I thought  $1 for 16 ounces of bottled water was bad, then I should  check out the “really expensive stuff that comes out of Antarctica and places like that.”

So, with that, I did a little research on this new fad of designer water, which some have referred to as “the new wine for rich people.”

You can conduct your own research, but here’s what I came up with regarding expensive bottled water that comes from far-off icy regions of the world, as well as remote, exotic locations.

First, it is important to understand that the supposed degree of “difficulty” in attaining these special brands is a primary characteristic in making them so popular and pricey.

For example, a cold-weather cargo ship cuts its way through the Arctic Sea to Greenland and/or Iceland; finds a 1-million-year-old, near-mythical glacier; blows a 20- to 30-ton berg off the glacier; hauls it back to the processing location; the water is processed and bottled.

Or, maybe, it comes from an extra deep part of the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii, or some secret location in the Fiji Islands.

Next thing you know, Wall Streeters are sipping this luscious sky juice at invitation-only lawn parties held in The Hamptons on the East Coast, while tattooed rockers and movie stars cool down with it at the hottest nightspots on Sunset Boulevard in L.A.

Here’s a short list of some of the more expensive bottled waters, just to illustrate a point:

• Bling h2o, which costs approximately $40 for a 750-milliliter bottle. (NOTE: If my research is correct, Bling h2o is sold in crystal-crusted bottles and comes from a spring in exotic Dandridge, Tenn.)

• Hawaiian Deep Sea Water, which costs $33.50 for a two-ounce bottle.

• Acqua di Cristillo, which reportedly ranges in price from $275 for a crystal version, to $2,900 for a 24-carat gold version (750 ml size, I think).

Further, I’m confident you can conduct more in-depth research and come up with many other bottled waters and prices that are far more outrageous than those listed above.

In terms of practicality, some argue that, compared to “tap” water, bottled water has undergone a more extensive purification process; therefore, it is healthier in terms of human consumption. Maybe, maybe not?

TEST: Let’s say I pour a two-ounce bottle of Hawaiian Deep Sea Water into a $1 bottle, pour two ounces from the $1 bottle into the Hawaiian Deep Sea Water bottle, and conduct a “taste test” with 100 tasters.

Reckon anyone would know the difference?

If the answer is “no” (majority-wise, that is), then in terms of sanity versus insanity within our society, we’ve merely tapped the tip of the iceberg.
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January 14, 2013 at 5:19am
Makes me thirsty!
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