[LMB] bottled water - entirely OT:

Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com
Mon Sep 23 19:04:42 BST 2013

I'm confused about who said what here, but this conversation involves me, Mark Allums, and Howard Brazee:
Howard, I think, said:
> No, you haven't paid attention to the ads.  They sell bottled water as an end in itself.  And, they say, 
> their water is *healthier* than tap.

They do?  Can they prove it?  I'm sure some bottled water is better than some tap water, and vice versa.  I think medicinal claims might be hard to prove. It occurs to me that the laws about needing to prove truth in advertising might be different in the US. I don't know.  As this conversation continues I realize I have never seen an ad for bottled water, or if I have, I paid so little attention that I don't remember it.
> They do?  I suppose some probably do.  But not on the bottles I've seen.

The water I see and buy makes no claims at all; it's just there.  
Howard said:
>> The fact that there's a boom suggests the marketing is working.  We
>> don't have a dozen brands of "spring water" just as a convenience.

I think the boom is because it *is* a convenience, which is a big deal, unless the boom is in one particular brand.  As far as I can tell, it isn't.  I usually buy store brands, when available; or, fairly randomly, the bottles that seem cheapest or best suit my needs of the moment.  I like Danone's nice solid bottles, though they don't sit well in my fridge.   I can't think of other brands, though I'd recognize some names if you said them. I often drink Life brand, from Shopper's Drug Mart, because they have good deals in multiple 8-oz. bottles.
> Absolutely. Brand name water is *obviously* superior to off-brand.

It is?  What is a brand name water?   What's an off-brand name? Are you referring to Perrier?  I've seen that in restaurants. I think I tasted it once, and didn't like it, because it was sparkling water, and I prefer regular water.
I said:
>>> As you point out, there are places (like  universities) where water is
>> generally freely available.  There are other places where it either doesn't
>> exist, or it's very expensive.

Howard (I think):
>> Like what places?  
Some shopping malls don't have water fountains, or shopping districts, and increasingly the washrooms have only warm/hot water rather than hot/cold options.  Bike trails and hiking trails usually don't have water fountains.  Residential areas (which I find myself walking through a lot, sometimes for several hours.)  In the winter, outdoor water fountains are disabled, even in places where they exist in summer.  Restaurants offer water to patrons, but if you're just walking by, they aren't likely to want to just give you some - they'd rather sell you a bottle. (I'm not faulting them for this, just explaining.)
> Most big buildings in the US have water fountains.
I'm happy to hear it. Not true in Canada, though it may be true in some cities.  I'm not sure what you mean by 'big buildings' - office buildings?  I'd say that in Ottawa, most big buildings are either govenrment buildings, which you can't enter without a security pass, or condos and apartments, which don't have water fountains at all and don't want or expect non-residents to enter except as guests of the residents.  Stores sometimes have water fountains if/and when they have washrooms, but certainly not as much as they used to - at the moment, I can't think of one that does.  Yes, Staples does.  Probably others. But it's far from universal.  Most places don't.  

I might add also that it's sometimes very difficult to fill a bottle from a fountain, depending on the angle, trajectory and pressure of the water.
>> I've never had trouble walking into a restaurant, from fast food to bar,
>> and asking for a glass or a refill of my bottle.  If you're someplace
>> you can buy a bottle, you're probably someplace you can fill a bottle.
If I am actually eating at a restaurant or fast food place, yes, I would ask for tap water and get it, and sometimes I put it in my bottle.  But if I'm just walking by... maybe it's my Canadian reserve; assuming there is a restaurant on my route, and assuming they are open (usually not true at, say, 7:30 a.m. when I'm walking to work), I wouldn't have the nerve to go in and ask.  The places which are open and where I might ask, like Tim Horton's, usually have lines out the doorway of people getting coffee and the staff is way too busy to stop and get water for someone who isn't paying for it.  It's like using public washrooms - they really want you to be patronizing the place if you're using their amenities.
> Restaurants, bars, movie theaters *sell* water.  They take fountains *out* of such places, to force you to buy.

That has been my observation.
> Movie theaters I patronize have water fountains in the lobbies.  However 
> people drink at their seats in the theater proper as well.

Our local theatres do have water fountains, and I often fill my bottle at them; but again, you can't just go in for water when you need it - you have to buy a ticket to enter.  There are fewer and fewer movie theatres in Ottawa every year, so it isn't as if we can choose which ones to patronize - it'a matter of going out to a movie, or not going out to a movie.  Those that do exist are now mostly in suburban malls among the box stores, where there are probably places where it's easier to get free water.

I suspect we're poking at geographical, economic and cultural differences here.



in Ottawa

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