Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Apr

Blinged Out Water?

photoWould you spend $55 for a bottle of glorified tap water? Me neither. Apparently, though, some people would. Priced at $55 per reusable (we’d hope so) frosted-glass Swarovski Crystal-encrusted bottle, Bling H2O is the latest in “designer water” (I know, I know, I thought it was a joke, too) – a small segment of the bottled water industry that saw enormous growth a year or two ago when credit was plentiful. I remembered hearing about it in 2006, back when it was mostly relegated to the celebrity set. Paris Hilton’s dog, for example, was said to sip exclusively on Bling H2O water (probably while munching on dry, grain-filled kibble, no doubt).

You already know my feelings on the bottled water industry: unless you don’t have access to potable tap water, bottled water is a joke. If you don’t trust your tap, get a simple reverse osmosis filtering system. If I had that kind of animus against $2-a-bottle Crystal Geyser or Dasani, imagine how I felt about Bling H2O.

While the global recession was in full swing and job losses were mounting and business everywhere was suffering, I often took solace in the thought that Bling H2O must have been among the inevitable casualties. That might sound anti-free-market of me, but I assure you it isn’t the case. On the contrary – part of what makes a healthy free market work is consumer repudiation of low-quality products. Money talks, and spending money on products that don’t work just ensures that the poor quality will continue. With the economy in tatters, I figured people would begin to exercise good judgment and stop supporting ridiculous products like blinged out bottled water.

Of course, I was wrong.

Just last week, while in the airport concession shop, I saw a rather prominent display of Bling H2O bottles. These things are still around… I even saw a guy buying one (to his credit, it was the newfangled plastic bottle version priced at a very reasonable $20)!

Never before had I been face-to-face with such a blatant representative of consumerist excess. I’ll admit, those Swarovski Crystals were pretty glamorous. I could almost witness their brilliance refracting incoming ultraviolet light to purify the water molecules contained within (ok, they don’t claim that it actually does this, but it’s just as ridiculous as their actual marketing blurb). I finally did manage to tear myself away from the display and exit the store, but my parched mouth drew me back. The credit card was already in hand and the crystals were drawing me in like some modern Will-‘o-the-Wisp when I noticed something off the side, just before the entrance to the store.

A small kid, no more than about seven years old, was slurping happily from the airport drinking fountain. It was like watching an exhausted antelope, having just escaped an entire pride of lions in a daring race across the savannah, filling up at the watering hole. He had to strain on tippy toes to reach it, but man, this kid was really reveling in the cool free tap water! This was a kid who was mostly untouched by advertising, other than whatever they show on Nickelodeon, satisfying a natural urge (thirst) with the most natural solution: free, delicious water. Grok in the flesh! He was on to something. I too drank from the fountain that day.

I kid, of course, but let’s hope more people do the same and opt for the tap water. And if they do decide to pony up the money for bottled, or even blinged out water, I hope they aren’t fooling themselves into thinking they’re buying qualitatively superior H2O.

Further Reading:

Drink Less Water

Water is Water is Water. Even When It’s Scam Water.

Would Grok Chow the Cheese Plate?

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Don’t Even get started on the whole bottled water thing!! I used to work @ Aspen airport & it was amazing how many people spent $4 for Fiji water. Only to have it confiscated… Being “primal”, I make my own bottled water: the water out of my tap @ home is hands down the best, so I open the tap & fill a bottle! Living & working in a mountain resort it irks me to no end to see how many unfinished bottles of water get thrown out. If you are silly enough to spend money on water at least drink it…

    Peggy wrote on April 3rd, 2009
    • Really, I would disagree with one thing he says. Drinking water that has been through reverse osmosis is bad. I am a plumber, and in the military and work in a water plant some times. to get the proper balance of water, you want the impurities in the water itself, for instance copper, and such. If you were to drink reverse osmosis water, it would taste bland, because of all the missing minerals, also unless you put chlorine into the water, it will be the ideal swarm for bacteria.

      On this base, we pump chlorine and fluoride into the water as well, which most people knows that it helps diminish cavities. Proper fluoride levels should be 1.1 mg/L or so to help fight cavities and act as a health boost for the body.

      I also like to add part of my job deployed is to make reverse osmosis water, which makes it 99.9% percent pure water and 98%+ percent free of other organic matter, we will make sure it stays purified with proper amounts of chlorine but that is it. And if you were to taste that water, it would likely make you want to use some sort of crystal lite or something because of it being so flavorless without the minerals. I figured I would add my two cents.

      James wrote on December 16th, 2009
  2. I’m with Peggy… I make my own “bottled” water. Much cheaper and I think it tastes better. Not to mention, wasn’t there that study not too long ago that showed that bottled water lacked important minerals and nutrients, particularly for children (does flouride ring a bell?)?
    What particularly bugs me is when people come to MY house, ask for a glass of water, and when I go to the tap, give me a look like “Where’s the bottled water?” Almost makes me want to kick them out!

    Holly wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  3. I do the same but add a small pinch of quality organic celtic sea salt to ensure high mineral content. great primal idea.

    greg g wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  4. I thought I was good at my sales & marketing job…..
    obviously not, as I have not yet reached the level of selling a bottle of water for $55

    Have a great weekend everyone.

    Marc

    Marc Feel Good Eating wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  5. Shucks.. you have uncovered my secret. i lost all my weight not with going primal, but with Bling H2O. Price is everything when it comes to… water… um… I… have been.. using Bling.. exclusively for the past… oh year… and… WOW! *snicker* *snicker* Buahahahaahahahaha! I cant even keep a straight face. This really lends weight to the saying “A sucker is born every minute”. That sucker… usually owns a pomeranian name “juicy”.

    The SoG

    Son of Grok wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  6. wow, it makes me wonder what kind of bozo would be stupid enough to spend money on that in this day & age…but yes as SoG pointed out, there’s a sucker born every minute. SIGG should set up shop right next to every Bling H20 counter. Now there’s $20 well spent!

    marci wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  7. Woah! Didn’t know the primal community favoured tap water above bottled water. I usually drink bottled water. Of course none of that expensive luxury stuff. But I take a glass of tap water every now and then too.
    German tap water is supposed to be pretty much one of the cleanest in the world bzw. At least that’s what I heard somewhere.

    madMUHHH wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  8. We have a steam distiller that we use. A gallon of water takes 6-8 hrs to distill. Apples, if you saw the residue left on the bottom of the distiller afterwards, you might rethink drinking tap water!

    Cody wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  9. That’s real close to being the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.

    JD wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  10. There was bottled water there? All I saw was some very scantily clad woman. I’ll buy whatever she’s selling though :)

    Joe Matasic wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  11. I’m going to start selling boxes of designer air, only the finest cool breezes from the highest mountains in Switzerland, triple filtered, and infused with the essence of hundred dollar bills. I will make a FORTUNE.

    Who’s with me?

    Heather wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  12. Well, in all fairness, you’re paying for the bottle, not the water, and Swarovski is expensive. They’re reusable, so you buy a few, refill them and serve them at parties. Everyone thinks they’re drinking $50 water. That’s if you hang with the kind of people who are impressed by Bling water: the design of the bottle is far too nouveau riche for my tastes.
    As for the $20 plastic bottles, no comment.

    another mark wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  13. When I’m in Mexico or India, I drink bottled water. They locals drink tap water, so I guess it is potable, but I’ll stick to bottled and safety sealed water in 3rd-world countries.

    Rob wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  14. I’m a tap water kind of gal. As long as it tastes decent, and most places I’ve lived it has, that’s what I drink.

    I’d never heard of Bling H2O before reading this post… can’t believe people will spend money on stuff like that. If you’ve got the excess money, at least consider helping someone or some animal less fortunate.

    Cynthia wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  15. I do like filtered water and I have the osmosis thing going on at my house, but outside of the that, its straight from the tap.

    Mark you nailed it, bottled water is a joke. Dasani is Detroit tap water that’s been filtered. Stay away from the crap and just drink from the tap!

    George wrote on April 3rd, 2009
  16. Disclaimer: I work for a bottled water company

    I am a wannabe Grok and fairly competitive triathlete. As you can imagine, working for the world’s largest bottled water company (Nestle Waters) I am now accustomed to BW bashing. Our position is that we are “pro-water”, be it tap or bottled. Far better to drink that than soda, juice, etc. From our perspective we see two major benefits to bottled water:
    1) Quality. The fact that the product is in a bottle, and has gone through many many quality control tests, you can be 100% assured that what you are drinking is safe.
    2) Health. 70% of beverages are consumed away from home in a container. Bottled water is by far the healthiest beverage you can buy in a container. We are always surprised when a school/college bans bottled water yet continues to sell soda to their students.
    Finally, we recognize that there is a “waste” problem. Hence we are working hard on two fronts: improving recycling policies and reducing the amount of packaging in our product.

    I understand that I am not going to sway many people’s opinion, but please recognize that BW has an important role in our society today (although admittedly not Bling H2O).

    Thanks for reading.
    Chris

    Chris wrote on April 4th, 2009
  17. Last time we were at an airport my brother bought a bottle of Perrier water. He wanted a container to sip from while eating (what passes for food in an airport). The cheap water is already $2/bottle, so he figured if he was going to pay extortion for water he would at least taste expensive stuff ($3 for the same amount). Which is a good reason I guess.

    It all tastes just like water – totally tasteless.

    Hank Miller wrote on April 5th, 2009
  18. Allegedly in the UK, Dasani was London tapwater rebottled. Good stuff, it has been filtered through seven pairs of kidneys and a water treatment plant before emerging from the tap.

    Round these parts, judging by the amount of concrete in the kettle I am getting way more than my RDA of calcium from the tapwater. Where I used to live, on a bad day the tap water tasted like a mixture of sewage and disinfectant, there bottled water was quite a good plan, but $55/bottle just shouts “gullible” to me

    like this guy

    http://www.russandrews.com/

    Trinkwasser wrote on April 5th, 2009
  19. Chris, I totally understand and respect your point of view. I generally take a bottle of water from home in the car when I’m on the road, but if I need to get something to drink at a gas station I will always buy a bottle of water because there’s no way I’m drinking the garbage in any of the other bottles.

    To me the water is a more valuable substance than soda, juice, coffee sugar bombs, extreme energy concoctions, or yucky tea that is offered otherwise. I’d rather pay twice as much for water than drink that junk for free. I’m very rarely forced to buy water, and when I do I choose a bottle that I’ll want to take home to refill. Then I toss one of the older bottles that is getting kinda busted, and there’s always a few cold bottles to grab in the fridge.

    But overall I think the point Mark was making is that it’s asinine to buy water if there is fresh, free water available. If there isn’t good free water, then sure, I think it’s fine to buy a bottle when it’s necessary. Waste is never a good thing, but mindless, excessive waste is the real problem.

    Heather wrote on April 5th, 2009
  20. I tend to view the idiotic marketing as a tax on people who are such sheep that they go along with it.

    Kind of like the old expression about the lottery being “a tax on people who are bad at math”.

    I personally suggest that anyone who is considering buying blinged out water do so. Be only after being sure that they’re well stocked up on Axe Body Spray.

    I also suggest that they never reproduce.

    Chris - fitnessfail.com wrote on April 6th, 2009
  21. I would waste money on bottled water before I’d ever drink straight tap water. Our rural water is so vile that we’re not even hooked up to it. Our household water is either rainwater off the roof or pond water, and even that needs to go through an elaborate drinking water filter in order to taste good.

    Alex wrote on April 6th, 2009
  22. I don’t care for tap water–really hate the chlorine smell and taste. We have well water and the water goes through a filter before we drink it. It is really good — nothing better than a cool glass of water!That is all that I drink, except for white tea on occasion.

    I will buy bottled water if I am traveling, since they take away anything you try to bring on the plane yourself.

    marilyn wrote on April 8th, 2009
  23. I don’t see drinking municipal tap water with chlorine. We have pure water from a well but when I have to drink chlorinated water it is quite distastful.

    Oleg wrote on April 8th, 2009
  24. I’m with Marilyn in that I don’t like tap water, especially from my town. The water is ultra hard, and after the water plant ‘cleans’ it, it is unbearable. A reverse osmosis is a very nice thing to have in this town. Since my apt. won’t allow me to install a RO unit, I do buy my drinking water, only 5 gallons for $1. Much better taste than the town water. And no nasty scum when using it for cooking and/or coffee…

    Drew wrote on April 8th, 2009
  25. Well, First I have to say I have never heard of Bling water, but then again I don’t get out (of Montana) much! It sounds to me that the Marketing Deptartment for Bling H20 has about as much taste as the water in the bottle. (oops did I say that out loud? )

    Secondly, I’d have to say in the past few years I have really learned some important lessons in life. We have scaled down and live a very simple life without a lot of fluff (ie new cars, clothes, jewelry, expensive vacations, yada yada) And honestly I love it this way.

    Our kids are learning the importance of giving back to their church, community and the world by volunteering and donating time and money to charities and world relief organizations.

    So honestly, it hurts my heart to see people so lost that they can bring themselves to spend $55 on a bottle of water, when that same $55 would feed and water a family of 5 for a few months in other parts of the world.

    We are very blessed to have a water source that comes straight out of the side of a mountain. So obviously I drink “tap” water but needless to say, it is very cold and fresh. I actually have to add a lemon or lime slice to liven it up a bit because it is so tasteless.

    However, when we visit friends in town, and they offer a drink from their tap water, I have to say it tastes horrible. Full of chemicals and God knows whatelse. So I do have a habit of carrying refilled bottles of water from home.

    I can pretty much smell and taste the difference of city tap water and bottled water. So for me personally, depending on where I was at I would probably go for bottled water even if it is just filtered tap water. But you can bet your sweet bippy I would collapse from dehydration before I shelled out my Georgies for BLING anything!

    Sorry folks if I stood on my soap box so long. Just had to get it off my chest.

    Yours truly,
    Mellisa

    Mellisa in Montana wrote on April 8th, 2009
  26. I fill up (5) 24 oz bottles from my home water filtration system which I bought from Amway many years ago. It has a compressed charcoal filter that is replaceable and fits even the oldest filters that they have ever sold. I take these with me in an insulated bag and they are my water supply at work, in the car, and at the gym. It makes the water taste better and removes all of the contaiminents. I don’t like the chlorine taste of smell from the tap. It is one of the worlds best filters and yet it costs me less than $.25 per gallon to use it. My wife supplies her office with it too, from our home filter.

    I live in Southern California and reverse osmosis is to wasteful of water resources for me to use. it wastes 2+ gallons of water for every gallon it makes. I used to have one and installed a 500 gallon horse trough to catch the overflow and it filled to over flowing in no time and I still had to deal with the waste water, which I used to water my plants, but it became to labor intensive and I just bought a great filter and left the goldfish to enjoy my horse trough.

    Charles wrote on April 8th, 2009
  27. Yes those filters are a good plan. Many folks around these parts have a water softener for non-drinking supply and a filter for the non-softened drinking water.

    But just think how much better it would taste if filtered into a $55 Swarovski Crystal bottle

    Trinkwasser wrote on April 9th, 2009
  28. I can get a gallon of filtered water for 40 cents at my local grocery store…I then use it to refill water bottles that my daughter & her family have conveniently left at my house when they come over (big water buyers!)
    I do live in the country & have a well with a water softener attached (we have practically orange water because the iron content is so high)–however, I have also had my well water tested & our aquifer is not the best. It may be 300 feet down but you would be amazed how many farm chemicals, wastes & septic drain fields can leach over the century that this land has been farmed; the land can only filter out so much. If you think the farm chemicals are bad now, you need to research what they used before. I suggest anyone who extolls the purity of their well water to at least get it tested every few years, development draws down the aquifer with some bad consequences. Mark doesn’t preach ignorance, it’s all about knowledge. Ignorance isn’t bliss—it’s just ignorance.

    countrygal wrote on April 9th, 2009
  29. I buy large bottles of spring water and avoid tap water whenever possible as my town’s water is fluoridated, and fluoride is in fact more toxic than lead (and only slightly less toxic than arsenic). The fact that breast milk has infinitesimally small levels of fluoride, regardless of what type of water the mother is drinking, means that the mother’s body makes a heck of an effort to keep it out of the body of her baby. If evolution decided it wasn’t good enough for growing infants, then I want no part of it either.

    Christopher Bryson wrote an excellent book on the subject called The Fluoride Deception. There’s a documentary piece featuring him available on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3y8uwtxrHo

    Bling water is ridiculous though, as are many other bottled waters; I agree.

    Great blog, Mark.

    Sam wrote on April 10th, 2009
  30. Hi Mark!
    I completely agree with your thoughts about the high profile bottled waters. And about the hazards of tap water. While reverse osmosis is certainly a better choice, this process does take the good minerals out with the bad. I beleive the healthiest means of flitration is ceramic. Dalton appears to be the best of the ceramics, produced in the UK and distributed in the U.S. According to the company: “Because a ceramic water filter relies on the old method of distillation, it does not rob the water of its natural minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium that are essential for a glowing health.” I’d also like your read on Tersono’s Lotus, which I recommend for cleaning fruits and vegetables and counter tops, based on lab tests I’ve reviewed. “Their claim. to super-oxygenate the water with O3( ozone) to destroy up to 99.99% of microorganisms and toxins that can sometimes find their way into tap water based on lab tests”. This ability however, is short lasting. When time permits, I’d appreciate your thoughts.

    Randy Karp wrote on December 26th, 2009
  31. My understanding is that reverse osmosis takes 5 gallons to produce 1 gallon of filtered water.
    A better idea is to purchase an “instant hot”. You won’t be dazed or walking into walls waiting for the process. Just a pull of the small lever and 2 seconds it’s hot or cold filtered water.

    brenner wrote on January 29th, 2010
  32. bs bs

    insuremdt@yahoo.com wrote on November 20th, 2010
  33. Just out of curiosity, what do you folks think about Santevia’s water filter. Made of 100% non-leeching bpa free plastic. IT has a 7-stage “spring/earthlike” filter including rocks, ceramic, and charcoal. It was designed to emulate drinking fresh water from a spring by adding natural minerals commonly found in natural mountain spring water. Like calcium, magnesium, copper, etc, etc.
    My father bought one and then I got one. Best tasting water I’ve ever had. High mineral content to boost too!

    nathan wrote on July 18th, 2011
  34. Anyone that has $55 to spend on a bottle of water has more money than sense. Unfortunately for me I have way more sense than money :(

    Dave J wrote on October 3rd, 2013

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