Do You Bling?

Published: July 4, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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Well you probably realized that sooner or later I had to revisit sex, but it usually comes attached to some scandal.

Not this time.

There has been a lot of talk lately about what’s been called a “carbon footprint.”  It measures the impact that humans have on the environment – how much waste, greenhouse gases, resources used, and the subsequent notion of “off-setting” the footprints we create by doing something favorable for the planet.

I could never understand someone who advocates for reducing their carbon footprint by planting more trees while they continue to drive a Hummer H-3.  Why not plant the trees and drive a more “eco-friendly” vehicle?  Wouldn’t that demonstrate more personal responsibility?

Of course, this led me to consider our overall responsibility to the planet and the need to perhaps take a closer look at our own habits of consumption.

What do we need and when are we consuming too much?

Take water, for instance.  A recent Washington Post story talked about the high cost of bottled water.  This despite the fact that “In blind taste tests, many people who swear they can differentiate between bottled-water brands and tap water fail to spot the differences, and studies have shown that both are fine to drink, and both occasionally can have quality problems.”

This has not stopped the bottled-water industry from churning out new and more creative ways to market what is, at the end of the day… water!

While reading about a new and pricey brand of bottled-water, I kept looking for some ethical impropriety, but guess what?  I couldn’t find one.  What I did discover was how easy it is for many of us to have misplaced priorities.

Bling, H20 is “…bottled at the source in Dandridge, Tennessee… and uses a nine-step purification process that includes ozone, ultraviolet and micro-filtration.”

Wow, nine-steps, it must be good!

Of course the real secret to this newest “elixir” is not so much the water but the packaging and marketing.  Although the photo above does a lot for the campaign, the packaging is extraordinarily extravagant… at least for bottled water. “Bling H20 comes in Limited Edition, corked, 750ml, reusable frosted glass bottles, exquisitely handcrafted with Swarovski Crystals.”

Wow, handcrafted with crystals, it must be good!

Like many of you, I pay for things that I like, need (or think I need), but unless there is a serious spike in price, like there has been for gasoline, I don’t pay too much attention.

So, for purposes of reducing my own carbon footprint and taking greater personal responsibility for my choices, I decided to conduct my own study comparing the costs of three popular liquids that I consume: Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, my own bottled water, Aquafina, and gasoline.

Here’s what I came up with:

I paid $4.59 for a gallon of gas, and $7.20 for two six-packs of Aquafina water.  A single, Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, Grande costs $3.85.  (I don’t count the tax on any of these items because that obviously varies from state to state).

So, how do all of these liquids compare to the cost of Bling H20?  The cheapest bottle of Bling costs $20 for a 375 milliliter bottle.

Wow, 375 milliliters!  Sounds like a lot, ( it’s really only a little more than 12 ounces).

For a reality check, I compared the cost of all these liquids if I paid for them by the gallon, something we can all relate to when we fill-up at a gas station.

From cheapest to most expensive, here’s how they shake out:

  • Aquafina – $3.20 per gallon
  • Gasoline – $4.59 per gallon
  • Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino – a whopping $30.80 per gallon

And if you wanted to buy “Bling H20” by the gallon… get out the credit card because you are going to pay $201.89!

Although most of us are probably not going to buy much “Bling”, (though I’m sure there are some who will feel the need) maybe we need to re-evaluate our priorities when it comes to griping about the cost of gas while we’re chugging down that Mocha Frapp. I know I will.


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