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Living in a Bottled Water World
by Bill Melton

I have a keen dislike for bottled water. Iím not so much against bottled water in and of itself -- bottled water is great for helping people recover from being without water after hurricanes and tornados or for people planning trips across the desert. What upsets me is how so many folks have come to think the only way they can drink water is to buy it from a store even when they have plenty of fresh running close by. And I really get bent out of shape at what folks charge for bottled water.

To illustrate why this bothers me so much Iíll use two examples. The first is from an office building I was in recently. In the break room, I observed a vending machine full of 20-ounce bottles of water for 85 cents a piece. Right beside that vending machine was a sink and a cupboard full of cups. A refrigerator was right next to that, full of ice. For free. But if people werenít buying the vending manís water, heíd fill his machine up with Coca Colas or Sundrops or something, or at the very least lower his prices.

My favorite example though is illustrated by a trip I made to a gas station this week. They were selling unleaded gasoline for $1.84 a gallon. Inside the store they were selling quart-sized bottles of water for a $1.39 less tax. Using some of the math skills I learned in Ms. Sherry Boggs fourth grade class at Sacred Heart Grade School, I was quickly able to determine that if I needed a gallon of that same water it would cost me $5.56. With a little more ciphering I was able to subtract the .49 state and federal sales tax from the price of that gallon of gasoline to conclude that this gallon of gasoline actually cost me $1.35 a gallon while one-fourth of a gallon of water at the same store cost $1.39 before tax!

And some folks have the nerve to say oil companies are robbing us.

And then, just when I think they canít come up with anything to beat bottled water, sliced bread, or ice cream, lo and behold, they have. I see now where theyíre advertising some little packets of stuff that you can pour down in your bottle of water to give it flavor. They carry on like this is some sort of innovation, but Iíve got news for them. I can remember putting stuff in well water to flavor it way back when. We even had a name for it, too.

We called it Kool-Aid.


Bill Melton is a humorist, writer and Gaston County, North Carolina good olí boy. You can reach him at wsmeltoninc.

Bill writes to USADS:
"Iíve found writing to be an addiction, almost as addictive as aggravating my wife. When I got serious about being funny, I did a little research. One of the things I found came from a Midwestern good olí boy named Garrison Keillor. Brother Keillor says when writing comedy, ĎYou only need a few facts to get you started, and sometimes it helps if theyíre wrong.í In other words, we humorists can make some of it up as we go along and still get away with it. Sort of like politics.Ē

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