7 thoughts on “Do not buy this product”

  1. Hum.

    Yes, people who buy bottled water are probably wasting money, by and large (although, for example, buying a bottle of Water at Waterloo station on the move – no pun intended – is OK, isn’t it?). I say ‘probably’ because I haven’t done an in-depth study into the health of tap water vs. bottled water, so I don’t know for sure. Maybe they just have a different intuition for the risks involved.

    But, if people really wanna buy this stuff, why not? The cost of transportation, bottling, extraction etc. is presumably accurately reflected in the price. Maybe water from the Catskills just tastes better?

    There’s an interesting economic discussion around water provision here:


  2. I agree with Andrew.

    Indeed, if I’m in town tomorrow, I might buy a bottle.

    Remember: after the last government tax rise, the taxation on air travel now pretty much equals what the Stern report says it should be. Let’s say I only have £2.50 of disposable income and I spend that £2.50 on the bottle rather than on £2.50 worth of home heating, then I will be *helping* the environment since the tax on home fuel is only 5%.

    Indeed, I might buy two bottles just to spite everyone! 🙂

  3. “since the tax on home fuel is only 5%.”

    i.e. the cost of home fuel does not accurately reflect its environmental cost whereas the cost of air travel does. i.e. this means £2.50 worth of fuel will do more harm than £2.50 of air travel 🙂 (I think…. I’m sure Andrew will tell me if I’m wrong…)

  4. I agree. The tax is assumed to act as a disincentive: taxes on air transport (bottled water) are higher than heating, s0 at the margin you’re more likely to spend the money on the heating as you get better value from it – although personally I’d pop the £2.50 in your savings account and get your water from the tap 🙂

    Although plenty of claims are no doubt made, I’m not sure that anyone is capable of ‘accurately’ assessing something so complex as the environmental cost of air travel, though, which is one of the reasons I have a problem with carbon offsetting (the other being – as Tim Harford explained – that it simply makes no sense – http://abuseofdiscretion.blogspot.com/2006/05/even-tim-harford-thinks-al-gore-is.html). Solving the resultant environmental problem is a longer discussion.

    I also noticed they say in the original article: ‘tap water … has zero carbon footprint’ which is manifestly untrue: treatment plants consume electricity, which is bound to have a carbon footprint.

    Anyway, sorry to hijack your post, Andy – they are right about one thing – I’m sure it is yuppie stuff. I’ll stick to my imported New Zealand water.

    Kidding 🙂

  5. Beaten down by superior economic brains. Interesting stuff, though – thanks for the comments.

    Richard, if you are absolutely intent on spending that much money on some water, you go for it 😉

  6. “Richard, if you are absolutely intent on spending that much money on some water, you go for it ;-)”

    Sadly, I don’t earn enough to be able to pay £5/litre for water…… but I’ll fight as hard as I possibly can to stop others telling me I shouldn’t! 🙂

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