Why bottled water when good tap available?

The MPSIMS camelback thread touched on the tap vs. filtered vs. bottled water debate.

I live and work in and near Chicago, when most of the urban area gets very good water from Lake Michigan. Yet some folks in our office got together to pay for a water cooler. when out and about you commonly see folks buying, carrying, and drinking bottled water. Even noticed in a recent West Wing ep, when Josh asked Donna if she wanted a drink of water, she asked if he had a bottle, and when he said tap, she declined.

Most of my travels take me to large cities where the water seems equally good as Chicago’s. I realize that rural areas or smaller metropolises with discrete local sources might have water taste/quality issues. But this cheapass Polack wonders if any of you could offer any insight as to why people choose to spend $ for water, when good quality tap water is available for free?

For me, it’s not so much that tap water is bad for me. It just tastes like crap compared to filtered water. I can definitely taste the difference between a glass of tap water, and a glass of water that’s been sent through my Brita filter.

I consider it to be a capitalist form of natural selection. If people spend their money on “bottled” water, they have less money. People complain about the price of gas, yet routinely spend MORE for bottled water than for gas. And no one is up in arms about going hungry because they have to have water.

I love reading the source of the water on bottles. I once found one that said the source was the municipal miami-dade water supply.

I’m a mother to an infant, I mix her formula with tap water. Last time I was at the pediatricians, he told me I would need to start buying flouridated water or supplementing her diet with flouride. I told him I used tap water, he said, “Oh, then you are covered. Good job.”

If you think bottled water is expensive, price out flourdiated water.

Now think of all those shiny folks NOT getting flouride. I predict in a few more years of this, the amount of dental problems will rise.

Beats me. Some American cities actually have very good tasting water; New York City is one of them.

Some folks pay a water bill, so their water is not exactly free, but it’s certainly less than what you pay to have it bottled.

Me, I use the tap water that is pumped up out of my own well. It really is free, except for the electricity that runs the pump.

I can almost never tell the difference on taste alone.

I don’t think it actually comes down to tap vs bottled most of the time anyway. On those rare occasions when I buy bottled water, the choice is bottled water vs bottled water with sugar, bubbles and food coloring in it. It isn’t that I necessarily think I’m getting better water from a bottle than from a tap, it’s that I’m being marginally better to my body by giving it water than soda.

I do drink filtered water at home, but that’s based more on a belt-and-suspenders approach to drinking water based on living in a town where the water system was probably installed 100 years ago.

I drink my well water. Because the well has some bacteria and minerals in it, that water is filtered and treated with UV light to make sure it is safe to drink.

What it lacks is chemicals - the chlorine taste that a lot of municipal water supplies have. I definitely prefer my well’s water to that which has chlorine in it, and even over most bottled types. I do tend to carry a bottle of water around in lots of places, but that’s because it’s my good tasty well water.

I was thinking about my office, where the employees do not pay the water bill, but are chipping in to pay for a cooler. Or our parks which are rife with fountains which - up to a couple of years ago - ran non-stop.

In the City of Chicago itself, water used to not be metered. Instead, you simply were billed a flat charge for water/sewer. IIRC something like $40 1-2x/year. We used to joke about my dad running the sprinkler while it was raining. Was a shock to move to the burbs - where we buy our water from Chicago. Definitely worth your pocketbook to develop non-wasteful water habits!

I don’t know where exactly my water is coming from, I’m sure it’s perfectly safe, but it tastes god awful. Yuck.

I’d prefer if my parents hadn’t let me drink tap water when I was young. This shows the results. My teeth are worse than the top pic, but not quite as bad as the bottom. And although I never had cavities when I was young, I’m not sure it was worth it with this as a side effect. When I have kids, their flouride intake will be carefully monitored.

(Not implying anything about your parenting, etc Auntbeast. I’m just a little bitter because of my own situation and the mention of flouride, in any context, makes me upset. And I know I sound shallow, complaining about something that’s purely cosmetic and had its dental benefits but, darn it, for once I’d like to be able to smile/talk without feeling like I need to cover my mouth.)

Anyone recall the Penn & Teller’s Bullshit episode in season 1? The phony water steward filling empty bottles of ‘Brazilian RainForest Water’ with LA tap water from a garden hose and selling them for $7 in the chic restaurant was priceless.

Most people can’t tell the difference.

I think to some degree, people just like spending money. It makes them feel special and important- especially if it is “health” related. We have way more excess in this country than we can possibly do anything with, so we are always thinking of new things that are “important” in order to consume this excess. It’s really no different than buying diamond or designer clothes or any number of other product with little worth outside the fact that they cost a lot of money.

I normally have no problem with tap water. Except mine. It’s orange and extremely unappetizing. I drink it if I have to, but almost never straight. I’ll make iced tea or something with it. I cook with it all the time.

So exactly what is 'spring water"? There is a local vedor of “spring water”-it is a small building which bottles the water. as far as i know it is simpkly filtered tapwater. How does such water become ‘spring’ water? Also, i have heard that any spring water can be duplicated-you just star with distilled water, add a few trace minerals, carbonate 9if soda water is desired0, and you have it.
water is H2O-there may be some taste differences, but its all the same.

One of my sisters buys water and ice. I have no idea why - we grew up drinking tap water, and I always thought the Baltimore area had very good water. But she insists on spending the money. Then whines about being broke. Whatever.

The only water I’ve found I don’t like is in Florida - heavy sulphur taste from the tap - even from the water company. Although when I lived there, I guess I got used to it.

The only bottled water I drink is flavored water, and that’s only to keep from drinking too much soda. We’ve got a well, and our water is very good. Even in restaurants around here, the tap water is just fine. I can think of better ways to spend my disposable income.

I prefer the tap water I get from Lake Erie to any bottled water I’ve had.

Bottled water tastes sort of…oily.

Most tap water throughout the States tastes just fine right out of the tap - however I live near downtown L.A. now and I definitley detected something a little unpleasant about the tap water taste when I first moved here, so I got a filter. Still don’t buy bottled water.

Keep in mind there are also areas where one cannot drink the tap water-my friend’s family had a little camp up in the Clarion mountains, an old farm house, and the water there was unsuitable to drink because it had amoebas, IIRC. You HAD to bring bottled water.

Also, my aunt who lives in Ligonier has well-water that’s so full of sulfur it stinks to high heaven.

If your tap water tastes okay, fine. Mine tastes like plastic.

I have slight fluorosis too, less than the first picture but still cosmetically bothersome.

I used to buy bottled water when I lived in a small town with really tainted-tasting water. Usually I’m the first to scoff at these princess and the pea people who taste contaminants in everything, but that water was nast. Plus the tap couldn’t get it ultra-cold. So I bought the cheapest brand of bottled water which made me feel like a tool but since I only used it for straight drinking (I did use the tap for cooking and bathing, why wouldn’t you?) it lasted awhile. Plus those little bottles are convenient for carrying around, although since the Nalgene scare I’ve been wary of drinking anything out of plastic containers.

Pittsburgh water actually tastes pretty good, at least I can’t tell the difference between this stuff and bottled water. But I still bottle it in old glass bottles so I can keep it in the fridge forever and get it as cold as I want it (really cold).

P.S. If you think bottled water is bad, just wait till they charge you for air. Flavored air, at that!

When the day comes that all these sheltered pantywaists succumb to superbacteria, even I will be able to become a Conan the Barbarian-esque she-warrior, helping out the decimated (really, their potential strength has been reduced by exactly one-tenth) masses as they struggle with their self-inflicted biological sheltering.

Most spring water that I know of comes from an actual spring. That is, water bubbling from the ground. They probably enclose the spring and line it and dig it out (making it like a big shallow well). Put it in a bottle and wait for the cash to roll in. Selling spring water actually isn’t a new idea. People have been doing it for ages and they often touted the mystical health benefits of it.