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Fiji Water.
August 18, 2009 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Don't fuck around with Fiji Water.

From the article:
I sat down and sent out a few emails—filling friends in on my visit to the Fiji Water bottling plant, forwarding a story about foreign journalists being kicked off the island. Then my connection died. "It will just be a few minutes," one of the clerks said.

Moments later, a pair of police officers walked in. They headed for a woman at another terminal; I turned to my screen to compose a note about how cops were even showing up in the Internet cafés. Then I saw them coming toward me. "We're going to take you in for questioning about the emails you've been writing," they said.

What followed, in a windowless room at the main police station, felt like a bad cop movie. "Who are you really?" the bespectacled inspector wearing a khaki uniform and a smug grin asked me over and over, as if my passport, press credentials, and stacks of notes about Fiji Water weren't sufficient clues to my identity. (My iPod, he surmised tensely, was "good for transmitting information.") I asked him to call my editors, even a UN official who could vouch for me. "Shut up!" he snapped. He rifled through my bags, read my notebooks and emails. "I'd hate to see a young lady like you go into a jail full of men," he averred, smiling grimly. "You know what happened to women during the 2000 coup, don't you?"
posted by chunking express (136 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hasn't this journalist ever read the Odyssey? You don't mess with Big Water.
posted by Damn That Television at 10:52 AM on August 18, 2009 [22 favorites]


THE INTERNET CAFÉ in the Fijian capital, Suva, was usually open all night long. ... But one day soon after I arrived, the staff told me they now had to shut down by 5 p.m. Police orders, they shrugged: The country's military junta had declared martial law a few days before, and things were a bit tense.

I sat down and sent out a few emails—filling friends in on my visit to the Fiji Water bottling plant, forwarding a story about foreign journalists being kicked off the island. Then my connection died. "It will just be a few minutes," one of the clerks said.

Moments later, a pair of police officers walked in. They headed for a woman at another terminal; I turned to my screen to compose a note about how cops were even showing up in the Internet cafés. Then I saw them coming toward me. "We're going to take you in for questioning about the emails you've been writing," they said.
Why don't more people use encryption? Seriously people.
posted by delmoi at 10:56 AM on August 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


Eh, bottled water. Hasn't that whole thing ended by now? I can understand purchasing a bottle of Perrier or San Pelligreno from time to time in lieu of imported wine. But overall, get a filter and drink from the tap.
posted by hippybear at 10:58 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


FIJI Water Responds to Mother Jones Article.

I think the point is more don't fuck with military juntas who run banana republics.
posted by signalnine at 11:01 AM on August 18, 2009 [11 favorites]


For real, hippybear. I don't know who these people are that have 2 bucks to pay for a bottle of water.
posted by Mister_A at 11:01 AM on August 18, 2009


I had a friend back at college who swore by Fiji Water. Claimed it was the purest, best-tasting water. I guaranteed he was talking out of his ass, and a bet soon followed. A blind taste test.

He left the room, and I filled three glasses with tap water. "Which one is Evian, Fiji, and tap water?" He claimed one had a superior taste. When I told him my ploy, he scolded me for gaming the test. Do the test accurately, he assured me, and I'd be impressed.

So I filled all three glasses with Evian, and poured out the Fiji Water bottle and filled it with tap. He came in and tasted all three glasses, and saw me smirking. My cover was blown, and he accused me of filling all three glasses with tap water again. "Yup, no difference!" he said triumphantly as he tried each glass again. Then he picked up the bottle of Fiji Water and began drinking. "Ahh, that's the true taste of champions right there, I don't need your test, I can taste the difference right here!"

"Sorry Greg, that's tap water!" He gave me a look of death.

It's not the first time my cleverness has gotten in the way of friendships.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 11:07 AM on August 18, 2009 [145 favorites]


Commodore Bananarama sounds like he has a cruel summer ahead.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:09 AM on August 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Maybe they're trying to do good, maybe they're just trying to get (stay) rich; either way, fuck bottled water.

Note: my tap water at home tastes terrible. Awful. Makes miserable coffee, too. But it's great after filtering.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:10 AM on August 18, 2009


But overall, get a filter and drink from the tap.

No, no, no, no. Fiji water is the tastiest still water ever. EVER.

Actually I used to drink another one from the Emirates which was almost as good. Maybe there is some authoritarian conspiracy to grab the monopoly of tasty water springs. And Solán de Cabras is amazing water too, so not all is lost.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 11:11 AM on August 18, 2009


Eh. I drink Fiji bottled water. And, yes, its because I prefer the taste over tap water. So, I choose water over carbonated sugary beverages. Fiji over Coke and Pepsi. Its what I like to drink.

As for the tap water test. Tap water is indeed tastier but of course it depends on the region and city you live in. NYC tap water was actually pretty good. San Francisco tap water is ok but nothing special. London tap water is so full of minerals that I have trouble drinking it. As an aside, the best tap water I ever tasted was in Baden-Baden, Germany. Delicious.

I live in London. I buy Fiji water.
posted by vacapinta at 11:13 AM on August 18, 2009


Without Fiji Water, he said, "Fiji is kind of screwed."

If they're not paying taxes, it sounds like Fiji is kind of screwed with Fiji water too.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:13 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, no reason to include the response from Fiji in the body of the FPP.

(Thanks for linking to it, signalnine)
posted by kbanas at 11:15 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fiji water is stupid. It's square and won't fit in the cupholders in my SUV.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:16 AM on August 18, 2009 [20 favorites]


Precisely what I was thinking, AV. SQUARE bottles. How much more UNAMERICAN and MILITARY REGIME-supporting can you get?
posted by NikitaNikita at 11:20 AM on August 18, 2009


I have a PUR tap filter and a SIGG bottle. I don't need any FIJI water. Especially not after reading that article.

Besides, a 17 mile long aquifer? Big deal. I live in a state that advertises itself as having 10,000 lakes, in a country that has control of all or part of five of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. Why the hell do I need to drink imported water? Let the people who live near the aquifer drink the water. Shipping water is a dumb idea, and adding more plastic to the world is even dumber.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:20 AM on August 18, 2009 [23 favorites]


Remember people, use https://mail.google.com, not http://mail.google.com.

Or just install CustomizeGoogle in Firefox.
posted by benzenedream at 11:21 AM on August 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


It's not the first time my cleverness has gotten in the way of friendships.
posted by Christ, what an asshole


Heh.
posted by spilon at 11:23 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


When you consider how much of the cost of a bottle is probably for packaging, transportation and advertisement it quickly becomes pretty ridiculous. Why pay a premium like that for marginally better tasting water shipped to you from halfway across the world when a brita and your faucet will give you likely the same result for a fraction of the cost? Its just silly.
posted by zennoshinjou at 11:24 AM on August 18, 2009


Ever since a English rock guitarist and amateur pilot Canadian mining and real estate mogul named David Gilmour regrouped Pink Floyd in 1986 launched Fiji Water in 1995, the band company has positioned itself squarely at the nexus of retreading its stoner-rock past and pissing off Roger Waters pop-culture glamour and progressive politics.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:24 AM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have the speakers of dying indigenous languages urinate into a Britta filter, and then bottle the result in hand-blown bottles. The hand-blown bottles are made from sand I have trucked out from Erg Chebbi just for the purpose.

I usually bust it out at parties, but sometimes during the week it's just a no-brainer pairing with, say, the farro con sugo.
posted by everichon at 11:24 AM on August 18, 2009 [10 favorites]


Yawn. I prefer tap water. Unfiltered. OHHHH NOOOOES
posted by kldickson at 11:26 AM on August 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


Another good article on bottled water, with a lot on Fiji: Message in a Bottle (from Fast Company)

Which one is Evian, Fiji, and tap water?

I saw an interesting post somewhere that places prefer to sell Fiji just because thebottles look bigger than an Evian of the same size.
posted by smackfu at 11:28 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bottled water is really great. It saves time visually separating out the idiots.
posted by DU at 11:30 AM on August 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


Couldn't they do a lot of good through "normal" channels in Fiji if they just paid their taxes? Or is it because Fiji is so corrupt that they feel that private improvements would be better than routing taxes through public entities?

Annoying though the navigation is, FIJI Green has a lot of information buried behind flashy graphics. Of course, there's not a lot of detail to the information. And it's already 2009, so are they carbon negative or not?

And I'd like to remind anyone who's all gung-ho about recycling, that the other two parts to the resource conservation triangle-thing are Reduce and Reuse. Why not make FIJI-branded bottle refilling stations? You could just sell local tap water tuned to the "electromagnetic field frequency" of FIJI Water and save all those shipping costs, still reaping the reward of a mark-up on a survival necessity.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:30 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh gods, I'm used to fending off the "no bottled water" crowd, since it's almost always the most eco-friendly thing in the entire store, but Fiji water makes me qualify everything I say. "That coffee you're drinking is less eco-friendly than that bottled water. Unless it's Fiji water."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:31 AM on August 18, 2009


I prefer source municipal.

That's best said in a ridiculous accent, btw.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:32 AM on August 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


When you consider how much of the cost of a bottle is probably for packaging, transportation and advertisement it quickly becomes pretty ridiculous. Why pay a premium like that for marginally better tasting water shipped to you from halfway across the world when a brita and your faucet will give you likely the same result for a fraction of the cost? Its just silly.
posted by zennoshinjou

Bottled water is really great. It saves time visually separating out the idiots.
posted by DU at 7:30 PM


Aww..Ok, you guys have convinced me. I'll switch to Coke. That way I can maintain my negative environmental impact while avoiding all the judgements. :)
posted by vacapinta at 11:33 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


The idea that shipping water in plastic bottles from Fiji helps the environment is ridiculous. I can't believe there are people dumb enough to buy into that, but it seems to be their entire marketing premise.
posted by justkevin at 11:33 AM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


I have a PUR tap filter and a SIGG bottle. I don't need any FIJI water. Especially not after reading that article.

Capitalist!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Those union-busting robber-baron corporate shills at Mother Jones are at it again.

It sure looks like Fiji is evil, but somebody had to point out that Mother Jones may not be entirely objective.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 11:35 AM on August 18, 2009


But... but... but... only FIJI water meets your recommended daily allowance of silica!
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2009


It's pretty easy to tell the difference between tap and purified water, but it's hard for me to believe that people can actually tell the difference between different brands of purified water. Apparently Fiji water is not actually purified though, so I suppose it could have something in it that gives it some kind of distinct flavor. But but either way, shipping water around the planet is insane. So is Fiji water's criticism of drinking "processed" water.

I usually just buy purified water from the grocery store. The tap water from around here is supposed to be pretty good, in fact, when I once got a bottle of "Healthy Mineral enriched" bottled water in Texas, it actually tasted just like the tap water from home. The tap water in Mesquite, Texas is awful though.
posted by delmoi at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2009


Aww..Ok, you guys have convinced me. I'll switch to Coke.

Why don't you just switch to locally purified water?
posted by delmoi at 11:41 AM on August 18, 2009


Eh, bottled water. Hasn't that whole thing ended by now?

You don't get out much, do you? Last year, Americans spent $11 billion dollars on bottled water. Sales are flat this year. Some sources say they're declining by 1.75% per capita, which still means they're drinking 28.5 gallons of the stuff a year. In the UK, everyone got excited about the report that said restaurants had a 9% drop in water bottle sales, although that number is a small fraction of the overall water bottle market. All in, I'd say the bottled water thing hasn't ended yet, not in the least.
posted by incessant at 11:42 AM on August 18, 2009


Personally, I think FIJI Water is probably one of the best-tasting bottled waters I've tasted, but it's still just water you guys. Why the heck would I pay $1.50 for water? That shit is free.
posted by signalnine at 11:43 AM on August 18, 2009


I drink Fiji bottled water. And, yes, its because I prefer the taste over tap water. So, I choose water over carbonated sugary beverages. Fiji over Coke and Pepsi. Its what I like to drink.

I drive an H1. And, yes, it's because I enjoy the view it gives me of the surrounding traffic. So, I choose a SUV over subcompact rice-burners. Hummer over Kia and Nissan. It's what I like to drive.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:44 AM on August 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


We've never been users of bottled water because we always figured it was crazy. But I bet a lot of you were users. So when did you start and when did you stop? Does anyone have a chart showing the rise and decline of the bottled water fad?
posted by pracowity at 11:46 AM on August 18, 2009


I think the point is more don't fuck with military juntas who run banana republics.

It's even more "don't fuck with the military juntas who run water republics."
posted by notyou at 11:46 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


...get a filter and drink from the tap.
No amount of filtering can make my tap water palatable. The wells in this area are horrible. Luckily, I can refill gallon jugs with filtered and purified water down at my local mega-mart for 25¢ a pop.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:48 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I drink bottle water. Not at home. When I'm out and I'm thirsty and there isn't a water fountain around.

It's convenient.
posted by notyou at 11:49 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Water comes out of a tap. So, unless you live somewhere that has tap water you can't drink, I see no good reason to pay whatever the stupid markup is on bottled water. That's putting aside the fact that bottled water usually fucks up water tables, is shipped from god knows where, comes in plastic bottles, etc.

Why don't you just switch to locally purified water?

Because Coke is fucking awesome.
posted by chunking express at 11:49 AM on August 18, 2009


benzenedream: "Remember people, use https://mail.google.com, not http://mail.google.com. Or just install CustomizeGoogle in Firefox."

As long as we're giving technical advice, just log into Gmail, click Settings -> General -> scroll to the very bottom and select "Always use https".
posted by Plutor at 11:51 AM on August 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


They just opened a new shopping area in Dublin airport. It has a "Waters of the World" section where they sell various brands of water from around the world. I've rarely had such a passionate feeling of disgust, slightly tempered by the fact that the only person in it was the employee.

"As a first in airports, Dublin features ‘Ól – Waters of the World’ (Ól Irish for "to drink") a bar and store carrying a wide array of mineral waters from around the world. The store is located in the centre of the main travel retail store area. The concept store currently features 1 Litre, Extreem H2), Bling, Earth water, Elsenham, Veen. Fillico, Fiji, Lauquen, Pineo, Iskilde, Karoo, Solé Arte, OGO, Sourcy Pure, Panna, San Pellegrino, Blue Keld, Hildon, Ty Nant, Tau and Finé. " - Source
posted by knapah at 11:58 AM on August 18, 2009


Holy crap!

Has the "Hurf Durf Bottled Water" thread come around again so soon in the rotation?

Surely Sarah Palin was next on the list...
posted by darkstar at 12:02 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


benzenedream: "Remember people, use https://mail.google.com, not http://mail.google.com. Or just install CustomizeGoogle in Firefox."

As long as we're giving technical advice, just log into Gmail, click Settings -> General -> scroll to the very bottom and select "Always use https".
And don't forget to *encrypt your email* which this does *not* do. It encrypts the connection from your browser to gmail's server which would have helped in this case, but doesn't protect the email on its way from gmail to its final destination.
posted by morganw at 12:03 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


i buy bottled water when i'm out for the day and didn't remember to bring water with me. out of guilt i'll reuse the bottle for like a week or so, until i lose or just decide to 'recycle' it. personally, i'm a poland spring person when it comes to water. The plastic bottle is the thinnest at the store.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 12:03 PM on August 18, 2009


If you think that using https over http is better for the environment, you're crazy
posted by jsavimbi at 12:06 PM on August 18, 2009 [11 favorites]


Don't mess with my water.
posted by fijiwriter at 12:07 PM on August 18, 2009


So, I choose a SUV over subcompact rice-burners.

Nah. That analogy doesn't work for Coke. Someone show me that that is indeed a better environment option and then all you Coke drinkers can feel superior to me.

Its a nice try and anyone, by my one comment above, is ready to peg me as some SUV-loving suburban American I guess. But I live in London. Before that, San Francisco. I dont own a car. I walk to work. Sometimes I take public transportation. I live in a small apartment nestled tightly against other apartments - so very energy efficient.

I think I posted mostly because I think bottled-water hate is one of those things that stirs up irrational hate even when it doesn't always apply - as in my case I believe: My point was that my "environmental impact" of drinking bottled water is the same as all you Coke drinkers. So why cant I trade one for another? Why do I have to drink tap water even if I dont like the taste?

Will it help if I add that my wife and I rarely buy anything in plastic. My usual drink is home-made lemonade - I hand squeeze lemons into tap water. This hides the taste for me. But once in a while I want to drink water. So I buy Fiji water. Because I prefer the taste. Go on. Hate me.
posted by vacapinta at 12:11 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


My point was that my "environmental impact" of drinking bottled water is the same as all you Coke drinkers.

I'm not sure this is true. Generally Coke is bottled and distributed reasonably close to where it is being sold.

It also tastes like awesome and oh fuck yes. And you can't quantify that.
posted by chunking express at 12:14 PM on August 18, 2009


Because Coke is fucking awesome.

We shouldn't really be drinking Coke either. It's a really rather unpleasant company. Allegations include paramilitary killings of union leaders in Columbia, causing droughts in India, and so on. Oh, and it sells tap water in bottles to gullible consumers, Dasani. When introduced in the UK they bottled municipal water from Sidcup, treated it, and in the process introduced high levels of Bromate - a suspected carcinogen. Dasani is now not sold in Europe.

Check out this book with the terrible name by Mark Thomas - Belching out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola if you're interested in a lefty criticism of the company.
posted by knapah at 12:15 PM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just nuke the brands from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.
posted by knapah at 12:18 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because Coke is fucking awesome.

I'm not going to argue that one way or the other, but just point out that most soft drinks are actually bottled fairly close—relative to source-specific bottled waters like Fiji or Poland Spring—to their point of consumption. And the bottling plants are where the syrup and tap water are mixed together and carbonated to produce the stuff you actually drink.

For example, at least last time I checked, most bottled Coke in NYC comes from a plant in Hawthorne (maybe Elmsford), NY. So when you drink a Coke, you're effectively drinking Hawthorne tap water, run through a filter and then flavored and carbonated.

Drinking bottled Coke (or Dasani water) is certainly not as good from a perspective of waste (packaging, water, and energy) as drinking a fountain Coke—which is typically mixed in the fountain with actual tap water—and regular tap water would certainly be better than that, but it's a far sight better in most cases than water hauled from the other side of the planet. It's a question of moving tens or hundreds of miles versus moving thousands, and there's at least a chance it's coming from the same aquifer or other source as your tap.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:18 PM on August 18, 2009


So is this thread supposed to get people to stop drinking Fiji water...and instead drink Evian or something instead?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:20 PM on August 18, 2009


And yeah, I'm in no way defending Coca-Cola as a company; knapah's points are all good ones.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:20 PM on August 18, 2009


I was going to post this, but couldn't do it without making comparisons of Fiji Water to Whole Foods... AND APPLE.
posted by wendell at 12:22 PM on August 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm certain that anyone who finds their tap water too unpalatable can find a reasonable home reverse osmosis kit to install. Or buy local water that has been purified. But buying water shipped halfway around the globe will never be a ecological solution. If you insist on buying your water one liter at a time, at least make smart choices within that context.
posted by hippybear at 12:22 PM on August 18, 2009


Yeah, I buy bottled water occasionally. When I'm no where I can get a cup, or when a place is selling soda fountain cups of water for more than a bottle (happened last night). Sulphur water is a big problem around here.

And it is true that some brands of bottled water can be distinguished from others. Not because one is better, but some cheap brands taste unaccountably nasty.

But generally I agree that buying bottled water is pretty stupid.
posted by JHarris at 12:25 PM on August 18, 2009


So I buy Fiji water. Because I prefer the taste. Go on. Hate me.
posted by vacapinta at 12:11 PM on August 18


it's really not about the environmental impact but rather the brutal military dictatorship

surely you can do something as simple as change brands; no one's asking you to pick up a rifle dude
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:27 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


SIGG bottle

Is this where I point out how much SIGG bottles irritate me because they are exactly the same form factor as fuel bottles?

The first time I saw one I wondered why the shit someone had white gas at their desk.
posted by flaterik at 12:27 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


That coffee you're drinking is less eco-friendly than that bottled water.

It's easier to come up with basically equivalent but more environmentally friendly alternatives to bottled water, though, than it is for coffee or Coke.

The Coke lovers are gross on account of all that HFCS, though. Get with the program people.

I guess I'm lucky to have delicious municipal water.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:27 PM on August 18, 2009


Wait, you guys are drinking water? Like in the toilet?
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 12:31 PM on August 18, 2009 [21 favorites]


[The Resnicks also] own a pesticide company, Suterra, and Lynda Resnick almost single-handedly created the pomegranate fad via their Pom Wonderful brand.

"Yeah, I'll have a Pom Wonderful Organophosphate Pesticide on the rocks, please. And I want that ice made of Fiji water."
posted by nosila at 12:34 PM on August 18, 2009


Is this where I point out how much SIGG bottles irritate me because they are exactly the same form factor as fuel bottles?

The first time I saw one I wondered why the shit someone had white gas at their desk.


Doesn't irritate me, but it does freak me out, first time I saw one I had the exact same thought, "Damn, people are drinking camp stove fuel now? Times are tough." I have one too.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:35 PM on August 18, 2009


But once in a while I want to drink water. So I buy Fiji water. Because I prefer the taste. Go on. Hate me.
posted by vacapinta at 12:11 PM on August 18


OK, I'm hating at you pretty hard, can you feel it yet?
posted by 445supermag at 12:38 PM on August 18, 2009


I have grown to love D.C. tap water.

It must be the lead aftertaste that I find so appealing..
posted by pwedza at 12:38 PM on August 18, 2009


I don't know about you guys, but I'm switching to vodka.
posted by NoraReed at 12:39 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT HOLD EVERYTHING

66 comments and not a single our precious bodily fluids joke?

I don't even know you people anymore.
posted by Kattullus at 12:40 PM on August 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


If they're not paying taxes...

Kick-backs & bribes grease more wheels than taxes ever did.

It saves time visually separating out the idiots.

Except for the folks that refill the bottles with tap because they enjoy the convenience of carrying around water in a container that can be closed & refrigerated.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:41 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know about you guys, but I'm switching to vodka.

I saw a dude at the grocery store yesterday wearing a "Conserve Water: Drink Beer" T-shirt.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:45 PM on August 18, 2009


it's really not about the environmental impact but rather the brutal military dictatorship

surely you can do something as simple as change brands; no one's asking you to pick up a rifle dude
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:27 PM


Now, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I didn't honestly know Fiji had a dictatorship before reading this. I'll definitely see if I can find an alternative.
posted by vacapinta at 12:47 PM on August 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


Does it count as locally sourced if you're using one of those machines from Tank Girl that kills people by sucking water out of them?
posted by NoraReed at 12:47 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


As long as we're giving technical advice, just log into Gmail, click Settings -> General -> scroll to the very bottom and select "Always use https".

Thank you.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:50 PM on August 18, 2009


Fiji Water is truly a ridiculous product, but is there any real connection between that company and the thugs that threatened the reporter in Fiji? Seems like to seperate issues (or a very tenuous connection at best).

The New Yorker ran a profile of Lynda Resnick a while ago. It was a pretty good, inspiring, even, story of entrepreneurship.

I must say, though, that the products the Resnicks sells don't appeal to me at all. Fiji Water is a waste of packaging and C02, and it comes from a dictatorship. How anyone could drink it I'll never know.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:54 PM on August 18, 2009


In junior high, all the girls in my dance class were drinking bottles of Evian, so I went to the store and bought one. I was really disappointed when I realized it was just water. I thought it would at least be fizzy or something.
posted by futureisunwritten at 12:54 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mmmmmm Newfoundland tap water.
posted by futureisunwritten at 12:55 PM on August 18, 2009


Huh, I would also worry about keylogging, in addition to, uh, not using encryption. Bring your own smartphone & keep it with you, or a laptop with a live CD, kept separately.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:00 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wear a stillsuit.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:04 PM on August 18, 2009 [11 favorites]


Fiji Water is truly a ridiculous product, but is there any real connection between that company and the thugs that threatened the reporter in Fiji? Seems like to seperate issues (or a very tenuous connection at best).


"What Mooney didn't say is that though Fiji Water may fill a void in the impoverished nation, it also reaps a priceless benefit: tax-free status, granted when the company was founded in 1995. The rationale at the time, according to the company: Bottled water was a risky business with uncertain chances of success. In 2003, David Gilmour said that his ambition for Fiji Water was "to become the biggest taxpayer in the country." Yet the tax break, originally scheduled to expire in 2008, remains in effect, and neither the company nor the government will say whether or when it might end. And when Fiji has tried to wring a bit of extra revenue from the company, the response has been less than cooperative. Last year, when the government attempted to impose a new tax on water bottlers, Fiji Water called it "draconian" (a term it's never used for the regime's human rights violations) and temporarily shut down its plant in protest."
posted by kathrineg at 1:06 PM on August 18, 2009


Living in the land of Poland Springs, here, I have a hard time judging Fiji drinkers harshly.

(It's all stupid, of course. Different sizes and shapes of identically-tasting stupid.)
posted by rokusan at 1:13 PM on August 18, 2009


For people on the go who can't find waterfountains around to quench their thirst:

assume you will be thirsty. Take water with you. Think ahead.

I have a 1,5L diet coke bottle I bent over backwards to bring to the US from my stay in France, and I loved it so much it was easy to turn it into a water bottle. The tap water at home isn't so great, so I fill it up in the mornings at the MEEG building. We have a filter on the tap water at home, so I can fill it up there as well. Put a little sports bottle cap on it so I don't have to bother unscrewing the lid.

There's even two handy slots in my backpack; umbrella on one side, huge ass water bottle on the other side.

I did that all last june as well. Coke is too expensive to drink in Europe, and I couldn't remember the French for "tap water" (carafe d'eau), so I took my bottle with me and drank it at lunch.

Seriously though, if you're going to work at this environmentalist thing, you have to plan ahead. Splurging $2 for 12 oz of water is a luxury a lot of people can't afford in monetary values, and how many of us can afford it in ecological values?
posted by rubah at 1:13 PM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


"You know what happened to women during the 2000 coup, don't you?"

No, what happened to women during the 2000 coup?
posted by semmi at 1:17 PM on August 18, 2009


semmi: Yeah, sideways threats about prison rape. Didn't we already do that to death in a thread recently?
posted by hippybear at 1:27 PM on August 18, 2009


Last year, when the government attempted to impose a new tax on water bottlers, Fiji Water called it "draconian" (a term it's never used for the regime's human rights violations) and temporarily shut down its plant in protest."

A large, influential corporation putting the boots to a host community in a weak position is hardly new or unique. My point is, the Fijian security forces are hardly coordinating activities with Fiji Water, which is implied by the article in the link.

Although I don't see how the writer could leave an experience like that out of their story.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:27 PM on August 18, 2009


And don't forget to *encrypt your email* which this does *not* do. It encrypts the connection from your browser to gmail's server which would have helped in this case, but doesn't protect the email on its way from gmail to its final destination.

Um, if the dude at the counter of the internet cafe has his screen sharing terminal open ready to show the Junta-cops, what the fuck difference does it make how many SHA-1 hashes you put on your keypair people
posted by neustile at 1:32 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


They obviously frighten and/or bribe Fiji's corrupt government, while using none of their political power or profits to benefit the country as a whole, or to pressure the government to improve the human rights situation.

Hence, Fijian security forces who protect Fiji Water at the expense of human rights and freedoms.
posted by kathrineg at 1:32 PM on August 18, 2009


just FYI: whenever I do investigative reporting I type all that shit on my LeapPad and send it to the Bureau by tapping on the phone handset
posted by neustile at 1:33 PM on August 18, 2009


Folks, y'all know how to actually verify that your ordinary tap water is at least OK, right?

1) Type the name of your water district/provider into Google and find their page.
2) Look for something like "water quality report." It should be there. It's even on my local Polish page.
3) Compare your local water quality to national/international standards.

Many of my colleagues in my town in Poland told me that drinking tap water was MADNESS, that the "chemicals" in the water would do all sorts of bad stuff both immediately and down the line.

It turns out that our water is way, way better than the Polish national average, and is well within European and WHO limits for safety, purity, and hardness.

Did a single one of them ever check this? No. And having lived in countries where water companies sponsor cosmetic/publicity-oriented sanitation facilities in schools but don't pay enough tax to government to ensure clean drinking water for all, it infuriated me that for months I had just assumed that of course the water would be dodgy when it was perfectly fine.

It's absolutely the best thing about living in a developed country. The rest of the world wishes they had it this good.
posted by mdonley at 1:50 PM on August 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Coke is too expensive to drink in Europe, and I couldn't remember the French for "tap water" (carafe d'eau)

If France is like Germany, knowing the words for "tap water" won't make a difference. Asking for "water" in a German restaurant gets you a little 0,3l blue glass bottle of water for something like 2 euros, maybe more. Asking for TAP water at a restaurant would be like asking for something for free. It is simply not done. And if you're still thirsty after those 300 millilitres, you pay another two euros. It's one of the most annoying things about Europe, the complete and unquestioning reliance on bottled water. When I complained about this to a seatmate on a ICE train from Berlin to Frankfurt last winter, she didn't get my complaints because the bottles are recyclable. I don't think she could wrap her brain around the idea of literally drinking tap water.

And it's been that way for many decades. I spent the summer of 1981 studying German in Krefeld and, at 17, had never seen water sold in bottles that wasn't (1) distilled water that people would use in, say, their irons, or (2) Perrier, which was only something you'd order in a restaurant. Suddenly EVERY request for water became one for the "sprüdlend" variety of "Mineralwasser," which I still cannot stand, at least until a houseguest from France brought along a 2-litre plastic bottle of, yes, Evian. I loved it (no bubbles!) but never encountered water in plastic bottles for many years after that. Now, as I've seen on more recent trips, Europeans are so addicted to bottled water after generations of drinking it that they can't even imagine drinking tap water. It's sad.

Where I live (Calgary) the tap water is delicious beyond description, cold glacier-fed Bow River water that is actually better before Brita treatment (I just use Brita water for my espresso machines) and I wish more people appreciated it. Unlike in Europe, North America isn't past the point of no return here.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:51 PM on August 18, 2009


As a counter-point, I know a lot of Europeans who happily drink tap water (they span most of western Europe). I've even been able to get glasses of tap water in various places across Europe for free!

The only time I regularly drank bottled water was when I spent time in Moscow, and I believe that water only had a problem due to the building I was in rather than anything wrong with the municipal supply.
posted by knapah at 2:01 PM on August 18, 2009


Why don't more people use encryption? Seriously people.

I wouldn't be surprised if encrypted emails attracted more attention from the officials.
posted by knave at 2:04 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


delmoi: Why don't more people use encryption? Seriously people.
Maybe I just missed it, but I didn't see anything in the story that confirmed the notion that the police really could read or really had been reading her email.

Bluffing is an easy, low-budget alternative to eavesdropping.
posted by Western Infidels at 2:27 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maine has delicious, clean water straight from the tap. That's one of the nice things about living in the 1st world - clean water. We have so much of it we can use potable water to wash clothes and water the garden. Shipping water from Fiji is criminally stupid. Bottled water is a useful convenience item when you're out and want a quick easy beverage, but it's otherwise ridiculously wasteful, and not as clean or safe as tap water, though generally plenty clean and safe.
posted by theora55 at 2:34 PM on August 18, 2009


Oh, and I'm not aware of anyplace in Maine with a military junta, although up north, we border Canada, so who knows.
posted by theora55 at 2:35 PM on August 18, 2009


If France is like Germany, knowing the words for "tap water" won't make a difference. Asking for "water" in a German restaurant gets you a little 0,3l blue glass bottle of water for something like 2 euros, maybe more. Asking for TAP water at a restaurant would be like asking for something for free. It is simply not done.

That's actually not a Europe thing, it depends on the country. In France most places will give you a carafe of tap water for no charge.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:04 PM on August 18, 2009


I've had far too much bottled water in my life (the legacy of raves and clubs). Nowadays it's just tap, though as noted above occasionally a San Pellegrino or something.

But I have had Fiji, and I really gotta say it's delicious fucking water.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:05 PM on August 18, 2009


Everyone in California complains about the quality of the tap water. It's freaking fine. And it is high in calcium!
posted by Xoebe at 3:08 PM on August 18, 2009


I don't drink water; fish fuck in it.
posted by Rangeboy at 3:16 PM on August 18, 2009


I drink bottled water purchased in bulk from Costco, because our pipes are old and probably made of lead. I take the bottles to work once in a while and keep one on my desk that I refill from the tap, until it gets too grungy. When we finally get those pipes replaced it’s back to good old Seattle tap water for me.

But my real worry is this: my best friend is moving to Fiji in October. No lie. I can’t change her mind and she’s getting tired of me forwarding articles like this one. I hope she’s going to be ok.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 3:17 PM on August 18, 2009


Coincidentally, today I heard about an episode of Penn & Teller with a 'water sommelier' who, of course, is given a bunch of identical tap water. I haven't seen that show in a long time, but that sounds pretty awesome.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 3:18 PM on August 18, 2009


I actually like water fountains, maybe because they remind me of being a kid. It annoys me that there seem to be fewer of them around. Many that I do find are broken. I imagine the people who install and maintain them see all the people with bottled water and decide "why bother?"

Damn you, bottled water.
posted by orme at 3:34 PM on August 18, 2009


Remember people, use https://mail.google.com, not http://mail.google.com.

The only time you can trust SSL is when you can trust the certificate store on the computer you're using. An Internet cafe in a banana republic? Probably not.
posted by mendel at 4:50 PM on August 18, 2009


There is absolutely nothing wrong with the tap water in the part of California where I live. It boggles my mind that grocery stores stock and sell palette-loads of the plastic shelled future rubbish.

an episode of Penn & Teller with a 'water sommelier' who, of course, is given a bunch of identical tap water

clip
posted by Rhomboid at 4:50 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I could make a million dollars if I could bottle up the water I drank in the Elk Mountains. The glacial there is atop old spirally early-age fossils. Limestone filtration. Best damn water evah.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:59 PM on August 18, 2009


SHA-1 hashes you put on your keypair people

twitch twitch
posted by shadytrees at 5:36 PM on August 18, 2009


assume you will be thirsty. Take water with you. Think ahead.

What do you do when you run out nowhere near a water fountain? I carry a Sigg bottle with me all over but when it is empty I will buy a bottle of water.
posted by SuzySmith at 6:01 PM on August 18, 2009


^ Evil ^
posted by smackfu at 6:15 PM on August 18, 2009


You could carry a silcock key.
posted by box at 6:52 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


assume you will be thirsty. Take water with you. Think ahead.

Zero favourites? Goddamn you people depress me.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:32 PM on August 18, 2009


Well.
posted by unSane at 7:47 PM on August 18, 2009


Dowsing.
posted by box at 7:49 PM on August 18, 2009


I grew up on delicious, fresh well water, and could drink from a hose out in front of the house. Best tasting water ever.

Now, my tap water tastes like muck, even with the filter (which we need to change more often). And Fiji Water IS delicious. I didn't realize it until I had to drink tons of water after a kidney problem and bought the big, square bottles because I'd be running errands all day.

But I do know that bottled water is bad for the environment, so I'm trying to kick the bottle habit.

I just wish the water from my sink wasn't so...blah.
posted by misha at 7:55 PM on August 18, 2009


Ok, since we're having a tap vs bottled...I DO NOT LIKE FLAT WATER. I like carbonated water. So, how evil am I? Where do I rate? Sometimes I buy Pellegrino. I've bought Perrier. Sometimes I buy Trader Joe's. I HAVE NO BRAND LOYALTY I'M ALL OVER THE PLACE I CANNOT BE STOPPED. I'm trying to curb the soda intake and like a smoker gets those fake cigarettes I need something fizzy damnit OTHERWISE I START JONESING SOMETHING FIERCE. I like the lime and the lemon flavoured ones the most but what I'd like to know about tap water is WHY DOES IT TASTE DIFFERENT COMING FROM THE BATHROOM SINK? I hate bathroom tap water. Here in BC there's no excuse for not recycling the plastic bottles as you can recycle them via the supermarket like Save-On.

That having been said, internet cafe + military junta = bad plan. I know journalists get paid very little, it'd be nice to see publishers set-up satellite internet access so that they can travel with netbooks and send off encrypted emails from non-public terminals.
posted by Salmonberry at 8:44 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fish don't fuck in naturally carbonated water.
posted by Kattullus at 8:53 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


The first time I saw one I wondered why the shit someone had white gas at their desk.
Whatever you need to get through the day, man.
posted by scruss at 9:18 PM on August 18, 2009


You could try NEWater, from another tropical island nation with an authoritarian government. So environmentally friendly, the water itself was recycled too!
posted by destrius at 10:56 PM on August 18, 2009


Salmonberry, I've had exactly one soda in about the last year and a half*, and that was to help with my shaky belly on the way home from the NoLa meetup paired with bad, bumpy highways. I knew that a Coke over a lot of crushed ice was decent medicine for that, and we had 8 more hours to go in the car.

When I want something carbonated, my solution is Izze sodas. Carbonated water and fruit juice. Very yummy.

I'm not knocking your carbonated water jones at all. Just offering an alternative that doesn't had HFCS in it, which is what I've been avoiding, and still tastes good.

* Result? I've lost over 30 pounds without doing anything different and feel a lot better in general.
posted by lilywing13 at 11:02 PM on August 18, 2009


The New Yorker ran a profile of Lynda Resnick a while ago. It was a pretty good, inspiring, even, story of entrepreneurship.

From the profile (which doesn't mention the mining operations, apparently)
At nineteen, she opened her own advertising agency, in L.A., and, in 1962, she married Hershel Sinay. The marriage didn’t last, but the agency did. In 1969, she played a small role in history when she allowed Daniel Ellsberg to use the copier at her agency.
She's like a character from Mad Men or something (which I saw for the first time Sunday after realizing for the first time that it was on basic cable, not HBO)
posted by delmoi at 11:06 PM on August 18, 2009


To be honest, I don't understand this need people have to be drinking water all damn day. I've got my Sigg bottle, it sits on my desk at work for when I get thirsty in the afternoon. I manage to get by whole weekends without having a sudden thirst attack that results in me having to buy a bottle of water. I drink in the morning before I go out, if I'm having lunch out I'll order a glass of juice or Coke or a coffee in a mug, I can drink again when I get home.

You will not dehydrate if you have to wait an hour or so between sips of water.
posted by harriet vane at 3:35 AM on August 19, 2009


I'm not knocking your carbonated water jones at all. Just offering an alternative that doesn't had HFCS in it, which is what I've been avoiding, and still tastes good.

Izze!?

Just get a fucking CO2 tank and make it yourself. Bottled carbonated water is nearly as asinine as the non-fizzy version.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:50 AM on August 19, 2009


Fish don't fuck in naturally carbonated water.

Oh yeah? Who do you think is making all those bubbles?
posted by orme at 5:15 AM on August 19, 2009


Just get a fucking CO2 tank and make it yourself.

You don't even have to go to those extremes. The old Harpo Marx prop of a seltzer bottle works like a charm for carbonating just about any liquid.
posted by hippybear at 7:32 AM on August 19, 2009


Carbonated water is hard as hell on the teeth, isn't it? Acidic, I believe.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:39 AM on August 19, 2009


I couldn't get the kk.org link above to work, but here's instructions on making your own "carbonation cap" from a few hardware-store parts, plus a tank of CO2 and some gas tubing.

Supposedly soda bottles are good up to 12 bar or 174 psi, but I think I'd want to use caution when charging one up. (Actually, one thing that the guy does in the video—charge an empty bottle—I'd probably never do; you are playing with a lot of contained energy when you have a vessel just full of gas, versus say one filled mostly with liquid and only a little gas in the headspace.)

Also, if you do this, be sure to chill the liquid in the fridge first, then carbonate, and then chill it some more before opening the cap. Cold liquids can take a lot more CO2 than warm ones, and warm water will go flat much faster than cold.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:10 AM on August 19, 2009


You will not dehydrate if you have to wait an hour or so between sips of water.

You obviously do not ride the subway in NYC in August
posted by kathrineg at 10:21 AM on August 19, 2009


I knew I had read about Lynda Resnick somewhere else before.
posted by of strange foe at 10:27 AM on August 19, 2009


You will not dehydrate if you have to wait an hour or so between sips of water.

Well, you might not. But why risk it? School started here last week. Yes, last week, on August 10, which is ridiculously early, and when the temp is running around 100 degrees F in the afternoon. We've had two kids in the same high school collapse from dehydration and sunstroke just in the last few days.
posted by misha at 11:24 AM on August 19, 2009


Fiji water has a dangerously higher percentage of deadly dihydrogen monoxide than my local tap water does.
posted by Hylas at 12:34 PM on August 19, 2009


You will not dehydrate if you have to wait an hour or so between sips of water.

That depends entirely what you are doing.

In extreme cases you may die.
posted by unSane at 2:55 PM on August 19, 2009


You obviously do not ride the subway in NYC in August

That's true. I live in a city in Australia that each summer gets temperatures of over 40C (104F), sometimes for weeks at a time, with little relief from the hot weather at night because I live on the side of the city that doesn't always get the sea breezes. Sometimes it gets up to 45C (113F). I take the train and the bus then walk in the sun for a while to get to work/home, because I don't have a driver's licence even though this is an extremely car-centric city.

I agree that cold water is lovely when it's that damn hot, and you do need to make sure you get enough water. I've also collapsed from dehydration and sunstroke - it was because I hadn't drunk more than maybe a glass of water, a Coke and maybe a beer or two over the previous two days. It was not because I don't carry a bottle of water with me at all times like a talisman.

Drinking a big glass of tap water several times a day will keep you as equally hydrated as having frequent sips of water taken from a military dictatorship where 30% of the population doesn't have clean drinking water, which is then packaged in fossil-fuels, and shipped around the world to you. That fossil-fuel bottle will only be recycled about 20% of the time (going by Aussie stats), the other 80% of the time it'll take at *least* 20 years to decompose in landfill (or just be swept out to the great garbage patch in the Pacific).

So yeah, a couple of hours without a sip of water is much less damaging to your future than buying bottled water. Or you could plan ahead and bring a steel or glass bottle (or even a sturdy plastic one that'll last for years) with you if you know it's going to be a hot day with not much time to stop for a drink.
posted by harriet vane at 3:00 AM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


or the fact that its signature bottle is made from Chinese plastic in a diesel-fueled plant and hauled thousands of miles to its ecoconscious consumers.

Wow. As a logistics guy, just the simple fact that the bottles are produced in China and then must be shipped - *empty* - to the factory in Fiji, let alone that they must be shipped - full - to their retail outlets, is astounding.

Shipping containers - the kind you see when you're in a port town like Miami or Los Angeles or Newark, the kind you also see loaded onto freight trains or overland cargo-hauling 18wheelers, come primarily in 4 sizes: a 40' container, a 45' container, a 40'-High container, and a 20' container. Its interesting to note that, at least up until the economic downturn, the US was dealing with an over-import issue with these containers, that is to say that many ships would offload their cargo, then turn around and steam back to China to get more containers, without taking any empty containers back. It was more cost effective to leave them in growing empty mountains around the various port towns.

Anyway, these containers, which the Fiji bottles are undoubtedly shipped from China to Fiji in, are filled on the basis of 1) weight, and 2) volume. The classic example is batteries (weight) vs. plush dolls (volume). You are going to fill a 40' container roughly only approximately 2 feet high in the container with batteries before the container has reached its maximum safe cargo weight limit. That leaves you with another 8' feet or so (depending on the container you are utilizing and the type of battery) of empty space in that container that has to be shipped, at an environmental and economical cost. The solution? Put in less batteries and fill the empty space with the amount of plush dolls (or Fiji bottles, or whatever) that will *also* fill the container to its "volume" limit. The problem is that its usually not very easy to do this, unless your plush doll factory happens to be right next door to your battery factory.

Now reverse the type of product you're shipping, you can fill a container with plush dolls to max out its "volume" restrictions (i.e. you can't fit any more in), but you are still essentially wasting the environmental and economic cost of not maximizing *both* the weight and volume limits of the container (i.e. if you took out some plush dolls and put in some batteries, overall, in the long run - lower shipping costs / environmental impact).

This is exactly what Fiji is doing by shipping empty bottles from China to Fiji - they are "voluming" out these massive containers by filling them with virtually weightless empty bottles - in essence they're shipping more air than plastic at the end of the day. Paying a huge freighter ship to haul these empty bottles to Fiji where they will be filled and then shipped on to the US et. al..

I mean just the implications of shipping the filled bottles is mind-numbing amounts of waste, but the shipping of the empty bottles? Astronomical.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2009


This is exactly what Fiji is doing by shipping empty bottles from China to Fiji...

Except, allkindsoftime, that Fiji water makes their own bottles at their own plant in Fiji. Just took a few minutes of googling to uncover that...

Anyways, I've switched to Brecon Carreg water which is bottled here in the UK. My wife conducted blind taste tests on me with a few bottled waters. Thats the one I ended up picking out.

Oh, and she added tap water to the taste test. In each case, after tasting that one my remark was "God, that one's nasty!"
posted by vacapinta at 9:51 AM on August 20, 2009


Might as well mention here that SIGG bottles contain BPA, the estrogen analogue that's freaking out the bioscientist types.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:01 AM on August 23, 2009


You probably saw it, fff, but just in case:

http://www.metafilter.com/84390/SIGG-admits-to-BPA
posted by box at 10:29 AM on August 23, 2009


Didn't see it. Surprised that someone feels that a news release is "best of the web." Or maybe MeFi is now a health notices service.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:59 PM on August 23, 2009


I learned about these guys and their $77 water filter here on Metafilter.
posted by mecran01 at 9:47 PM on August 23, 2009


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