The other day, my friend revealed something to me that I wouldn’t even tell a priest within the sacred confines of a confessional when he shamelessly proclaimed he preferred a certain brand of bottled water that I wouldn’t even give my dog out of respect for the bowl he drinks from. The admission was akin to hearing someone professing their love for the musical stylings of Hanson or praising the cinematic brilliance of Disaster Movie, so I threw him a pity laugh as a way of saying “That was a bad joke but I acknowledge the effort you put into it” before realizing he was deadly serious.
If you make a living as a talking head on ESPN or host a show on sports radio, routinely dreaming up outrageous takes designed to enrage as many people as possible is practically your job description. Do Max Kellerman and guys doing the morning drive on mid-market stations who’ve legally added “Dawg” to their name believe all of the shit they say? Obviously not, but in a modern media environment where hate clicks reign supreme, I can’t necessarily blame people who’ve decided to make a living on the back of virtually indefensible hot takes.
However, you don’t really have to care about ratings when you’re engaged in a conversation with a few of your buddies, which is where my friend voluntarily dropped this damning revelation about the brand of bottled water he favors even though he was more than aware that I pride myself on my ability to make sweeping judgments about a person for the most mundane reasons imaginable.
The series of unfortunate events that led to this incredibly unfortunate piece of information coming to light took place a couple of weekends ago when I and some fellow comics were having a socially distanced chat after spending the afternoon hosting our version of an open mic at a park in New York City. While the person who reached out to the NYPD to complain the show was just “millennials yelling obscenities and talking about sex within earshot of a playground” may not have been a huge fan, clubs are closed so we’ve been resigned to telling jokes to whoever’s in the vicinity of where we set up shop, which features more small children, heroin users, and hustlers than you’d typically find within the confines of a traditional comedy venue.
At one point, we were approached by a budding entrepreneur we’d run into on previous occasions who supplements the income he generates by selling drinks from the cooler he lugs around with the face masks and loose cigarettes stashed in his backpack; the kind of guy with a drive that would force Gary Vee to change his boxers. While you’ve got to love the convenience, the quality of the goods he offers leaves a bit to be desired, as the masks feel like they’ve already been used and the cigs are broken half of the time. However, thanks to his firm no return policy, you don’t have much recourse once the cash changes hands.
With that said, nothing leaves more to be desired than the brand of water he exclusively peddles: Dasani. I initially assumed my friend’s internal organs were on the verge of shutting down due to a lack of hydration when he asked for a bottle because I couldn’t think of any other scenario where he’d pay money for one so I was obviously taken aback when he casually revealed there was no other offering on the market he loved more.
As I mentioned, I’m of the opinion that the small, everyday decisions people make can be a huge indicator of their true character. For example, if someone prefers Android over iPhone or flags down a waitress to complain about their burger being cooked medium-well instead of medium, I’m going to think less of them as a person. Seemingly minor decisions and actions can speak volumes about your personality and I won’t apologize for jumping to conclusions based on them. I didn’t make the rules; I just live by them.
I can understand why you might think it’s unfair to make broad assumptions based on something as innocuous as the brand of bottled water someone prefers. Sure, they might mostly be loyal to a particular label because it’s what their parents bought when they were growing up, but if that’s the case, I’m going to assume they’re the kind of person who’s unwilling to take risks or step outside of their comfort zone. If you’re a functioning adult, there’s no real excuse for not attempting to broaden your horizons and exploring the plethora of options on the market today.
So what makes me qualified to judge people based on their go-to water? Well, I don’t want to brag, but I’ve been drinking the stuff for almost 25 years and not a day goes by where I don’t toss some back. I’m not trying to flex here, but I think I’m more than suited for the task at hand and am incredibly confident I could hold my own with this nerd if presented with the opportunity.
So, without further ado, here’s what your favorite water says about you.
This is, simply put, one of the best tasting waters in existence. You don’t know the true definition of “refreshing” until you’ve inhaled an ice-cold Aquafina with the thermometer pushing triple digits. You can just taste the freshness with every sip.
However, I also don’t know a single person who always has a stash of Aquafina at home. It’s almost exclusively an “out and about” water, so while it’s pretty easy to find at convenience stores and sporting events, it’s rare to see it in someone’s fridge. It’s reasonably priced (unless you’re at Yankee Stadium) but it’s almost never bought in bulk, so if you’re consistently drinking this within the confines of your abode, I’m going to assume something fishy is going on. I might not be able to pinpoint exactly what that something is but good luck convincing me otherwise.
Boxed Water seems to be the drink of choice of aspiring Instagram Influencers who dream of eventually getting paid to do a sponsored post for the company even though they aren’t giving them any real motivation to do so by routinely giving the brand exposure at no cost to them.
Boxed Water is surprisingly really good, and if you’ve never had it, I’d recommend giving it a try. However, under no circumstance should you make it your go-to brand unless you’re fine with being associated with people who collect tote bags emblazoned with the logo of public radio stations and own at least one pair of Dino-Stompers.
The only reason I tried Boxed Water is because I was at a work event where it was being handed out, and as much as I wanted to hate it, I took my first sip and was immediately hooked. Of course, I played it cool and went out of my way to tell anyone who would listen how dumb I thought the concept was and spent the night mocking the brand for trying way too hard to be cool by going with a minimalist design of the five cartons I consumed over the course of the gathering.
“Hipster” has become a pretty meaningless term, but if Boxed Water has a permanent home in your fridge, I have no choice but to believe you fit the profile of your typical Brooklyn residents circa 2016: a harbinger of gentrification who works at a coffee shop and wears a fanny pack across your shoulder to walk your dog named after a character in a Wes Anderson movie. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that but I just call it like I see it.
CORE is the definition of a Convenience Store Water, and if you’re regularly buying cases of it, you better be sending some of them to the private jet you can presumably afford to make sure you can reap the benefits of the carefully engineered pH level you’re paying a premium for everywhere your travels take you (I’d be lying if I said I know what those benefits are but the label says it’s a good thing and labels never lie).
If we’re being honest, what really sets CORE apart has less to do with the water itself and more to do with the bottle it’s contained in; there’s something about the way it sits in your hand that just feels right. You also can’t overlook the groundbreaking cap design that no other brand can hold a candle to. Is the extra plastic bad for the environment? Probably, but what would you rather have: a cap that doubles as a cup or a habitable planet for your grandchildren? I’ll take that first one every single time.
People who drink CORE tend to not just be pretty conscious about their health but go to great lengths to make sure everyone else is conscious about how conscious they are. They’re like the people who rolled into the office every day with a gallon jug in tow back when offices were a thing, but contrary to what many people think, you can indeed put a price on class.
Crystal Geyser is the embodiment of “Home Water” and I’d argue its customer base almost exclusively consists of parents who buy it for their kids. When I see a bottle of this stuff, I’m immediately transported back to the summers I spent using it to mark the end zone while playing football with my friends and having a fight inevitably break out because someone took a sip from one and forgot to put it back in the right place.
If you’re drinking Crystal Geyser as an adult, you’re probably still living with your parents, as there’s literally no reason to buy it if you can afford basically any other bottled water on the market. There’s nothing particularly bad about it but I’m pretty sure you need an ID that says you’re at least 35 before they’ll let you leave the store with some.
I know I previously said there’s nothing wrong with drinking Dasani if you’ve reached the point of thirst where your body can’t even produce any of the urine that would honestly be a more desirable option but part of me would rather die than allow the KMart of waters to ever touch my lips again.
Drinking Dasani is not only a great way to show you don’t have any taste but a fantastic option when it comes to making sure the world knows you lack a single shred of self-respect. If you’re a fan, you probably wear pajama pants in public when getting a coffee that’ll eventually join the graveyard of cups littering the floor of your car and sit there untouched until you have to take a leak while driving.
The worst part about Dasani is that it somehow managed to become a ubiquitous multi-threat that can be found in far too many homes and businesses that don’t have a problem offering guests and customers water that shouldn’t even be used in an enema. I’d say we need to do better as a society but perhaps it’s just an accurate reflection of the reality we currently inhabit.
Evian may no longer have the same reputation it did before water infused with charcoal and whatever the hell “ions” are took the world by storm but the brand that Andy King was prepared to go to great lengths to acquire for Fyre Festival is the O.G. when it comes to expensive bottled waters inextricably linked with pretentiousness. There’s nothing particularly notable about the contents of the bottle to warrant how much you pay for it and buying it is akin to going to a fancy restaurant and ordering a $65 steak you finish in four bites that leaves you wondering why the hell you thought that was a good idea.
Evian can contribute most of its success to a masterclass in marketing that proved you can slap a fancy French name and an unjustifiable price tag on a mediocre bottled water and transform it into a status symbol. However, it’s lost a bit of its luster in recent years thanks to other companies that have sold equally unremarkable products that retail for an even more exorbitant amount—like the bottles of water containing a few stalks of asparagus that briefly retailed for $5.99 at a Whole Foods.
As a result, Evian has transformed into the “Weird flex but OK” of bottled water. I’m not entirely sure why anyone would still be loyal to the brand in this day and age but I imagine anyone who is also refuses to buy lab-grown diamonds because they’re convinced they just don’t have the same sparkle as the ones that help arm child soldiers in Africa.
If you drink Fiji, you’re a rich asshole. It might sound harsh but facts don’t care about your feelings.
While you could argue Voss (which we’ll get to in a bit) is the epitome of Rich People Water, I think Fiji still reigns supreme. It may have a slight edge in the flavor department compared to Evian but it’s just as overpriced, and while I’m not saying the only reason it got popular in the first place is because of brain damage linked to the elevated levels of arsenic it used to contain that made people think it was good, I’m also not not saying that’s the case.
People who drink Fiji seem to genuinely think they’re better than everyone else even though they tend to have more in common with the girl who got hired to hold a tray of bottles on the red carpet at the Golden Globes as opposed to the famous people she photobombed on her way to going viral before suing the company in an attempt to get a cut of the $12 million in exposure she provided it with.
Fiji: The Official Drink of People Who’ve Pulled Out “Do You Know Who My Dad Is?” When Arguing With A Bouncer Everywhere.
Nestlé Pure Life
Full disclosure: my opinion of Nestlé’s bottled water is a bit tainted because I mostly associate the brand with chocolate and have been unable to untrain my brain from detecting faint hints of nonexistent cocoa whenever I drink it. I know it’s irrational, but much like my dad still pronounces “Chipotle” as “Chi-pot-el” despite the countless times I’ve corrected him, I haven’t been able to deprogram myself.
Pure Life also makes me think of that kid you were sort of friends with in middle school but never really talked to again after you graduated from eighth grade whose family always had an ample supply on hand on the rare occasions you hung out at his house—with a catch: they exclusively stocked the Danny DeVito-shaped bottles because they apparently hated the environment as much as they despised satisfactory serving sizes.
Pure Life is an everyman’s water and it’s hard to judge anyone who always has a case at their place when you take both budget and taste into consideration. However (and I cannot stress this enough), you should absolutely judge anyone who goes into a store selling other brands at a similar price point and ultimately grabs one of these from the fridge like the psychopath they’ve unwittingly revealed themselves to be—especially if they declined to go with the next option.
Poland Spring is unquestionably the quintessential bottled water. Its taste is absolutely unparalleled but you wouldn’t know it based on how much it retails for and there’s no place or situation where a bottle would seem out of place. There’s truly nothing it can’t do. It’s the Mike Trout of bottled water. Sure, you can try to debate there are others who are more worthy of being deemed the best in the game, but deep down, everyone knows there’s no point in disputing one of life’s rare objective truths.
If you drink Poland Spring, you are a smart person with impeccable taste and a good head on their shoulders. The fact that it’s as rightfully beloved as it is might make some people claim anyone who says they like it more than anything else is just super basic, and while I normally love shitting on popular things whenever I get the chance, there are certain things in life that deserve all of the hype they get.
Poland Spring is one of those things.
More like Dumbwater! The water inside the bottle is as terrible as that wordplay but what’s arguably worse is the premium you’re paying for a container targeted at people who could care less about the contents of something as long as the package it comes in is aesthetically pleasing.
The only people who drink Smartwater are those who have either never had CORE or can’t afford it but are still willing to pay more than they should for a fancy bottle—especially all of the college students who seem to adore adorning their backpacks and desks with them. What’s that? You’re “sooooo broke?” Then maybe you shouldn’t drop $20 a week on bottled water at the dining hall. I guess the clear labels can come in handy if you need to think of an inventive way to cheat on a test but I’d rather fail a class than be the person who brings Smartwater to every lecture.
If you typically don’t cap off a visit to Costco by dropping $1.50 on a hot dog and the fountain drink of your choice, you’re doing everything wrong. However, if you crushed as many free samples as possible before checking out, grabbing one of these for a quarter before getting your receipt checked is a suitable alternative.
As is the case with basically anything that has “Kirkland” on the label, it’s hard to go wrong with this. As one of four kids, this was my family’s go-to water when I was growing up and I still consider myself a fan—as long as it’s cold. Some brands taste great regardless of the temperature (just one of many reasons Poland Spring is the G.O.A.T.) but if you’re drinking this—or basically any store brand—above 50 degrees, it’s not going to hit the same way.
However, I do have one major gripe: the bottle. Unlike all of the other waters on this list, something about the way this one sits in your hand just feels…wrong. It seems like it has more in common with a plastic bag than a plastic bottle. Sure, it might keep costs low and reduce the environmental impact but I can’t help but always feel like there’s a chance it might explode if I squeeze it a little too hard.
Most people who drink Kirkland would probably subsist on Poland Spring if money wasn’t a factor but can’t overlook how quickly the difference would at up. We’d typically go through a case of this stuff every other day at my house, and when you’re dealing with that kind of turnover, you can’t really be blamed for sacrificing a little bit in the taste department and going for the more economical option.
If you drink Voss, you need to get the fuck over yourself. Voss is strictly reserved for women trying to both hydrate and keep up appearances after playing two sets of tennis at their country club while they wait for their husband to finish up his round of golf.
Normal people don’t drink Voss, but sadly, we live in a world run by Voss drinkers with no perception of what “normal” is taking sips from a cylinder bottle to keep their vocal cords fresh while they record themselves singing “Imagine” in various spots on their giant yacht to try to figure out which one provides the best lighting.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If I ever reach a point in life where I find myself among the Voss-drinking elite, I would forget about all of you poors in a millisecond. For now, however, I am stuck making fun of people who throw a few bottles in their suitcase when they pack for a vacation to a place I can’t afford to visit.
That basically covers all of the bases, but what about the people who don’t drink bottled water? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Filtration devices are to bottled water what Netflix was to cable as more and more people have decided to forgo prepackaged offerings entirely as the Earth inches closer and closer to spontaneously combusting. It makes sense, as using a Brita or something similar is a great way to save money and tell yourself you’re saving the planet while doing so.
The water you end up drinking is significantly better than whatever you put through the filter, so while I’m personally a big fan, I also don’t live in Flint or within the vicinity of a fracking operation so I hesitate to make any sweeping judgments. However, there’s one major problem unique to this category that has nothing to do with the quality of the end product that can’t be ignored: the endless arguments about who’s going to refill it.
The fact that someone uses a water filter says much less about who they are as a person compared to what they do when it’s almost empty. I personally think common courtesy dictates you should always make sure there’s enough water remaining for anyone who uses it after you to pour themselves a glass. However, based on the roommates I’ve almost come to blows with over this issue, this is not a universal belief, as some people are more than fine with draining the entire thing and throwing it back in the fridge, inevitably claiming they were “in a rush” if they find themselves confronted.
In those scenarios, I’ve found it’s easier to just go back to bottled water because I care less about saving money and the environment than I do about not being arrested for beating someone to death with a Brita out of anger.
What do I even say here? When you consider all of the options out there, I can’t understand why anyone would drink water straight from the tap in 2020. We’ve come a long way since the days when you had to go into the yard and pump water into a bucket when you wanted some, but if you’re turning to a faucet in this day and age, I assume you still read by candlelight and prefer to use a horse and buggy to get around. I mean, I can understand saving money, but if you can afford to buy a filter and willingly decline to do so, you’re just a weirdo who can’t be trusted.
So, there you have it. I apologize if I’m the first person to inform you that you’re a trash human being if you like Dasani but I promise you’ll thank me eventually for sparing you more of the ridicule you didn’t know you were subjecting yourself to until now. I’m sure there are people who will disagree with some of the things I said here, but if I’ve learned anything writing things on the internet, it’s that you can’t please everyone. If I followed this up with a piece called “Pizza Tastes Good And Sex Is Fun,” I’d probably get at least one tweet beginning with the words “As an asexual with celiac disease…” because that’s just how things work.
However, I stand by everything I’ve said here, and if this results in even one person realizing their bottled water preference could be holding them back in life, then I’ll consider this a successful endeavor.