Monday, July 31, 2006


Okay, I'll admit it: I'm a bottled-water junkie. Even filtered water retains a kind of funny smell that honest-to-God, I can detect. I think I have a pretty sensitive nose -- I can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi (or could, back when I drank the nasty stuff) by smell alone.

Anyway, I walked downstairs to the convenience store for a large bottled water a short while ago (as part of my recent concerted effort to lose weight, I'm aiming to drink about a half a gallon of water a day -- I buy the 1.5L bottles, which are almost half a gallon). The display price is $1.99 and it always rings up as $2.07. This is actually pretty reasonable as far as LA tax is concerned -- I think it works out to about half of regular sales tax. As I'm putting my money away a guy walks up next to me and purchases a bag of chips that are marked $.99. They ring up as $.99.

Excuse me?

So apparently the government has, in its vast wisdom, decided that it is a better idea to tax WATER consumption than to tax JUNK FOOD consumption.

How did this become smart policy? How does this make any sense??? We encourage eating junk food over water??? This is just wrong, wrong, wrong. How frustrating that the junk food manufacturers have SUCH a strong hold on our legislative bodies. I'm officially disgusted.


At July 31, 2006 at 12:26 PM, Blogger Micah said...

Never underestimate the lobbying power of the Frito Bandito.

Did you ever see the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! that dealt with bottled water? It was pretty damn funny (and I drink the stuff).

At July 31, 2006 at 12:51 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

I've heard of it -- absolutely, there may be people who can't honestly tell the difference. I think I'm one of the few who actually can, because I am *EXTREMELY* picky about what I drink (not as picky about what I eat, interestingly -- not sure why).

But even if you can't tell the difference in taste, I think filtered (bottled) water is better anyway -- it removes excess minerals like lead and other things that, sure, in trace amounts there's no documented statistically significant harm, but... I don't want to play that game. Even if tap water didn't make me gag, I'd worry about all the shit that's in it.

At July 31, 2006 at 1:29 PM, Blogger Micah said...

I'm not knocking bottled water. In fact, that's the only kind I consumed when I lived in a house with well water (talk about terrible taste...ugh). So I can totally understand taste preference.

Here is that P&T video.

Granted, they have their own bias, but they point out that bottled water doesn't necessarily mean better water.

At July 31, 2006 at 10:44 PM, Blogger lakhawk said...

I would imagine this phenomenon is similar to how a quart of milk at Walgreens is taxed but a quart of milk from the Co-Op grocery store isn't taxed. Of course, here in Chicago, I'll just blame it on patronage.

At August 1, 2006 at 10:35 AM, Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

It seems that anything which is consumed by humans, whether solid or liquid, should fall into the same tax category. Unless they are taxing bottled water as a luxury since tap water is available. (Albeit undrinkable in Southern California.) It's absurd that junk food should be given preferential treatment over water. No wonder obesity is a widespread (!) national problem.

I, too, am cursed with the nose of a tracking animal. Most people have no idea how pungent life is.

At August 1, 2006 at 7:22 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Micah, true enough -- I definitely have my preferences among brands ;)

lak, interesting, I never even thought of that. I grew to loathe the Co-Op by the time I left Hyde Park -- Fox & Obel was such a heavenly substitute :)

heartinsf, doesn't that just make more sense?? I feel your pain... I got my ridiculous sense of smell from my mom (thanks, Mom!) -- if only I'd gotten her high metabolism too... dammit!

At August 2, 2006 at 8:28 PM, Blogger Mlle Smith said...

For some reason, I can only drink Dasani, Aquafina...I think those are the only two.

Both are purified waters and I've noticed that they just tast crisper and don't have that weird aftertaste of other bottled waters.

Evian is disgusting.

At August 3, 2006 at 12:35 AM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

noire dire,

I am SOOOO with you. Dasani, Aquafina and Fuji are my absolute first choices. I'll drink Arrowhead in a pinch but I make sure to keep Dasani regularly stocked.

I truly dislike the taste of Evian.

At August 3, 2006 at 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think everything should be taxed..however...the tax on bottled water is called the "CA redemtion tax" and its for recycling. The tax helps pay recyclers so that they can pay you when you recycle all of you plastic containers. (its also charged for bottled sodas" I grew up in the country,(where there is not a garbage or recycling service like in the cities, with your cool blue recycle containers) and we used to keep all of our aluminum and plastic containers. Once a month we would haul it to the recyclers and us kids would get to keep the money)

At August 3, 2006 at 9:04 AM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Anon, that *might* be a good idea if the cost of gas didn't make any profit from this negligible to negative...

At August 10, 2006 at 7:57 AM, Blogger odderie said...

Evian is disgusting and oily, and Arrowhead is just hard and goes down heavy.

Fiji and Aquafina are winners in my books.

But as for the tax thing...are you sure it's not just the redemption (plastic recycling cost) thingee they add for plastics, glass bottles, cans, etc.?

At August 10, 2006 at 10:12 AM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Odderie, could be -- but, see, that would only be helpful if recycling was even half as much work as it currently is. To be honest, I don't know the first thing about recycling in Los Angeles. If the government's so keen on it, it really does a shitty job of letting me know how I'm supposed to do it.


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