Other Voices: Waterworks

The first Starbucks opened in Seattle in 1971. Today there are more than 20,000 stores, and business is growing around the globe. Lines form from Brooklyn to Botswana waiting on their orders of demi, grande, venti or trenta of mocha, espresso, dolce, flat, skinny, salted, blonde or latte with triple shots, soy, half-caf, super-heated, iced, room-temp or decaf. If you are in a nanosecond hurry, just shoulder past the peons for your day-starter at the mobile-order mosh pit. The java mumbo jumbo has unfortunately moved into our own Waterworld.

“Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.” Now the damn dam has been breached and restaurants and stores are in full spigot, selling us every type of water since the Garden of Eden.

Tap or bottled?

Bubbles or serene?

Colored or clear?

Sparkling or dull?

Mineral or spring?

Ionized or simonized?

Glacial or iceberg?

Infused or defused?

Well or puddled?

Flavored or straight?

Infused or confused?

Purified or dirty?

Gas or no gas (in Europe)?

Filtered or nonfiltered?

At a recent dinner in the Napa Valley, a waiter had the actual faucets to ask if we were interested in the restaurant’s “complimentary water.”

“No, we would rather have water that costs more than your most expensive Pinot Noir.”

It’s just water. Where did we go so wrong?


Andy Dolich operates Dolich & Associates, a sports consultancy in Los Altos.

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