Two Companies Produce 53% Of Bottled Water, But Use Different Names To Make You Think It's Special
The idea of a bottled water monopoly seems ridiculous, because there are like 200 different brands available at your local supermarket alone. Look at all this variety!
NestleWe had no idea that there were so many ways to pretend that an identical chemical structure can taste differently.
But here's the thing: Every single one of those brands belongs to Nestle. And that's just the tip of the refreshing melted iceberg. Nestle owns 29.8% of the market in the U.S., with another 23.3% going to Niagara. (As in the company; people aren't dumping the water down a waterfall.) And yes, in many cases, it's the exact same water with different names. When E. coli was found at one of Niagara's water sources in Pennsylvania, they had to recall 14 different brands because they're all bottled at the same two plants. Turns out "Superchill Spring Water," "Acme Spring Water," and "Best Yet Spring Water" are all exactly as chill, despite what their names claim.
Sometimes the "spring water" part is equally bullshit. One of Nestle's top-selling brands is called Poland Spring, but according to an ongoing class-action lawsuit, it's more like Common Maine Groundwater. The lawsuit claims that Nestle has gone as far as planting plastic tubes to make regular well water flow into wetlands, which doesn't fit the FDA's already-flimsy definition of "spring water." You're paying extra for a pretty picture of vegetation on a label.
Wall Street JournalAlso, "Deer Park" isn't magical deer piss. Outrageous.
Nestle's MO consists of going into poor areas for cheap labor and cheaper water (in Michigan they pay a $200 yearly extraction fee) to make billions in profits, using lobbying and lawyers to shut down any resistance. If it's true that the wars of the future will be fought over water, we look forward to sporting our snazzy Nestle or Dasani uniform, with pictures of mountains and all.
Luxottica Buys All The Eyeglass Brands And Marks Up Prices By 1,000%
If you're wearing glasses, those frames currently touching your face probably cost around $4-$8 ($15 if you're fancy), and the lenses about $1.25 each. So why are we paying hundreds of dollars for our glasses? Are they assembled by dwarves in a magical hidden forest? Nope, it's because one company owns most of them, and that's ... well, what they want us to pay.
UCLA AndersonTurns out the little cloth that comes with the glasses costs $160.