Last week, Russian students Anna and Dmitry sat down for a fascinating conversation on what they’ve found most unusual about education in the U.S. One thing they both noted is how common it is for students to bring food and drinks to class, which would never happen in Russia. Dmitry remarked, “I was surprised when I realized people here can’t go anywhere without carrying a bottle of water with them.”
Well, our intrepid commenters jumped in to offer explanations for the bottled water phenomenon.
I grew up in the middle of the last century in L.A. [Los Angeles]. I remember being surprised that immigrants from Mexico and Latin America carried bottled water, even as they sold oranges on the street corner. I remember a ridiculous feeling like: WTF, our tap water is not good enough for them? Back then only the pretentious and celebrities conspicuously consumed bottled water.
[Carrying bottled water] wasn’t common when I was in college, but it’s normal now. The culture has shifted — wish I knew why!
“Thumper” suggested one explanation for the growth in popularity of bottled water:
The populace carries water everywhere because of the effectiveness of media advertising. When bottled water first appeared, I found it incredible that people would buy what they can get free out of a faucet. Now people pay more for water than for gasoline without a complaint.
While B. Fulton offered this explanation:
Carrying water everywhere is the next, lowest calorie, step in a long progression for people who carried soda cans everywhere. First, they carried full test soda; then, when they noticed that they had started to look like blimps, they carried artificially sweetened soda. Sipping filtered water all day long is probably much better than chugging can after can of sugar water which is a carbonated aqueous solution of industrial dyes, flavors, and sweeteners.
Are there any American behaviors that you’ve found particularly surprising or unusual? Tell us about it below or in the comments!