Expensive Retail Items
Bling H2O isn't the only product that charges high prices for otherwise inexpensive products. Here are some other overpriced items:
Diamonds - Most people suggest setting aside two to three months of your salary in order to pay for a diamond engagement ring. And De Beers, the world's leading diamond company, goes out of its way to tell you that a diamond is a rare thing. Diamonds are made from carbon, however, one of the most abundant elements on the planet. As a monopoly, De Beers doesn't just control the supply of diamonds -- they also create demand. Their advertising campaigns have solidified the image of diamonds and marriage in the public's mind. People rarely sell diamonds back because they see them as family heirlooms. On average, a high-quality engagement ring can cost $3,000 to $4,000.
Razors - Unless you regularly go to a barber shop to get a shave, you probably use a typical, name-brand safety razor, the kind you buy in the hygiene section at the grocery store. The razor's handle isn't the expensive part -- it's the endless number of disposable razor heads that end up costing lots of money. They generally cost as much (or more) than the handle itself, and they don't last very long before becoming dull.
Wine - Buying wine at a restaurant and buying wine from a store can be two completely different experiences. If you're eating out at a nice restaurant and want a bottle of wine, you might think about holding back until after the meal. Restaurants are notorious for setting their wine prices very high -- as much as three to four times the retail price.
Movie theater concessions - If you think the price of movie tickets is bad, take a look at how much popcorn, candy and a soda will cost you. Since most of the profit from ticket sales goes back to the studios, the theaters need some way to make money and stay in business. The popcorn that costs $4 at the concession stand only costs the theater owners about 40 cents [source: Ars Technica]. And of course, the $3 candy behind the flashy glass counter top is about 75 cents in a grocery store or gas station. Without these high markups, though, we wouldn't be able to enjoy movies on the big screen -- theaters wouldn't be able to afford it. If we want to crawl away from our high-definition TV sets and get out the house, the higher snack prices will have to stay for now.
People have been paying high markups on items like these for years. Sometimes, consumers don't even realize that what they're paying is far more than the purchase is worth. The $55 bottle of water isn't likely to fall into this category anytime soon, though.
To learn more about bottled water and related topics, see the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- Bling H20 Web site. http://www.blingh2o.com/
- Owen, James. "Bottled Water Isn't Healthier Than Tap, Report Reveals." National Geographic News. 26 Feb. 2006 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/02/0224_060224_bottled_water.html
- Wiles, Richard. "Bottled Water Costs More, for Us and the Environment." Sun-Sentinel. 11 Aug. 2007 http://www.ewg.org/node/22394
- "Drinking Water Costs & Federal Funding." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2004 http://www.epa.gov/safewater/sdwa/30th/factsheets/pdfs/fs_30ann_dwsrf_web.pdf
- "The Truth About Bottled Water - Is it really better than tap water?" All About Water. 2004 http://www.allaboutwater.org/tap-water.html
- Fisher, Ken. "A peek into movie theater economics." Ars Technica. 5 Jan. 2005 http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060105-5905.html
- "Most Expensive Wedding Dress." The Most Expensive Journal. 3 Sep. 2007 http://most-expensive.net/wedding-dress