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Listen to Win talk to Luke and Alison about his video piece on high-end water

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BPP Bling: Water at $55 a Bottle


BPP Bling: Water at $55 a Bottle

Listen to Win talk to Luke and Alison about his video piece on high-end water

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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At over 50 bucks a bottle, here's a new upscale beverage popping up in the hands of executives and movie stars all over the country. It's not surprising that it can be found in swag baskets at the MTV Video Music Awards. And maybe it's not shocking that the bottle is adorned with Swarovski crystals. Heck, you might not even bat an eyelash when you hear that Paris Hilton's dog drinks it. But we aren't talking about champagne, wine, or even a new energy drink.
This stuff is just plain old water.

It's called Bling H2O and it's billed as the "Cristal of Waters." I got to taste it myself at a Westchester, New York "water bar." The owner, Diane Felicissimo, a self-professed water connoisseur, indoctrinated me in the ways of high-end H2O. And because we're all about the unscientific survey, I brought a bottle back to Manhattan and gave New Yorkers a taste test to see if the Bling lives up to its price tag.

Click below for the full video.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Gosh, I knew that many people spend more for water per gallon than for gas, but $55 for a water bottle?

Sent by Steve Petersen | 6:10 PM | 9-7-2007

duh... all New Yorkers drink poland Springs. they are used to the taste! Bling is about a lifestyle and the fancy bottle not just the water!

Sent by arnild piazza | 7:42 PM | 9-7-2007

Good job Rosenfeld, I think you handled this story really well -

on another note
this story does a fantastic job of showing how effecient captilaism always is

Sent by Willie Green | 9:10 PM | 9-7-2007

Idiots! They all deserve to end up with puffy, water-filled ankles. Einstein was right... human stupidity is limitless.

Sent by Chris Pfuhl | 9:51 PM | 9-7-2007

This piece is AMAZING. Just snarky enough without going overboard.

Sent by J Hoo | 11:08 PM | 9-7-2007

Another American Capitalist Scam, And why not?....Water is the most abundant thing on the planet. Any type of water can be filtered, then sold for 100% markup. Insane.

Sent by David Carlin | 11:17 PM | 9-7-2007

It's not too far off...

Sent by T. Pastrama | 1:56 AM | 9-8-2007

$55. for a bottle of water to feel chick and the same chic folks still walk by the homeless in our streets without a second thought. Says something about our times, doesn't it? But it's the individual who has to decide exactly what it says.

Sent by EM | 6:35 AM | 9-8-2007

water may be good for you, but what about all that plastic?

Sent by manjula | 7:53 AM | 9-8-2007

I understand that the story was not about recycling, but I have to mention that the issue continues to concern me. If people have to drink bottled water, then let's set some standards for returning the reclyclable plastic bottles. I've been trying to stop using such bottles. I'm finding that filtered tap water is delicious once more.

Sent by jan Gartenberg | 11:00 AM | 9-8-2007

Sad commentary on our society, We spend big money on bottled water when the tap is healthy, using plastic bottles made from oil to hold it and filling up land fills with plastic bottles. Too bad we don't use some of these resources to help those in the world who don't have healthy water

Sent by mark ozog | 12:26 PM | 9-8-2007

wow.... Makes me want to support the bottled water industry even less XD

Sent by Alex H. | 12:46 PM | 9-8-2007

People Suck.

Sent by Josh | 5:54 PM | 9-8-2007

NYC tap water rules!

Sent by Adam | 8:39 PM | 9-8-2007

People are so gullible.

Sent by Hot Shots | 9:09 PM | 9-8-2007

There are no words to describe how shallow and greedy we as a people have become!!!

Sent by Sheena MW | 10:40 PM | 9-8-2007

I have an excellent water filter at home that is better than any bottled water on the market. Including the price of the filter, the water costs about 9 CENTS A GALLON.

Sent by Keisha Witherspoon | 11:16 AM | 9-9-2007

Just look at the lady who claims to be the water prophet. Scam is radiating from her presence. People, please don't be idiots and help put a closure to such acitvity by distributing this story to your friends.

Sent by Los Angeleno | 12:22 PM | 9-9-2007

That was an awesome story - very well presented!

As a crafter-type, I have to wonder what they do with all the leftover crystals...

Sent by Patty Heany | 1:19 PM | 9-9-2007

You hear a lot about bottled water vs. tap water, and how unsafe and unclean people think tap water is. What about filter systems, like britta and pur? Using these systems are much more environmentally and economically sound.

Sent by rachel | 2:34 PM | 9-9-2007

I've lived in Korea, Pakistan, and Jordan--where there is good reason for drinking bottled water. Hearing about Americans paying $55 for a bottle of water painfully illustrates how some of our citizens are divorced from reality. What a waste.

Sent by Michael Jones | 5:02 PM | 9-9-2007

ok...yes, americans are spoiled and think if they drink the right water they will live forever, however, don't forget the real topic...drop the "te" and see what the real toxic problem is!

Sent by jay | 6:46 PM | 9-9-2007

ps. spoiled... and wasteful etc. etc.

Sent by jay | 6:49 PM | 9-9-2007

Water may be the most abundant thing on the planet, but fresh water is not.

Sent by Ted | 10:04 PM | 9-9-2007

Ah the pretentious elite. May they squander much money on such a silly endeavor. Now, I'm off to by some used clothing from the Emperor. Someone told him that his new clothes were superior to his old wardrobe.

Sent by Brent | 9:11 AM | 9-10-2007

True wealth is about how little one needs to be happy. People spending $50+ on a bottle of water are either very sad, or very stupid, or both.

And jay, not all Americans are spoiled and wasteful, so please stop with the invectives.

Sent by Marleau Lee | 10:02 AM | 9-10-2007

It's certainly true that this illustrates how far people will go for chic, and the extent to which presentation affects a person's sensory perception, but don't you dare think this is some new human frailty, a "sign of the times." People has everywhere always been this stupid.

Sent by Philip Loguinov | 10:38 AM | 9-10-2007

I would like to know how would I start a business like this one. I think the idea will continue to grow, and I would like to be a part of it for the Southeast.

Sent by Delphine Castleberry | 10:47 AM | 9-10-2007

The woman in the video is a genius! All she is doing is selling a luxury brand in a commoditized market and the market for the $55 bottle or her ???tasting??? business exists for the same reason any other luxury product exist. What I want to know is, does she laugh at her customers at the end of the day, or has she convinced herself about her scam???

Sent by MJ | 2:08 PM | 9-10-2007

Why don't people buy a nalgene water bottle, keep it refridgerated, and bring it with them. I've done this for several years. Fossil fuels and money are saved this way. If a person is extremely concerned, buy a brita filter and then fill the nalgene bottle with water.

On another note, these $55 bottles of water are bought buy the famous and wealthy, but, who also claim that they are environmentalists. They have the nerve to tell us "average" people to follow their lead! Here's a secret: driving a hybrid car does not make you an environmentalist.

Sent by Kristine | 2:18 PM | 9-10-2007

I love tap water. I drink it all the time. Living in the USA is a luxury. In other countries, you really don't have that option, and are forced to buy bottled water for everything, even for brushing your teeth. In extreme situations, I will buy bottled water, but often reuse the bottles, filling them up with tap water when at home.

Sent by Becca | 3:13 PM | 9-10-2007

AWESOME, Great Job! Hope to see you again at the Water Cafe : ) Diane

Sent by Diane Felicissimo | 4:53 PM | 9-11-2007

I wonder if this is the brand that Al Gore drinks when he's onboard a private jet or limousine?

Sent by Mike W. | 11:19 PM | 9-11-2007

Bottled water in Cambodia only makes sense. Bottled water in America is just downright stupid. When you're thirsty on the go, fine, get some from a vending machine. But to drink it at home is insane.

Sent by Nick | 7:29 AM | 9-12-2007

I wonder how much I could get for a swimming pool full of water????

Sent by Jim | 7:59 AM | 9-12-2007

surely they're paying for the bottle here but they just want to put something in it...if not then they're idiots

Sent by paul | 2:20 AM | 10-4-2007

1 word...foolish

Sent by tru | 12:03 PM | 10-4-2007

Scam, The "bling" probally cost more for the bottle, for the company to produce

Sent by Vito | 9:32 PM | 10-4-2007

Well I guess American society is falling into a hole,we care more about celebrities in nude pictures and paying $55 for a water bottle than we do about things like the space program. Well just my opinion

Sent by K C | 11:15 PM | 10-4-2007

Stop drinking bottled water!

Sent by Stephan | 5:18 AM | 10-5-2007

Why does anyone care? Since when did capitalism become so wrong. I wish I could sell poop in a can. That's the real beauty of America! Viva stupid ideas making lots of money!!!1

Sent by Rick Robinson | 10:43 AM | 10-5-2007

I read this, and you know what I did? I got up and took a drink straight from the tap. I was thirsty. I never buy water.

Sent by LN | 3:55 PM | 10-5-2007

This is just another example of how marketing and great packaging work wonders. Its not common-sense that prevails , but glorification and having done that feeling which sets in. I wont be surprised if the BLING H20 does some decent sales!! BLING.

Sent by rohit kadam | 12:26 PM | 10-7-2007

some people will do anything for attention.i live in n.c. and thank God the water taste fine...

Sent by shirley turner | 8:51 PM | 10-7-2007

As far as I'm concerned drinking bottled water is better than drinking bottled soda.

Sent by Ian | 5:12 AM | 10-8-2007

I love hot water that has been on the floor

Sent by Jason | 8:29 PM | 10-9-2007

haha I love how your blaming an economic system of free trade for our stupidity.

Sent by Gus W | 9:42 AM | 10-11-2007

WHY? Oooooh, pretty cristals.

Sent by Becky | 3:59 PM | 10-11-2007

Why use bottled water? We can get good enogh water from our taps! Reuse your bottles, and don't ruin the enviorment! Global warming is apon us! Recycle what you can no longer use, but try and find new ways to use what you have!

Sent by Emma Haigh-Hutchinson | 10:21 AM | 10-15-2007

i need a new tobacco spitter i think il go buy a bottle of that crap dump out the water and spit in my new bottle!

Sent by BUMNUTS | 10:53 AM | 10-15-2007

thats really quite sad..
people are just stupid.

Sent by molly zeee | 3:29 AM | 10-17-2007

i live in south texas and i buy water by the 5 gallon refillable bottle which costs only 1.00.yes 1 wouldnt catch me buying a 1.99 12 oz bottle of water that dont even come close to the water i drink.does anyone know what it means when they say soft water?well ,bottled water is not that.its just tap water.not even the socalled spring water ...i have tasted real spring water inside the san antonio caverns.i will not call stupid but dummies yes to the people that prefer that expensive water....

Sent by jr | 6:17 PM | 11-7-2007

... it's so outrageous i can't even laugh. but once again, where else but america would it possibly be cool to throw money down the drain? i'm surprised some rap star or super sweet-sixteenager hasn't bragged about taking a bath in the stuff. ;p

Sent by nik | 6:05 AM | 11-9-2007

Fools and their money are easily parted. Such a pity they lack the compassion or intelligence to donate such spare change UNDP to provide fresh, safe drinking water for most of the world's children.
The Nouveau Rcihe again demonstrate their parasiticism of the proles.

Sent by Patrick | 12:17 PM | 11-9-2007

Water from Westchester feeds from the Catskills which is the same aqueduct that supplies Manhattan water supply. Actually the towns tap right from the ducts and pay a fee to the city. This is why people cannot tell the difference from NYC and Westchester water. If the interviewer would have know this maybe the story base would have been different....

Sent by Marco | 2:40 PM | 11-9-2007

Absolutely outrageous! Any manager of any company - from the supervisors up to the CEO - who approves buy orders at this price - should be fired by the Board of Directors or by shareholders. Not only because it is such a waste of financial resources, but because it is a sure certificate for a lunatic asylum. Such company's officers should not be alowed to make any decisions (like ordering paper clips). Why should a patented idiot be making any decisions on behalf of others? And any pop star doing it should be boycotted by fans and public to assure no more future incomes. The arrogance and waste is mind-boggling! The arrogance!!!!

Sent by Vlad | 9:37 PM | 11-9-2007

As always the pseudo socialist want to attack capitalism for a few of the many being stupid. And the Non-American's that are here will hear about the $55.00 water and assume that all Americans must be drinking this water therefore all Americans are wasteful Stupid Capitalist. And like most things that people read either online or in Newspapers neither are really true (except for a few stupid people drinking this water.) The idea which has its premise based on shock value is doing just what the ???creator??? of this bottled water had in mind when they came up with the idea. They will sell a few bottles to a few people that are too stupid to have honestly created any money in the first place, because no one who has taken the time to build a fortune would, like the rest of us, ever be Dumb enough to spend $55.00 on a bottle of Water. And if they did, they will not be around for long!

Sent by Pete | 5:53 PM | 11-10-2007

Well, I've been thinking that the US has been falling into decadence, but this just clearly illustrates how bad it is. It happens to every superpower and empire on Earth. They reach the top, become decadent, then fall. We're falling at an alarming rate. Some may live to see our fall from sway. Oh well.

Sent by Ryan Nelson | 6:46 PM | 11-11-2007

This is one thing I cannot understand. It's all a matter of the way we interpret reality I suppose. What is reality? Whatever it is, it's not what we're seeing but what we've conditioned ourselves to believe. From where most of us stand, reality makes more sense to conserve and spend frugally. It's pretty sad the misconstruction of reality some have.

Sent by Wade | 11:39 PM | 11-11-2007

Is is the interesting discussion. But about the water it is necessary to know more. If you know Polish I invite on the internet portal ???the water for the health??? ( and there you will find out all about to the water.

Sent by Tadeusz | 3:39 PM | 11-16-2007

These are the people who the Republicans keep giving tax breaks to while I slowly die of an easily-cured disease because I can't afford medicine.

-- Faye Kane, homeless smartmouth. See more of my smartmouth opinions at

Sent by Faye Kane | 2:14 AM | 1-14-2008

Bottled water is bunk! Take tap water and distill it like they tell you when shit hits the fan! Put some ionic minerals in it and go! Do some research, don't believe everything everything that you read/you gotta parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve! Try "Perfect Water" all of the benefits of water, minus the drawbacks of petroleum-based "W" america along the way! I tried this and noticed how easily it alkalinized my body and "woke me up"! I've never been impressed with a bottled water before especially one that costs $2 a pop (outrageous!) Get back to the basics, people! We can't rely upon the politicians and money grubbers to give us what our bodies need! Fight the power!

Sent by GTA | 10:26 PM | 6-18-2008