The Checkout

Mom's Says No More Evian

Annys Shin

News flash: Another retailer chain shrinks its carbon footprint -- and yours. This time, it's by banning imported bottled water from its shelves.

Score another hanging chad-less point for Al Gore.

No, it's not Wal-Mart. Or even Whole Foods Market. It's Rockville, Md. based MOM's - My Organic Market - with five stores in the DC metro area.

On Tuesday, MOM's put out a press release subtitled "Local Organic Grocery Store Forgoes Profit in Favor of the Environment."

Modest. I like it.

"Once we thought about the amount of energy, oil, and water that go into producing, shipping, and disposing of a product that is readily available by simply turning on your faucet, we knew it was the right decision," the release quotes Lisa de Lima, a MOM's veep.

She goes on to say that MOM's hopes customers who aren't already drinking from the tap will make the switch.

Don't get me wrong. While DC tap water could never be mistaken for designer water -- unless you count lead as a mineral and the smell of chlorine as fragrance--I am no bottled water defender. (If you don't believe me, I will gladly post a pic of my resuable steel water bottle.)

However, this move by MOM's also strikes me as, um, very Mom-like. Instead of "the customer is always right," it feels more like, "we are trying to save you from yourself and your gas guzzling, landfill filling, planet killing ways."

I say, if you're going to go this route, go all the way. In fact, I think they should post someone--preferably an Al Gore impersonator--at every MOM's store next to the bottled water case who shouts "No more Evian for you!" at approaching customers.

A little slap on the hand would also be a nice touch but I realize that's probably going too far.

Okay, show of hands! How many of you have stopped drinking bottled water (domestic, imported or both)?

By Annys Shin |  August 21, 2008; 7:05 AM ET Annys Shin
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I'm not a grammar freak, but is "MOM's" correct? Are you trying to pluralize MOM? If you are writing the plural version of MOM, then the headline should be "MOMs say no more evian," right?

I could be totally off, but my eyes were itching after reading this.

Oh, and on topic. I don't drink bottle water. I use a refillable alumnimum bottle, filled with filtered well water.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 8:48 AM

I am actually a grammar freak and this did hurt my eyes. I know the Post got rid of tons of copy editors this spring, but that doesn't excuse this.

Posted by: grammar freak | August 21, 2008 8:53 AM

Well, I checked the MOM website and it looks like they use the "MOM's" construction, so I guess it's part of their trademark/brand or somthing. It still makes my eyes hurt, but it's not the Post's fault.

Posted by: grammar freak | August 21, 2008 8:56 AM

To answer the question: I drink bottled water as little as possible for those exact reasons. There are times when I must, but I do carry my water bottle with me.

The "Mom's" title bugs me, too! It should at least be in CAPITAL letters in the title, as it is throughout Shin's writing. It's just the copywriter's mistake (and the MOM's!).

Posted by: Andrea | August 21, 2008 9:00 AM

Grammer aside, I shop at MOMs in Alexandria, and if they think I'm going to drink tap water, they have another think coming. I can easily shift my business over to Whole Foods, which has a more pragmatic approach to serving its customers' needs. In my mind this is somewhat akin to having to deal with religious prosthelytizers - only they are organic nazis, apparently! Note: MOMs has its own brand of bottled water - it's just filtered, not spring. Hmmmmmm.....

Posted by: Pinky | August 21, 2008 9:02 AM

I banned all bottled water from our house over a year ago. It's amazing how well you can get along without it. Be sure to put names on your kids water bottles, so when they leave them somewhere, they come back to you.

Posted by: WDC | August 21, 2008 9:11 AM

We have been using a Brita water pitcher for about 6 months while we were renting as Sterling water is not drinkable from the tap. Now that we own we are still using that until I get up off my lazy butt and install an under the sink filter.

My wife was the one that intiated it as she stated she felt bad about how many empty water bottles we contributed. Now we have several gallon jugs we use to store water for extended periods of time and then recycle after several uses.

Posted by: Sterling Park | August 21, 2008 10:23 AM

The author of this blog post, like most of the commenters, seems to have overlooked the fact that MOM is still carrying bottled water, just not *imported* bottled water. I think it's similar to favoring local produce when they can get it. Since there is virtually no difference in bottled waters, why *not* only stock those that didn't travel across oceans to get on store shelves? Not stocking bottled water at all would indeed be somewhat paternalistic, a criticism made in the blog post, but that is simply not the case here. Please get the facts straight.

Posted by: Alexandria | August 21, 2008 10:46 AM

I drink bottled water sometimes. I only drink tap water at home, however. The thing with reusable bottles is you use a lot of tap water and some gas/electricty to thoroughly clean them out after each use. Some of them can go in the dishwasher, but the ones that can't need to be hand-washed after every use. To wash things properly, you need hot soapy water. You use way more than 16.9 oz of water to clean out a re-usuable bottle. When you drink bottled water, you drink the 16.9 oz and are done with it!

I support MOM's decision to not sell Evian.

Posted by: LBH219 | August 21, 2008 12:43 PM

I live and work in D.C. and drink Brita-ed water at home, bottled Deer Park spring water at work (we use the 5-gallon bottles which are recycled). The only time I purchase single-serving bottles of water is when I'm travelling. Since I can't take my liquids through security, I'll pick up an overprices bottle once I'm near my gate. My favorite water is the stuff that comes from my mother's artesian well - cold, clean water straight from the mother nature!

Posted by: H2O Lover | August 21, 2008 2:05 PM

We have given up buying bottled water. I bought each member of the family a Sigg bottle, and we fill them from the filtered water out of the fridge before we head out. There have been occasional times when we're out when I buy bottled water with a meal, but I try not to. Good for MOM's.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 21, 2008 2:12 PM

The only time that I buy bottled water is when I am traveling by plane. I buy a small bottle of the cheapest stuff that I can buy to refill it in airports with water from the fountains. I carry the empty onto the plane to have at the connecting airport.

Otherwise, I just drink tap water in a reusable bottle. I don't get sick so regular water is not a problem.

Posted by: charlie | August 21, 2008 2:42 PM

i work at MOM's, and we didn't even carry Evian water. We had a bunch of other foreign waters like San pelligrino and volvic water, but not evian. Just another little fact mistake.

Posted by: water | August 25, 2008 7:32 AM

What is interesting is that San Pelligrino and Volvic -- the sparkling mineral water has *no* domestic equivalent. There is one Arkansas company which makes sparkling mineral water, but it's taste is radically different than most European water (I think it is actually carbonated from commercial carbonation?). It's like comparing Wisconsin vs French cheese -- both have fans, but they are very different. If a domestic water company could replicate the European product, then this move by MOM's would be less painful!

Posted by: David | August 25, 2008 10:01 AM

Hi there. CEO/owner of MOM's here...

Alexandria's post is spot on. Annys- you seemed to have missed this point entirely, as have some commenters.

We believe water shipped across the ocean is wasteful/unnecessary when we have local sources of bottled water, not to mention tap water.

This is also about supporting local/domestic products- especially on a product in which most people cannot tell the difference in quality (unlike olive oils, wines, cheeses, etc.).


Posted by: Scott23 | August 25, 2008 10:36 AM

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