Coke’s Anti-Water Conspiracy


Just when you thought corporate greed couldn’t sink any lower, Coca-Cola, based in not-too-far-away Atlanta, takes it to a whole new level.

Coke [is] urging restaurateurs to stop offering plain old tap water to customers: “Every time your business fills a cup or glass with tap water, it pours potential profits down the drain.” Cap the Tap can put a stop to that, says Coke, “by teaching [your] crew members or waitstaff suggestive selling techniques to convert requests for tap water into orders for revenue-generating beverages.”

The program provides a guide for restaurant managers who would direct Coke’s customer assault, a backroom poster to remind waitstaff “when and how to suggestively sell beverages,” and a participant’s guide to put “suggestive selling” foremost in mind as staff confronts the enemy… uh, I mean customers. Tactics include outflanking those recalcitrant customers who insist on water. Just switch the sales pitch to bottled water – remember, Coca-Cola also owns Dasani, one of the top-selling brands of bottled water in the US.

Which is just a co-incidence, of course. Coke, as a reputable member of the business community, would never stoop to using its restaurant customer base as stealth pitchmen or its end-use customer base as guinea pigs in an experiment to find out just how much sugar and carbonated water they can drink before it kills them – something Coke’s CEO claims to be concerned about.

Coke’s CEO has declared that “obesity is today’s most challenging health issue,” and solving it requires all of us “doing our part.” Really – by selling more Coke?

The ultimate insult/hypocrisy, of course, is that Coke is selling us Atlanta’s tap water at $2 a pint. The water purification “formula” on the label that Coke seems to claim as its own is actually the process developed and paid for by the taxes of the people of Atlanta. These thieves are simply paying Atlanta less than 20c a gallon for their water, slapping it into three-penny bottles, and then selling it back to us at a 1500% profit by pretending it isn’t tap water.

Is there even a hint of ethical behavior in any of this?

Don’t make me laugh. And it’s petty besides. Come on, a multi-billion$$$$ corp trying to squeeze a few more pennies from restaurant customers, already the most abused in this society? It’s pathetic.

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One response to “Coke’s Anti-Water Conspiracy

  1. They’re exploiting a legitimate trend towards not serving water to diners unless asked, although most good restaurants doing this have the server ask if anyone would like water as soon as they’re seated.

    It’s legit in as a very high percentage of diners never touch their water, and that adds up to a lot of wasted water. Coke is, however, pushing the ‘no water’ thing for all the wrong reasons, as you point out.

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