Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Stop the Water Shaming

I want to bring up an important and sensitive topic that affects millions of us. Or maybe thousands of us. Actually, possibly only hundreds of us? Tens of us?

Anyway, it’s an important and sensitive topic for me.

I am, of course, talking about LaCroix shaming. Has it happened to you? If so, please know you’re not alone. I’m here standing right beside you. With a cold, refreshing, naturally essenced passionfruit sparkling water in my hand. Cheers, my friend.

I’m not going to lie to you. I drink a lot of sparkling water. It’s basically the only beverage I drink besides coffee. I drink so much of it that the giant cruise ship we were recently on – The Carnival Celebration that holds 6500 passengers – was not prepared for me. I bought the “unlimited bubbles package” that included canned Bubly sparkling water, and they couldn’t keep up with me.

When I went to customer service to talk about how the bubbles package didn’t really perform as advertised with regard to the term “unlimited,” the customer service girl pulled up my account and actually exclaimed, “Oh, wow! You ordered so many of them!”

This is what I’m talking about. This rampant sparkling water shaming that our society just looks the other way on so often. I mean sure, there are definitely different ideas about acceptable behavior at sea, but the shaming happens on dry land just as often. Most notably at my grocery store.

Most checkers will make some sort of comment when they see the number of twelve-packs of LaCroix I buy on a weekly basis. One nice young lady actually asked, “Do you own a restaurant or something?” Now, in all fairness, she might have been thrown off by how much food I was buying, since we have three teenage boys. I mean, we do go through two to three chickens a day around here. But when I laughed and said no, she explained that she asked because of how much LaCroix I was buying.

The checkers also can’t seem to agree on the proper way to ring up the twelve-packs. For the sake of this example, let’s use a low, easy number and say I have a quantity of eight twelve-packs on the bottom of my cart.

In the past I have put them all on the belt, only to have half the checkers tell me not to do that because they don’t want to have to lift them all. But the first time I just put one of each flavor on the belt and told the checker how many of each I had under my cart, she looked at me sternly and said, “Well, I need to see them all!”

I thought the store had finally solved the inconsistent checker issue by installing hand-held scanners at each register recently. I was hopeful when the first checker told me it was there for me to use to help scan heavy items so they didn’t need to come out of the cart. Great, I thought.

The next time I used one of the new scanners, it went like this:

Me: OK, I’m going to grab the scanner and get my LaCroixs.

Checker: OK, great.

Me: [Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep…]

Checker: Whoa! Stop, stop! You scanned it too many times!

Me: No I didn’t. And I’m not done yet.

Checker: You have to be. There’s no way you have that many under there.

Me: Um, yes I do…

Today when I used the scanner, it went like this:

Me: OK, I’m going to grab the scanner and get my LaCroixs.

Checker: OK.

Me: [Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep]

Checker: Wow. Do you think you got enough?


It’s time to stop the sparkling water shaming, people! We have feelings, too, you know. We need love and understanding, not labels.

“Addict” is such an ugly word. I prefer “enthusiast.”

See you soon,



Copyright © 2023 Marc Schmatjen


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