I'm not the smartest consumer in the world, but the other day when I was scanning the label on my bottled water to make sure there were no carbs in it, I saw something strange. "Best if drunk by December 31, 2012." Well, that's New Year's Eve, and I am at my best if I'm drunk before the year changes, but I don't think that's what they mean.
That gave me just two years to gulp down the product, or else. Or else what?
I think it's fair to ask what is actually going to happen to this water after two years. It can't lose its nutrient value. It doesn't have any. It can't lose its color. It has none.
One company I spoke to said the water changes in taste after a year. Changes to what? I sure wouldn't know. Blindfold me with a bag of Doritos and a jar of Redd Foxx Salsa and I can't tell the difference between Budweiser and Merlot.
And so what if my Evian tastes funny? There's a world of difference between funny tasting water and funny tasting mayonnaise. Trust me.
What about people who buy bottled water for the sole purpose of storing it in case of a terrorist attack? "Harold, I have some bad news for you. We've been hiding in the basement now for two months and I think our bottled water has expired."
"Pour it down the drain, Maude. I know how little will power you have when you get dehydrated."
Then I read that the American Red Cross advises changing your bottled water every six months. I doubt I'll remember. I haven't changed my soy sauce in 13 years. There is a jar of honey in my pantry that I took with me when I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in 1969.
I have cheese in the fridge that has been aged 12 years, but when I brought it home, the package said there was only a month left to eat it. I say: "Age it 11 years. Give me the extra 12 months."
So what should I do with this expired water? I can't just pour it down my kitchen sink. There's probably some government regulation against it--a government program to collect and properly dispose of expired water. I'd like to know more about this. With my luck, I'll end up buying property next to an expired water dump. There go the real estate values.
By the way, I checked my cans of Pepsi and 7-UP. There are no expiration dates. I think this is great news for anthropologists of the future. When they dig up my remains in a frozen block of ice, I'll be knocking down a Fresca, my diet drink of choice. "Dr. Gallagher, this ancient man we found "on the rocks" has a beverage called a Fresca in his hand. Looks like some kind of prehistoric drink. Can we taste it?"
"Is there an expiration date on the can?"
"No, but I think the contents are 4,000 years old."
"Go for it. Just be sure it's not pure water."
I know we are all going to die, but I'm glad people don't have expiration dates printed on them. Although, at the age of 64, mine should probably read: BEST IF USED BY DECEMBER 2045.