I went to Woolworths and discovered their new trolleys have built-in drink holders. Have there been a lot of people dropping dead of dehydration while slowly ambling down the aisles in air-conditioned comfort? I doubt it, but I do think people are scared to go more than 50 metres without a drink bottle these days.
In the eighties no one used to get dehydrated because we didn't really know what that word was. We got thirsty and sometimes we got bloody thirsty, but no one ever got dehydrated. Cars back then didn't have drink holders because car designers assumed that sitting down doesn't take much effort and that people just tootling around probably didn't really need a drink.
Somewhere in the 90's women's magazines started telling us that we needed to drink 20 glasses of water a day and soon after we started seeing a whole lot of power walkers with drink bottles poking up from their bum bags. Were they too busy flailing their arms to stop at a bubbler? I'm not sure.
Then Gatorade came along and spent a whole lot of advertising money to tell us that if we were thirsty we were already dehydrated. They did a good job of making being a bit thirsty seem scary, whilst also making people think they would like like an elite athlete if they drank their fancy cordial.
With the public shit-scared of ever being thirsty, marketers then got really clever and started selling bottled water. They realised that people were now so petrified of ever feeling a little parched that they would willingly fork over $2.50 for stuff that comes free in a tap.
Now we are encouraging consumers to consume more even at the point that they are walking around buying things. Maybe the next step will be to put in a popcorn holder next to the drink holder on the trolley. Or may be we can just have a chaff bag like horses?