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 Convenience Comes At A Price

Enough. Man is capable of reform once presented with the facts,
and the fact is that bottling water and shipping it is a
big waste of fuel, so stop already.

Garrison Keillor

Make your hotel owner even happier!
For only $5.00 a liter you too can drink this
lovely bottle of water.

This tempting treat was on the table in our Albuquerque hotel room.

This demonstrates the same markup as the bottled water offer above


Carol and I attended the September 28, 2012 Barbershop Harmony Society Rocky Mountain District contest in Albuquerque, NM.  I don't travel a great deal, so I was rather shocked to see a one liter bottle of Aquafina water (advertized to, Make Your Body Happy) on the table offered for $5 - Charges will be applied to your room bill at checkout - if you happen to drink it.

$5 may not seem like a lot of money to spend in the context of a trip, so in the picture to the left I added the" ~$19 / gal" to highlight the (to me, usurious) cost of convenience.  $19 a gallon for water!

Alternatives to an extravagant convenience?
1 Drink the tap water.  Most areas in the US and developed countries have safe, decent tasting tap water.  Tap water would be free in a hotel, but normally a liter of tap water costs less than $0.01, more than 10,000 times less expensive than tapping into the $5 bottle in your room.
2 Filter your own water - purchase a portable, high-quality water filter (a carbon & ceramic combination would probably be the best option) and take it with you on trips.  Take bottles you can refill to carry with you when you are out of your room.  A good camping filter will treat water for under $0.10 a gallon*.  That solution would be about 200 times less expensive than drinking bottled water the hotel provided for your convenience.

For comparison consider this hypothetical "convenience" that's also 200 times more expensive than a home-made solution:
You bring the fixings for a nice tasty sandwich to your room. 
The cost works out to perhaps $2.00 a sandwich.  You see a similar sandwich in the room's refrigerator with a sign, Make Your Body Happy - $400 - Charges will be applied to your room bill at checkout.
A hotel-provided sandwich for 200x more than you paid for your home-made sandwich! Tempted?  Would you purchase that sandwich?  Why would anyone pay 200 time more for something they could easily obtain with a bit of planning and effort?

In most cases I choose to sacrifice the convenience and forgo the expense of accepting marketing propaganda at face value, and I do a bit of extra work to keep monetary and environmental costs down.

*REI customer review for a $90 MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter, "We've found that for a 6 to 9-month trip, one filter could get two people through the trip, pumping tap water every day. We never got sick. We saved thousands of plastic bottles that would otherwise have littered the world's cities and country side. Overall, we can pump a liter of water in about 2 minutes. (And build up those pecks in the process)."