Bottled Water Delusion

When we travel to Spokane to visit my family, my mom always asks me for a list of food/drink and personal care items she can purchase before we arrive. Her goal is to make us feel at home and, of course, spoil us.

Aside from the ice cream, jalapeno chips, Costco muffins, cheese tray, Oreo cookies, Papa Murphy’s pizza, Blue Moon, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch requests, I also ask for a case of bottled water. However, I always specify that the bottled water should be of the Fred Meyer brand. My mom, who thinks I make the request solely to be annoying, goes out of her way not to accommodate it. Even though she does her shopping at Fred Meyer for 80% of the items listed above, she doesn’t buy Fred Meyer water.

About seven years ago, I started to prefer Fred Meyer bottled water. When I would return home for the holidays, that was the brand my mom had in the refrigerator. I grew to like this particular bottled water because the spout/cap size of your typical 16.9 ounce container was a tad larger than your typical bottled water spout, inspiring me to call Fred Meyer bottles of water “big mouths.” The green labeling was also aesthetically pleasing to my eye.

Over six years ago, I documented my love of Fred Meyer bottled water on Instagram.

Up to that point, I didn’t really have a favorite bottled water preference. But after my introduction to Freddy’s water, my attitude changed. Since I haven’t lived in a city with a Fred Meyer location since I graduated high school, the only time I would get to enjoy a “big mouth” was when I returned to Spokane.

However, over the years, something happened to my favorite bottled water. Although the green labeling is still as green as ever, the wide spout size is no longer a thing. A bottle of Fred Meyer water is the exact same size dimension-wise as a Great Value 16.9 ounce bottle or a Kirkland 16.9 ounce bottle.

Knowing that my main reason for preferring Fred Meyer water was no longer valid and that my secondary reason wasn’t particularly convincing (green isn’t even my favorite color), I started to champion a different reason:

It just tasted better!

Of course everyone in my family called BS and it likely motivated my mom even more to start buying Kirkland water. But I held firm to my claim that Fred Meyer water tasted better. Did I actually believe it? To a very small, psychological degree – yes.

For the past half of a decade, after the spout size no longer mattered, I lobbied my mom to buy the Fred Meyer water based on my opinion that the water simply tasted better. The more I told her that I needed it, the more she told me NO.

Well, I was finally put to task. Sidney and my brother’s girlfriend basically said “enough is enough” and made me prove my claim that Fred Meyer water is in fact better than bottled water competitors. The last night we were in Spokane during the holidays, they organized a taste test for me!

Controlling for all variables, they provided me with six plastic cups. Two cups contained Fred Meyer water, two contained Kirkland water, and two contained tap water. In front of my whole family, they had me taste the water samples and identify the Fred Meyer H20. It was time for me to put up or shut up!

My bottled water preference was put to the test!

I bombed the test.

I identified one Fred Meyer sample as tap water and the other as Kirkland water. I identified one tap water sample as Fred Meyer water and the other as Kirkland water. Sure enough, I identified one Kirkland sample as tap and the other as Fred Meyer. I could not have performed worst.

I didn’t know the taste of Fred Meyer water like I thought I did.

I was a little embarrassed and, rightfully so, I received some good-natured teasing from my family. I have final admitted that Fred Meyer water isn’t all I cracked it up to be. Does that mean I will stop bothering my mom to buy a case when we travel to Spokane?

All of my guesses were wrong!

Absolutely not 

Don’t Blink.

Playing Speak Out

Over the Christmas holiday, I played one of the hottest games out on the market right now. Although not super excited at first to give it a try, I knew I had to at least experience Speak Out.

The first full day Sidney and I were in Spokane, we went to Fred Meyer to purchase some groceries. We found ourselves diverted to the entertainment section where we encountered Speak Out. Sidney really wanted to try it out and because it was only $20, we threw it into the cart.

During the holidays, we played Speak Out.

During the holidays, we played Speak Out.

Later that night, Sidney and I played on a team versus my cousin and her boyfriend. Sitting in the middle of my parents’ living room, we had an enthusiastic crowd as my aunts, mom, and dad cheered us on.

Well, not exactly. The phrase “laughed at us hysterically” might be more accurate than “cheered us on.” Yes, that is the calling card of Speak Out. If you have seen the videos on Facebook or heard your friends telling you about it, then you know what I am talking about. However, if that is not the case, let me briefly explain the game to you:

Sidney and I played Speak Up against my cousin Abby and her boyfriend, Nathan.

Sidney and I played Speak Up against my cousin Abby and her boyfriend, Nathan.

Each player is given a mouthpiece. Think of it as the contraption your dentist or orthodontist gives you to keep your mouth open. You are then given a card with a phrase on it. The object is to speak the phrase to your partner so he/she can clearly understand it. If the partner correctly identifies what the player with the mouthpiece is trying to say, the team keeps the card and moves on to the next one. The team works to identify as many phrases as possible until the sand in the hourglass runs out.

After the hourglass runs out, the next team goes. Once the sand runs out, the original team goes again with the person who guessed the first time now doing the talking. The other team then reverses roles and goes again. All of this constitutes one round. The official Speak Out rules state that the game should just last two rounds. The team that earns the most cards wins.

So did I like it? Ummmmmmmm…

I think it was a fun game to play once. To be honest, the mouthpiece was a bit taxing on my mouth. I also don’t know how I felt about everyone watching me struggling to say silly phrases with dentist equipment muffling my speech.

At the very least, we did manage to get our Speak Up selfies.

At the very least, we did manage to get our Speak Out selfies.

To be honest, unless I was given a brand new mouthpiece to use for subsequent games, I couldn’t do it. When you play the game, that mouthpiece is definitely all up in your mouth. To have the vision in my mind (let alone the actual germs in my mouth) that the piece was once used by someone else just doesn’t sit well with me. Even with Sidney’s great counterpoint (Don’t you use the silverware at restaurants? Same thing!) I would not reuse a mouthpiece.

But Speak Out definitely brought everyone in my family who either played or watched some quality entertainment. And, even though I think all Speak Out selfies are hideous, I am still glad I got one. Also, even though the equipment is very minimal, I think the value is pretty decent.

So have you played Speak Out? If so, speak out (haha) and tell me about your experience. Don’t Blink.

National Chains That Missoula Needs

Yesterday it became known that the old and undesirable K-Mart building all the way down Brooks Street would be bulldozed down and up from the ashes would rise a Kohl’s and a Cabela’s. I think most of Missoula is thrilled about this. To get two major national stores right next to each other is great news. Especially to get a store like Cabela’s in the Missoula market has to make this community very happy, in fact I can hear the cash rolling in right now. For me personally, I am pretty pleased about the Kohl’s announcement. I have bought cheap but decent looking work clothes from them for years.

With these two businesses setting up shop in Missoula I really think it helps close the void just a little in terms of retail services that our city lacks. With that said, I certainly think Missoula could use a few other national chains to come in and bridge some gaps.

In this blog post I want to introduce 5 national chains that I would like to see come into the Missoula market. These choices are a reflection of places that I personally like (cause I am selfish like that) AND places that I think would be successful in Missoula. Let’s face it, it is not like any national retailer can just open its doors in the Garden City and expect to make bank. Krispy Kreme floundered here. Golden Corral couldn’t make it. Even Macy’s had to close its doors. Not every business will work. So here is my list and to end all suspense, NO, Olive Garden is not on it.

Panda Express: I wanted to include a fast food restaurant on the list and along with Panda Express I also tossed around Sonic and Jack and the Box. However, I decided to go the way I went because first and foremost, if someone gave me a choice to get dinner at one of those three restaurants, I would almost always choose Panda. Missoula has enough burger places, this city needs a little bit of diversity.

Growing up in Spokane, there was a Panda Express right next to my house. I salivated when I thought of the orange chicken. Besides their signature item though, they have a solid menu with traditional and tasty Asian selections. Prices are very low and if you even just get a 1-item plate (which comes with fried rice or chow mein) you will get full. Because there is nothing like it in Missoula, it would do well.

Nordstrom Rack: Missoula has an American Eagle and will soon have a Kohl’s so I am pretty much set but having a Nordstrom Rack would be nice too. I don’t fool around with high end department stores but I do change my tune when high end department stores send their clothing to their little brother for much lower prices.

Nordstrom Rack offers some great clothing items for both men and women and although still a little pricey, I like buying a few shirts from them every now and then. The selection is stellar and they even have offshoot items such as colognes, sunglasses, and shoes. A Nordstrom would not do well in Missoula, a Nordstrom Rack would.

7-Eleven: I think Missoula has it covered when it comes to quality gas stations but I think a couple 7-Eleven convenience stores around town would be a great addition. I think our city would just benefit from the culture that a 7-Eleven would bring, considering I don’t think there is one location in the entire state.

I just feel like everyone should have the option to walk inside a 7-Eleven on a hot summer day and see 12 different slurpee dispensers filled with crazy flavors ready to give relief on a sweltering afternoon. And even though I hate soda and what 7-Eleven offers is extremely unhealthy, I think we all should get to go inside and find someone with a Big Gulp and utter that famous “Dumb and Dumber” line.

Fred Meyer: I would love it if one day if I got a tweet that said “Fred Meyer Opening in Missoula.” Fred Meyer stores are nice, convenient, and organized. Imagine Wal-Mart and then elevate it two big steps and you have FM. Sure prices are a little higher but the products they offer and the shopping experience afforded is worth it.

Fred Meyer is a grocery store, electronic store, appliance store, furniture store, gardening outlet, etc. all combined in one. If there was one in Missoula, I would definitely furnish my apartment with their furniture. Affordable and classy, they offer some great selections. I would also visit their deli frequently, buy my groceries there, and shop for all my gifts inside the store. I think it would be very competitive in Missoula.

Chuck E. Cheese’s: Although these days I could not step foot in one for a couple seconds before I went absolutely bonkers, I say Missoula most definitely needs a Chuck E. Cheese’s. I mean honestly, how can there not be a place in this city where “a kid can be a kid”? For Missoula not have a location for the most popular children’s fun center in the nation is a little surprising to me.

I will say this…Missoula is a very healthy and fit city and I can definitely see that parents would want their kids engaging in more active entertainment options than an arcade/pizza place. However, in my opinion every single kid deserves to visit Chuck E. Cheese’s a few times a year. If you think about it, there is not a single place in town where kids can dive into a ball crawl or listen to oversized animal creatures play music. Missoula needs a Chuck E. Cheese’s and I guarantee it would be a hit.


Best of luck to Kohl’s and Cabela’s! I think they will make a great impact in the Missoula market. If you have any suggestions on what retailers you think would make a great addition in Missoula please let me know. You know I love interaction with my readers. Don’t Blink.