More evidence of how deeply effed-up some corners of our society are: status-seeking with a large plastic insulated drinking bottle:
Stanley, a century-old brand that you might associate with Grandpa’s camping gear, reports the waiting list for its 40-ounce drinking vessel peaked at 150,000 customers earlier this year after millennial women with large social-media followings helped repopularize it. Sales this year are up 275%, compared with last year, the company says, a figure that doesn’t count resales on websites like Poshmark.
Rhonda Jarrar, Google’s head of talent-outreach partnerships in North America, says Instagram led her to covet a sold-out Quencher. But she couldn’t bring herself to spend the $100-plus commanded by people trying to flip theirs for a profit. She waited for a restock, pounced on one at face value and now relishes the admiring banter that ensues when she takes a sip on video calls.
“I’m fully remote, so sadly I don’t get the chance to status-signal to co-workers” in person, she says.
The notion of a status water bottle, laughable just a few years ago, is a product of the new work order.
Many traditional markers of style and success—think designer handbags and Swiss watches—are either off-camera during Zoom meetings or seem overly dressy in offices that are more laid-back than before the pandemic.
What’s the point of buying Italian-wool trousers if denim is the new uniform, or an $800 pair of heels if you aren’t going to strut onto the company elevator and savor envious glances?
I’ve had a lot of fashion-conscious people in my orbit over the years, and they break mostly into two camps:
- People who are genuinely fashionable and generally wow you with aesthetics which show how much they cherish well-made designer clothes (and other purchases) that bring them joy to wear and own.
- People who are hangers-on (we now call them influencers) who buy things because they think it gives them status. They are often terrible dressers and have minimal design sense themselves. They purchase things because the Kardashian told them to.
It’s not reassuring that Google’s head of talent-outreach partnerships in North America is such a poseur she falls into the first category.
As far as the Stanley water bottle goes, every one of them shown in the WSJ article quoted above has what I consider the death knell for an insulated drink container: a plastic straw. Or, rather, what ends up being a pathogen-encrusted mess unless you buy a special brush to clean it regularly.
For my money, if you want a super sturdy stylish insulated drink container that is also efficient at keeping things hot and cold, buy Takeya sports bottles at this link. They require a little loving care in terms of upkeep on the removeable/washable rubber O-rings in the lid (you can buy replacements), but it’s minimal. This thing does not spill or break no matter if you drop it or carry it all day laying on its side in a backpack or briefcase. You will still have ice at the end of the day.
I discovered Takeya this summer for my iced coffee, and I will never, ever use anything else.