Product Review: $5 Water Bottle

Of the thousands of products I test and blog about, this one has to be a top runner for frustrating swag.

It’s not that I ever expected an inexpensive water bottle to blow me away, I’m frustrated because the only reason I’m sampling it is because a non-profit came to me last year and asked for help on finding staff gifts. They couldn’t get their board to approve more than $5.50 a person. I, and I’m not sure this is going to surprise anyone, wrote to their board.

While I understand that those who work at a non-profit are there because they love the work and believe in the mission, they often take low wages and work on weekends to fulfill the mission of the organization. My sister moved across the country for one! They are selfless beyond selflessness. They still should be properly thanked.

I have dozens of products that would fit into a reasonable price range and show true gratitude for the work this staff puts in. But, they asked for $5 water bottles…and got them from another vendor.

They gave me the information for the water bottles they bought, and now I have a sample.

I often test products on the road…there are just too many for me to sit around and play with, and I want to get out! And, I’m writing this now from a campground near Forks, WA.

This is the first camping trip my family has taken in two years. We are sadly out of practice. And, now that our daughter is a little older, we have different capabilities! Like free time (reading time) while sitting on the river bank as she entertains herself. I went to four different places in town before I found reading material (though there is a really surprising selection of gourmet cookbooks at the pharmacy). I finally found some $14(!?!?) magazines and headed back to the river.

I fill up this water bottle and sitting on the bank of the Bogachiel River, pour water all down my face and soaked my magazine.

So, for this review, I made a video (see our facebook page This water bottle fails in TWO places. It leaks at the mouthpiece AND around the edges of the lid.

Is anyone surprised that this non-profit had a nearly full turnover this past fall?

Our greatest assets are our people. We can’t make anything good happen without first taking care of them.

A note to board members: your mission can not be accomplished without consideration and care of those who do the hard work. Increase your budget enough to make every single employee feel appreciated. In the corporate world, a turnover costs ~$5k. How does a proper gift of $30 compare?

I am sure that no one intentionally takes employees for granted. But, as it doesn’t align with the mission of most non-profits, this type of gift giving offers no value.

Author: Lu Cysewski

I'm working to eliminate the wasteful swag that ends up in landfills with education and curated gift options that are intentional and help us all feel more connected to the businesses we interact with.

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