Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Turn Off the Tap" - A rant in list form.

By turning off the water when you shampoo and condition, your family can save up to $100* per year depending on where you live.
* Savings for a family of 3.

This is the statement on bottles of Suave shampoo and conditioner as part of their "Turn Off the Tap" program to promote water and energy savings. It is also featured prominently on the home page.

This campaign was probably based on someone saying "Hey, if people turned off the tap while they scrubbed with shampoo, they would use X gallons less water. Wouldn't that be great? People could save money, and at Suave we're all about people saving money!" Then some advertising guy ran with it and made it a "campaign". At no point did anyone logically consider whether it was feasible or reasonable to do.

To me, it is completely illogical unless you make a pile of other assumptions:

1) The shower in question uses some sort of mechanism which allows instant on and off of the shower AND
2) that shower mechanism maintains the selected temperature of the shower when the water has been temporarily turned off AND
3) the above mechanism is either hands-free or only needs one hand - which would be covered with shampoo/conditioner and thus very slippery.

Let's consider a real life situation. I live in a house which is about 35 years old. We have a standard water heater in the basement. The primary shower, used every day for 2 showers, is upstairs on the second floor. This shower has independent hot and cold controls which are standard knobs.

"Turn Off the Tap" would have me do the following:
a) Completely wet down hair.
b) Turn off shower.
c) Pour shampoo in hands.
d) Scrub up hair, covering both hands with slippery shampoo suds.
e) Use slippery hands to turn water back on, while standing out of the spray so that I don't freeze/burn myself getting the temperature adjusted again.
f) Rinse hands and hair.
g) Turn off water again.
h) Pour conditioner in hands.
i) Slick up hair with conditioner (really, this takes about 10 seconds, max.)
j) EITHER wait in the rapidly cooling room for 1-3 minutes (as recommended by the "best results" on the back of the conditioner bottle) OR go straight to the next step,
k) Turn the taps back on, with my very slippery conditioner-covered hands, while standing out of the spray and having to readjust temperature so I don't freeze/burn myself again.
l) If I went straight to K, I can then spend the 1-3 minute conditioner time doing all of the other cleaning jobs BUT if I didn't I have to do them either before or after the whole shampooing/conditioning/water-on-off sequence - because I personally don't use shampoo or conditioner as body wash. Doing these jobs before or after extends the total time in the shower, thus using more water.

With all of the temperature readjustment, I think there is no question that I would end up using significantly MORE water trying to "Turn Off the Tap", as well as having a really unpleasant and longer, colder shower.

$100/year = $8.33/month = $0.27/day (based on a 30-day month) = $0.09 per shower (since their number is based on 3 people in the family, assuming each is taking a shower a day).

Is all of that really worth 9 cents? Isn't there somewhere better to promote water savings? Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth? No problem! Try to take a shorter shower overall? No problem! But turning off the tap when you shampoo and condition is just dumb.

Now I'm sure that someone is going to say "But that technology does exist! You can get an uber-programmable shower with in-line hot water on demand, and single button control, and and and..." To which I would ask: "How much does that cost?" Probably thousands. So I should spend thousands of dollars to remodel and redo my bathroom with the latest technology all so that I can save 9 cents a day?!

Gimme a break.

Post edited multiple times to get all the formatting to work correctly. >.<

1 comment:

Karen said...

Hilarious. I am right there with you on the turning on and off and landing on the right temperature. Too much effort!!