So, how much does that bottle contain?

It seems producers of drinking water, soft drinks and other bottled liquids have a hard time deciding how to tell how much is in one of their containers. Lately I’ve been wondering why they write the content measurement the way they do. I can understand that somewhere they use a system different from the metric system, which would make it natural to write in strange measures, but even if narrowed down to a “national metric market” where the liquid within the container is exactly one liter there seems to be at least three common ways of writing the measure.

The most oblivious way (in my humble opinion) would be writing “1 liter” – it doesn’t much simpler than that. On some of the bottles I’ve come across however, they prefer either “100 centiliters” or “10 deciliters”. In Italy most juices and drinking water bottles contained “1000 ml.”

Are there any standards or any other reason behind the scales they use? Initially I thought it was a by-company choice. Some used the liter, some cl., others ml. It really isn’t – as far as I can figure. It’s more a package by package thing.

If you want to help people figure out how much is in a package or container, shouldn’t you just use the simplest way of writing it “1 liter” – rather than cause potential confusion by writing “100 1/100 liter” (cl.) or “1000 1/1000 liter” (ml).

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