I went to buy a knapsack a few months ago. (The following conversation is not verbatim.)
Me: Is this waterproof?
Sales Guy (SG): It’s water resistant.
Me: What does that mean?
SG: It will resist water.
Me: So that means it’s waterproof?
SG: No, it’s not waterproof, it’s water resistant. It will prevent water from getting through but in heavy rains water may get through.
I bought the knapsack figuring that I wouldn’t be holding it in heavy rain anyway. The knapsack is great for keeping stuff, it’s light, well-designed. Except that the bag does soak up water nicely, even if there’s a drizzle. What’s inside isn’t water-resistant, so it ends up getting wet.
I looked up water-resistant on Merriam Webster. They pointed me to water repellent, and I quote: treated with a finish that is resistant but not impervious to penetration by water.
This reminds me of the book ‘A Walk In The Woods’. Bill Bryson talks about how he went to purchase a backpack for a hiking trip and he had to purchase a special waterproof cover for the backpack. Where did the company think people were going to hike? Inside?
And what’s next? Water-resistant raincoats?
Next time I read the word resistant somewhere, I’ll know what to do.