The Gullibility of Consumers

 

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I just had a drink of water. Not out of a bottle. Not that which has been filtered to remove all possible (well, not all) contaminants, and not one that has been infused with vitamins or electrolytes (what are those anyway?) suggesting in both that consuming these will improve my health or my athletic performance. Nor was the water I just drank untouched by human hands(someone explain to me how that works?). No it was just plain old tap water. Very uncivilized of me.  I used to buy bottled water, then it occurred to me that i was already paying for the same thing, monthly, and I didn’t have to drive anywhere to get it. I even bought a fancy filter, believing that the tap water would suddenly be better for me and taste better, neither of which I was able to determine.

Like millions of others, I believed the hype, from the manufacturer, that I needed their product. My life would be healthier, better because I consumed it. None of that seems to be true. I don’t think it falls into the category of false advertising, maybe a bit deceptive, but then if someone cons another into believing something unproven, who’s fault is that? that’s right, unproven. No manufacturer hawking their miracle water products have ever produced a single scientific study showing the benefit of their product over just plain tap water. Why? Because there is none. Doctors tell us that we can live a long time, weeks or more, without food, but only a few days without water. So, if whatever mode of transportation used is broken and a person is unable to get to the store to buy their several cases of bottled water, what do they do? I guess they should let themselves die, because that stuff coming out of the tap? Well, it isn’t really water, is it?

An item I regularly purchase is yogurt. I like yogurt. I usually buy it plain, unflavored because it allows me to flavor it anyway I want, if I want, instead of having someone else  choose for me.  It’s becoming harder and harder to find this product though. What? Well, any yogurt not labeled Greek. What is it with that? Is it that Greek yogurt is healthier or tastes better? Are there some special benefits to the cultures in Greek yogurt unavailable in any other? I don’t know but, everywhere I look, in any grocery store, almost all I see nowadays, is labeled Greek. No one I know that eats yogurt can tell me why they eat Greek yogurt over non-Greek.  Seriously, I’ve asked the question of several people I know. What is it that Greeks know about yogurt that the rest of us don’t?  Maybe it’s just a way of marketing something old in a new way. Not only that, but because there’s a special label on it now, consumers may be willing to pay a little more a product that is essentially no different than what it always has been.

I guess I should probably start making my own. I’ve seen a few recipes online and it doesn’t look difficult at all, but I have a disease that presents itself on occasion: laziness. It’s easier to just buy it, when I can.  why do we consumers seem to readily accept what we’re told about certain products we regularly consume, without any proof that this special version, of an everyday product, will make us healthier, or whatever else we’re led to believe? Hey, folks, it’s called advertising, and yes, marketers are paid handsomely to tout the special qualities of a product. X will make you better, stronger, faster. No they never say that explicitly, that would be false advertising, but the pictures, video we see associated, imply to us that there is something  very special about this or that brand of, well almost everything we consume.

I always hear, or read that consumers need to become smarter in their choices, that we shouldn’t be fooled by smart advertisers. How many of us actually heed that advice?

One thought on “The Gullibility of Consumers

  1. One of the many useful things about skepticism is that it can often help us save some money. I have had a handful of experiences where I held off on buying something that turned out to be fantastic because I was overly skeptical. The far more common experience has been one of buying something because of the hype that turns out not to be worth much.

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