Consumer Watchdog

MANY consumers are unwittingly seduced into buying things they do not really need, and marketing gurus are adept at manipulating consumers’ emotions to get them to buy their products.
In the current economic environment, says Lyse Comins of the Consumer Fair, consumers must be aware of these tricks in order to survive.
Marketers bank on relationships in their advertising and conjure up feelings of love, responsibility and affection when advertising their products. Train yourself to become aware of the subtle messages in advertising that all of a sudden make you think you need a new car, a new dress, a new cellphone, and you will withstand their effects.
Buy only what you want to without caving in to a false need born in advertising.
Sales price
Just because the printed price says “reduced by 20%” or “was R59.99, now R39.99”, the goods are not necessarily a bargain. The use of red price tickets has become a common marketing tool, especially in clothing stores, to make consumers feel they are getting an item for cheap.
Make a list
Know exactly who you are buying for, and what you want, when you go shopping because this will help you to resist the temptation to make impulsive, emotional purchases in response to marketing tools.
Eat at home
Eat at home before going shopping to avoid the temptation to spend money on snacks and drinks, and you will also be less likely to make impulsive purchases.
Leave the kids at home
Taking your children with you can be costly because marketers know this and pull out all the stops to target children. It’s called “pester power”.
From the aisles of temptation, overflowing with sweets, chocolates and chips, snaking to the tills to the toys that are no longer confined to one aisle but are prominently displayed everywhere. Black bikes and tricycles in the frozen food section and Christmas teddy bears and santa chocolates at the end of aisles are child magnets.
Compare prices
The internet and freesheets, found in newspapers, can be useful for price comparisons when you want to buy big ticket items like a fridge or stove or air tickets, as they save time browsing in shops.

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