Slam the Door on Popular Consumer Traps

Physician's Money Digest, July 2005, Volume 12, Issue 10

Where does your money go?It is probably spent onproducts, the ones heavilypromoted by consumerproduct companies. Sometimes these companiespromise that you'll benefit whenyou buy, but they aren't always truthful.The following are the top 10 untruths promulgatedby today's advertisers:

10. You'll have fun. Often used byauto manufacturers, these ads showbeautiful people enjoying a car. For mostof us, however, 90% of our time in thecar is spent creeping along in a trafficjam. Where's the fun in that?

9. You'll be attractive. It's amazinghow many products will make you desirable:toothpaste, soft drinks, candy, beer,etc. And yet we know that the soft drinka woman is holding doesn't make heranymore attractive.

8. Movie stars use the product. Productsendorsed by celebrities almost always costmore than they should on account of themillions spent on endorsement fees.Basically you're making a contribution totheir retirement plan instead of your own.

7. Everybody's buying it. You'd be anoutcast and "not cool"if you didn't buyit. Is this true? Are your friends andneighbors enamored with the product?The answer is probably not.

6. There's a shortage, better buy now.Be prepared to pay top dollar. In fact,shortages never last long when there's aprofit to be made.

5. You deserve it. Luxury and hard-to-valueproducts such as jewelry, sports cars,and high-end electronics commonly usethis approach. But do you deserve to beseduced into ignoring the present andfuture needs of your own family?

4. You can have it both ways. It's nice tohave a big SUV, but gas won't be cheap.You need to decide what you value more,size or fuel economy; you can't have both.

3. It's good for the economy. The peoplein Washington use this argument alot. But what sense does it make for youto spend your money to help a big corporationmake a profit?

2. It's new and improved. Very oftencompanies will compete with each otherby making their product less expensively.And sometimes the new product isn't better,it's just cheaper to make.

And finally, the number 1 untruth toldby consumer product companies today:

1. It's free. You'll get an extra box, afree towel, or a toaster with every purchase.And how do they pay for those freebies?Could it be by inflating the cost of theother product you buy from them?

Louis L. Constan,

a family

practice physician in Saginaw,

Mich, is the editor of the

Saginaw County Medical

Society Bulletin and Michigan

Family Practice. He welcomes

questions or comments at 3350

Shattuck Road, Saginaw, MI 48603; 989-792-1899;

or louisconstan@hotmail.com.