I was thinking today how we have such an advantage, over years past, with the internet. Before buying anything, a car, a water filter, a pair of shoes, or even Sea Monkeys, we can read hundreds of reviews.
Can you imagine what it was like ‘back in the day’ when we could only go by word-of-mouth, and even that was limited to our own circle of friends and family.
Hence, the wild success of Sea Monkeys. Those crafty little smiling faces tempted me every time I read a Sixteen or Tiger Beat magazine. “A Bowlful of Happiness! Instant Pets!”
I finally gave into the ad, which promised a highly interactive time with these smiling sea critters. The package arrived in the mail, and it was no more than a few teeny tiny dried shrimp. They didn’t press their noses against the fish bowl glass with a big smile, waving their little sea monkey hands. Nope, they were just some old dried out shrimp.
In today’s world, Sea Monkeys would have gotten multiple 1 star reviews on amazon, followed by outraged posts yelling in caps, “DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY!” OR “THEY AREN’T REALLY MONKEYS!!” And even better, we could have learned how the inventor of this sham was actually a Nazi sympathizer who was quoted as saying Hitler “had just gotten bad press”, and was using our hard-earned allowances to further his Nazi beliefs.
All of this leads me to say, review your items before purchasing and know the source. Not all reviews are equal. Free review sites could easily be highlighting reviews written by a summer intern, hired to sway the unsuspecting public.
I was researching a popular home improvement company and the easy-to-find online reviews were ALL five stars. Pages and pages of five stars. My suspicions were confirmed when I dug a little deeper and found a previous employee saying that they were paid to write five star reviews. This company was luring consumers into spending ten times the average cost of a new roof or new windows.
Consumer reports is a good place to start. I agree with most of their assessments, but found it is important to even read the consumer reviews of their reviews. The Speed Queen washer is one example. CR gave it a big raspberry, due to it’s higher water consumption, but the consumer reviews were all five stars, praising its longevity and heavy-duty steel USA-made parts.
You work hard for your pennies and dimes. Watch where they go and let today’s marketplace guide you to the smartest purchase.