Top 5 Tips for Being a Better Consumer

Hello, everyone, and welcome back! I hope you had a chance to check out my Face Routine post. It’s a customized post for people looking to build their everyday makeup kit. I only included cruelty free items that I trust beyond anything else.

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of things out there that remind me why I started this blog. Being a consumer in such a saturated market is really difficult. It’s not always easy to know where you should be sending your money, especially when your instinct is to trust the products that companies are advertising. The unfortunate truth, however, is there are so many companies out there that care more about profit than they do about you as a consumer. I’ve gathered a few tips that I use myself to make better, more informed decisions.

Where is it made?

You might wonder “why does it matter where my stuff came from?”. To some it doesn’t matter, but there are several reasons why I think it’s so important to do your research. A lot of consumers are often fooled by packaging and branding: companies can make you feel like you’re buying a really luxurious product, only for you to discover that it’s made in the same factory, or with the same exact ingredients as a more inexpensive brand. Are you ok with ‘paying for a name’? You might also learn that a lot of countries that make our items don’t have labor or environmental legislation that protects the people and places where they manufacture. So, do you care or not?

Who is in charge?

Do you know who/what company owns your favorite brand? Again, it may not matter to you, but once you do your research you may be uncomfortable with what you learn. For example: recently the brand Too Faced, which is cruelty free, was bought out by Estee Lauder, a company which sells their products in countries that still require animal testing. You have to decide if you want to support the cruelty free brand in this example regardless of their parent company, or you may choose to pass since they still allow animal testing.

Also, you might find out that someone you don’t like owns your favorite company. Does this person have a history of being hateful towards their employees, their customers, or the public? A Google search of their name will tell you a lot about them and their values.

What did they put in it?

Do you know what’s in your favorite nail polish? It may surprise you that many large brands like Essie and Sally Hansen still use fish scales to achieve that shimmer you are so fond of. Are you ok with that? You might be happy to purchase a cruelty free product, but you might also decide you want completely vegan products. Do you know the difference? (Cruelty free products are made with ingredients that were not tested on animals. Vegan products are made entirely without any animal-derived ingredients).

Furthermore, you might be supporting a product that includes an ingredient that is not ethically sourced. This goes back to ‘Where is it made?’. Could your favorite brand implement forced labor? Are you ok with that? Paying a little more for a product produced by a company that values ethical sourcing might become a priority for you after what you learn.

What do others think?

This one is a little bit more difficult, because you need to use a little discretion here. Reading product reviews is so helpful. People make points about a product that help you make a decision: Does it smell bad? Is it difficult to use? Does it really look like it does in the photos?

However, product reviews aren’t always written conscientiously. It’s important to make sure that you are taking the overall opinion of a brand or product into account. Are most of the customers happy?

It’s important you share your reviews too. Smaller brands especially benefit from any positive reviews, so be aware of how you review things. If you’re unhappy with a product or service, it’s important to voice your concerns, but don’t lead your followers on a social media witch hunt. This type of behavior benefits no one. If something that serious is going on, and you need to get your bank or the Better Business Bureau involved, you can do so. It sucks when things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to, but don’t get caught up in harassing a brand or their customers because you had a bad experience. Nobody wants to be that rude customer that no one wants to help.

Know the rules!

Once you’ve done all of your research and you’re ready to make a purchase, you have one more responsibility: know the companies policies. Can you return it if it doesn’t fit? What if it arrives broken? How long will it take for your product to arrive? How long does the company have to respond to your emails? Have you been sending your email to the wrong address? Are you communicating through the right media outlets, or are you blasting them on Twitter about your order, when they only respond to emails?

Companies will always have their policies detailed in an easy to find page on their site.  Most small businesses are not out to get you. Courteous interaction and communication with the brand will help keep you updated on your purchases, and any other potential issues that might arise with your orders. I see so many small business get really negative press because people simply do not know the way the company does business. People are also quick to assume the worst, when a simple, kind email would have gotten the information they needed. It is always your responsibility to be informed. A really small amount of research really is for your benefit.


 

On a less serious note, getting to know the brands and companies that you support can benefit you financially! Do your favorite stores offer rewards programs? Can you sign up for brand email updates (they often send exclusive sales and discounts to email subscribers)? Do you get a gift if you purchase on your birthday? Do you get credits for referring new customers? Are there samples available? Take advantage of these special programs – they’re there for your benefit!

I really hope this post helped you get an idea of what factors you can be more aware of to become a better consumer. It’s so important to me that people receive good products that they can feel safe and proud using. My blog is here to help share my knowledge in hopes that you have a better experience, but I can’t protect you all the time. It’s important that you give yourself the tools to be your own advocate.

I love you all

-Feliz

 

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