Why Do We Buy Things That Don't Work?

Jeffrey Hauser

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You probably have a list. I know I do. A list of things that either never work or rarely work as promised. Yet, they continue to be sold day after day. Whether it’s an infomercial or a magazine ad for another diet pill or *** enlargement product. Or all the *** stamina herbs for men and sometimes women. I have a chopper that looked great on the TV ad but is lousy in the kitchen. I guess I should have stuck to chopping soft tomatoes like they did. Anyway, the list goes on and on. So, why do we buy this stuff?

Well, we hate to have to exercise and cut out sweets to lose weight. So the diet pills, or books explaining how to lose fat without any effort, are an easy fix. Sure, it sounds too good to be true, but just what if this one really works? The same is true for any quick solution to our social, albeit, *** issues. Then there are all the instant-millionaire schemes. Like working at home, buying foreclosures, stuffing envelopes, or starting a website. They are all sure-fire successes just begging for you to buy the details in a DVD, book, or online download. The problem is that when you get it home and read the fine print, it’s mostly bullsh*t or a rehash of stuff you already know.

So let’s return to the other group; products, foods, and devices. Look at all the exercise items that promise the loss of inches in mere days. They look cheap and are cheap. The models using the machines have terrific abs and perfect bodies. Do you actually think they got that way using the product? Read the fine print which invariably states that: “These results are not typical. ” When a diet pill offers the same claim, it’s further says that; “it works only when accompanied by diet and exercise. ” So, what’s the point of the product?

My chopper was badly designed, but it looked nice. Why do so many of these items end up in infomercials if they are great products? Is it perhaps that no national chain would touch them? After all, Target or Wal-Mart would have to honor the returns for full refunds. These mail-order items have shipping costs that are non-refundable, whether when ordering or returning. So the Ginzu knife or Blue-blocker glasses get you with the additional S & H (shipping and handling) expense. Even when they toss in a few extras, there is always S & H, to offset the freebies. And it’s not just mail-order stuff.

From the cheapest pen that never writes to the luxury car that breaks down all the time, we put up with them. I just bought a container of foil-wrapped mints where 50% are stuck to the wrapper and therefore inedible. I have clocks that lose time, calculators that last a month or so, user’s manuals that tell me next to nothing and batteries that last only a week. Ironically, my most reliable items are the cheapest. My paperclips, rubber-bands, toothpicks, and scotch tape work pretty well. My one-penny nails are quite reliable. But I can find fault with dozens of products I use daily that drive me crazy.

For instance, my electric can opener, more often than not, doesn’t catch on the can’s lid. Finally I bought an old-fashioned manual one for three bucks that works every time. This trend is leading us back to a time when life was simpler. Automation isn’t always the answer. Soap dispensers can be become clogged, so why not revert to a bar of soap? That type of thing. I understand that we are creatures of habit and like our toys. But we must be wary of false claims not be the guinea pigs for new products. And don’t be afraid to return something that fails to live up to the hype. Okay?

Well, I have to admit that I’m writing this article on word processing program off a desktop computer. But I bet I could have done just as well with a pad of paper and pencil. And it would have been less likely to crash, have a virus, give me carpal-tunnel syndrome, or flash a message that announces, “You’ve got mail!” when it’s really just another piece of spam. Nuff said.

Jeffrey Hauser was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master's Degree in teaching. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. He has authored 6 books and a novel, “Pursuit of the Phoenix. " His latest book is, “Inside the Yellow Pages" which can be seen at his website, http://www.poweradbook.com Currently, he is the Marketing Director for http://www.thenurseschoice.com a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.


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