What happens when a major consumer magazine prints an evaluation of a product and a month later retracts it and prints another evaluation of any given product? What credible sources in the media may be available to people on products most consumers buy? With more consumers buying all types of products online, where do you go to find which products are likely to go bad first?
For a media source to be reliable and validated by experts in the product you wish to buy, you need to know what sources the publication online uses for testing that product and what means are used to evaluate the item. You also might wish to know when to buy extended warranties on products and where you can buy them for the least amount of money.
Everything from discount codes to print-out coupons are online
How do you use the culture of media, social media, and online publications to do your research before you buy? And how would you even know whether magazines for consumers are correct? One example is last January 2012 issue of Consumer Reports that in error published a review that reported a certain fish oil appeared spoiled in testing.
The error was corrected in the next month's issue, the February 2012 issue. In the corrected issue which appeared a month later, the magazine reported the particular brand of fish oil wasn't spoiled after oil. It simply contained lemon flavoring. So the conclusion was you can't test fish oil with lemon flavoring, and the product was not spoiled after all. It's perfectly good.
The magazine concluded that you can't test fish oil with lemon flavoring because the results were skewed the prior month. The fish oil was good all along, not spoiled, and just contained lemon flavoring. In the meantime, some consumers threw away their fish oil only to find out a month later if they read the February issue, that the fish oil is fine after all.
This family personally threw out $278 worth of the fish oil only to find a month later, the fish oil was perfectly okay to consume. However, if you're looking for reviews that are not opinions of only consumers buying a product for the first time and reporting their results, but based on a staff reporting what lab test results on various products received high or other ratings, you might find Consumer Reports in your public library if you don't subscribe.
You can access the magazine to some extent online. The problem is there aren't many other competing publications that can afford to send products out to independent labs to be tested other than Consumer Reports as far as consumer science media reviews. If you're looking for the post popular consumer science media, most public libraries have Consumer Reports in the magazine sections.
Your first step would be to turn to Consumer Reports. The magazine's most recent survey in 2006 covered most products and found that the top five items requiring fixing within three years were laptop computers, rider mowers, lawn tractors, desktop computers, and refrigerators called "side by side refrigerators" that have ice makers and/or water dispensers. These facts also appear in the November 29th, 2009 Sacramento Bee newspaper article, "Personal Finance: To buy or not to buy an extended warranty," by Claudia Buck.
Also see Consumer Behavior Report Holiday 2006 Shopping Trends and the Consumer Reports site. Helpful is the Consumer Behavior Report HDTV Shopping Trends article. Check to see what is coming up for this year at the consumer behavior sites. Media often turns to consumer behavior research to research product information and resources.
Where Can You Buy Lower Cost Extended Warranty Contracts?
Consumers might want to check out the site for SquareTrade.com, a San Francisco-based website that, according to the Sacramento Bee article, "Personal Finance: To buy or not to buy an extended warranty," has sold more than a million warranties since 2005 because of the company's low overhead. The bargain warranties on this site are priced lower than you can buy at various stores, according to the Sacramento Bee article.
So why pay more in a store, when you can buy warranties on various products online for less? The site will give you more information on warranties and their prices.
Obviously, you don't need extended warranties on items you intend to replace frequently such as organic food products, inexpensive radios or DVD players, or any other item that doesn't cost a lot of money to repair, or that you'll replace if it breaks. Some products are throwaway items or lower-priced gifts that you won't be able to track when you give them away. So you may not bother with warranties, say on a $50 item.
Checking Out Food Consumers Reports Surveys
If you want to check out all types of food product surveys at the Consumers Reports.org site, just click on the title, "Food" and then choose what kind of food you want to check out. The site for hot dogs, for example, has an article on results of the hot dogs tested.
One paragraph notes, "We did find good choices when we cooked some 620 full-fat and lower-fat hot dogs from 23 well-known brands and leading retailers on a concession stand-style grill with rollers. Several of the light dogs tasted nearly as good as their full-fat cousins and were considerably lower in fat and sodium (see Ratings). One of those, Ball Park Lite Franks, was among the lowest priced."
The overview contains sections under the food category, hot dogs, for the following information. CR Quick Recommendations Ratings Safe preparation Cookout food compared. You can check out other food items at the Consumer Reports site such as the following food products or look at consumer reports and surveys listed under the category of healthy eating. Also check out the video on that site, listed under the terms, Dieter's Kitchen.
Checking Out BPA in Canned Foods
Consumer Reports looked at the controversy over BPA in canned foods. According to the ConsumerReports.org website's section on BPA in foods, Consumer Reports tested canned foods. Check out the BPA site, as to what Consumer Reports found in the various cans tested. The date on the web address at the site says December, 2009.
According to the Consumer Reports BPA site, "The chemical Bisphenol A, which has been used for years in clear plastic bottles and food-can liners, has been restricted in Canada and some U.S. states and municipalities because of potential health effects. The Food and Drug Administration will soon decide what it considers a safe level of exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA), which some studies have linked to reproductive abnormalities and a heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease." What were the conclusions?
"Now Consumer Reports' latest tests of canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, have found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods we tested contain some BPA. The canned organic foods we tested did not always have lower BPA levels than nonorganic brands of similar foods analyzed. We even found the chemical in some products in cans that were labeled "BPA-free." For more information see the site, "BPA in canned food: Consumer Reports Tests."