Consumer power is something the average consumer doesn’t know they have. I know right. I was thinking the same thing. How sway?! Well it’s intentional in a since. I mean i only came into the knowledge per the result of a business law class i took few years back. That plus what my parents taught me… well much as they knew and or had chance to, let’s just say i know i’m lucky what i’ve learned so far was apart of my destiny.
My experience got more interesting having a chance to apply a lot of those lessons with my sister. But share more insight on our next “behind the smoke & mirrors” post. So make sure you are following this blog for updates. Anyway, so what does it mean to operate as a consumer slave vs in your consumer power?! This is how the chains of bondage show up in life.
Ads telling you what to buy even when you don’t need the product or service. Impulse shopping opportunites set by marketing design and floor layout in retail. service industries employees treating you like you owe them tips by custom and not by the actual standard of service. Getting stuck paying full price for products or services you’re ultimately not happy or satisfied with and so on. These are all signs that you are operating or shopping like a consumer slave.
So how do we shift into operating in our consumer power??
By evaluating our purchase differently all together. For instance a lot of people are now paying attention to the economic disparities when it comes to communities of color and as result are now making it a point to shop specifically with communities that have their best interest at heart.
That’s a great way to excersize your consumer power. Deciding where to spend or who to spend your money with is vital in this regard. Most know this practice as group economics.
The second way to excersize your consumer power is think about your reaction to the thousands of ads you’re being bombarded with on a daily basis. You can even filter the ones you don’t want out all together. Change the settings on whatever channel the ads you’re getting are coming in from. You can also filter out the ads you don’t want and your all set.
Really think about your purchase and decide if it’s something you actually need or just want. Is it something you may not come across again or do you want it only because everyone else has it too?. Is it something you can make yourself or maybe something you already have? Is it a purchase that will increase it’s return creating a greater benefit to you in some way?.
The 3rd way to excersize your consumer power is to make sure that in any exchange, your service or product matches the monetary value being asked for it.
While some feel it’s rude to negotiate a price or offer a barter, the reality is you too are an entrepreneur or an educated consumer who knows the power in those practices and there is nothing wrong with operating as an educated consumer in that since. As long as your not condescending to your supplier, you are more likely to come to a mutual agreement that serves both parties equally. Additional benefits are creating opportunities for a progressive customer relationship instead of just a one time sale.
How do you do that? Well consider your level of satisfaction. If In service, say your at a restaurant and you’re not happy with the service, you can always request a different waitress, section or choose another location all together.
How about the food? You don’t like something, send it back but don’t pay for something your not going to eat just because it’s customary to exchange something. You’d be surprised how many people do this not knowing they can send something back out of fear of being rude. As along as you are not speaking to the establishment in a rude way, your needs will be met. Again, most people in business would rather make a customer than a sale.
Finally, no matter what your are shopping for, once you’ve made a purchase. Your receipt is a legally binding contract! This is why you can only return items to a store if you have one. But most forget, don’t know or never knew the receipt is made to protect the consumer as well. This works in the consumer’s power signficantly in service because most payments are made or complete after services rendered. So if you don’t like your food, simple don’t eat something you don’t like and you don’t get better service, technically, you don’t have to pay!
If you see that your waitress or server is giving the table next to you a different or higher standard of service simply be prepared to tip or not according to the service you received. Tipping to prove you will so you don’t reflect the systematic stereotype instead of according to the service you get is of no absolute benefit to you. At very least every consumer needs to be reminded that real quality of life is not about how much money you have but instead how you spend!
Shop wisely by making investments! If it provides you with a return of greater value than you payed for it, it’s a good one. Have fun shopping in your consumer power and please come back and share your experiences. Has anyone experienced any of these changes in behavioral interactions to be effective? Please share an example via comments below. Until next week, “Happy Empire building & winning Wednesday loves!