Well we are now into a new year and well past a Christmas where here in Australia over a billion dollars was spent on unwanted presents alone. Ponder that for a moment. A billion dollars!....hmmm…Now that you have finished pondering I would like to tell you a story. A story that we either all know, or should know, yet like a flock of mindless sheep follow along, seemingly not knowing any better!

This is the story of the consumer who is seduced and conditioned by the tales of the marketing merchant. Yes you know the one, that’s the one with all those nice goodies that glitter with gold, shimmer and sheen and seem to activate some learning disorder in us all. It is a psychological phenomenon in which we seem powerless to control. The 'wanting to want' syndrome I call it. Whether we need those nice goodies or not, we just have to have them. Yes it's something that with the right parameters in place leads us to make decisions that are really not in our better long term interests. You see it in the major department stores during the post new year sales where people not only forget their manners but are downright violent and aggressive in pushing and shoving to get to that all important consumable which is selling at a seemingly impossible discounted price.

It was only on the news recently that a particular and now most unpopular person bought a boat load of very cheap air conditioners from China and went on a rampage akin to a travelling fire sales road show, through the outback country towns and sold these units like hotcakes. They were so cheap that these good country people bought them like bananas. Not just one at a time, but in bunches. Now some months down the track our friend has disappeared with lots of money owing and now, one by one, those brand new shiny air conditioners are breaking down like a stressed out executive suffering a mid- life crisis. What recourse to the law do these people have, apparently none. Product warranty, you ask? No knight in shining armour to the rescue there either. The owners of these once most prized commodities are left facing repair costs that will double the cost of their original investment and in the end still leave them with an inferior built product. Their only use now is as a boat anchor, except most country folk don't own boats!

So what had just happened? These air conditioners had looked good, had a catchy name and were cheaper than a nest full of chicks. With false promises of a comprehensive warranty and product reliability, the town’s folk bought them with hardly a question only too happy to depart with their well earned cash. The sales pitch told what they wanted to hear and with the prospect of a free lunch (well almost) threw their discerning minds aside and put on their sheep’s coats to be led like lambs to the slaughter.

Now a bit closer to home in my own field of expertise nothing is different except the names of the players and the ingredients of the products. I have been practicing Aromatherapy for nearly 20 years and in regard to natural skin care products and essential oils, I can say that oils ain't oils. See my other article on "Would You Like Some Chemicals With That?"

I am often bewildered by how easily people are mislead with the marketing hype that colours their perception. I include myself as well, knowing all too well of having bought things that were not as they seemed. Several products come to mind where plenty of money had been spent on an extensive marketing which included $1000+ advertisements in high profile glossy magazines. It seems crazy that given a choice, people would rather pay for the marketing glamour of a high profile product name of average quality than for a low profile product of high quality. This is especially so if the product has celebrity endorsement and at what cost!

Seemingly an increasing number of products are no longer made to a quality standard and are having this standard cheapened by price constraints. The economic rationalism of cutting costs at all costs so as to remain competitive. Is this a product of deception or is it driven by an insatiable consumer demand of wanting to pay the least and blindly expecting the best? Price does not always reflect quality either and sometimes paying more does not necessarily equate to improved quality. It’s a mine-field out there! One needs to be cautious, do their homework and use their common sense. It makes me realise that not much has changed since the latin phrase "caveat emptor" was coined, let the buyer beware!

So the next time you look at purchasing something see if you can be the first person in recorded history to break this psychological phenomenon by becoming more discerning in your product purchase. If the product is heavily marketed then those costs (which can be as high as 30-50% of overall costs) will have to be reflected in the price. If they are not then ask yourself, how can this product still be reasonably priced if it is so extensively marketed? By now I would think you know the answer to that one, do you not?

Author's Bio: 

Angela Power has been practicing aromatherapy for nearly 20 years & enjoys writing articles on natural skin care & the benefits of essential oils. She provides her knowledge through her real life experiences & her ‘Garden Apothecary’ website features informative articles on Aromatherapy, Natural Skincare and Essential Oils.