Economic Multipliers (153)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

Consumer Reports’ is an economic multiplier and has been for years.


I attended an event where a question came up regarding accessing all of the information which ‘Consumer Reports’ provides.

Consumer Reports’ is an ‘old’ publication … a magazine (and now online publication) … which has been publishing independent research on products (and services) for more than seven decades (70+ years).

Some of their research is publicly available online. Access to some of their data is by subscription only.

Among their reviewed products, they normally list ‘best buys’ based on price and value along with ‘best buys’ if price is not as relevant. It’s possible for none of or all of the products which they review to get a ‘best buy’ rating.

Their goal is to be ‘independent.’

Independent means:

  • They shop and pay for the reviewed products themselves.

  • They rigorously test the products against standards.

  • They evaluate and report on failure rates on products by company.

You’ll find millions of product reviews available online today and I myself routinely read many. ‘Consumer Reports’ does not review every product available and many new companies and new products can be and are missed. As a subscriber to the hardcopy version of the magazine, I still occasionally visit the public library to read old reviews.

On the whole, their publication has made me and many other people better consumers by explaining why they test the things they test, how product labeling is done and things to be wary of when purchasing anything.

Organizations such as theirs are the reason that product standards and quality are so good today. Some people have been watching out for all of us for years.

Since many libraries routinely carry the publication, it’s also nice to know that access to their research is not limited to subscribers only.

As an organization, just recognize that if they had no subscribers, it would not be possible for them to maintain their independence.

In future years the lure of generating revenue through online advertising and indirect promotions for products and services may make it harder for their organization to stay as independent as they are now. Likewise, 3-D printing might mean that we will experience additional waves of new products in traditional consumer areas from new companies that will make it even more difficult for any independent individual or organization to evaluate them all.

In blending the old and the new, ‘Consumer Reports’ is still my ‘go to’ as a first cut for consumer items.

I’ve found though, that if you want to know everything that could possibly be wrong with a product when you first open the box or if you want to know the ‘quirks’ related to putting something together or operating something, nothing currently beats the online assistance many people provide just because they want others to be good consumers and users too.

As an added benefit, the ‘what’s wrong’ or ‘what’s quirky’ comments many times spur industry and/or company changes which make future purchases more ‘valuable’ for everyone.

Being a good consumer isn’t just good for you. It’s good for everyone.

If we’re lucky, organizations such as ‘Consumer Reports’ will be around for decades to come.

If we’re luckier still, ‘Consumer Reports’ will manage to maintain its independence.


P.S. Although I try to stay away from any ‘endorsements’ when I write articles, it occurred to me that in this instance, I believe that every young person could gain value in reading at least one hardcopy issue of ‘Consumer Reports’ so they have some basis for comparing any other ‘research’ and reviews which are available online.

Also know that when you learn about products which you did not know existed, it’s easy to want to buy them. If you didn’t need it before, why would you need it now? Products (and services) should always enhance your life, not take away from it. And, even if something could enhance your life, can you fit it into your life?