Advertisements and commercials are loaded with gimmicks and hype. They want you to buy without thinking. Here's how to look at ads with a critical eye.
Is That Sale Really a Bargain?"Huge sale! Save up to 60% off!" 60% off sounds good, but it's 60% off what? The most recent price? More likely, it may be off the "regular price" or "manufacturer's suggested retail price,"
neither of which the store ever charged for the item. It's just a gimmick that sounds good.
"Get One Free"Many "get one free" offers require you to buy overpriced items to get your so-called "free" item. To see if an offer is really a good deal, calculate what the per-item price is.
Sparkle Boutique is selling T-shirts: "Buy 2 at $19 each, get 1 FREE!"DO THE MATH: Pay for 2 shirts x $19 each= $38$38 ÷ 3 shirts = $12.66 final cost per shirt
Is $12.66 a good price? It might be, if you really want to buy three shirts. But as it turns out, another store is selling similar shirts for just $9.99, with no strings attached. You can buy just one if that's all you want. Even if you wanted three, it would still only cost $29.97 total.
Watch Out for Asterisks
Whenever you see an asterisk in an ad, there's
sure to be a catch! Mouse over these claims to see the real deal.
Read the Fine Print
If you see fine print at the bottom of an ad, read it! It will list all the terms. After reading it, you may find that the offer isn't so great after all. Like this:
Recognize the "Image Sell"
Some ads focus on image rather than telling you much about the product itself. Advertisers know that you want to be popular, so they appeal to your vanity. Don't let these emotional appeals blind you to whether the product is really the best value.
View Scientific and Research Claims Skeptically
"More people prefer...nine out of 10 doctors recommend...clinically proven to reduce breakouts...A scientific breakthrough.." These claims try to make you feel that you should buy the product because other people, or experts, think it's the best. But...who did they survey? What doctors did they ask? Were those doctors paid by the company that makes the product?
Just because something is made from plants or minerals doesn't mean it's better or safer. After all, poison ivy is "all-natural."
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