Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 When you buy
 You are a money manager
 Plan your purchase
 Study the advertising
 Compare price and quality
 Use the labels
 Shop wisely
 You are protected
 Plan for payment
 Assume your consumer responsib...

Group Title: Circular - Florida Cooperative Extension Service - 246
Title: When you buy
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00067882/00001
 Material Information
Title: When you buy
Series Title: University of Florida. Agricultural Extension Service. Circular
Physical Description: 31 p. : illus. ;
Language: English
Creator: Spray, Mabel
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1963
Subject: Consumer education   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
General Note: Cover title.
Funding: Circular (Florida Cooperative Extension Service) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00067882
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01729783

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
    When you buy
        Page 3
    You are a money manager
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Plan your purchase
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Study the advertising
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Compare price and quality
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Use the labels
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Shop wisely
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    You are protected
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Plan for payment
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Assume your consumer responsibility
        Page 30
        Page 31
Full Text





University of Florida, Gainesville



You are a Money Manager 3-5
Plan Your Purchase 6-9
Study the Advertising 10-12
Compare Price and Quality 13-18
Use the Labels 19-20
Shop Wisely 21-24
You Are Protected 25-27
Plan for Payment 28-29
Assume Your Consumer Responsibility 30-31


Permission to reprint "When To Buy" was granted by
Agricultural Extension Service, Ohio State University.
This bulletin was prepared by Mabel Spray, Extension
Specialist in Family Economics, Ohio State University.
Adapted by Home Industries and Marketing Specialist,
Florida Agricultural Extension Service.

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
Florida State University and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director


Buying is an important and involved process. It means mak-
ing countless decisions about what to buy, where to buy, when
to buy. Each day adds something new to the list of goods and
services competing for your dollars.

Food retailing stores carry more than 6,000 items. About
24 new food products are offered each day. Even though, as
government research shows, nine out of ten fail, enough suc-
ceed that the number of items such stores carry is expected to
increase to 7,000 in this decade.

One of the country's largest manufacturers of household
products reports that 70 percent of its volume is from products
developed since World War II.

Today's consumer may buy from the 385,000 brand names
competing for shelf and floor space in retail stores. How can
she make the right choice? Each dollar could be spent for any
one of a number of items.


Are a

Money Manager HE WAUT

Management is using what you have to get what you want.
Money is one of your most important resources (what you have).
It is used to get goods and services that meet needs and give sat-
isfaction to you and your family. How your money is used is
affected by use of your other resources such as energy, time,
knowledge, skill, interest, shopping facilities, and transporta-


Buying is an important and involved process. It means mak-
ing countless decisions about what to buy, where to buy, when
to buy. Each day adds something new to the list of goods and
services competing for your dollars.

Food retailing stores carry more than 6,000 items. About
24 new food products are offered each day. Even though, as
government research shows, nine out of ten fail, enough suc-
ceed that the number of items such stores carry is expected to
increase to 7,000 in this decade.

One of the country's largest manufacturers of household
products reports that 70 percent of its volume is from products
developed since World War II.

Today's consumer may buy from the 385,000 brand names
competing for shelf and floor space in retail stores. How can
she make the right choice? Each dollar could be spent for any
one of a number of items.


Are a

Money Manager HE WAUT

Management is using what you have to get what you want.
Money is one of your most important resources (what you have).
It is used to get goods and services that meet needs and give sat-
isfaction to you and your family. How your money is used is
affected by use of your other resources such as energy, time,
knowledge, skill, interest, shopping facilities, and transporta-

tion. Such resources can help money buy more satisfaction than
it could buy alone.

Management is primarily the mental part of solving a prob-
lem. The following steps are one concept of the management

1. Identify the problem.
2. Set your goals-what do you want?
3. Study your situation including your resources.
4. Seek alternative ways of solving the problem, recognizing
what is given up as well as what is received in each selec-
tion. You may need to get additional information.
5. Decide on the solution.
6. Carry out the plan.
7. Evaluate the results.

The fact that you are a manager (good, bad, indifferent)
when you buy can be illustrated by applying the above steps to
a simple buying situation.

Buying Problems

The family clothing plan may reveal that a new dress for
Jane is a high priority item. The problem then is identified as
how to get a new dress.

To do a good job of buying a new dress, you need to clarify
your goal-what you want and what you give up if you get Jane
a dress. Your expectations for the dress should be clearly de-
fined in terms of where and how often she expects to wear it,
how you will care for and clean it, the color, type of material,
etc. that would be suitable for the purpose of the new dress.

A study of your situation and resources should help answer
such questions about the dress as:

V How much money can we spend for its use and care?
V What accessories does she have to wear with it?
V How well can we care for and clean different fabrics?

V Where are we likely to find this kind of dress?
V Would making the dress be more satisfactory?
Such study may reveal several possible ways to get the new
dress. More information may be needed before you choose which
way. Magazines, newspaper advertisements, catalogues, sales-
persons, labels, and tags may give that information.
You decide on the solution to your problem when you choose
the dress or material and findings for making it.

The actual buying of the dress or buying material and making
the dress is carrying out the plan. It is carried out when the
dress is ready to wear.
The final step of evaluation is done as she wears and cares
for the dress. As long as she has it, you can evaluate how well
you did your buying. You may answer such questions: Was the
money well spent? Would I make the same choice if I were to
do it over? What did I learn that I can use the next time I
buy a dress?

If the purchase solved the problem of getting a new dress
in a highly satisfactory way, you managed well. If it was not
a satisfactory solution, some step in the process of buying needs
to be improved. In other words-how well you managed is de-
termined by the satisfaction you received in relation to money,
time, and effort you spent.
How consciously you go through this mental process depends
somewhat on the importance of the purchase and how often a
similar purchase is made.
A satisfactory plan for buying milk for the day can be car-
ried out indefinitely without further concern or decision until
something in the situation changes. On the other hand, it's de-
sirable to consciously plan and investigate a purchase such as
equipment, cars, insurance policies. It may be hard to live with
a poor choice in anything that is expected to last a long time.
The overall management of family money includes the car-
rying out of many buying decisions that seem to be independent
decisions but actually are related. Each decision affects other
decisions. Using resources for one purpose affects those avail-
able for other purposes.




Do Armchair Shopping
Good buying begins at home. Many decisions can and should
be made before the shopping trip begins.
An over-all spending plan for the family provides a general
guide for buying. Actual purchasing should fit into that plan.
Wise buyers plan their purchases to meet needs and wants. They
put first things first and then add the "extras."
The needs of families vary. Be aware of how your needs
differ from those of friends, neighbors, and relatives.
Buy with a clear idea of how the item will be used.
Decide on what to buy to meet a need.
Be as specific as possible about desired size, color, quantity,
quality, and other needs.
Establish limits to keep from being swayed outside your
price and budget range. Know what quality can be ex-
pected in your price range. A final decision often cannot
be made until you see what the market has to offer. It
may be impossible to find something to do all you would
Know and stick to your basic requirements and compro-
mise on the less important points and on less important
To go shopping without rather definite plans is likely to
result in loss of the shopper's and salesperson's time and

in loss of money due to poor purchases made on impulse
and/or under the influence of smooth salesmanship.
However, plans for buying like many other plans should be
flexible. Two or more items might satisfy a need or want
equally well. The final choice should make best use of money,
time, and effort.

Fit Purchase in Long-Time Plan

Few people can or would want to buy a complete new ward-
robe or all new furnishings for a home at one time. A basic
plan makes it possible to purchase additions or replacements to
fit the needs and wants as money becomes available.
Nutritionists have given you a basic plan for selection of
food that offers the best chance of providing the long time goal
of good health. However, no two families need to have the
same diet. The basic plan can be carried out in so many differ-
ent ways that consumers still have many choices to make. For
example, nutritionists say you need a certain amount of food
from dairy products, but it is still your choice as to how much
you will buy as fresh whole milk, skim milk, dry-non-fat milk
solids, evaporated milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, or other dairy
Wherever a single purchase needs to be fitted into a whole
program, you must think of two basic factors in your situation.
1. Where are you now?-an inventory.
2. Where do you want to go?-long time goals.

Prepare a Shopping List

A shopping list is evidence you have planned. The one you
carry on a specific trip may well be the result of notes and other
lists that you made as you were reminded by supplies running
low, advertisements of what seemed to be good buys of items to
meet some family needs, items left over from the last shopping
trip, and items that have waited until the trip could include a
particular store or the necessary money was available.
A time, energy, and money saving list includes as much detail
as you can determine at home. Color, size, quantity, brand, and

advertised price are some features remembered only vaguely if
they are not listed. It may take less time at home than on the
trip to determine the order to shop for items. Organizing the
list as to location of different stores, floors, and counters will
eliminate backtracking, assure getting all items needed, and help
limit impulse buying. The more limited the family budget, the
more specific the list needs to be. The ideal list for many shop-
pers is specific enough to control spending and yet flexible enough
to allow for unexpected opportunities.

Curb Impulse Buying

A large manufacturing company has made a 19 year survey
of supermarket shoppers. In a recent survey, 5,338 shoppers
in 250 supermarkets were asked what they planned to buy. The
answers revealed that: 1. Only three of 10 purchases are firmly
decided before the shopper gets to the store; 2. The other seven
are the result of vague planning or spur-of-the-moment deci-
sions; 3. Almost half the purchases are completely on impulse;
and 4. Two of three shoppers never prepare even a partial list.
Each time they have taken a similar survey, the rate of impulse
buying has risen.

Many a good family budget is wrecked when husband or wife
gives way to impulse buying. Indecision and a lack of facts
causes one to be swayed by emotions. It's been said that im-
pulse manages everything badly.
It is no accident that you buy differently than you plan. All
the psychology that manufacturers, advertisers, and merchan-
disers know is used to encourage the impulse reaction.
Color, design, package, convenience features are carefully
studied. It's a fact that people tend to put comfort, luxury, and
ease before self-denial and thrift. Something that flatters per-
sonal ego urges the impulse to buy without regard for ability to
pay. We are subconsciously influenced to buy with slogans that
become more familiar than the name of the product.

How can you curb this budget wrecker? Here are sugges-
1. Shop with a list.
2. Have a budget and stick with it.

3. Have mother shop for food. Studies show women do
less impulse buying at grocery stores than men do.

4. Leave the children home. It takes a strong will to not
give in to their pleas for items which they have seen in
television advertising.

5. Ask yourself such questions as "Where will I store it?"
"When will I use it?"

6. Make it a rule to "sleep on" a major purchase. The offer
should be just as good next day.

7. Be aware of your emotional state when you shop. When
you are feeling low, you are more subject to persuasion.
Low periods may follow a crisis or period of stress. Im-
pulse buying may be compensation for loneliness just as
over-eating is for some people.

8. Don't shop when you are too tired or in a hurry.

9. Include in your budget the amount that can be used "just
for fun" or on impulse buying.




Advertising has two functions--to inform and to persuade.
Information on which you can base a sound decision makes ad-
vertising useful to a consumer. Reliable factual advertising helps
us build up a fund of knowledge about goods and services.
Advertising takes many forms-brand names, labels, mag-
azine articles, pictures and descriptions in magazines, in news-
papers, and on television, radio commercials, window displays
are just a few. You depend on advertising to let you know what
is available, where, and at what price. You depend on it to give
a basis for judging quality in relation to price.
From the seller's point of view, advertising's aim is to seek
out customers and persuade them to buy. He tries to create a
favorable impression so that you will want to buy his product-
in fact, buy his product rather than his competitor's. This
competition among producers and sellers who advertise makes
it possible for you to buy at prices that are lower than if no
competition existed.
No one advertisement will give all the information needed
about a product. National magazine advertising calls attention
to the product, who makes it, what it is for, and may tell some-
thing about what it ought to cost. Local newspaper advertising
more often tells where the product can be found, when it will be
on sale, and the price. Radio and television advertising is usu-
ally reminder advertising of a repetitious nature. Window dis-
plays, coupons, premiums encourage buying and tell of product
You will find it easier to get information if you keep in mind
the specific facts you wish to learn.

Look for facts about style, color, size, weight, shape, quan-
tity, rather than indefinite statements of quality.
Look for facts about consumption, depreciation, repair
costs, and price rather than a vague claim of economy.
Look for facts about uses for which the article is designed
rather than uses in general.

Try to decide the intent of the advertisement. Analyze each
statement to see how much you can depend on it. Selling is the
advertiser's job. He can do it by the facts he gives. These facts
are carefully selected and likely designed to impress more than
to inform. The illustrations used and the associations built up
in the reader's or audience's mind are equally well chosen. He
often can create the desired impression more easily by implica-
tion than by direct statement.

To persuade, advertisements must first get the attention of
the prospective customer. Once they have it, they can play on
the emotions-the hopes and fears of people. Hopes for enjoy-
ment, social approval especially of the opposite sex, health, pro-
tection of loved ones are targets for the advertiser. Likewise
fear of accident or pain, of social failure (that you won't make
good or people won't like you) and of financial failure are played
Pleasant or unpleasant associations are made in the minds
of prospective customers by word, picture, color, or other way.
Getting your money's worth or more is promised in statements
or implications of quality, value, and economy.

A third ingredient in a persuasive advertisement is some-
thing to make you act-to do it now. It is strongly suggested
that a delay will mean loss or being subjected to those worries
this product or service could prevent.
As a buyer, you can discount superlatives and be on guard
against "puffing." "Puffiing" has legal standing. The courts
have ruled that truth in advertising means it can contain no
openly false statements. Exaggeration is not falsehood.

Comparative prices are widely used by both reliable and not
so reliable dealers. Honest comparative prices are fine. How-
ever, be suspicious of ads which say "Price $30, worth $40." The
words "price" and "worth" may tell you nothing.

The words most abused in comparative prices are: "selling
elsewhere for", "should sell for", "certified value", "list price",
"made to sell for", "savings up to", "now only", "savings up to
one half", "below cost". All these imply bargains but tell noth-

You can usually count on ads that say "our regular price"
"our former price" or "our usual price" along with a sale price.

Some advertisers put out bait for the unaware customer.
Bait advertising is the practice of offering at a spectacularly low
price a product or service the seller is determined not to sell if
he can avoid it. It is designed to get the buyer on the hook-
so they can sell him a more costly item.
The Federal Trade Commission says you can be certain an
ad is a bait if-
1. The product is offered at a startlingly low price.
2. The salesman is reluctant to show the advertised product.
3. The salesman belittles the advertised item and tries to
sell you a more expensive one.
4. The salesman tells you he has only a floor sample and new
stock at that price will be available only after a delay.
5. You are told the item was sold out in a very short period
of time and you are asked to look to something better.

Such advertising takes advantage of the human inclination
to want a bargain. At the same time, persons who need bar-
gains to make the income go around are taken in.

To Use Advertising Wisely

1. Take it for what it is-an aid to good buying-but not
the whole story.
2. Develop immunity to appeals that are not to your best
3. Learn to read for information. Get behind the attention
4. Help improve future advertising. When you respond to
an ad, you vote for another one like it.

d. .. Al
Price ,/

and -.!


Good buys are those that give the desired satisfaction at a
fair price. Knowing the quality of goods that will give satisfac-
tion is the real challenge. A great variety of goods and services
are available in different qualities and different prices. As a
buyer, you need as much information as possible about identify-
ing quality and knowing what can be expected from different
Two extreme approaches may be made to buying. One is to
determine the amount of money available to buy a product or
service, and then find the best possible item for that amount.
This may mean making an exhaustive study of the market which
may be expensive in terms of time and energy. The other ap-
proach is to have specifications as to quality that will give needed
performance or satisfaction regardless of price. In between are
many combinations of price and quality from which most people
make their choices.

Sources of information are numerous. Each source has its
particular function. You get information from those that have
given satisfaction previously.

1. Helps you know what is available.
2. Gives some information about performance and price.
3. Gives uses of products.

1. Descriptive labels give names of products, content, size,
care, use, manufacturer or distributor, and other informa-
2. Brand name labels carry a mental picture of past perform-
3. Grade labels give indication of quality, meeting of speci-
fications, compliance with standards, etc. To interpret
these labels, buyers need to learn the meaning of grades
as they relate to various products.
Labels may be vague and lacking in detail. It is important
to read them for what is unsaid as well as what is said. With-
out labels it is difficult to compare quality and price.

Guarantees need to be carefully read if they are used in a
buying decision. What is guaranteed?-the whole item? a par-
ticular part? the workmanship? Under what circumstances and
how long is the guarantee in force?

Government Bulletins
These bulletins usually point out factors to consider in select-
ing products or services. They are reminders of questions you
may not have asked yourself or sales persons. Government bul-
letins never make statements of recommendation by brand name.

Magazines and Books
Buyers may become acquainted with new products through
magazine advertisements and feature articles. Some magazines
do test products to guarantee that they are as advertised in their
magazines. They do not publish their standards. Advertise-
ments that are carried indicate approval of the company's prod-
ucts-but not that they are better buys than other similar

Consumer Information Services
There are consumer supported organizations that test and
report analysis of products giving ratings or recommendations.

In some instances, they use results and information from other
reliable sources. Two of these are "Consumers Research" and
"Consumers Report". Reasons for the classification may be
given. Best buys may be indicated as a result of both quality
and price considerations.
Information of this kind has its limits, too. Testing is done
on a limited number of brands of any type of product and a lim-
ited number of any one brand. The reports, therefore, are based
on the finding of a relatively small portion of the potential num-
ber from which shoppers from all over the country may choose.


Knowing quality and being able to compare prices are espe-
cially valuable if you do sale buying. According to the diction-
ary, a sale is the selling off of surplus, shopworn or other marked
down goods at bargain prices. Bargains may be had if the con-
sumer can pick them out. Sales are usually for clearance, stim-
ulation or special events. Following are some types with which
you should be familiar:

Private sales may be held several days prior to a public an-
nouncement of the sales. Charge account and other preferred
customers have advance notice-usually by mail. They have a
chance at the best buys.

Seasonal sales may be end-of-season, end-of-month, pre-in-
ventory or post-inventory. They usually are scheduled just be-
fore new merchandise arrives. Bargains are often offered on
appliances, furniture, furs, clothes, linens, rugs, and household
accessories. Examples are:
January-storewide and white goods sales
February and August-furniture sales
April-post Easter sales on clothing

July-spring and summer clothing sales
Special purchase sales are those for which merchants get
goods at cut prices from manufacturers or wholesalers and pass
on the savings. The products may or may not be of good qual-
ity. Some manufacturers make a product of lesser quality for

special promotion sales or use these sales as an opportunity to
unload seconds.
Anniversary sales are storewide promotions held particularly
by large department stores. Each department may have part or
all of its items marked down.
Closing-out sales are intended to clean out stocks of certain
items being replaced by newer models or styles.
One-day sales are stimulation sales. These are designed to
get many customers in the store. They are an opportunity to
move some unsalable merchandise along with some really good
Penny or one-cent sales offer two identical items for the reg-
ular price of one plus a penny. Be sure what the regular price
really is.
Dollar days can offer good buys. It is well to know if the
dollar item cost more than a dollar the day before.
These sales offer opportunities and raise questions. Is it
really the store's regular merchandise that is being offered at
regular prices? Are the prices really lower than usual for
goods of that quality? Is the merchant merely unloading some
goods with which he "got stuck"? Or have lower quality goods
been bought especially for the sale? It takes an observing buyer
to know a real bargain-and he may have to make his judgments
largely in terms of the seller's character.
Keep in mind that the privilege of returning goods often does
not extend to sale goods which are sold "as is." Defects, soil,
or other flaws may make no difference to you but it is well to
know about them before you buy. So-called bargains can be
very unpleasant experiences if you over-buy or if you buy some-
thing you don't really care for because the price is low.
Sales may fit into the family spending plan. Often needs can
be anticipated and their purchase planned to come at the same
time sales and bargains are likely to be offered. With this kind
of planning, it may be possible to do pre-sale shopping to be in-
formed about regular price, quality, and condition of items you
hope to buy on sale.
To get a bargain, you must be able to buy an item that meets
a real need at a price lower than can generally be expected.


Trading stamps at the present time are a part of merchan-
dising. The merchant who gives them pays $2 to $3 per 1,000
for them. He expects to get the cost back through increased
business or raised prices. If prices are higher where stamps are
issued, you pay for them. If prices are no higher than for the
same merchandise where stamps are not given, you get some-
thing for nothing.
Check and compare the general price level of stores using
and those not using stamps. Decide for yourself whether or not
to buy where trading stamps are issued and whether or not to
save them.
The good buyer avoids buying unnecessarily to fill a stamp
book. If you find that filling a stamp book encourages you to
buy, be careful. You may be tempted to buy things you don't
If you do save stamps, use them as you would cash. They are
worth more on some items than on others. It's valuable to know
the cash cost of items for which you are considering redeeming


Prices for the same items may vary greatly from store to
store. This has changed during the last few years. Discount
houses have been a contributing factor. They cut standard
prices. They depend on buying and selling in large volumes and
giving a minimum of service. They may be located in a low
rent area. They usually have jewelry and household goods which
ordinarily have a rather high mark up margin.
Fair trade prices-those set by the manufacturer which the
dealer had to agree to charge in order to stock the item-are not
used as widely as a few years ago. Some manufacturers, notedly
appliance manufacturers, no longer fair trade their goods. Deal-
ers, therefore, tend to set their own prices. Competition tends
to cause prices to be cut. The more stores that carry an item,
the more different prices are likely to be found.
Some list prices are phony. Items may be ticketed with a
price that is marked out and a much lower price put on the ticket.
The original price on the ticket may be referred to as "suggested

price", "value", "made to sell for" or some other such indefinite
phrase. To protect yourself from phony prices-

1. Buy brand names with which you are familiar if you are
not sure of your ability to judge quality. Unknown
brands may be good buys. Try them first in less expen-
sive items.
2. Compare quality on the basis of the last price rather than
the original price.
3. Check and double check at discount houses. At some, the
selling prices have been found to be higher than the man-
ufacturer's suggested price inside the container.
4. Be sure the prices being compared are for the same thing.
For example, do the prices quoted include delivery and
installation in each case?
If two or more stores offer comparable products and services
at different prices, it seems logical to buy from the one with the
lowest price. The attitude that a penny saved is of no conse-
quence is expressed in the comment "What are you going to do
with the two pennies you saved on that quart of milk?". The
two pennies don't make much difference as such but are about a
ten percent saving. On a year's supply of milk that might be
quite a bit. A family using a gallon of milk each day could have
about $30 during the year for other purchases. Those dollars
are just as good as the $30 you might get "knocked off" in a
"good deal" on a $320 TV set.
A five or 10 percent lower price on a large number of items
would likewise be a real savings. A penny saved may or may
not be a penny earned, but many people who have money to in-
vest would be glad to earn 10 percent or even five percent on
their investments.


thez Z


You may have heard about the woman who wanted to sur-
prise her husband for dinner. She took all the labels off the
cans and moved them about before she selected the ones to use.
Or the boy at camp who sneaked an unlabeled can from the store-
room and found it contained tar-not food.
Buying without reading the labels can bring some equally
big surprises. To avoid this, ask for and read informative labels.
Informative labels give facts useful to the buyer-facts that
help in choosing the item-content, size, care needed, suggested
use, etc.; facts that can help you get the item that fits the use;
facts that can save you money that would be wasted in poor se-
lections. Ask for and read the labels when you go shopping.
Keep labels for items that call for special care such as laun-
dering or dry cleaning clothes. Mark the label carefully so
there is no doubt as to which item it belongs. A system similar
to the recipe card file may be used to keep the label where you
can find it when you need it.
Labels of items that prove highly satisfactory or unsatis-
factory are useful in making a shopping list when a repeat pur-
chase is needed. Otherwise brand names, size, style, number,
etc. may be forgotten or lost.
Labels also indicate whether products meet standards. Food
products in particular have grade standards. Some products
carry a seal to indicate they meet standards of a manufacturers'
association. Another example is the label on electrical cords,
appliances, and some other items that meet minimum safety re-
quirements which bear a label indicating approval by the Under-
writers Laboratory.


Of course, there are tags that give little information. In-
formative labels for fabrics and garments should tell:

What the product is made of.

How it is made.

How it will perform.

How it should be used and cared for.

The name of the manufacturer or distributor.

Look for informative labels. When you read and compare
tags and labels, you will find that reliable ones-

Enable you to judge price in terms of quality.

Help you choose articles best suited to your needs.

Help you in buying new products.

Help you compare products.

Help you judge hidden characteristics.

Tell you how to use and care for the product.



The problem is to make choices which will bring the greatest
satisfaction over the longest period of time. It involves choosing
what to buy, when to buy, where to buy, how much to buy, and
how much to pay.


What to buy can be determined only by the person or persons
who will use the goods or services. Knowledge of products is
essential. Products which are frequently purchased require
constant study. Those items which are purchased infrequently
should be studied when the time comes. If you always buy a new
car about every five years, there is no need to find out about all
the new cars each year. Study them the year you expect to
make the purchase.
Many people would like someone to tell them which make of
appliance or furniture to buy, which rug or what color of paint
to get. No one can or should do that. The person most likely to
tell you is the person who has something to sell you.
Competition and industry standards have forced reliable man-
ufacturers to make good products. There may be a number of
items (for example, washers) that will give equally satisfactory
performance. The final decision then becomes a matter of per-
sonal preference, special features, price, and service.
New and improved products come to the market as a result
of research. Such research is going on in all kinds of business.

If a new or improved product will fill a need more effectively or
at less cost, you should not overlook it. At the same time, it isn't
wise to pass up a known product that has been satisfactory just
to have something new. The happy medium perhaps was best
expressed by Pope in his "Essay on Criticism."

"In words as fashions the same rule will hold,
Alike fantastic if too new or old;
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."


When to buy may refer to hour of the day, day of the week,
in or out of season, on or not on sale, or the mood or physical
condition of the shopper.

The hour of the day and day of the week are increasingly
less important. The extended shopping hours of recent years
reduces the need for Saturday shopping trips. Evening shop-
ping is available to many people who formerly had to grab a
minute to make a purchase in haste.

Friday and Saturday are still the days when the greatest
volume of food buying is done. Store advertisements including
specials are usually in effect for a week. Shopping on days other
than Friday and Saturday may be a better use of time and
Better service can be expected from sales persons during the
less rushed hours.

With modern refrigeration, food shopping should be neces-
sary no more often than once or twice a week. Additional trips
may be an expensive use of time and transportation.
Buying in or out of season is an individual choice and may
vary with commodities. The fresh food season has been ex-
tended greatly with modern transportation, storage, and proc-
essing facilities. But, foods out of season-such as fresh water-
melon for Christmas-would be expensive.

Items such as Christmas gifts may be more expensive the
month before Christmas than at any other time. The person

with a Christmas list that can be filled throughout the year will
usually be able to save money. The person who feels that the
hustle and hurry of shopping is a necessary part of Christmas
might not get satisfaction from Christmas shopping throughout
the year.

Shopping when one is not well physically, when too tired or
when feeling lonely or neglected may lead to poor choices, im-
pulse buying or over-buying.

Shopping under the pressure of time may result in hard-to-
live-with choices. Not always can needed purchases be antici-
pated. Without planning, however, one may find himself always
making last minute purchases. This can be an expensive habit.


Where to buy varies with families and their resources. We
usually think of time, energy, and money as our chief resources
during the actual buying. If money is the most limited resource,
you will choose the store giving the most of what you want for
the money, regardless of the time and effort it takes to shop
there. If energy is more limited than money, your best shop-
ping source is one giving many services, such as telephone or-
ders, delivery, and pick-up service.

For day-to-day purchases, you are likely to get the best prices
where you pick out the goods, pay for them, and carry them
home. By watching for sales, you may be able to do better un-
der other circumstances.

Choose a store or source of service that offers products in
keeping with your ability to pay. A specialty shop is not the
best place for a middle or low income family to do much buying.
By specialty shops we mean those which handle only high fash-
ion clothes, expensive jewelry, gourmet foods, etc.

Make a list of less frequently purchased items (include de-
tails such as sizes and samples) in preparation for a shopping
trip to stores that may offer more choices than those where you
shop regularly. The extra transportation, parking, and meals,
too prohibitive for one or two items, may be justified for a large
number of purchases.

Two of the most expensive methods of merchandising is that
of door-to-door selling and special parties. If you are familiar
with the product and it is of good quality, you may not object
to the extra cost. However, these methods are used by many
who do high pressure selling and who will employ all kinds of
schemes to make a sale. Is the item offered one you would buy
some place else or are you being pushed into something you don't
need? If good will or pleasure is a part of the value, recognize
it for what it is.

Comparative shopping is a "must." Compare not only price
and quality but amounts, service, special features, etc. Quan-
tity buying may or may not be a good practice. If the per
pound cost of a small container of detergent is the same as the
largest one, the only saving in buying the large one is in the time
and effort of more frequent purchasing. Buying in the larger
quantity, however, might create problems in handling, stor-
age, etc.


Are ." I


You can thank others who have been and are now concerned
that consumers get what they think they pay for. Through
their efforts you have laws, regulations, and standards protect-
ing you from being taken in by careless, dishonest or scheming
manufacturers and merchants.
Knowing about some protective agencies or organizations
and their work gives us guides for buying, helps us assume re-
sponsibility as consumers, and helps us know where to make
justifiable complaints.
It isn't practical to include here all the organizations and
what their labels mean. Look for evidence that products meet
the criteria you have for them. When you find an unfamiliar
label, ask sales people, the library, or other information sources
about it. The following are examples of some protective agen-
Better Business Bureaus are voluntary non-profit associa-
tions established and financed by business men to fight fraud
and deception in advertising and selling. It advocates fair deal-
ing with consumers and better relations between business and
consumers by-
1. Educational work which prevents deception in advertising.
2. Acting on complaints about alleged misleading advertis-
3. Warning the public against frauds.

4. Reporting to business on fake promotions.
5. Protecting charity drives from exploitation.
6. Educating consumers on everyday shopping problems.
Consumers are urged to call the local Bureau to report com-
plaints, make inquiry about businesses, and to get information
before buying or investing. The Bureau investigates complaints
and, if the facts justify it, turn them over to the proper govern-
ment agency for prosecution.
The Federal Trade Commission was set up to protect the
business man's competitors against unfair trade practices. Ad-
vertising is the chief medium through which businesses can
compete. Therefore, the Federal Trade Commission is greatly
concerned with advertising. It tries to prevent false or mislead-
ing advertising. Leaving out facts is considered misleading as
are misleading statements themselves. Curbing advertising
that is unfair to businesses directly affects you as a consumer.
All advertisements are checked periodically. A consumer
may write a complaint to the F.T.C. Businesses may make a
complaint. The F.T.C. then investigates and in many cases is
able to get a correction made. If it is not made, the F.T.C.
may issue a "Cease and Desist" order which means the adver-
tising must stop until the case is settled in court.
The Federal Trade Commission is authorized to prevent
deceptive pricing. It has guides that are to be used in prepar-
ing and checking advertisements that compare prices.
The F.T.C. is responsible for enforcing the laws concerning
labeling that must list fiber content of clothing and household
fabrics. The consumer is protected by laws requiring that cer-
tain products be non-flammable.
The Food, Drug and Cosmetics law prohibits the sale of
foods, drugs, cosmetics, and health appliances that may be harm-
ful or unfit for human consumption. Manufacturers are now
required to provide evidence the product is safe and fit for hu-
man consumption. Formerly, the government through the Food
and Drug Administration had to prove the product was not safe.
Checking on all products is a big expensive job, and products
do get by that do not meet required standards. You can buy
with more confidence, however, than if we did not have the law.

The National Bureau of Standards helps draw up specifica-
tions for products. The government buys by these specifica-
tions. It helps set up commercial standards for various trade
groups. We can buy items that fit. For example, electrical wall
outlets are made of one size and so are outlet plugs to be used in
wall outlets. The Bureau encourages manufacturers to use
self-identifying quality guaranteeing labels. Such labels indi-
cate the product has met the specifications.
Some Trade Associations, such as the American Gas Associa-
tion, American Institute of Laundering, and the American Auto-
mobile Association, set up minimum standards which must be
met before their members can display an insignia of the associ-
ation. Most good business men will not run the risk of not
meeting the specifications.

Private Research Laboratories, such as the Underwriters
Laboratory, test products to see that they meet a set of specifi-
cations. Though it may contribute to product improvement, this
particular organization's seal means only that the appliance
meets safety tests.
Guarantees or Warranties are given to insure consumer sat-
isfaction since manufacturers know that products sometimes
may have flaws making them unsuitable for your use. These
guarantees usually are restricted to a specific time and/or for
use and care given according to their instructions. Poor work-
manship and defective parts are likely to show up during the
guarantee period. The manufacturer is not interested in "mak-
ing good" something caused by the consumer's negligence. Guar-
antees are for your protection, but you need to know what is
guaranteed and for how long.
The Small Loans and Credit laws protect the buyer who uses
credit from being charged exhorbitant rates.




When and how you will pay the bill is a real part of the plan
for any purchase. The method used varies with individuals and
the item bought. Any one or all of the following plans for pay-
ment may be used by a family.
1. Cash at time of purchase.
2. Check at time of purchase.
3. Regular 30-day charge account.
4. Revolving charge account.
5. Monthly installment plan arranged with the dealer.
6. Personal loans to make cash payment.
The best payment method varies with the type of purchase,
the availability of money, your attitude toward use of credit,
availability of credit to you, etc. Most people take for granted
that small day to day purchases will be paid by cash. Other "pay
as you go" buying may be done by check or cash. Checks pro-
vide a form of receipt or payment record. Many checks for
small amounts may increase the bank service charges consider-
ably. On the other hand, carrying cash involves the risk of loss
or theft. One should not carry more cash than he can afford
to lose.
Not all merchants accept checks in payment. Some refuse
to honor checks drawn on other than local banks. Some form of
identification usually is required when payment is made by check
if the purchaser is unknown by the sales person. If you plan to
pay by check, be sure you have proper identification or other
assurance that the check will be acceptable.

Delayed payment by use of some form of credit may be made.
Reasons for using credit include convenience, having use of the
product or service while it is being paid for, keeping the bank
balance from getting too low, and, in some cases, greater ease
of getting service on goods for which payments have not been
Regular charge account and credit card buying such as that
done with oil companies is convenient and reduces the amount
of cash to be carried. Many people who could pay as they go
defer payment for convenience.
If future earnings are needed to pay for an automobile, other
durable goods or the many items that may be put on a budegt
charge account, this income will buy less because interest or
carrying charges add to the cost. Money spent on interest and
carrying charges cannot be used for anything else. You should
be concerned with the cost of interest, carrying charges or what-
ever it is called as well as with price itself. True interest rates
for personal loans, installment purchases, and revolving charge
accounts are usually in the 12 to 36 percent a year range. The
rate varies somewhat with the source and amounts of credit,
the type of purchase, and the payment plan.
If credit is used as the method of payment, it must be con-
trolled. It can easily lead to over-buying. Credit can be con-
trolled by:
1. Using it only when the need justifies it.

2. Making as large a down payment as possible.
3. Making payments over the shortest possible period of
4. Choosing the type of credit best suited to your needs.
An understanding of the sources, cost, advantages, and dis-
advantages of consumer credit and the advantages and disad-
vantages of paying as you go will help you choose the best plan
for payment for each purchase you make. It is doubtful that
either always paying as you go, or always using credit, will be

Assume Your



Consumers need to take part of the responsibility for main-
taining and improving practices that make shopping more sat-
isfactory for all. What one consumer does may readily affect
Many businesses operate with the philosophy that the custo-
mer is always right. They do this to get and keep good cus-
tomers. They are generous in replacements, taking returns,
and making exchanges. Some people take unfair advantage of
the situation. For example, garments taken out on approval
sometimes are returned with evidence they have been worn.
If the merchant takes it back, he and, in turn, other customers
take the loss.
Foods that are bruised and goods that are soiled, scratched
or otherwise damaged are a partial or total loss which is eventu-
ally passed on to customers. Responsible consumers treat mer-
chandise as they would like any they buy to have been treated.
The cost per sale in business depends in part on the number
of sales a clerk makes within a specified time. Use the time
necessary to get information that will help you make a good
purchase. But save the clerk's time by giving him as much de-
tail as you can about what you want. Size, color, style, price
range, and special features are some factors that will help the
clerk know what to show you.
Your plan may indicate you need a 72 inch couch to fit the
place you expect to use it and you can spend not more than
$175.00. There is no point in taking your time and the sales-
person's to look at those longer than 72 inches or those that cost
more than $175.00. Of course, the salesperson may insist on
showing you more expensive couches in hopes of getting you
to upgrade your purchase.
Improvements in labels and in merchandise have been made.
Some are due to consumer response and consumer requests.

You, too, can and do affect the merchandise available and
the information available about it. The advertisements to which
you respond encourage the use of more such advertisements.
If people bite on bait advertisements, promoters are encouraged
to use more of them. If good informative advertisements are
the ones that make sales, there will be more of them.
Informative labeling can be encouraged by consumers. Ask
for informative labels and tags. Then read and use them, both
for care of item and as a buying guide for future purchases. If
you find a particularly helpful label, do something about it.
Comment to the salesperson or store manager. Write to the
manufacturer telling why you found the label helpful.
In spite of all the planning, getting information, and shop-
ping, you may make a purchase that doesn't meet expectations.
Flaws can get by inspectors. You may feel you were gypped,
and decide not to go back there. Make a justifiable complaint.
Then the manufacturer knows of defects and can make correc-
tions. The merchant who receives the complaints passes them
to the manufacturer. If numerous complaints aren't corrected
by the manufacturer, the dealer may decide to find another
source of supply. Have you ever asked about an item and had
the salesperson reply, "We haven't had any complaints about
it?". It might mean the item was good or it might mean that
people are indifferent and just had not complained.
The golden rule applies to shopping as to any other day-to-
day activity. Consider fellow shoppers in such a little thing as
parking straight and between lines. Irritated shoppers are
poor shoppers.

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