Ignorance is not bliss
It’s been nearly five years since I started writing for this section – this little space where thoughts, doubts and questions unravel and are shared with our readers. More than anything, it’s been a symbiotic process, for I have been as much enriched by knowledge as the readers hopefully have been. Every time I begin to pen down my thoughts, I realise that I too have learned something new, something that would benefit me and my family in making informed choices not just for maintaining a healthier and safer lifestyle but also for the sake of conscious, responsible consumption. The more I read and write about subjects concerning consumers, the more I realise how ignorant I was about certain things until a few years ago.
Like the majority of consumers across the globe, I was quite unaware – probably indifferent – about unfair and restrictive business practices of some of the largest corporate brands. I had no inkling that there was one dedicated community of consumer rights protectors and that this community was backed by a strong law, and that this law was enforced by a quasi-judicial system that ran parallel to—and in sync with—the mainstream judiciary. To put it simply, I did not know that no individual or company could just get away by providing me a faulty product or appalling service.
Like thousands of our readers, I am constantly surprised by the facts that the subject experts at Consumer Voice dig up to keep us all informed, updated and aware. Without a doubt, some of the most interesting revelations have come our way through the testing of everyday consumables, especially the foods that we buy on everyday basis. I have been hooked!
So, I learnt about the pesticides in vegetables; I understood the contents of packaged foods; I can tell anyone a thing or two about ways to decode food labels. I am grateful to Consumer Voice for introducing me to organic foods, telling me about financial investments and planning, and keeping an eye on brands’ deviations from parameters set by the national standards. Last but not the least, I feel reassured about its credibility and neutrality – it is not a medium that runs on commercial advertising revenues. For all that, though, the magazine is not an anti-corporate, slogan-raising brigade; rather, it acts as an informant for companies too, as it shares knowledge and ideas with them about consumer-focused business practices, and at times also becomes an arbitrator to resolve consumer– corporate disputes.
My purpose of revisiting the significance of this magazine is primarily to urge all readers to share their own experiences and findings. Tell us if you know of a harmful product or any instance of bad service received; raise your voice when you feel cheated. Tell your friends about whatever new you get to know that empowers you as a consumer; help/encourage them to make informed choices. Think: When was the last time you shared an interesting consumer-empowering post on Facebook? When did you last share an update on harmful/healthy products on Twitter? Or, when was the last time consumer empowerment was a subject of discussion in your office conversation or at a friends’ get-together? Have you ever written to the customer care of any brand regarding anything?
At this point, when corporate brands are becoming bigger by the day, the community of aware consumers needs to match up – it has to make its voice louder and its reach wider. This is possible if each one of you with access to this magazine join voices and make a little bit of effort – when you read and learn of something, do not forget to share.