Ig­no­rance is not bliss

Consumer Voice - - Editor's Voice - Padma Edi­tor

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.

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