Shopping For Things Without Product Knowledge
Financial Management

Shopping For Things Without Product Knowledge

This afternoon I went to look for something to unclog the drain in the bathroom for the house as the water was not going down smoothly. Obviously something like a plunger wouldn’t work due to the design of the bathtub, so I specifically went to look for one of those liquid based products where you would simply poor down the drain.

Now for most things I usually try to do my research ahead of time to see what would be the best thing to look for, but instead I figured that it was just a household product and that there couldn’t be too many confusing choices for something this specific. Was I ever in for a surprise as there were probably over 5 different products with fluctuating prices and some claiming to be the extra strength ones and so fourth.

At that moment I think I just became one of those consumers who are susceptible to any type of propaganda based on the product’s listed information or what the store signs tell you. On top of that, I couldn’t help but to have a little bias towards the products that costs less money as I have no sense or appreciation for the item brands since my knowledge of them are close to nothing.

Now fortunately this was a small item as oppose to something bigger as shopping for things where you know absolutely nothing about can be a real money waster. For example, one of the more natural assumptions as well in these cases is that the more expensive item is obviously better than the cheaper one or that they are all the same and so you may as well pay for the one that costs less. Normally it should be about the overall value and how that service or item will specifically satisfy your needs.

So what I did was that I first read the information on the products. It was kind of scary as all of them stated how the product was extremely corrosive and all of them suggested that you should wear gloves and a mask if it is a poorly ventilated area. I was thinking if it was that bad that I shouldn’t use my existing gloves and instead buy another one. It almost sounded like surgery.

Here is the part where I was able to use a value approach to the purchasing process. I figured that it felt kind of wasteful to buy one glove just for this and so what I did was purchase a small bundle of disposable ones as I knew that I could use those for other tasks as well. As for the liquid product itself, even though I had very little knowledge of any of them I quickly cross compared the information that each product tried to highlight. In this case, I tried to find the one product that emphasized that particular task and drain type the most. The one I chose actually turned out to be on sale too which was a great coincidence as well and was the cheapest out of them all.

In the end, after using the product the water was draining perfectly again just for those who are wondering. It didn’t seem like a very hazardous process like all the labels said it would be though. As demonstrated, it’s always to better to have at least some knowledge on what you are buying ahead of time to save time and money or get help from someone who knows a lot about it.

1 Comment

  • joewatch 5/12/2007

    I have found that over time, you actually save time and money by spending some time before going to the store to buy things you need. If you go to the store, you have spend all that time reading labels / boxes and you still don’t know what the best product is.

    My favorite site is As we finally have warm weather in NY, the pests are starting to act up and we found some ants walking around in our kitchen this morning. I looked “pest control/ants” on and found out that the best and safest product is liquid ant bait by Terro.

    Unfortunately, the stores in my area don’t carry this particular brand, so I had to order it online.

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