Three Free-market Buys that Burned

by jenny

It’s looking like both our main choices for president this fall are against TPP. I like the idea of free trade, but if the American workers get shafted, I don’t like that. I like to be able to go shopping and compare prices, and be able to snag a good-quality alternative item for a cheaper price. One bad thing about being cheap, though, is that you get what you pay for.

No thanks to advertising. They tell you all these wonderful things that make you want an item. So what happens if you buy, and then are not satisfied, do you just have to suck it up and say, “I should have been a more aware buyer”?

When I was editor of a local union newsletter, we always ran the “Buy American” filler ads and cartoons, which were very popular with our readership back in the 1980’s and 90’s. No wonder, we were a local of the great UAW.  But people today aren’t as loyal to the Buy American campaigns.

Here are 3 incidents in which I’ve yelled at myself for not being a more aware buyer:

(1)  The Rotadent fiasco. Husband did it. He bought a fancy electronic toothbrush at the dentist’s. It worked very well for a year or so, then all of a sudden it quit. Luckily it had a lifetime warranty, so  I just called up the maker in Arkansas, like the dentist said to do, and furnished them with the serial number and the purchase date. Instead of me mailing it in to get it fixed, they would send me a new one, because it was now made in China. So not in 3 weeks like they said, but in about 6 weeks I got a new one that looked pretty much the same as the old one. Except the new one had a different brush that hooks on to the handle with the flimsiest little catch, so that the brush head falls off about 20 times during the course of one 2-minute brushing session. It’s just a bad design.

defective toothbrush
brush head and its flimsy little catch
(2)  Fake coach purses. Yes, I succumbed to the Facebook advert that popped up right next to my news feed, and promised I could buy some genuine Coach purses from this company that sold them for cheap. I had been pining for a sweet, buttery leather Coach bag ever since I saw them at the City Creek mall when I went to Roots Tech  last year. However, I sure didn’t want to pay that exorbitant price! But when I sent in my order, I got an acknowledgement email that was written in very poor grammar. It had the Coach logo. Still, a big mistake. So this is what I ended up getting in my order, a far cry from the glamorous gear of my fondest dreams:

phony Coach
cheap phony Coach purses

Counterfeit Coach purse
Fugly Fake Coach purse
And when I went to a Counterfeit Coach web site to report the fraudulent transaction, guess what results I got? Nothing! No further communication at all.

(3)  Schwarzkopf hair dye, made in Germany. I was telling my friend about this, and she said “Black Head.” I said, “Pardon?” She said, “That’s what Schwarzkopf means in English, Black Head.” OK, I saw this pretty package in the grocery store, in the hair dye aisle. I’d never used the brand before, although I’ve been dying my hair for the last—oh well, never mind that little detail. And I’ve never had any problem with allergies so I’d stopped with the recommended allergy tests they tell you to do 48 hours prior. Bad idea! The day after I applied it, I had hundreds, thousands of little pimples on my back. A week later they were still there, and had gone all the way up my back and were partly under my right ear, and getting very itchy, as well. I finally went to the doctor and he said it was Keratosis Pilari, and wrote me a couple of prescriptions.

Our current president is all for TPP.  So if one of the two main candidates is elected, what changes can we expect when shopping, during the next 4 years? Wondering if any of the other “fringe” candidates for president are for or against free trade.



Please comment, if you feel so inclined!