Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Value of Customer Reviews

For those of you with larger dogs, I find trips to pet stores a challenge in terms of finding effective dog toys that aren't destroyed in seconds. I will spend a great deal of time standing in aisles, contemplating whether this toy will withstand my dog's chewing ability. After numerous attempts at trying to find "good" dog toys for my young lab at my local PetCo store, I decided to take up on's 4-for-3 deal on pet toys. I was on the hunt for the "indestructable" dog toy, hoping to find more than one. While the descriptions are helpful, the one thing I find myself looking to more commonly is the customer reviews. DO NOT underestimate the power of this information. I cannot tell you (nor do I want to think about) the amount of money I have spent on dog toys that have been destroyed in a matter of minutes.

This review is one that I read for the "Busy-Buddy Tug-a-Jug", one of the many toys that involves a puzzle with treats or food. I'm happy to say that after 4 days, it is still in tact and looks like it will be with us for a while. I was happy to find reviews written my dog owners with a similar problem - the power chewer. I plan to continue buying dog toys on-line solely for the customer reviews I can read after finding 4 good quality dog toys. While some are more expensive, I would rather spend the money on something that will last a year or two, rather than something that will be shredded to pieces within a few days. In addition, online retailers like Amazon generally have cheaper prices than pet stores, will have good deals like the buy 3 get one free, and have a greater variety of toys than any store. These reviews are on many retailer websites, like Walmart or Target in addition to Amazon, so be sure to look for them and take advantage of the information they have to offer.

I also used these reviews when making large purchases, like the recent laser printer I bought a few weeks ago. With 52 customer reviews and an overall star rating of 4.5 out of 5, this gave me confidence this printer would work well. The reviews also give you an opportunity to find out about minor faults or things that you wouldn't know about until you have actually purchased. The common complaint with my printer was the paper would curl easily, however, I considered it minor when deciding to purchase, and I do not have that problem after using it.

This practice is also very similar to Consumer Reports, which is something I subscribed to over the past year to purchase 2 vehicles and new cell phone service provider. Consumer Reports provides information on cars, electronics, appliances, insurance, child and baby items, and more. To date (our cars were purchased in February and April of last year), the cars that we have bought have had no problems, and neither has our new cell phone provider. You can receive all the information over the internet for only $5.95 on a per month basis, and cancel when you don't need it anymore.

Consider the power of customer reviews next time you are making a purchase that involves consideration of the variety of products available, it can save you a good deal of money when you buy right the first time around.

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