I have always been a data nerd – ask my previous Comcast coworkers. Numbers and charts and finding new compelling evidence really intrigue me, it’s always the drive behind being a writer anyways – to find out the stories that are not being told (remember when I was supposed to go to Africa and be the next Martha Gelhorn?).
So I am not sure how I missed Consumer Reports all these years. Honestly, I just never thought I would care which vacuum is best, but it’s really way more in-depth than that. PLUS – did you know – they are a non-profit. That means they BUY all the items they test (and are not bought out for opinions) – including all those fancy expensive cars. Yes, they DO in fact have an employee “store” where they can purchase some of the tested products (and no, they didn’t let me shop there haha).
So, I was intrigued to visit the facilities in Yonkers when invited up to see just how they try and break shit – literally.
Behind the Scenes
From food to washing machines to strollers, they’re literally testing almost every consumer product out there. Even those “fat free” and “skinny” versions of your favorite foods (FYI – out of all of these, SkinnyPop actually has the MOST calories). So wouldn’t you want to know the REAL facts and data behind these items – not just someone always encouraging you to buy them?
Don’t get me wrong, I endorse products, too, but only ones I can stand behind. But – have I done the research on them like CR has? No. Will I be looking into more of these products to give you more nerdy details? Absolutely!
The Educated Consumer
It’s the new consumer. We’re more conscious of what’s going into the foods we eat, the clothes we wear and the chemicals in our flame-resistant mattresses. We’re one of the most educated generations of all time, constantly surrounded by information – and that’s a GREAT THING! The problem is, a lot of the information is incorrect, I mean, even Facebook has installed a way to Fact Check. So wouldn’t you want to make sure the sources you’re using are indeed “fact checked?”
As a writer, we are taught this in school – always use credible sources. If the New York Times is reporting on a Middle East headline, it’s probably more accurate than an unknown website. Not to say it might not be right, but when you need fast, reliable info – you go to the trusted sources. Like Consumer Reports – with their unbiased reports and information, you can know that the details you are ready are true.
What is the CR subscription?
There are different levels of subscription. You can get online access to all materials (a few articles are free a month just like The New York Times), your can pick up the lasted magazine on newstands. Plus, they also do “special report” magazines a few times a year that you can also pick up. Currently loving these right now. And remember, CR runs on subscriptions – not on funds from big business, so you know your money is actually going to a good cause – our futures!
I was invited to Consumer Reports to tour their facilities, but all opinions and statements here are my own (just like they don’t take money to buy opinions, they didn’t pay me to write mine either – I choose to write about them because I do find them to be a very reliable resource!).
Author: Stephanie Barnhart
Stephanie Barnhart is Author/Founder of Footballfoodandmotherhood.com, New York Editor for Mommy Nearest Magazine, and Founder/Social Media Strategist of SocialmindedMediaGroup.com. Stephanie is also a speaker of best online practices for small business and soloprenurs, as well as an educator to parents on social media monitoring. She has also been seen in the New York Times, PARENTGUIDE News, NY Metro Parent, ABC News, and been a contributing author on various websites.