Being in class has opened my eyes to this new world of “consumers”. Now, this is not a new word to my vocabulary bank, but it does have a new meaning. Before now I didn’t really consider myself a consumer. I didn’t really consider myself much of anything. Now this idea of consumerism has been placed inside of my head, I think about it often. I consider if there is actually any consumer protection measures that are taken to ensure that consumers are not being bamboozled into buying useless products or being lied to. Laws have been implemented, but are these laws actually held up and honored the way they should be? Lets take food for example. Who protects consumers from eating fatty foods that are advertised as healthy? The USDA is there to ensure that companies are meeting standards and upholding said standards. These come in many forms of tests, product advertising, and ensuring that the truth is followed through. Without the USDA breathing down the neck of the companies that are handling the food that, we consumers, eat on a regular basis, who knows what it would be like. These consumer protective measures are implemented because it is what is deserved to the consumers themselves. We deserve the protection and the truth from the companies that are attempting to sell us something. It is not fair, ethical, or right to lie to the consumer. It is also the consumers job to be researching on their own time because although the USDA and other laws state that companies need to be truthful, there are many loop holes and although these companies are stating the truth, it may not be the whole truth or it is some version of the truth. Consumer protection is also up to the consumer themselves.
Consumer: “Economics. a person or organization that uses a commodity or service” Protection: “a thing, person, or group that protects
Standard: “something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model.”
USDA: United States Department of Agriculture
Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com
I had a few ideas for this project, but I think the one I am going to go with is interviewing people. The questions I am set out to answer are: “How healthy is it?”, “Do I really know what I need to make a healthy choice?”, and “Why is it so difficult to be healthy/ easy to be unhealthy?”. What I plan to do is ask people (maybe 3-5) what their favorite “healthy” meal is and what is their favorite “unhealthy” meal. Then I will take their answers and get the calorie count through the online FoodTracker website. This answers the “how healthy is it” question.
Next I will ask them if they know what is needed to make a healthy choice. I’ll answer this question for myself first, then I will record their answers. I will be seeing if any of the answers are similar or if it really means something different to each person. I will also look up the available websites to people, how readily available nutrition facts are, ask how much they learned in school about making healthy choices, or how much research they have done to make healthy choices. Here I am looking for them to answer the question, and I am looking to see if they blame their healthy choices on themselves, or on outside sources.
Lastly, I will be asking what they think makes it so hard to be healthy and so easy to be unhealthy. I’ll ask about their lifestyle. The choices they make as adults, and the choices that were made for them as children. The types of foods that were made available at home, the snacks that were given, and how this either carried over into their adult life or they made the choice to be different than the way they were raised.
I will create a PowerPoint and will use quotes made by my interviewees, rather than recordings. I will post photos of the foods that were discussed, the websites that information could be accessed, and anything else I think needs to be added as I am carrying out my project.
Most people do not go into parenthood with enough information as it takes to make informed decisions about their own care and the care of their new baby. Which doesn’t seem too surprising as those who are becoming parents didn’t really plan to get pregnant. What does it mean to be informed, though? Informed about what exactly? Being informed is much more than preconception. Being informed is knowing the many options that are available to you, the risks and the benefits before and after pregnancy, all of it! Being one of those consumers who, yes has seen and experienced child birth through the eyes of others, had a lot to learn upon becoming pregnant. Preconception was the extent to my knowledge, and that simply means birth control and condoms. As it does to many people. But preconception is knowing the ways to care for your body and mind before a baby is made. This includes your partner as well. Your entire life changes upon conception and it changes fast. So, what now, now that you or your partner is pregnant? What are the options available? There’s classes that can be taken to teach about birth, should you save the umbilical cord blood? What if you need to get a caesarean or induced? Going into parenthood isn’t as black and white as people want to make it seem. It’s easy to see in others as the greatest time of their life and such joy and happiness! And trust me, it really is. But being informed about all things preconception really makes for an awakening that most people don’t get post-pregnancy, while most people need it. Become an informed consumer and learn what it is that needs to be learned, because it is the responsibility of the parents to be, or those that are trying to be.
Informed: “having or prepared with information or knowledge; apprised.”
Preconception: “occurring prior to conception”
Conception: “fertilization; inception of pregnancy.”
Caesarean section: “surgical incision through the abdominal and uterine walls in order to deliver a baby”
Induced: “to bring about, produce, or cause.”
Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com
It would never be easy to have to learn more about the services offered for your loved ones as aging go the best of them. But when the time comes it would be best to be well prepared and informed about the services and programs that are available to give your loved one an easy, comfortable living situation. I read up on a few pages from the WA state social services on elderly care. It was laid out very well in the sense that it was clear and concise about the services provided and it even talked about how to pay for these services. The payment part is where I initially had the most questions, but it was covered as I read. If I were to be looking for services for my loved on, this would be a good place for me to start. It provides a basic overview of what types of care are out there and what it entails. That was awesome. What was confusing was, it didn’t talk about all the places that each service was available. It spoke briefly about if you lived in King county you could be apart of the PACE program, but what about those in Pierce county? Is there a service similar to that provided or would my loved one need to move to King county? It spoke about the option for long term care homes, in home care, just daily nurse visits, etc. and it talked about needing to pick to specific company that takes Medicaid if using state funds, what companies are included? Where should I go to look and how do I know I am putting my loved one in the best possible care option? Being a state website it could have touched more on that to create a better direction to start looking. With that being the case, I think it would be wise to take to Google and start doing some research about the home options available to you. This could open up the entire world of care and give a great direction to the best care.
Food is probably one of my favorite topics to write about because I love food! You can’t go wrong with food, and everything in moderation is good. Or so I thought. Moderation meaning a person eat an unhealthy item or meal once or twice a week, or even a month. This is moderation because it’s not happening every single day! Reading an article written by Jonathan Ross goes on to discuss that this idea of food moderation is essentially bogus. Which after reading, I am coming to agree with. Living a balanced lifestyle is much more than cutting back the donuts to once or twice. Living a balanced lifestyle is eating healthy more often than not. In the sense of, maybe once a month a person is eating a cheat meal. Balanced is an important way to live because leaning toward one way or another really drastically changes the way a person feels, acts, and the habits they have. Developing good healthy habits is choosing the food that is good for you because you want to fuel your body, choosing to hit the gym because you know your body will thank you more than sitting at home. Research has shown that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Eating food in moderation, already created the habit of bad choices, thus leading to the path of an unbalanced lifestyle.
- Moderation: “avoiding extremes of behavior or expression :observing reasonable limits”
- Balance: “a means of judging or deciding“
- Lifestyle: “the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture
- Habit: “a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior“
Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: Americas most-trusted online dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2017, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/
Popova, M. (2016, July 08). How Long It Takes to Form a New Habit. Retrieved November 12, 2017, from https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/02/how-long-it-takes-to-form-a-new-habit
Ross , J. (2016, January 09). Why “Everything in Moderation” Doesn’t Work. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
Well, after reading this, my reaction is, I absolutely do this. Without any doubt, I am one of those people who say “if I eat good this week, I can eat the cupcakes at the party this weekend”. My other reaction is, I couldn’t agree more with him. I have no idea where this idea of “I ate salad for lunch, I can eat the cookies with dinner” in any way makes up for eating the salad. Regardless, because it is an expectation for our bodies, that salad should be eaten. So, yes, I am practicing meaningless moderation. Honestly, after reading this and according to Jonathan Ross, I am not practicing any form of moderation. Simple indulgence. A few lines in this article really stood out to me. “Healthy food should be our normal. It’s not super; it is what is expected.” This really stood out to me because I have fallen for that also. This idea that I am eating superfoods and I am so healthy for doing it and yay me! But he is absolutely right. Yes, some foods are going to hold more nutritional value than others, but regardless, it is still food that your body expects to consume because of the way our babies are created. Another line that stood out to me was “If you -eat a healthful food, you are getting more healthful – you are neither a good nor bad person”. I loved this one also, because more than not people have this idea of “I’ve been good, just one bite of” whatever it is. I too do this. Realizing and understanding that this is actually pretty common doesn’t make me feel so bad and the next step I would be taking would be education, education, education! Open more doors to knowledge so I can learn about the foods around me and the concepts that cause people like me to think that food is a reward, more than a source of body health. With my knowledge I can live that way and then teach those around me of my findings and hopefully people close to me would follow my example and live the same way. This creates smarter and healthier consumers, which is exactly what the world needs.
When I was around 7-9 years old (maybe younger) I would naturally approach people and tell them how beautiful they were. If they were dressed up or not, were just taking a quick trip to the store, whatever they looked or seemed like, something in me would draw me to people and I would tell them they were so beautiful. It made me feel good, but I did it more so for their sake. I wanted to spread smiles and happiness to strangers and give them something to feel good about. Some people need it more than you can see or even really know.
So, now I challenge you to do the same! For the next three days (or longer if you want, and I encourage) to tell 1 stranger a day, something nice! Whether it be about their looks, intelligence, goals, aspirations, or achievements. For each person you say something to, take note of how they reacted and how you think it affected the person. Did they smile, laugh, get embarrassed? Do you think it made their day better or worse, that they will tell their friends what happened? Next, take note of how you feel, before you tell them and after! Were you nervous to approach them, were you excited to compliment them, did you back out of the first few attempts? Lastly, do you think this is something you’ll keep doing? Sometimes it takes just being challenged to do something to start a trend in your daily life.
I am excited to see, should anyway take this challenge, how your experiences go! You’ll see it’s really not as scary or nerve racking as it seems. Good luck!
Fiduciary Rule: “Fiduciaries is the legal term for a broad group of professionals who are required to put customers’ interests first. They cannot accept compensation or payments that would create a conflict of interest.” (Lee, Kathryn) That quote came directly from the article on U.S. Pirg, written by Ms. Lee about the interview (I am assuming) with John Oliver about retirement and what comes with retirement.
Lets just start with, I know nothing about retirement funds, how to get one, who to talk to, where to start, how to start, what else to do to increase your retirement, nothing. What I do know is, most jobs offer a 401k, it is important to start at a young age, and investing in your future is probably the best thing you can do in your youth.
Okay, so the fiduciary rule now defined by me: Those that are in the financial advisor positions are not out for their best interest, but are out for the best interest of their client. Meaning, they must do what they can to ensure that their client is receiving the best advice and pointed in the best decision making direction specific to their customer (the person receiving the financial help). This is what it means to me, and I gathered that meaning from the article on U.S Pirg, by Kathryn Lee. I felt, compared to the other article about the 4 arguments by Patrick Tucker, Lee did a much better job at defining and applying that definition of the fiduciary rule to the point that an ignorant consumer, like me, was able to come up with their own definition. She did this my specifically defining the word, then going on to explain again what Mr. Oliver was speaking on in his interview. She elaborated on what it means to have high fees and low fees when choosing a retirement plan, what it meant for those who did not have to go by the fiduciary rule, and an actively managed fund. Each of these topics she spoke on were quick, but to the point and it had enough basic information to clearly understand what she was talking about. On the other hand, the article written by Tucker, I had no idea what he was even saying. He was speaking about things I knew nothing about, and didn’t offer very much background knowledge for me to “catch up” to his article. This made is difficult for me to quite understand the fiduciary rule and what these myths meant that he was talking about. This doesn’t mean he had written a bad article, because I am sure to those that knew what he was talking about appreciated the shortness and to the point the article was. Just for me, between the two articles, Ms. Lee did an excellent job on explaining and providing clear understanding for the fiduciary rule, what it meant, and where it applied.
What a more perfect topic for me, as I am about 35 days away from giving birth to my first child. I have already gone over the birth slides, so I with a quick overview there and the reading of the midwives, cord blood, birthing video trend, and C-section options, I learned a lot. You would think, being pregnant that I would have already known a lot of this since I am living it currently, but wow. What a word out there for families and mothers to be. Lets start with the question at hand: What do I think young parents would really like to know? Well, what did I want to know? I wanted to know what I didn’t actually need! I didn’t want to buy unnecessary things, and I still have yet to find out if I have or not. I also wanted to know, what are the best health options for my unborn child and I. Reading the cord blood article, it really took me back. In my teens I always had this idea what I would save my babies cord blood because you never know and I thought I understood the importance of saving it. After reading the article and finding out that, in reality, it’s all just played on fear (at least in my opinion), I wouldn’t even waste my time trying to save the blood. For my pregnancy now, saving the blood wasn’t an option as I thought it was so expensive, but I did have plans for my second. Nope not anymore. It’s easy for companies to play on the emotions of new parents, or even second or third time around parents, cause not many parents are educated. This is what confirms it for me that people are vulnerable to unneeded products. As I read on, I learned that women are not even given the option to potentially have a vaginal birth after a C-section. Why? I mean, they go on about how dangerous and the risks are higher and etc., but is that the truth? C-sections cost in the range of $18-$30k (based off a quick google search). I think, although there may be risks, the risks really don’t outweigh the benefits of a vaginal birth. This here again, playing on fear of the unknown. So, back to the question: What do I think they would really want to know? The truth. About as much as they can get, and learn to keep the emotions out of it, cause that’s where they’re going to get duped the most. And being new parents, of course you can’t do everything right, but you can learn from the first time around.
This week I read about school lunches, the Toyota recall, and the plane crash. Of these three, each of them gave me a feeling of uncertainty and almost as if, as the consumer we really aren’t told very much. Especially in the plane crash. I had no idea about the rules and regulations of airplane flying, or the fact that there isn’t a camera in the cockpit. Toyota seemed like they were giving as much info as they could, but in retrospect, being the consumer you know that there were things they were leaving out to protect the company. As any company would. School lunches, well I mean, I’ve been out of public school for about 5 years now, and we all know that just because they want to do these things doesn’t mean they are. So overall, as a consumer, I do not feel protected. I feel as if companies and law makers don’t feel like they have to tell the whole story and giving half of the story will satisfy people and their worries. But, that thought it actually really scary because it’s true. We aren’t told much and when we want to know more it’s a matter of, “at this time this is all we know” and that was seen in the Toyota recall article and the plane crash article. I feel as if things are strategically put to keep the citizens at ease and to keep the fear to a minimum.
In order for there to be protection provided to the consumers I think the truth needs to be let out. The whole truth. These stories about “stay tuned” and never any follow up is a bit concerning. Or if there is a follow up it’s months later. To who can we get that from? Making new laws and making it so that when these articles are released or when companies are making press statements they are required to tell the full story. Especially when it comes to the safety of their consumers. This idea of wanting to keep the fear to a minimum is completely understood, but to me, it’s creating more fear than ease because people are then left wondering about their safety and protection as consumers and don’t really know what to do or where to go with the information that was given to them.