Thursday, 26 June 2014

Read Before You Buy

(First appeared in Consumer News Namibia Magazine January 2013)

When was the last time you read the product description or spent time understanding the labeling of a product you have purchased? How many times have you accepted that the product meets your needs without actually understanding what the product is composed of? Unless you have a specific allergy or irritation that is caused by a product, most of us would purchase without taking time to look at the specific ingredients of the product.

Recently, I was advised to take an energy supplement as I am working up till 10 hours a day, seven days a week. A friend gave me an energy supplement of Bioplus and swore that this would “energise” me and provide that needed boost. (It should be noted that the Bioplus sachets can be bought at most supermarkets, small shop or even a service station shop and are displayed quite prominently.) After about two weeks of taking these energisers on an almost daily basis, I went on Christmas leave and felt I would not need the drinks any more. After a day of two of not using the sachets I developed a craving to at least buy a sachet or two.

Normally, I am able to handle any craving by just ignoring it until it goes away. However, the feeling of wanting to have a sachet stayed with me for about a week.  After the week had passed I happened to be passing a store where the sachets were displayed – and having time on my hands – and took a chance to look more closely at what are the ingredients of the Bioplus sachets. Great was my surprise to read that each sachet has its main ingredient Alcohol at 10% of the volume.

That means the sachet of Bioplus has 10% of volume consisting of alcohol which puts it at more than twice the strength of a beer. The sachets I had been drinking without thought of a consequence was in fact putting me in danger of been drunk at work, or even more dangerous could cause me to have been over the legal limit of alcohol in my body if I had been caught driving.

I am sure that no police officer in the country (or my Boss for that matter) would believe that I had become drunk from drinking an energy drink.

As a consumer activist I always pride myself on being a “active consumer” in that I pay attention to what a product contains, but realized how quickly I had bought into the product myth that the Bioplus sachet would give me more energy. Looking back, I wonder if I really had more energy, or did the alcohol mislead me into believing that I had more energy while all it had done was give me a drunken buzz?

For myself, I will be checking the products I purchase a lot more closely, until the next time I buy into “the feel good factor”.

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