Consumer Issues
The ugly consumer: Ridiculing those who shop ethically
New York : No one wants to knowingly buy products made with child labour or those that harm the environment, but we also don't want to work too hard to find out whether our favourite products were made ethically, according to a new study.
 
We really don't like those good people who make the effort to seek out ethically-made goods when we choose not to. In fact, we denigrate consumers who act more ethically than we do, seeing them as less fashionable and more boring, said Rebecca Walker Reczek, co-author of the study and associate professor of marketing at the Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business.
 
"You choose not to find out if a product is made ethically. Then you harshly judge people who do consider ethical values when buying products. Then that makes you less ethical in the future," Reczek added.
 
Walker conducted the study with Daniel Zane, a graduate student at Ohio State's Fisher College, and Julie Irwin, a professor of marketing at the University of Texas at Austin.
 
In earlier research, Irwin had found that consumers often choose to be 'willfully ignorant' when it comes to how their favourite consumer goods were made.
 
They will consider ethical information, such as whether a product was made using fair labour practices and in an environmentally friendly way, if it is readily available, such as on product packaging. But they won't go through the trouble of looking on a website or asking a salesperson.
 
For the new research, Reczek and her colleagues conducted several experiments to determine the consequences of this wilful ignorance.
 
In the first study, 147 undergraduates were told they would be evaluating four brands of blue jeans that differed on only four attributes: style, wash, price and a fourth attribute, which pertained either to an ethical issue (whether the company used child labour) or a control issue (delivery time for the jeans).
 
Participants were told that due to time constraints, they could choose only two of the four attributes to make their evaluations.
 
As expected, most of the participants who were given the opportunity to know whether the jeans were made with child labour chose to remain 'wilfully ignorant'.
 
That was key to the next part of the study, in which the same participants provided their opinions about different types of consumers, purportedly for market segmentation purposes.
 
Those who were wilfully ignorant about child labour use on the jeans they evaluated were asked to rate consumers who would choose to research clothing manufacturers' labour practices before making a purchase.
 
These participants were more likely to denigrate these ethical consumers as odd, boring and less fashionable, among other negative traits.
 
"They judged ethical consumers less positively on positive traits and more negatively on negative traits," Reczek said.
 
However, participants who didn't choose to find out about delivery times on the jeans they evaluated didn't judge those who did investigate delivery times more harshly. It all had to do with the ethics.
 
"Wilfully ignorant consumers put ethical shoppers down because of the threat they feel for not having done the right thing themselves," she said. "They feel bad and striking back at the ethical consumers makes themselves feel better."
 
The study results appeared online in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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The Safe and Smart Way for Management Students
Moneylife Foundation conducted a financial literacy seminar for the management students of NL Dalmia College
 
Moneylife Foundation continues its series of ‘Be Safe and Smart with Your Money’ events for students. We believe that it is essential for them to learn how to manage their money and be able to fund their future financial goals. The younger you start, the better it is. Many attendees at our seminars wished that they had received such unbiased advice when they were younger. Moneylife Foundation’s financial literacy model for students is, therefore, of great value to students before they join the corporate world. The fact is there is little in college education that can prepare you for the intricacies and the realities of managing your money. It is important for everyone to have a clear understanding of what it takes to protect their money and invest smartly. Moneylife Foundation has conducted many such events in the past. This time, the Foundation conducted a special programme for the students of NL Dalmia College, Mumbai.
 
The first session was conducted by Sucheta Dalal, managing editor of Moneylife and founder trustee of Moneylife Foundation. She focused on how students can avoid financial mistakes and not fall prey to scammers. The second session was addressed by Debashis Basu, editor of Moneylife and founder trustee of Moneylife Foundation. Students need not only to protect their money, they also need to invest it wisely, to beat inflation and fund their future goals. Mr Basu spoke on the pros and cons of various investment products through which they create wealth.
 
In her session, Ms Dalal explained that one should keep one’s financial life simple and invest in just a few products—products that are safe and well-regulated. The six mantras articulated by Ms Dalal include—not to lose money, insure for securing future, avoid credit and investment traps, focus on a few safe products, avoid emotional traps and maintain financial hygiene. Ms Dalal explained the concepts of credit history, credit score and reports which are becoming increasingly important. She said, “All your borrowings and repayments for credit card, student or education loan and other loans are tracked by credit information companies, like CIBIL, Experian, CRIF Highmark and Equifax.” 
 
In the second session Mr Basu explained the importance of saving regularly to secure one’s future financially. He took the students through different life stages and the common financial goals at each stage in life. He explained the principles of compounding under different scenarios. The effect of compounding is slow in the initial period; but, with time, the power of compounding takes over and the wealth created is huge. The key is to save as much as possible and start as early as possible with good financial products. Many students look to earn a good income when they start work. Mr Basu highlighted that saving has little to do with income. It is more important to spend smartly.
 

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