Shop responsibly this Christmas!

11/12/2015 14:44

The spirit of Christmas is here, evidently high in the air as all businesses and retailers are colourfully advertising dynamic deals, zero dollar deposits, crazy sales and many other promotions that usually flood our town and cities during this time of the year.

Consumers will once again embrace this much awaited season where there will be feasting at homes, lavish spending at favourite eateries and upholding the tradition of exchanging gifts with loved ones. Many consumers look forward to purchasing household goods such as electronic items, mobile gadgets and other white goods that they have had their eyes on the whole year.

The Council over the years increases market surveillance during the festive season. It is during this time that it often finds some unscrupulous traders who display misleading advertisements to lure  consumers. Some traders often take advantage of this opportunity to get rid of their old stock to shoppers. The Council has also found some products on sale that were of poor quality and some did not fit the purpose it was bought for.

Consumers can easily be overwhelmed with the promotions like the “50% off “and “buy one get one free deals” and often end up buying items they do not need.

Special deals are good opportunities for consumers to save money. However, there is always the risk of some spending their hard earned cash on goods which may be shoddy and sub-standard. There is also the possibility of buying pre-packed food items which may be nearing expiry dates or have expired.

The Council believes that consumer should enjoy the advantages of the discounts and specials. However, they should be alert about the price and the quality of the products they are buying. There is no harm in asking the retailers questions about the quality of the items and double-checking prices.

If consumers are opting for hire purchase deals, it is important that they read and understand the agreement and all terms and conditions such as the warranty issues. Consumers should also seek clarifications such as the availability of the back-up service, the interest they will be paying and any queries they have in mind before signing the agreement.

Here are some tips for a savvy Christmas this year:

  • Draw up a list with its average cost– write down all required items for the festive season and prioritize them according to high and low priority products. This will not only help you purchase the most important items first but also sustain your budget
  • Do not leave your shopping to the last minute- some consumers may end up in stores which may be offering them items at exorbitant rates in town because they have left their shopping to the last minute and have no choice but to rush their purchases in time for their celebrations
  • Make the most of specials and promotions – but at the same time, carefully check the promotions and advertisements, and ensure the information is correct and not misleading. Check out what you really want for yourself
  •  If you are planning to decorate your house– you can consider reusing last year’s decorations or use fresh flowers and crepe paper
  • Avoid bulk buying –only spend on the number of items and required quantity for your Christmas celebration. Do not purchase in bulk just because items are on special as it may be nearing expiry
  • Check your purchase- test those lights or white goods before buying and check for expiry/best before dates on food items
  • Make healthy choices – with rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country, shift your focus to healthier dishes which can be nourishing   while maintaining the spirit of Christmas. Go for fruits and more greens
  • Be careful while purchasing crackers - last but not the least, parents and elders should avoid giving money to children under 18 years to buy firecrackers.

Consumers must remember that festivals have significance, thus, celebrations to mark such occasions should be centred around its true meaning and reflecting upon it.

The Council wishes all consumers a blissful and safe Christmas and joyous and productive New Year.