There is nothing new under the sun. Ecc 1:9b
Nobody likes to be duped.
That’s why I paid special attention to an article I found in the latest copy of Consumer Reports. The title that caught my eye was Sneaky Packaging.
Recently, Mark and I signed up for a class called Financial Peace and one of the principles we learned is to make every dollar count – assign each dollar to a purpose. That way, you don’t waste your money. Well, as you can imagine, it’s changed the way I shop. I pay attention to unit prices and sales. I look for coupons. It’s really become a game of sorts for me to make the most of each dollar. It’s empowering! I honestly didn’t expect to feel empowered by learning principles of savings and debt reduction. I expected to feel extremely restricted. To my surprise, I’ve enjoyed every minute.
However, as I’ve learned the truth about consumerism, I’ve seen the err of my ways in many different areas. Here’s an example.
I admit it…I’ve always been a sucker for “new and improved”. It might be my interest in graphic design that causes me to reach for the item with the new packaging. But whenever a company decides to repackage a product that I normally buy, I’m usually intrigued and snatch it up. Maybe it’s the pretty colors on the label or the font usage. Whatever the case, new packaging is always appealing to me. Or, it was until I learned a little lesson from Consumer Reports.
The article was called Sneaky Packaging. I learned so much about how companies are allowed, under the guidelines of the Food and Drug Administration, to make very loose claims about what their products do, simply by adding the word “MAY” to the front of the phrase. “May help reduce the risk of Heart Disease.” They can make that claim because their product may or may not do what it claims. It’s not particularly an outright lie.
Before reading this article, I would have found myself asking, “Why wouldn’t these claims be true? Certainly they wouldn’t put it on the box without there being some type of research to back it up.” My general thought from the bright colored packaging is “They’ve improved this item for me, the buyer! They are trying to help me out.” Without much thought at all…I was allowing myself to be duped.
Another trick companies may often use is to color a produce bag (such as a bag of carrots) to the color of the carrot so that it’s more appealing – a nice bright orange – making the carrots look almost flawless until you open the bag.
Some items, you may have always bought in an 8 count box…are all of the sudden a 6 count box. Bags of sugar have been downsized.
One trick I found very interesting was that companies will indent the bottom of jars in order to cut down on the amount in the jar. Each consumer will only lose perhaps an ounce or two when they buy but the companies makes millions. What you can guarantee is that the jar will never say, “One less ounce – same great price!”
Now, you can bet, I am watching products closely and looking for the deceptive marketing that leaves me wanting. Since I read the article, I find myself picking up all kinds of jars (peanut butter, mayonnaise, etc.) at the grocery store to see if I’m being cheated. I pay attention to how many come in the box. I read the fine print.
It’s amazing what a little truth can do for one’s outlook. And the truth is – deceptive marketing is big business!
So how do I apply this to my heart and my life?
During our women’s bible study discussion Sunday night, we were talking about how nothing is new under the sun. God’s Word tells us that. Beware of the “New and Improved”.
I see in my own life that when the sin I seem to struggle with over and over no longer carries an appeal – no longer catches my eye, Satan packages up that sin to make it once again appealing. Same old sin, new angle. Maybe you’ve felt that you beat the sin that trips you up until that new packaging came around and you found yourself sucked back in. Each time you buy into it you feel even more cheated and foolish for believing it was all it claimed to be.
Being duped in the grocery store is one thing. Being duped in life is another, especially when it steals your joy and victory! How do I safeguard against it?
KNOW THE TRUTH. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 It’s really that simple.
I don’t want to fall for the lies that Satan sets before me with their pretty packaging and fancy letters. Sin will always be sin. It will always lead to death.
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My (God’s) purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10
As I seek truth in my life, I’m able to pass by the fancy packaging that once enticed me. I am able to see the deception that used to so easily draw me in . It’s empowering!
Are you being duped? You can have confidence and strength to resist the temptation to succumb to sin no matter how pretty the packaging may be. Just ask God to show you truth. Go to God’s Word and find your answers there. The truth remains. There’s nothing new under the sun.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5
And, if you ever happen to see me out at the grocery store staring at the bottom of a peanut butter jar, I haven’t lost my mind. I’m just tired of being duped!