Archive for the ‘Consumer Behavior’ Category

HP notebooks a joke.. saved by the warrenty!

HP Laptop -From Google Images-


Three years ago I purchased a HP Pavillion 6000 series Laptop. I purchased this for my education and to have a computer that will last me through 4 years of school. I did a great deal of research at the time into which computer would be best for me to purchase. 

I finally decided to buy a laptop from Circuit city. There were many different factors that went into this. The main reason was that they offered a service called Fire Dog that would allow for a 4 year warranty with the laptop. If ANYTHING went wrong with the laptop they assured me they would fix it free of charge! This would even cover if you were in the dorm and accidently spilled some beverage all over the computer ruining the computer they would fix it. This cost at the time about $380.00. I also liked the display of computers that they had at the store and got the computer that was right for me. The up front cost of this worried me about a warranty for a computer. I wanted to make sure though that I would have a computer that worked for 4 years and get me through college! 

Did I ever know how much this warranty would come through. Since I have had this computer I have sent this computer in ten or more times! I have sent the computer in every summer with a list of problems that would occur during the school year. Many of them were issues that I would put up with and deal with on a daily basis. This was because I needed my computer for school work and was unable to send it for repair. I have not been able to go a 3 month Period without something being wrong with the laptop.  Each summer I realize how valuable the warranty is at the same time how bad the HP is. 

From Google Images


I have had trouble with the HP Laptop 3 times in the last month. I have sent it in for repair each time, it has seem to be routine for me to not have my laptop over the summer months. Recently I took my laptop into the local RadioShack in Braintree, MA. Since Circuit City shut down Radio Shack has took over the warranties and repairs for them. They took a week and a half to send it out because they did not have the right box and had to wait for it to come into the store. Thus have been without my laptop since late May! Due to sending it in for multiple problems that always seem to pop up.  

I spoke with the warranty company today about the replacement of the unit and they have determined that with all they have paid for my repairs, parts, shipping, etc.. that a replacement would be fitting. I am glad to hear this for it’s a relief to know I may not have to fight with my HP laptop anymore!
Needless to say this is not just a rant and does apply to consumer behavior.  More and more times recently I realize that companies are offering extended warranties for their products. This is more than just the typical 1 year limited warranty on most products. They may be expensive up front, but in the long run can save you a bunch of money. I have had my motherboard replaced 4 times on my laptop causing fees enough to buy at least 2 new laptops. These fees have not been on my shoulder but on Circuit City who I purchased the 4 year warranty from when purchasing the computer. HP will no longer help me out but because of the extended warranty I have been in luck.

So next time you purchase something you think a warranty is too much up front it can save a lot of money and provide a much-needed assurance that you will have repairs to product issues. It may take some tedious work of calling in and sending the product in for repair. In the long run it will be worth the investment.

Dinning out at more expensive restaurants!

From Google Images


Today I was reading some articles online and I found this article related to eating out in the down economy.  It talks about how consumers are ready to dine out again! They are more willing to eat out more than in the past! This is a good sign to restaurant owners and other business owners.  

If consumers are more willing to eat out with their family then they will be more likely to continue shopping at high-end stores and they will buy more expensive products. This is also in a time where there are a great amount of deals going on for customers.  You can go to Logan’s and get 2 entrees for just $13. They are trying to appeal more with specials to get more business. This trend is working and bringing guests back to the store.  

CHICAGO (April  13, 2010) Consumer behavior patterns are shifting for the better for restaurants, according to a new study conducted by market research firm The NPD Group, with less consumers cutting back on dining out, and fewer customers searching for deals.  

NPD Groups March 2010 Survey


Data collected for a recent study, “Light at the End of the Tunnel … What Can We Expect,” found that respondents were less focused on controlled spending and price points or deals at restaurants during a March study, compared with responses in a June 2009 survey. Fewer respondents also said they were trading down in restaurant selections or sacrificing visits to restaurants.  

“It’s clear from our research and other indicators that consumers are feeling more positive about the economy,” Bonnie Riggs, NPD’s restaurant industry analyst said in a statement. “Our survey findings, combined with other publicly reported information on restaurants’ improving status, suggest a move toward recovery may be starting soon if it is not already underway.”  

About 27 percent of NPD respondents said in March that they chose less expensive restaurants more often, down from the 32 percent of respondents that said they were changing their restaurant habits a year ago. The number of respondents that said they were looking for good restaurant deals also fell, from 29 percent a year ago to 22 percent in the latest survey. Respondents that said they visited restaurant less often also fell, from 18 percent a year ago to 14 percent in March.  

In addition to the consumer behaviors beginning to favor restaurants, NPD found that same-store sales trends at quick-service and family-dining chains are at their most positive levels in the last 11 months. Based on the firm’s SalesTrac Weekly research, NPD said that of the 47 quick-service and family chains it follows, same-store sales have increased during four of the last six weeks.  

Still, Riggs said the industry has a tough road ahead, as restaurant industry traffic fell 3 percent for the latest year ended in February, marking 14 consecutive months of declines.  

“Our forecasting model shows that the industry will remain weak for at least another seven months,” Riggs said. “Additionally, once losses moderate, it will likely take more than a year to recover lost visits, but there are strong indications that the industry is now moving in the right direction.”  

Read more:

ESPN this is Sportscenter!

Recently there has been a great deal of talk about the Masters that occurred this past weekend. There has been a great deal of talk about Phil Mickelson. He has won his third Green jacket, amongst the talk of Tiger Woods returning to the golf course. With all this going on during the past week, Today I saw what I thought was a great commercial for ESPN.

Upon watching this commercial many of you see that Arnold Palmer is featured in the office with his caddy getting a drink. There are 2 different containers one of Lemonade and the other of Iced Tea. It’s to signify the famous Arnold Palmer Half and Half beverage sold at most golf courses. Scott van Pelt and Stuart Scott watch in awe as Arnold Palmer prepares his drink.

The target market they are trying to portray this message for is those who play golf and care about the sport. Arnold Palmer is 80 years old and has been golfing on the tour for 50+ years. He is a legend to the sport of golf and was also the honorary starter of the masters along with Jack Nicholas. This then appeals to not just the golf fans but ESPN sports nation.

From Google Images

The other aspect shown in this message is advertisement for Arnold Palmers Famous Half and Half drink! This drink is made by the Arizona Drink Company, they are getting great advertisement for their product through this ESPN commercial. That is a great idea, I enjoy this drink, it’s essentially an energy drink for golfers with a great amount of sugar. It’s a refreshing drink to have on the golf course. Many times when I refer to drinking a Half and Half, people think I am referring to coffee creamers. Thus this commercial also gets recognition for the drink. It gets its name by having half Lemonade and Half Iced Tea! Not that it is just a coffee creamer! Good Job ESPN and Arnold Palmer!

Is the recession coming to an end?

Do consumers spending show that the recession is coming to an end? Many consumers who feared the recession started to save their money. They wanted to make sure they had money saved if there was another great recession! So instead of spending it they were holding back. I read an article that is below from They use the savings rate and the amount of increase on car purchases!

It is understood that if the consumer believes the market is coming back then they will start to increase the amount of cars that they will purchase or upgrade to another car. They will also be more likely to not save as much of their paycheck and use it for a night out or for new apparel items. This is also true that they will think their job is safe and they don’t need to fear being laid off from work. Although there are many people who are struggling with being laid off in the economy. This may show they have found a new job and rely on the new income and start spending more again! Does this mean that the recession is coming to an end. It is a slow rise but the economy is coming back!

From Google Images

Consumer behavior shows recession is over

By Chris Isidore, senior writer April 7, 2010: 11:21 AM ET

NEW YORK ( — Economists have been saying for a while that the Great Recession has ended. Now, there are signs that the general public is finally starting to agree.

Though still pitifully low, consumer confidence is improving.
But some of the positive economic news of recent weeks, like the best job gains in three years, the continued stock market rally and early signs of a turnaround in home values, is starting to make people more hopeful.

It’s a growing optimism that can best be seen in consumers’ actions, not their answers to various polls.

“If you look at what they’re saying, they’re still very nervous,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s “But if you look at what they’re doing, they’re more convinced that things have turned the corner.”

Voting with their wallets

Consumer spending is improving at a faster pace than many had expected at this stage in the recovery.

The savings rate, which soared last year when people were afraid they’d lose their jobs and homes, has started to decline.

“That’s an indication of increased confidence,” said Keith Hembre, chief economist at First American Funds.

And home prices appear to be stabilizing too. With three quarters of month-over-month gains, according to S&P/Case-Shiller. Although prices lower than they were a year ago, the free fall seems to have ended.

“I think people are coming to the conclusion the worst is pretty close to over in the housing market,” said Zandi.

A key retail sales report on Thursday is expected to show that chain-store sales grew at a 6% rate in March. That would be the best increase in three years.

And auto sales are also improving, with almost all automakers posting double-digit percentage gains in March.

Spirit Air Charging for Carry-on bags!

From google images

I remember the day that my family and I could fly roundtrip with ATA to Daytona beach for a low rate of $99. This cost included 2 checked bags, and carry-on luggage for no extra charge. You could head to the airport and not have to worry about any hidden fees expect for outrageous prices of food at the Airport.          

I have flown many times including internationally to the Dominican Republic my senior year for a missions trip. Since then I have seen airlines charge for checked bags. Since then I have not checked any bags and just carried my luggage on board with me. I get a great deal of looks from travelers and the flight staff. who look at my luggage and tell me it’s too big for the plane. I assure them it is under the limit for a carry-on bag. A few times they have even told me to check it with their boxes they have for carry-ons, I very quickly walk over and make the bag fit to the limit. It seems almost like a game, but its sad that I can no longer check bags and take plenty of stuff with me.          

I do complement a few companies though on offering military personal with orders to travel with up to 4 bags free. it is great that they recognize the troops and understand they have more materials to travel with. Recently, I have seen a news story develop over an airline that is charging for checked bags now. This seems like an outrage, why would you buy a ticket to fly somewhere for a week with no need of bags, unless it was a one day business trip! I think that they are stepping over the lines of consumers who wish to fly.           

Consumers who travel may now see that the prices for flying may go down on Spirit air, but may end up paying about $45 per carry-on bag! In attempt to make up for it they are going to lower the price of checked bags that will go under the cabin. It’s odd how airlines regulate what consumers do, they don’t even listen to the thoughts of customers! Spirit Air is a smaller airline that has a limited number of flights and don’t fly out of every location each day! They are trying to take the next step in Airline fees, My hope on behalf of consumers and travelers is that this fails and does not become a trend. then people will only be safe to bring enough stuff that they can stow underneath the seat in front of them! Hopefully they will not start charging to stow stuff under the seat in front of you!          

Spirit Air to Charge for Carry-On

By Antonio Perez
Epoch Times Staff Created: Apr 8, 2010

Spirit Air Check-in line


NO FREE RIDE: Spirit Airlines will charge for carry-on luggage. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)          

NEW YORK—Discount airline Spirit Air has done the once-unthinkable: charge up to $45 for each piece of carry-on luggage taken aboard its aircraft.

Spirit Airlines has become the first major U.S. carrier to charge passengers for carry-on luggage. Customers paying in advance online will be slapped with a $30 fee for each bag stowed in the overhead bin, while passengers at the gate will be charged $45.          

For now, stowing baggage under the seat in front is free of charge.          

The fee goes in effect this week and will be applied to all flights booked for Aug. 1 or later. The company said that the measure is necessary to reduce carry-on bags and help lower fares.          

“In addition to lowering fares even further, this will reduce the number of carry-on bags, which will improve inflight safety and efficiency by speeding up the boarding and deplaning process, all of which ultimately improve the overall customer experience,” said Spirit’s Chief Operating Officer Ken McKenzie in a statement. “Bring less; pay less. It’s simple.”          

From google images


At the same time, the Miramar, Fla.-based Spirit will lower fees for checked baggage.          

While some analysts question the move and fear that airlines may soon be charging a fee for going to the lavatory, some believe it’s a good strategy for today’s economy.          

“The idea for them is to charge as little as possible for the base fare while charging additional for everything else,” said BNET travel industry expert Brett Snyder. “This is the Ryanair model that hadn’t really found much traction in the U.S.”

Consumers Saving Money!

From Google Images


Today I was reading the Exponent here at Purdue. I came across an article dealing with consumers cutting back on printing prices. I think to myself about I-tap and how they have cut back and resorted to double-sided printing as a default in all their computer labs. They did this recently to save cost on paper and to save a piece of paper. They still only charge 4 cents a page and you can get single sided printing for no extra cost. I think that is a great idea to give the option to university students. 

The University is trying to start with the younger generation to save a sheet of paper. this could go a long way with their future jobs. Some students will go to be influencers in great businesses and may implement this same program for the whole company. 

The article though covers the simplicity of changing the cost of ink. Ink is the largest cost in printing if you notice when you go to the local Office Depot or Office Max, you can get paper for cheap. The ink is what you fear buying for it costs a great deal more! This shows the 2 types of fonts that save the most ink, by using less. The article says that the individual may be able to save $20 a year, but for a company or business of 6,500 employees or students they can save from $5,000 to $10,000 a year. Over a period of 5 years that could potentially $50,000 which is no small sum of money! With companies and consumers looking to cut back this is a great idea to adopt! So next time you look to print something consider using Times New Roman or Century Gothic! 


Changing fonts saves money

By Associated Press; Dinesh Ramde 

Publication Date: 04/07/10 

MILWAUKEE – Here’s a way you might save $20 this year: Change the font in the documents you print. 

Because different fonts require different amounts of ink to print, you could be buying new printer cartridges less often if you wrote in, say, Century Gothic rather than Arial. Schools and businesses could save thousands of dollars with font changes. 

Data on the subject from, a Dutch company that evaluates printer attributes, persuaded the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to make a switch. Diane Blohowiak, coordinator of information-technology user support, has asked faculty and staff to use Century Gothic for all printed documents. The school also plans to change its e-mail system so it uses Century Gothic. 

“The feedback we’ve gotten so far has been positive,” she said. “Century Gothic is very readable.” 

The school of 6,500 students spends about $100,000 per year on ink and toner cartridges. Although students and staff can change the default font to something more ink-intensive, Blohowiak said the university expects to save $5,000 to $10,000 per year with the font switch. 

When tested popular fonts for their ink-friendly ways, Century Gothic and Times New Roman topped the list. Calibri, Verdana, Arial and Sans Serif were next, followed by Trebuchet, Tahoma and Franklin Gothic Medium. Century Gothic uses about 30 percent less ink than Arial. 

The amount of ink a font drains is mainly driven by the thickness of its lines. A font with “narrow” or “light” in its name is usually better than its “bold” or “black” counterpart, said Thom Brown, an ink researcher at Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s top maker of printers. 

From Google Images


Also, serif fonts – those with short horizontal lines at the top and bottom of characters – tend to use thinner lines and thus less ink than a “sans serif” counterpart. 

But while using less ink at home can help you buy roughly one fewer printer cartridge each year, it’s not necessarily better for the environment. 

That’s because some fonts that use less ink, including Century Gothic, are also wider. A document that’s one page in Arial could extend to a second page if printed in Century Gothic. Blohowiak said her research suggests that ink comprises the main cost of a printout, but the environmental costs of paper are probably higher. 

“Maybe the individual characters use less ink, but if you’re using more paper, that’s not so green, is it?” said Allan Haley, director of “words and letters” at Monotype Imaging Inc. in Woburn, Mass., which developed Century Gothic. 

Also, Century Gothic was designed for limited blocks of text such as titles and headlines, not for full documents, said Haley, who describes fonts as his “children.” Despite’s research and UW-Green Bay’s experience, Haley said he still recommends Times New Roman or Arial for their readability. 

The standard advice for trimming printing expenses still applies: Print in “draft mode,” if you can. Use both sides of a page and do a print preview to make sure you’re not printing pages with useless text such as a copyright line. Using an ink-saving font is just one more technique to consider. 

And the greenest way to save on ink is not to print at all. 

That’s the philosophy Microsoft Corp. said it uses in deciding which fonts to include in its Outlook and Word applications. The more pleasing a font looks on the screen, the less tempted someone will be to print, said Simon Daniels, a program manager for Microsoft’s typography group. 

That’s why the company changed its defaults in Office 2007 from Arial and Times New Roman to Calibri and Cambria, he said. 

“We’re trying to move the threshold of when people hit the print button,” he said. 


Consumers are springing back!

Recently, I was reading through the exponent and came across this article and it caught my attention. The article here talks about the consumer confidence Index  that is rising back up. It’s very short of normal, but any sign of growth is promising to a troubled economy.
This article also discusses the rising housing market.  The home price index is also on the rise slightly which is great. I know people who are trying to sell and buy houses and they have found this to be true.  Houses have been declining in price for quite a while and this means that with the prices rising. Consumers will start to buy more houses to beat the rise in prices. This will cause an increase in the housing market. This may be caused by government incentives to help the markets but that doesn’t mean it could fade immediately. The growth in the last few months show that things are on the rise and could continue to do the same in the future!
Article in the Exponent:
Consumers slowly show signs of springing back

By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO (AP) – 6 days ago

NEW YORK — Signs of life in consumer spending are sprouting this spring.

 A partial rebound in consumer confidence, a positive report on January home prices and an expected strong March from retailers suggest Americans are cautiously perking up.

 The Conference Board said Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 52.5 in March, recovering about half of the nearly 11 points it lost in February. Analysts expected a reading of 50 for March, but the index is still far below the 90 reading that’s considered healthy.

 February’s 46.4 marked the lowest level since April 2009 and also erased three consecutive months of improvement. In January, the reading was 56.5.

 Economists watch the figures closely because consumer spending, including health care and other major expenses, accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity and is critical to a strong economic recovery.

 “We’re a lot better off, but we have a lot more improvement to go,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers. He said shoppers have “more willingness to spend” and are starting to trade back up in areas where they had cut back.

 Separately, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index showed prices rose 0.3 percent from December to January, the eighth consecutive monthly gain. Among the 20 cities in the index, 12 rose. But there’s some worry the momentum in the housing market won’t be sustained. Home sales sank during the winter, and government incentives that have propped up the market are ending.

 Meanwhile, merchants are expected to report a 3.5 percent gain for March when they release sales figures next week, according to Niemira’s estimate, which was upgraded from his original 2.5 percent projection. The figure is based on sales at stores open at least a year, considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health.

 Retailers reported a 3.7 percent increase for February, marking the biggest increase since November 2007, a month before the recession began.

 The index excludes Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, which stopped reporting sales figures on a monthly basis.

 Still, as consumers cautiously return to some more expensive brands and stores, they’re still buying differently than before the recession, keeping some frugal habits while shedding the more extreme cutbacks.

 A year ago, Tracy Smiley joined many Americans in taking frugality to new extremes as she struggled with rising expenses and saw her father’s retirement funds evaporate as the stock market dropped to 12-year lows.

 She switched to store brands for almost everything, choosing an even cheaper knockoff of Hamburger Helper. She bypassed Macy’s and Abercrombie & Fitch in favor of the sale bins at Target and Old Navy.

 But the Lacey, Wash., resident, feeling better about her husband’s raise, her car loan being paid off and the economy, has started to trade back up for certain items, such as to beef from pasta.

 “I don’t think I will go back to how I was before. But I still want to buy better foods,” said the 28-year-old mother of two.

 February’s plunge in confidence jolted investors, but March’s report appeared to confirm that last month’s reading was an aberration. Many factors had dampened confidence, including severe weather that had shut businesses and thwarted job searches, and a stock market hurting because of international worry about Greece’s national debt.

 Still, March’s reading, buoyed in part by a rally in the stock market, shows consumers no more optimistic than when the economic recovery started nine months ago. In June 2009, the reading hit 49.3.

 Confidence has been recovering fitfully since hitting a historic low of 25.3 in February 2009. But many economists believe it will remain well below healthy levels for at least another year or two. That’s because key pillars of the economic recovery still need to improve more.

 While housing woes are still a concern, many economists say Americans won’t spend with vigor until the job picture improves dramatically.

 So far, that hasn’t happened, but there are positive signs. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect the Labor Department to report Friday that in March unemployment was steady at 9.7 percent and employers added 190,000 jobs, after shedding 36,000 in February.

 The Conference Board survey — based on a random survey of consumers sent to 5,000 households from March 1-23 — did show some easing of worry about the job market, but Americans are far from optimistic. Gary Thayer, chief economist at Wells Fargo Advisors, believes people need to see job creation that’s “broad-based.”

 AP Real Estate Writer Alan Zibel in Washington contributed to this report.