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Guinea Pig People Buyers as Economic Experimental Animals and Lessons to Learn

© Donald Reinhardt, September 23, 2011

To be an economic guinea pig or not to be one is a big question which always gets a quick "No!" from me. How about you? Do you want to avoid being an economic guinea pig?

Alert and Friendly Adult Guinea Pigs. Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Carlosar

Were you ever one of those purchasers who were among the first to buy or use a new product, service or great bargain item, only to later find out it was not anywhere near what you expected or what it was advertised to be? These days, as far as I am concerned, it does not matter what it is, whether it be an apparent, absolute bargain, simply new, or anything which is not a really well-tested-consumer-evaluated-verified product or service, we all should consider it unproven, unverified and potentially dangerous to anyone's immediate, personal economic world. Perhaps, "guilty until proven innocent" is the phrase that comes to mind. "Buyer beware" and "consumer beware" have been, and will always be, additional and very good adages to remember. Unfortunately, even many experienced persons often forget these basics.
Economic Guinea Pig Scientists and Guinea Pigs, Differences and Many Adages to Remember
Now, in these tough and trying economic times, all of us need to become wise and great guinea pig scientists – i.e., those who watch, wait, listen and record the data from the guinea pigs (those first-in, hurry-in, early buyers and users). Later, when all those test guinea pigs look alive, well and healthy, then we can know and believe that what they have been through has not harmed them and it is probably good – whatever it is – product or service. And, if those folks come out as smiling guinea pigs, well, so much the better for everyone – scientists and experimental animals. Yes, "one for all and all for one" is another great survival motto, or "scientists and guinea pigs unite" an adage coined right here at Perhaps our best motto should be: "It is better to be the scientist than the guinea pig." Yes, the older we get the more adages we have to remember – and to forget! 
Patience, Knowledge and Wisdom and the Buyer Beware Adage Give Consumers Advantages and Power
 It usually is best to wait a few months or even a year for others to work out the quirks, foibles, errors and idiosyncrasies before anyone switches to a new computer system, buys a new product, or subscribes to a new service. 
Of course, if you absolutely need it that is another story. But distinguishing between true, actual needs and strong desires for something new is a common problem for many of us. This is especially true, when advertising messages tells us incessantly and constantly that this is a need that you should desire or a desire that you need to fulfill. Need and desire, desire and need, these concepts and feelings are in constant battle and conflict and require character, strength, purpose and intelligence.
Here are two common consumer-buyer faults or habits to be aware of and to avoid:
1. If you are a must-have- it, or got-to-be-first-and-show-it, buyer, please overcome that attitude and, remember the sooner you overcome that bad habit, the better.
2. If you believe because it is or seems new, therefore it must be or is better – get over that attitude. This is a harmful and false premise and occurs more often than you might think.
To repeat, and so we all will remember, we all need to become smart guinea pig scientists. We will watch, wait, listen and record the data and when all the guinea pigs look alive, well, healthy and happy, then we indeed know that what they have been through has not harmed them. And, one more idea to repeat and remember, is that if those guinea pigs come out of the lab smiling, well, so much the better for everyone – scientists and guinea pigs. 
My final thoughts on this are quite simple – it is much better to be the guinea pig scientist rather than to be the guinea pigs. "To be or not to be", as Shakespeare said. To be a guinea pig or not be a guinea pig, that always gets a quick answer from me. How about you? Try for a role reversal. I think you will like it.
This article is dedicated to all guinea pigs, good scientists and people of honesty, good character and true grit – the latter being a quickly-disappearing population of the species.