I’ve teamed up with Consumer Reports and am proud to be one of their paid brand ambassadors; my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Consumer Reports.
Okay, so, I’m not a millennial…let’s get that out of the way. However, as a Gen X observer of several family and friend Gen Yers, I fancy myself reasonably acquainted with this era’s quirks and qualities – one being their unlike-any-era’s computer savvy.
What’s absolutely true about millennials is they’ve grown up in a world with an immense ability to access information – thereby, being dubbed by some as “digital natives”. Tackling research and term papers is a completely different experience than when I was in college.
When they query, “Why?” they simply clickity-click their keyboards and ask Google (and back in “the day” Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves or Dogpile).
Yep. Thanks to technology’s equivalent of Coke and Pepsi, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, millennials have always enjoyed the searching fruits of their labor. Never before has there been an era of individuals who’ve had so much information at their fingertips.
But, with such ease of access (and excess) comes a pocket-full of apocryphal information. How can they, (and all of us, for that matter) wade through a virtual and rising sea of data and truly trust its source?
Enter: Consumer Reports.
‘Old School’ meet ‘New School’
On a recent trip to Consumer Reports’ headquarters in Yonkers, New York, I was honored and thrilled to tour their facilities. With 60 test laboratories and 100 expert testers, it was an impressive campus.
Like a nerdy kid in a candy store, I was delighted to witness firsthand and participate in their meticulously scrupulous process of evaluating products.
Needless to say, I learned a lot. Consumer Reports has made many changes and much needed updates, but they’ve held true to their “old school” standards and what’s allowed this organization to run strong for 80 years.
Ironically, Consumer Reports was born during the Silent Generation!
Like deciding between a vintage 1970s rosewood Eames 670 lounge chair or a wannabe replica (close, but so not the real deal), there are many reasons “new school” millennials should turn to Consumer Reports as their trusted source for ratings and reviews.
To minimize the potential for information overload, I’ve selected my top ten.
Mr. Letterman, if I may…
Top 10 Reasons Millennials Should Make CR their New Yelp!
#10. They can’t be bought or bribed.
Nope. Because Consumer Reports is non-profit (Yes! It’s a dot org!), non-partisan, and independent of corporate and advertising influence, they’re free to be boldly honest and create high standards and expectations acutely inline with our changing world.
“When Apple releases their latest version of iPhone, we pay retail and stand in line just like you do,” noted one of the CR testers. They never accept samples, ads, or freebies. Not. a. one.
#9. They’ve got your back.
Like a big sister or brother, Consumer Reports has your back and advocates for and with you as a consumer.
I was super impressed by the breadth and depth of their legislative advocacy. From exposing the dangers of pesticides in foods, championing anti-rollover technology, (remember the YouTube vids on SUV rollovers?!?) to keeping health care companies honest, CR’s history of consumer wins is lengthy.
At the pinnacle of their mission, as well as a catchy catch phrase, they aim to create a fairer, safer, and healthier marketplace putting research, facts and data at the center of everything they do.
You won’t see Yelp! walking that extra100 miles in the snow to change policy and law.
#8. They hold business and government accountable.
From salad kits and laundry pods, to robocalls and so-called, “self-driving” cars, Consumer Reports is committed to being that proverbial “thorn” in the side of irresponsible businesses and government by addressing and demanding needed changes or calls-to-action on the part of “John and Jane Q Public.”
During the tour, one of the testers demonstrated how Tesla’s new app could open the doors and even slowly drive the car straight, forward and backward. He mentioned how, when it first came out, the “drive” feature would stay on, even when the app was closed.
Oops! Rollaway cars? Quite the glitch, Mr. Musk!
Thanks to CR, this oversight was brought to their attention and fixed.
#7. They’ve gone Green.
Though the Consumer Reports’ logo has gone through many changes during its 80 years in print, they’re now putting their color where their core is: a purposeful and optimistic organization that is focused on improving lives. Green is the universal sign for “go”, growth and positivity – which describes CR to a T.
(…and the best-for-you kind of tea? Green.)
#6. Their new rating UI is way more friendly.
After loads of feedback from consumers, CR developed a super simple, intuitive rating system. The color scheme and icons make making sense of the information clear and concise – where green means excellent and red means the opposite.
They even factored in colorblind readers by way of arrows. Now, that’s friendly!
#5. You can hang out at their video hub.
Everyone knows videos is where it’s at these days, so CR overhauled their buying guides with interactive videos and images to make your buying process easier. They’ve also launched a new video hub with the ability to take 360-degree virtual tours of all kinds of products and large-scale home projects.
#4. They’ll make you look GOOD this holiday season (and beyond).
To make the holiday season even brighter (smart bright, that is), Consumer Reports has created a handy Holiday Gift Guide to help you find deals on consumer electronics, appliances and home-related products, automotive gear, and more. You’ll also find healthy-holiday and money tips from their experts.
Like Monica from Friends, (Yep. I just dated myself for sure!) I’m always the hostess. However, I’m also on a tight budget this year. So, if you’re like me, you’ll love these great table setting tips using housewares you already have. You’ll be able to keep your party-throwing reputation and your pocketbook in tact.
And for more gift ideas, check out CR’s Daily Gift Guide , a calendar like no other—each pick is chosen from the thousands of products they test and review.
Oh, and FYI, Giving Tuesday is November 29. If you donate to Consumer Reports, your tax-deductible gift will be doubled.
#3. They’re Ad-Free!
I know I mentioned this already, but, seriously. No. Ads. Have you ever read a magazine (let alone a website) with no advertising? The white space is like a breath of fresh mountain air! Hop online, or pick up a copy and enjoy it!
#2. They Test the HECK outta products for performance and safety.
During my time in NYC, I also attended CR’s Annual Meeting and was absolutely impressed by everyone’s enthusiasm, positivity and appreciation for being a part of an organization that makes a real impact in the world.
I also learned that, in the year ahead, Consumer Reports plans to test more than 3,000 products, employing the expertise of hundreds of specially trained analysts, engineers, editors, researchers, product testers and experts.
They also plan to continue to publish numerous reports on major consumer topics such as keeping your money safe, choosing smart healthcare options, making sense of all the new gadgets and technologies and continue advocating in Congress for your rights and protection for consumers.
#1. They’re always there for YOU.
365/24/7 Consumer Reports is on it – testing, investigating and advocating for you. What’s more, you can have complete confidence in the reliability and transparency of the source. In fact, you can even schedule a tour of their facilities to see for yourself how they do what they do!
From this Gen Xer’s perspective, that’s totally bitch’n.
Video courtesy of Consumer Reports. All photos (except where indicated) by Skaie Knox, HomeJelly