Right to education and the right to service

Ben & Jerry

The concept of unit pricing relates to the price per unit of a good. Often, companies like to convey the impression that buying a larger size saves the consumer money, but unit pricing allows the consumer to see whether or not this is the case. Unit pricing reflects the price per unit of something, rather than the price per container. The point of unit pricing is that it allows the consumer to see the price per unit, rather than the price for whatever size container is available. This allows for comparison between products sold in different sized containers (Montaldo, 2012).

The Consumer Bill of Rights was introduced by John F. Kennedy in 1962. There are six such rights. These are as follows: the right to be safe, the right to choose freely, the right to be heard, the right to be informed, the right to education and the right to service (U.S. Legal.com, 2012). The right to safe ensures that consumers have the right to be free from injuries caused by products purchased. The right to choose freely refers to free choice among products, from different companies. The right to be heard refers to the right of consumers to voice “complaints and concerns about a product in order to have an issue handled efficiently and responsively” (Ibid).

The right to be informed holds that businesses should “always provide consumers with sufficient information to make informed product choices.” The product information should “always be complete and truthful” (Ibid). The right to education holds that consumers have the right to be educated to make better marketplace decisions at all times (Ibid). The right to service holds that consumers should have access to service staff. Some of these rights, such as the right to be safe, are enshrined in law.

3. The issue of shoplifting is complex, and there is no one consensus reason why people shoplift. A website called Addiction Blog (2011) posits ten different reasons why people shoplift, including self-service sales methods (opportunity with lack of supervision), drug addiction, to make a living, for spending money and status, to own the goods, psychological temptation, low risk, lack of tracking and security, mental health disorder and low fines. Some of these are things that facilitate shoplifting, as opposed to actual explanations for the behavior.

DQ 1. Ben & Jerry’s does not actually advocate sustainable consumption. They might claim to, but they are in the business of selling a luxury good that nobody needs. With 7 billion people in this world, and the high environmental costs of cattle, no amount of ice cream is actually sustainable. Moreover, consumers have no right to a healthful environment. If the six basic consumer rights are examined, this alleged right is not present anywhere. At any rate, Ben & Jerry’s claim that its product is sustainable and can be consumed in a sustainable manner is nothing more than greenwashing.

DQ 2. Businesses can be involved in advocating causes like sustainable consumption, if that is the will of the shareholders. Ultimately, however, there are two problems with such an approach. The first problem is that such as approach is hypocritical. Businesses want to grow their sales, and their profits. That is not congruent with sustainability — you cannot simply grow forever and be anything close to sustainable. If every person on the planet consumed Ben & Jerry’s like Americans do, this would not be sustainable, because it would divert valuable agricultural resources to the production of a frivolous luxury product. The other point against this is that corporations should act as agents of their shareholders, and the shareholders invest to earn returns. This is the classic Friedman argument. If the owners of the company truly want sustainability, even over profits, this is a completely acceptable approach for Ben & Jerry to take. But for a publicly-traded company, nothing should take precedence over profits according to agency theory. Cause-related marketing, however, is fine. Anything the company can do to improve its bottom line — within the limits of the law — is fair game. If cause-related marketing works, the company should do it.

DQ3. Ben & Jerry’s cause related marketing does appear to be successful. The company is massive, but still has an image among the public as a collection of Vermont hippies. This is positive for the company because it attracts more business than the company would otherwise attract. The marketing campaign attracts new customers and increased business from existing customers, and that makes the program a success. If the objective of the company is to increase donations to causes, it is difficult to measure the success of that externally, but it is reasonable to expect that some additional donations would result from the company’s actions, and that would be considered a success under the circumstances.

It is worth mentioning that campaigns’ success can only be measured through outcomes, not inputs. The campaign will have objectives at the outset and it is by these objectives that the campaign should be measured, not a third party paradigm that the campaign designers never took into consideration.

Works Cited:

Addiction Blog. (2011). Why do people shoplift? Addiction Blog. Retrieved March 24, 2012 from http://drug.addictionblog.org/why-do-people-shoplift-top-10-reasons/

Montaldo, D. (2012). Unit pricing — the real price. About.com. Retrieved March 24, 2012 from http://couponing.about.com/cs/aboutcouponing/a/unitpricing.htm

US Legal.com. (2012). Consumer bill of rights law & legal definition. U.S. Legal.com. Retrieved March 24, 2012 from http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/consumer-bill-of-rights/

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