Monday, May 6, 2013

Caution Shoppers for OTC Safety

When consumers might not be thinking about cautions in product use, pay extra attention to warnings. This common-sense, but easily overlooked, advice is supported by research at Washington and Lee University, Texas Christian University, and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
     The researchers compared how seriously shoppers take dosage instructions for prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. With both types, excessive use is dangerous. Even when warnings on the packages were equally prominent, people paid less attention to those on OTC medications with which they were unfamiliar than on the labels of prescription meds unfamiliar to them. Notably, the consumers in the study seemed to be aware, as a general point, that overdosing on either type of product is harmful. It was that they were less likely to think about reading the cautions with the OTC meds.
     My general advice to retailers is not to give warnings to shoppers unless asked. Inform without intruding. However, I make an exception when it comes to safety.
     Some years ago, after an usually windy storm blew by my home, left behind was a huge tree limb blocking half the street. Since the limb was obstructing the view of an area where neighborhood children often cross the road, I decided to cut up the limb myself and pull the pieces out of the way.
     I figured that the bigger the chain saw, the quicker I'd get the job done. With that in mind, I asked the guy at the equipment rental shop for the biggest chain saw around. The guy asked me no questions in return, except for which credit card I wanted to use. What I dragged back to my car was a chain saw really much too powerful and cumbersome for me to use, given my limited experience both with chain saws and with playing defensive end on an NFL team.
     The danger became clear as soon as I started up the chain saw. I needed to stop the saw, drain it out, pack it up in my car, and drive back to make an exchange. As I say, I needed to do all that. But I didn't.
     Instead, I managed to hack up the tree limb while leaving my own limbs intact. How fortunate, since a customer without fingers has trouble pulling out credit cards. I wonder if the operator of the equipment rental shop knows about the customer disservice created over the counter.

Click below for more: 
Disclose Product Cautions 
Monitor for Misunderstood Instructions 
Inform Consumers, But Don’t Intrude 
Pace Disclaimers to Build Faster Acceptance

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