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2 Simple Tips for Avoiding Buyer’s Remorse Over the Holidays

2 Simple Tips for Avoiding Buyer’s Remorse Over the Holidays

It’s that wonderful time of year again! The Christmas music is playing in stores, mall Santas are coming out of hibernation, and everyone at work is fighting for time off to visit family. Yes, it’s always the same traditions, but also different. As each year passes, it’s a time for reconnecting with family, reflecting on the year that’s gone by, and preparing a list of New Year’s resolutions to make next year shine even brighter.

One of the things we all want to avoid in the upcoming year is buyer’s remorse, especially after a season of holiday gift-giving.[1] We’ve all seen or experienced the look of dread as a child learns that “batteries are sold separately” for the toy they just unwrapped. At work, I’m certainly guilty of signing on the dotted line without reading the fine print. But the good news is this year can be different! Here are two simple but effective ways to avoid being trapped by buyer’s remorse.

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In the World of Yelp and Amazon Reviews, It’s Hard to Go Wrong

When I was growing up, we had to trust the word of the salesman. Maybe we read something in the paper, or saw an ad on TV, but the salesperson was critical to our purchasing decisions. They explained the benefits of each option, the drawbacks of cutting costs here and there, and made a hefty commission for their time and knowledge.

If something went wrong, we could go back to the store and talk to that same salesman. The honest ones would try to resolve the issue and retain a loyal customer. Unfortunately, many were sleeping through the lecture on ethics and integrity while attending school and sometimes the outcome was a much more negative one.

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But today, in this glorious digital age, there’s a plethora of online reviews! Yes, you’re right to remember recent headlines about Amazon suing reviewers and sellers for fraudulently posting glowing product experiences on their platform,[2] but, collectively, the diversity of review sites means that it’s easy to get a gist for just how good or bad a product is before hitting the “Add to Cart” button.

Take the time to read at least five to ten different reviews before making a buying decision. You’ll find your overall satisfaction with purchases made in the coming year improve substantially!

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Create a Read or Don’t Buy Rule at Work

As a freelancer, embracing all that the gig economy has to offer, I’ve had my fair share of workplace duds. Whether it’s a product or service that claimed to boost my conversions, or improve my productivity, it’s hard to know if the latest snake oil is worth the investment of time and money.

If your inbox is full of free trial offers for the latest CRM, webinar, or SEO tool, it’s time to start hitting the spam button. And, more importantly, if you’re ready to make a buying decision, make time to carefully read the Service Level Agreement (SLA).[3] When things go wrong, whose job is it to put things back together? If you’re dealing with cut-rate tech solutions, chances are that you’re going to be the one left holding the bag.

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You might be sensing a theme here. Every takeaway seems to have something to do with reading. Sales people will promise things verbally that just aren’t true in order to close the sale. Hit the pause button before agreeing to any purchase in 2017. Take the time to read the service agreement, understand the terms and conditions, and enter agreements with a realistic set of expectations, based on the fine print.

From holiday gift-giving to corporate solutions, the theme for this year should be READ BEFORE YOU BUY. Trust me, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of buyer’s remorse.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/holiday-gift-guides/
[2] https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/27/amazon-sues-more-sellers-for-buying-fake-reviews/
[3] http://mergertechnology.com/cloud-storage/the-importance-of-reading-an-sla-cloud-storage-data-breaches-3722

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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