I’m Not Renewing My Consumer Reports Subscription

 

I’ve been getting Consumer Reports (CR) for maybe 30 years. Over that time I’ve used it to research all kinds of consumer purchases from cars to appliances, TVs, headphones, computers, tires, luggage, tools, electric razors, you name it. A few years ago I began to notice a shift in the type of items CR covered. Instead of concentrating on basic consumer purchases, they started getting more into “issues.” Some examples just from the past year include:

“Whole Wheat, Soba, Legume Noodles: Which Are Healthiest?”

“March Madness E-Scams: How to Spot and Avoid Them”

“How to Eat Less Plastic”

“Which Fast Food Restaurants Are Healthiest?”

I realize there are some people who are interested in issues like these, but I found myself grumbling more and more each month as I read the President’s increasingly mushy monthly message and flipped through the issue. The letters page was becoming insufferable (“When I bought my new Prius I was offended that the safety features I wanted weren’t available on my model.”) Hey, I’m offended that I actually read your letter). Unless it was the annual car issue, or I was really interested in a TV or laptop review, I spent about five minutes flipping through it and then dumped it in a pile in the office. The back page “Selling It” feature with sometimes-hilarious blooper ads that readers send in was often the monthly highlight.

I also became more irritated each year when they started sending out renewal “reminders” staring six months before my subscription expired. Three months later, they’d send one every two weeks, or so it seemed. How many more clothes dryers or food processors might they be able to review by saving the postage costs spent on all these flippin’ reminders?

Then this month the proverbial straw broke the you-know-what’s back. In between computer monitors and power drills, the feature article was “Keep Calm and Come Together,” or as I retitled it, “Let CR pontificate on how should celebrate the Holidays during a Pandemic.” You know, like “Check Covid-19 rates in your area and communities other attendees might be travelling from.” Then on to “Prep Your Home” (hand soap, sanitizer, masks, wipes, tissues everywhere), “Go for Smart Seating” (WTH?), “Have a simple, safe menu” (Thanksgiving sandwiches!), “Choose a Virtual Meeting” (and make sure your Wi-Fi is stable!), and of course “Get Virtually Playful” (online games like Scrabble).

Then I flipped a few pages and came to “How Race Can Change Your Medical Care.”

OK, I’m done. Goodbye, CR. It was a good 30-year run, but that’s it.

Published in Business
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 64 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    I hear you Phil.  I’ve grumbled over time too.  They have been left wing for as long as I can remember.  Are they more overtly now?  Perhaps because the environmentalist issues have become prominent.  I’m still keeping my subscription though.  I know they’re left wing but I do need their consultation on product’s reliability.  

    • #1
  2. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Manny (View Comment):

    I hear you Phil. I’ve grumbled over time too. They have been left wing for as long as I can remember. Are they more overtly now? Perhaps because the environmentalist issues have become prominent. I’m still keeping my subscription though. I know they’re left wing but I do need their consultation on product’s reliability.

    Maybe you could do all of that online?  Maybe at the Consumer Reports site, for free?  Or on a per-use basis?

    • #2
  3. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Manny (View Comment):

    I hear you Phil. I’ve grumbled over time too. They have been left wing for as long as I can remember. Are they more overtly now? Perhaps because the environmentalist issues have become prominent. I’m still keeping my subscription though. I know they’re left wing but I do need their consultation on product’s reliability.

    From this month’s president’s message: “Our nation is facing incalculable grief and loss, economic distress, and an overdue reckoning with issues of race and justice . . . “

    • #3
  4. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    I hear you Phil. I’ve grumbled over time too. They have been left wing for as long as I can remember. Are they more overtly now? Perhaps because the environmentalist issues have become prominent. I’m still keeping my subscription though. I know they’re left wing but I do need their consultation on product’s reliability.

    Maybe you could do all of that online? Maybe at the Consumer Reports site, for free? Or on a per-use basis?

    Nope, you have to subscribe for online access to their reviews.

    • #4
  5. Al French of Damascus Moderator
    Al French of Damascus
    @AlFrench

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    I hear you Phil. I’ve grumbled over time too. They have been left wing for as long as I can remember. Are they more overtly now? Perhaps because the environmentalist issues have become prominent. I’m still keeping my subscription though. I know they’re left wing but I do need their consultation on product’s reliability.

    Maybe you could do all of that online? Maybe at the Consumer Reports site, for free? Or on a per-use basis?

    Nope, you have to subscribe for online access to their reviews.

    I took CR briefly years ago, but only used it when I made major purchases, so I discontinued. But my library subscribes, and I have used their copies. Now the information is available online through the library. 

    • #5
  6. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    I hear you Phil. I’ve grumbled over time too. They have been left wing for as long as I can remember. Are they more overtly now? Perhaps because the environmentalist issues have become prominent. I’m still keeping my subscription though. I know they’re left wing but I do need their consultation on product’s reliability.

    From this month’s president’s message: “Our nation is facing incalculable grief and loss, economic distress, and an overdue reckoning with issues of race and justice . . . “

    Gag me with a spoon. Have a beer with a guy form Ethiopia and be grateful to be an American.

     

    • #6
  7. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    CR was founded by leftists with a POV of criticizing capitalist corporations. In many cases, their tests are amateurish or worthless (from my POV as an engineer).

    Their car maintenance data might have some value, but it’s not a random sample, so they almost certainly hear mostly from people who are unhappy with their purchase. The sample data is in any case invalid statistically.

    When you do some digging, there are other issues. It has been a long time since I looked at their car ratings, but they would always down rate 4x4s like Jeeps because the drivetrain maintenance costs were above average. Well, duh, a 4×4 Jeep has more than twice as many components in the drivetrain that can fail. It SHOULD have more than twice the average maintenance cost of a 4×2 drivetrain.

    • #7
  8. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Headedwest (View Comment):
    Their car maintenance data might have some value, but it’s not a random sample, so they almost certainly hear mostly from people who are unhappy with their purchase. The sample data is in any case invalid statistically.

    Exactly. My last three vehicles were almost perfect, as far as reliability was concerned. But in the CR reliability ratings, all three scored low in at least one and sometimes several categories.

    • #8
  9. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):
    Their car maintenance data might have some value, but it’s not a random sample, so they almost certainly hear mostly from people who are unhappy with their purchase. The sample data is in any case invalid statistically.

    Exactly. My last three vehicles were almost perfect, as far as reliability was concerned. But in the CR reliability ratings, all three scored low in at least one and sometimes several categories.

    That can all be about “averages” too.  Along with excluding individual factors such as how responsible you are about doing regular maintenance etc.

    It also reminds me about stuff like “The lowest-ranking state for education spending per student.”

    Well, guess what?  If 49 states spent a million dollars EACH per student, and one state spent $999,999 what rank would they be?

    That’s right.  Last.

    • #9
  10. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    Before the internet and product review videos and product rating databases, CR made some sense.  You don’t need it.

    • #10
  11. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    I cancelled years ago over stuff like this, but since I am a skeptic when it comes to orthodox medicine and CR is, or used to be, strictly orthodox, that was the deal breaker. They’ve been worthless when it comes to nutrition, for instance.  Then product reviews by (more or less) actual users became available.  I’m guessing that without the buyers who want their automobile reviews CR would be gone. 

    • #11
  12. She Member
    She
    @She

    OldPhil: “Go for Smart Seating” (WTH?)

    I think this means that as long as your bottom is in contact with your dining-room chair, Alexa will shriek at you, about every ten seconds, “Remember to put your mask on between bites!”

    • #12
  13. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    She (View Comment):

    OldPhil: “Go for Smart Seating” (WTH?)

    I think this means that as long as your bottom is in contact with your dining-room chair, Alexa will shriek at you, about every ten seconds, “Remember to put your mask on between bites!”

    I didn’t really read that part, but I’m picturing a welcoming scene like my dermatologist’s waiting room yesterday; every other chair had a sign with an arrow pointing down and “Sit Here.” I was the only person in the room. 

    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I dumped my subscription long ago when they came out in favor of Obamacare . . .

    • #14
  15. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Based on a podcast ad, we dumped our paper subscriptions for a $10/month service that provided everything magazine we were subscribing to in digital format.  About a year after, Apple bought the app and now we have the same deal with Apple News +.  I occasionally look at CR on that app.  I had given up on several automotive and motorcycle magazines over the years but they are all there for $10/month.  

    • #15
  16. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Before the internet and product review videos and product rating databases, CR made some sense. You don’t need it.

    This is a challenge for CR’s basic business model and value proposition.  Consumers have access to a lot of information that was hard to get 30 years ago. 

    • #16
  17. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    I hear you Phil. I’ve grumbled over time too. They have been left wing for as long as I can remember. Are they more overtly now? Perhaps because the environmentalist issues have become prominent. I’m still keeping my subscription though. I know they’re left wing but I do need their consultation on product’s reliability.

    Maybe you could do all of that online? Maybe at the Consumer Reports site, for free? Or on a per-use basis?

    Nope, you have to subscribe for online access to their reviews.

    I took CR briefly years ago, but only used it when I made major purchases, so I discontinued. But my library subscribes, and I have used their copies. Now the information is available online through the library.

    Yup, this is the best bet for CR. Just get it online or in person from your public library. You’re already paying for it with your taxes so you might as well get your money’s worth!

    • #17
  18. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Before the internet and product review videos and product rating databases, CR made some sense. You don’t need it.

    This is a challenge for CR’s basic business model and value proposition. Consumers have access to a lot of information that was hard to get 30 years ago.

    On the one hand, it can be difficult to evaluate the accuracy and honesty of online reviews, but on the other hand CR has sabotaged their own reliability with politics.

    • #18
  19. Quinnie Member
    Quinnie
    @Quinnie

    I can totally relate to your plight.  I, just this week, cancelled my long running subscription to “Runner’s World” magazine.   It was once a great source of running training tips, stories, and exposes.   In the last year, every article has a social justice/woke angle.    Another pleasure spoiled.

    • #19
  20. Ron Selander Member
    Ron Selander
    @RonSelander

    Phil, the article “How Your Race Can Change Your Medical Care” has pushed me over the edge! After many, many years of subscribing, I’m also not renewing!!

    • #20
  21. GFHandle Member
    GFHandle
    @GFHandle

    I left them ages ago when the dissed the Amiga computer. 

    • #21
  22. SpiritO'78 Inactive
    SpiritO'78
    @SpiritO78

    A famous news editor (can’t remember who) said that every news publication without a purposeful conservative bent will eventually drift left. That’s just a paraphrase but I guess it applies to consumer magazines too.

    • #22
  23. Cliff Hadley Inactive
    Cliff Hadley
    @CliffHadley

    Quinnie (View Comment):

    I can totally relate to your plight. I, just this week, cancelled my long running subscription to “Runner’s World” magazine. It was once a great source of running training tips, stories, and exposes. In the last year, every article has a social justice/woke angle. Another pleasure spoiled.

    Same with “Sports Illustrated” and “Popular Mechanics.” Awful, both of them.

    • #23
  24. Peter Gøthgen Member
    Peter Gøthgen
    @PeterGothgen

    Let’s turn this around a bit:

    What magazines do people enjoy still?

    We enjoy Food & Wine, Eating Well, and my 8-year old son can’t get enough of Reader’s Digest.

    • #24
  25. Peter Meza Member
    Peter Meza
    @PeterMeza

    Add “Science News” to the list. 

    • #25
  26. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Peter Gøthgen (View Comment):

    Let’s turn this around a bit:

    What magazines do people enjoy still?

    We enjoy Food & Wine, Eating Well, and my 8-year old son can’t get enough of Reader’s Digest.

     

    • #26
  27. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Peter Gøthgen (View Comment):

    Let’s turn this around a bit:

    What magazines do people enjoy still?

    We enjoy Food & Wine, Eating Well, and my 8-year old son can’t get enough of Reader’s Digest.

    Right now, I enjoy Civil War Times and Military History.

    • #27
  28. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Cliff Hadley (View Comment):
    Same with “Sports Illustrated” and “Popular Mechanics.” Awful, both of them.

    Agree. SI became unreadable about seven or eight years ago. Just terrible.

    • #28
  29. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Peter Gøthgen (View Comment):

    Let’s turn this around a bit:

    What magazines do people enjoy still?

    We enjoy Food & Wine, Eating Well, and my 8-year old son can’t get enough of Reader’s Digest.

    We stopped getting magazines altogether a few years back, both because they have a tendency to pile up unread, and also because they all become woke eventually. I can make my peace with a general liberal tendency in an otherwise quality publication, but it was the relentless and heavy-handed advocacy that made us give up National Geographic, National Geographic History, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washingtonian, and probably a few others I’m forgetting.

    • #29
  30. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    I look forward to Taste of Home every month….but then I never read anything but the recipes so can’t attest to any editor comments, etc.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.