Life in the USA
Public Services I
If you are looking for expensive, big-ticket items such as household appliances, you should research the actual product type as well as the place you buy it. One of the best places to begin is a magazine called Consumer Reports, which is published by a society that tests and compares all types of consumer products. For many other types of products, various buying guides are available at newsstands, although be careful with publications that accept advertising, since they may be influenced by their sponsors. Most of these publications now have online presence.
Newspapers, radio stations, television and magazines often review products and services. Restaurant reviews are common in local newspapers. Television and radio stations have consumer-oriented news programs. Magazines that specialize in one particular area (computers, cars, stereo equipment) have detailed reviews of new products.
The Internet more than any other phenomenon over the past twenty years has revolutionized product review. A simple search under a product type or specific model number will bring up a number of websites that host independent reviews. Pay attention to the well-written reviews. The ideal situation is one where dozens or even hundreds of reviews of a product are available. For both positive and negative reviews, pay attention to the product features mentioned; someone might be praising or criticizing a feature that is not important to you.
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