Tag Archives: shopping

Should Consumer products indicate comparable filler content?

Your at a store and are presented with a choice among two competing products. Lets say its a bottle of juice or some dish soap. How do you decide what to buy?

One way is to see the relative cost per measure. That calculation is already done for you in that little price tag on the shelf, can’t recall the name of that standard. So, price comparison is easy. You could even look at its ingredients; they are usually listed in size order, etc. There are even mobile apps to help you make that decision.

However, that decision is bogus since you don’t really know how much of that product is just filler. Which juice has the most water, for example? Some products will state what that is, like 2% real juice. Is that enough? What do they mean by that? Do they dry out the real juice measure it, then reconstitute it back into liquid form? I think its like that “cheese food” label, all a scam. Boy, am I being negative this week.

Now companies have a right to trade secrets and all that. But, as consumers we would like to know when we are just buying colored water. Or maybe we don’t. After all, we twaddle around with our fat asses in the big box stores searching for deals on junk food to keep the billion dollar soft sweet drink industry going.

Anyway, there must be some better ways to make our devalued earnings buy a little more.

Further Reading

  1. Toward a Consumer Product Information Resource
  2. 1862 – 2012: A Brief History of Food and Nutrition Labeling
  3. Food Ingredients Most Prone to Fraudulent Economically Motivated Adulteration

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How do you rate user ratings?

I’m puzzled by the shopping lists ranking views.  For example, at newegg.com I searched for a product, got the list, then I set the display to order by “Best Rating”.    Now I get a bunch of stuff and the top two items are

Item# #Reviews #Excellent #Good #Average #Poor #Very Poor
foo-1 2 1 1 0 0 0
foo-2 171 112 26 7 9 1

Doesn’t that seem odd? The first item is listed first, yet it only has two reviews, whereas the second item has a lot more reviews. True, the first item has no negative reviews.  Is that why it’s listed first?   Doesn’t sound correct to me.

I searched for an explanation on the site, but did not find one.   Yet, I don’t see an alternative.  My gut feeling is that the second one should be first.  It doesn’t have the best rating score, but it has the best rating responses so should be more accurate.  Isn’t this covered in Statistics 101?

I’m sure there are nice algorithms or frameworks to make this more useful.  Then again, maybe not. I’ve searched and I don’t find any definitive answers. Yet, there should be. How do people rate user ratings? Gut feel only?

Another example, I searched for a book on Amazon, the new Lee Child’s “A Wanted Man”. The user ratings were:

1 star 2 star 3 star 4 star 5 star
actual 174 184 268 312 462
Normalized 12.4 13.1 19.1 22.3 33

Just based on the ratings score, without reading the feedback, is this a “good” book? Note, here are a few statistics measures, though be wary, my statistics 101 was not recent:

Avg median mode var stddev
20 19 5 star 69.3 8.36

Using the SurveyMonkey computation we get a Rating Average of 3.5. This is a 4 Star rating. Seems the Survey Monkey approach is to the use the vote count of each each cardinal star as a weight. This gives an expected value computation.

Here are a few references on this that I hope to read one day:

Further reading

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.