Shop around before deciding on new MP3 player

Natalie A. Cole

As I was walking across campus to get to class I noticed a similarity among the diverse students on campus. A good number of them have white earphones in their ears. The signature white earphones belong to the Apple company’s famous and most popular product on the market: the iPod.

The iPod is very significant in pop culture. Both celebrities and students alike own iPods. Well, why wouldn’t they? The latest version of the iPod does more than play music.It can also store photos, play movies and even games. Granted, the iPod is a media jukebox in the palm of your hand, but not many people explore their options before choosing the iPod as their choice for an MP3 player.

Did you know that there are other MP3 players on the market for a cheaper price that still offer the same media capabilities as the iPod? The iPod is not a cheap commodity. Prices range from $40 for the iPod shuffle to $350 for the best and biggest model.

So why are we, including myself, buying into the iPod craze and paying so much for it when we can get the same features for way less?

My answer to that question is we are powerless to media advertisers. The majority of consumers have no time to shop around, but they still want the best product on the market. If we put more time and research into every purchase we make, a lot of money could be saved.

My only issue with that is questioning and being cautious when shopping takes time and energy that a lot of people just do not seem to have these days. As a result, many people bought into the iPod craze making the corporate heads of Apple very rich people.

Executives of Apple are aware that there are other companies offering the same media outlets as the iPod for a cheaper price so they release newer and more updated models of their product. Add commercials of dancers with white iPods and a couple of thousands of dollars for printed advertisements. The result is you have consumers fooled once again as they flock to Apple and electronic stores to purchase the latest iPod.

Those commercials play a big role in convincing consumers to buy the product. They feature black silhouettes of men and women dancing to popular songs such as Gorillaz’s “Feel Good Inc.” and Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” The people in those advertisements are dancing and showing off their white iPods.

Maybe consumers think that if they purchase the iPod they will learn how to dance just like the people in the commercial. An undeniable aspect of coolness is attached to the iPod. Everyone in the commercials looks calm, cool and collected. Why wouldn’t people want to portray that image as they walk across campus?

Apple has also gotten some big names in music to advertise their product, including U2 and Eminem. Influential artists, cool- looking commercials and infamous white eardphones spell a recipe for success to the Apple company, but leaves a big hole in our wallets.

I am not saying that consumers are weak because I have an iPod myself. I did not actually spend the money to purchase the iPod for myself because it was a birthday present, but I will admit that I was ecstatic when I received it. What I am saying is that we need to shop around and be more alert about pop culture crazes such as the iPod. If you do not know the differences between products on the market, sales representatives are there to assist and guide you through the electronic world.

My friend went to Best Buy to purchase an iPod for herself with $300 in her wallet. She decided to ask for the advice of a sales representative who explained that the only difference between the cheaper MP3 player and the iPod was that the iPod had a bigger screen and was from such a well-known company. She walked out of the store with an MP3 player that has similar features to the iPod and $200 left in her pocket.

Next time when shopping for electronics or anything else, you should shop around before committing.

You may never know what you would have found if you had just done the research.