I received a nice piece of outdoor gear today from a well-known and respected company. My job: To use and abuse this item, evaluate how well it works (or doesn’t work) and tell you about it.
Evaluating products boils down to whether or not something works as advertised. But you’re also helping the customer determine if he or she is getting value for money spent. A $50 pair of boots and a $300 pair of boots basically do the same thing and each may very well perform as advertised. But the customer who pays $300 for footwear has every right to expect more boot than the guy who paid $50.
Packaging as much as any other external factor can spotlight and favor an item. Manufacturers know this. But I wonder if they also know that packaging can have an equally prejudice effect. The item that arrived today was in one of those hideous, hermetically sealed blister packs. Had I spotted this on the rack at my local big box store I would have assumed $20. Only this isn’t a $20 piece of gear. It costs more than three times that and while I have yet to determine if I think it is worth the cost, its packaging already suggests that it is not. That’s something customers will notice.