This blog is a Consumers Digest super-duper best buy gold star platinum winner

After much scientific inquiry, I have come to the conclusion that there are three things in life that are incontrovertibly fake:

1. The moon landing

2. The female orgasm

3. Consumers Digest

You may have already shared my conclusion on the first two, but the third is slightly more obscure. Here, let’s let Howie Long and his cop hair fill you in on what Consumers Digest is:

Like many who end up buying a Chevy Malibu, you may be confused. Specifically, you may have confused Consumer Reports with the Consumers Digest mentioned in the commercial. The former is a well-regarded, non-profit consumer advocacy publication. The latter is… well, jeez, just what is Consumers Digest?

According to their Web site, Consumers Digest is this:

For 47 years, people have trusted Consumers Digest magazine to identify outstanding values in a complex and often confusing marketplace. Consumers Digest is working to extend that promise to the Internet.

So it’s a print magazine? Well, no. According to Wikipedia, the “communications” firm behind Consumers Digest stopped publishing a print magazine in 2001. So now I guess it’s a Web site?

Well, not exactly:

If you are interested in receiving information on how you can subscribe to our Web site, please write to: Postmaster, Consumers Digest Communications, 520 Lake Cook Road, Suite 500, Deerfield, IL 60015 or send an e-mail to:

Now, some people might think it’s ridiculous to have to send an email to an anonymous address via a Web site in order to receive information on how to subscribe to that Web site. I, on the other hand, think it’s… well you’re right that’s fucked up.

Anyway, there is a button on their Web site that takes you to the official list of Consumers Digest automotive “Best Buys.” I’m no forensic Webologist, but it appears this Web page was built by Mrs. Simonson’s 4th grade class at Mount Sorrow Elementary using the Newberry Prize-winning “My Very First HTML PAGE!!” as a step-by-step guide. Included among the 2010 best buys are the Malibu as well as six other Chevy models, plus assorted models from other car manufacturers. Nowhere are there listed any criteria upon which they arrived at their conclusions.

However, some of the models have links you can click to read the Consumers Digest expert “review” of the model, which includes sentences like this:

If you’re a fan of the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” you know the shocked responses that appear on the homeowners’ face when Ty Pennington and his crew “move that bus” and reveal a newly refurbished home.

I give that sentence a Pax Arcana Golden Viking Dildo Award for Awkward Phraseology and Dumbness.

In conclusion, WTF Chevy? Really?

Consumers Digest [Home… page?]

***Update: I have just sent the following note to the email address supplied by Consumers Digest in order to receive information on subscribing to the Web site. I will let you know how that goes.


My name is Pax Arcana, and I am interested in receiving information on how to subscribe to the Consumers Digest Web site. Please send the aforementioned information along presently.

Also, it occurs to me that there may be a better way to provide potential subscribers with this information. For example, you could post this information upon light towers in every major city. It would have to be laminated, of course, to protect it from the elements. As an alternative, I suppose you could simply post your subscription information on your Web site — but really who has time for all that?

I look forward to your reply. With as much sincerity as I can muster, I am humbly yours,

Pax Arcana



Filed under media

9 responses to “This blog is a Consumers Digest super-duper best buy gold star platinum winner

  1. Perry Ellis

    I want one of those damn awards so bad. How’s this:

    “Since its 1983 inception in founder Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson Crutchfield Smitherton-Jones Smythe-on-Trent’s garage, Kalamazoo-based Bolt Bash Inc. has grown into a thriving fasteners and pneumatic tools distributorship based on a deceptively simple philosophy: An unrelenting concentration on exemplary customer service.”*

    Suck it, bitchez! That’s how I roll. And if that’s not worth of a solid gold dildo then you’re not living in a world I want a part of.

    *Names changed to protect the innocent.

  2. On BOARD!

    Ok, I thought the same thing when I saw a an automotive ad touting vehicles as “Consumers Digest” best buys. That happens to be total BS.
    They are capitalizing on the outstanding reputations of Consumer Reports and Reader’s Digest by combining the names. Great post!

  3. Ron Damato

    VERY good post!!

    Here is what I wrote for the “Ripoff Report.” Of course CD is a scam to the nth degree. Lately, they’ve even given “best of class” awards to the SAME CLAS OF VEHICLE by two different manufacturer!

    Anyway, read on:

    As a former employee, I would like everyone to know about the “scamagazine” out there called Consumers Digest.

    This magazine attempts to ride on the coattails of a very legitimate publication, Consumer Reports. A lot of people mistake the two due to the similar name. Quite a shame, since CD is nothing but a scam for businesses and consumers alike.

    Here’s how the scam works: The “publisher,” a Randy Weber, and the “editor,” one Richard Dzierwa, continually read and watch the mainstream media to see what products are “hot”–and which products are getting a good reputation for quality (for instance, the Dyson brand of vacuum cleaners). They then have an in-house or freelance writer write a scam “comparison” of products, say vacuum cleaners, in which Dyson wins the “comparison.” They try to pick their winners by three main goals:

    1) Is the company big enough, or far enough away, to not check our “scamagazine’s” (non-existent) credentials?

    2) Is the company large enough to have advertising capitalization?

    3) Is the company not above unscrupulous advertising–ie, KNOWING they are paying to advertise their product(s) as the “winners” of a phony award? See General Motors.

    If the answer to these is “yes” then CD just found the winner of their comparison!!! The “winner” is not based on tests, real-world performance, or anything non-phony.

    On to the next step: the “winner”company is notified by mail that they have won the prestigious Consumers Digest “Best Buy” award, only awarded to a select few companies…EVER!! The “scamagazine” then negotiates with the company about using the CD “Best Buy” logo (which, the “winning company” still doesn’t know, is actually a bogus award and is worth NOTHING). Randy Weber, the prestigious PUBLISHER of the mag then steps in and tries to inject an air of importance to the victim company’s ad department–telling them that for, say, $65,000 per month, they can use the “much-honored” Best Buy logo on television! Print use prices are slightly less.

    Consumers Digest has NO “subscribers,” NO “circulation,” and is made up of three key employees…Randy Weber, his sister Lori (the “Art Director”) and Mr. Dzierwa, the golden-tounged “Editor.” CD does, for legal reasons, have a press run of 20-30,000 “issues”–most of which are thrown away but a few are distributed to the Chicago public through the Barnes and Noble bookchain–which sends 93% back to the publisher.

    This magazine is a scam for the readers (because the “reviews” are all totally phony) and an even BIGGER scam for the companies that win “awards” from the mag. R. Weber and family have been successfully running this scam for over 20 years now. Watch TV closely; many “large brand” manufacturers have been scammed by CD and put the fact that they won a “Best Buy” award. Suzuki, Dyson, TempurPedic–they are all victims of this scam. They know better now. Caveat Emptor, people!

    The good doc
    Deerfiled, Illinois

  4. goonboy

    Consumers Digest is a scam. Just like how Motor Trend is owned by the Big 3 (not so big anymore), so is Consumers Digest.

    The vast majority of head to head reviews in the media (Road and Track, Car and Driver, etc…), consistently rank Toyota and Honda products higher than GM or Chev, except for maybe trucks/large SUVs and yet Consumer Digest only gives one award to Honda and NONE to Toyota?

    Hmmm…sounds like a clear bias. I wonder if they are owned by the same group that owns Motor Trend magazine.

    Publications like Motor Trend or Consumers Digest are the media equivalent of a lobbying organization.

    I guarantee you GM/Chev paid Consumers Digest a nice sum to get those awards.

  5. Taylor

    A week ago, I was in Borders, sipping on my latte and reading a magazine as usual (usually car magazines). Anyway, I saw the CD magazine and began to read through it. I almost laughed when I saw how many chevy models get their “best pic.” Sorry but corvettes are terrible at turning, contrary to their apparent expertise in the area of corvette handling, and cadillacs are horribly unreliable. A week later, I saw an ad for Consumer’s Digest on the TV… “May the best car win.” was their slogan. Correct me if I’m wrong, but was that not the exactly same motto chevy was using a few months ago?

    With that said, no one in my family really plans to own another Chevrolet after their begging fiasco with the government. A longtime Chevy owner in my family purchased a Toyota Avalon yesterday without considering any Chevy/GM/Cadillac models. That is how angry people are with the government and the car companies. It’s nice to see that Chevy “paid their debts” off with more tax payer dollars. Scams like that CD magazine make me feel even more justified in turning my back on American car brands. Long live my 2003 325i sedan… I’ve put 111k miles on the car and it has had just one or two low cost repairs. I would be willing to buy another BMW the day my 2003 dies.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your bailout money Chevrolet… b/c that’s likely the last lifeline you have other than bankruptcy. Good luck getting people to buy cars from a company that just declared chapter 11…

    PS: I’d still consider buying a Ford for 2 reasons.
    A) They didn’t take money from the tax payers.
    B) They are the only big 3 company that seems to be making a genuine effort to build better cars… Read a real magazine, like Consumer Reports, you’ll notice that Ford is praised while Chevy and Chrysler are trashed.

    And with this, I conclude my ranting. :)

  6. Laurie Wink

    Are you actually a former employee of Consumers Digest? I have been approached as a candidate for a position there and really want to know the straight scoop. Thanks for sharing anything you can, and I will assure your anonymity. I can’t afford to make an expensive mistake at this point.

  7. Peter

    Consumer’s Digest charges a fee for the “best buy” “recommendation” and performs very little qualtitive analysis on their products compared to other established consumer testing facilities. (They basically take money for companies to advertise their “best buy” seal). They also may accept their products for testing (cars, etc.) directly from the manufacturer where the manufacturer could “tinker” with that single product to address any known defects. Other established consumer testing facilities purchase their products off the showroom from normal dealers, without the “tinkering” much as you and I would.

  8. goonboy

    Haha…great posts.

    For months GM has been flaunting their worthless ‘Consumers Digest Best Buy’ awards, at least here in Canada because no one is buying their garbage products even though they have been giving away the farm for 3 years, BEGGING consumers to buy their vehicles.

    Aside from JD Power and then maybe Consumer Reports for advice on what is a ‘good buy’, you cannot trust the rest. Intellichoice is another questionable organization. Consumers need to factor in things such as TCO (total cost of ownership) which Edmunds is great for, but sadly they don’t and are lured in by the next marketing gimmick like 20 cents off per liter, employee pricing, zero-zero-zero, being able to return the car after one year, the list goes on.

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