Are there Parental Controls for QVC?

QVC marketing you packagesOK – this has to be said, because I am sure I am not the only person with this problem.

QVC needs to ashamed of themselves. If you have an aging parent, a mom in particular, you know what I am talking about.  Or maybe, I just need to institute parental controls so my mom stops getting sucked into the hype of buying more things she doesn’t need. Especially buying things on autopay! $300 for a ‘beautiful, silver bracelet with stones to compliment any outfit’ is a hard to handle price, but at autopay of $15 a month – you can handle that right? Problem is, when you take on 10 items at $15 a month, and then add on the autopay fee, and then add on the extra credit card interest rates over a longer period of time – you will NEVER get out from under that cloud.

My mother’s QVC bill stated the balance due now amount of $415.  She paid $450. Now, logically, one might expect that the following month (a month where nothing on QVC was purchased (WHAT!?!), there would be a CREDIT of roughly $35. But NO! Not only was there not a credit, but a balance due of $519. $519? Insane.  There were autopay charges for things from last year that she hasn’t used, opened, and / or is even able to find. Only 1 was for a bracelet that she still wears and wears constantly.  2 pieces of jewelry were already broken and in need of repair, 1 earring of a pair was lost.

I know there has to be others in this kind of a pickle. And if parents can stop children from accessing inappropriate channels, I should have the right to block QVC from my mother.  That point has finally come – when the child has become the parent. I’m not ready for this!  I haven’t fully enjoyed my empty nest freedom yet! (i digress) Mom is absolutely addicted to this show.  It’s entertainment for her. Entertainment. Sad. She knows peoples’ names, their family members’ names, their stories.  She becomes upset when she can’t get to the channel for a special show.  She checks the planned QVC airing schedule for the day, so she knows how / when to play her activities. Really?  And she truly thinks QVC and all its vendor are all sincere. She believes she is not being ‘sold’ at all. The ‘decision’ to buy is solely hers. It may be – but what is driving that need to buy, and decision to buy?

“Don’t you want to watch something where you are learning something, getting a laugh or good cry?”, I say.  “I get all that from QVC”, she says in return. Wow. Just wow. Watching people hawk goods is entertainment. Ok, well, the duck lady is funny (in a ‘what the heck are you wearing around your head’ funny).

Her social security benefit is next to nothing.  I am watching my parent’s retirement savings dwindle down from every increasing medical bills and dwindling investment return. Yet mom’s QVC bills continue to grow. Yes, I do believe people need to be responsible for their own actions. And I see how important it is to stay informed.  So many people just don’t realize how they succumb to clever marketing tactics and ploys. Me included.

Before you accuse me of not being sympathetic to my mother, I do understand her need for independence, to buy things for herself & others when she wants. She can no longer get out to drive herself around, to comparison shop. Buying from TV gives her some sense of control.  Yet, her wits and financial status are not always about her, and QVC makes it easy to give in. Gives her some control.

But when do we begin holding companies accountable?

[the flip ‘mixologist’ side: there is a marketing lesson here. the power of story, connection, personality, and knowing your audience so you can use the language and words that appeal to those customers. but at what point do we, as businesses, step up and be responsible?  more and more companies are using psychological triggers to make you the consumer buy, and most times you are not even aware of it. most of us have things we don’t need or have never used, but bought because we were compelled or got caught up in the moment.  i always laugh when i see fellow marketers fall into the same traps they use to capture people.

challenge: start paying attention to the moment you feel compelled to buy, and understand what is your trigger. take steps to be a more proactive shopper.  and a side benefit – add some of those triggers to your linkedin profile and other branding efforts.]


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