A woman panicking over gifts - my typical mood during the holiday season. Image: Shutterstock

Panicking Over Last-Minute Gifts? Use Consumer Reports!

I can’t be the only person who does this, right?

I have all year to think about what I might want to get people for the holidays, and yet I always find myself stuck on one or two particularly difficult gifts when the time comes around. I spend entirely too much time fretting over various ideas, wondering if the recipient will like them, if it’ll be practical to them, or if it’s well-made enough to last. What usually happens is I spend so much time looking at reviews for several (seemingly) similar products that I risk missing deadlines to order online, or things get sold out.

Okay, maybe my first problem is overthinking. But if you’re like me, you could probably use a little bit of help during the holiday rush. For instance, if you wanted to buy one of your hyper-caffeinated friends a new coffee maker, wouldn’t it be easier if you could see all the most popular models at once, without having to run about the Internet looking at different vendor and review sites?

That’s where we’ve got you covered! You might be interested in knowing that the Library has a subscription to Consumer Reports, which collects stats and reviews for everything from laptops to clothing to restaurants and more! Returning to the coffee maker example: imagine the 20-ish tabs you might have open for all the different brands of coffee makers you found online, along with their respective review pages on Amazon, Yelp, Google Reviews, etc. Now, condense it all into this:

Screenshot of Consumer Reports results for single-serve coffee makers


Phew! Much better. On one screen you can see a product’s overall score as well as a quick visual of its subscores, based both on community surveys and on CR-conducted tests. You can further refine your search in the left panel—as you can see, I selected only single-serve coffee makers, and could also narrow things down based on brand, score, and price if I wanted. If you see an option that really piques your interest, you can click its entry to find a more detailed description and read reviews. Pretty nifty, right? And the service doesn’t stop there: once you find a winner, the site even provides a price comparison for the different vendors who sell it!

If the thought of doing a lot of last-minute gift research seems daunting to you, Consumer Reports is a pretty handy tool. Of course, such convenient things like this rarely come without a price tag, and ordinarily you’d have to pay a subscription fee for access to all these services. Thankfully, the Library has its own subscription which you can use FOR FREE with your Library Card!

If you’ve been keeping up with us over the last few months, you may know that we’ve been saying that having a Niles-Maine District Library Card is the Best. Deal. EVER! You might also remember us even having a series of raffles in an effort to encourage more signups, which yielded the additional benefit of allowing me to show off my killer dance moves. Well, this is precisely what we’re talking about! These services are fully available at no charge to our cardholders, and only our cardholders. You have the perks, so why not take advantage of them?

Cardholders can use this link to access Consumer Reports online, or alternatively can visit our website at www.nileslibrary.org and search for it under the “Research” tab. If you’re a resident of Niles, Unincorporated Des Plaines, or Unincorporated Glenview and are looking to score a card with us, you can do so at www.nileslibrary.org/library-card.

Happy Holidays!

Comments are closed.