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Author of the Month: Wendy Reiboldt

Published: August 7, 2017

Consumer Economics

Wendy Reiboldt, Department Chair, Family and Consumer Sciences

Published in January by Kendall Hunt Publishing Co., the 418-page 16th edition of Consumer Economics leads students through the social, economic and political forces that shapes consumer demand and seller supply. The book provides students with a strong understanding about how the economy operates, the importance of political influences and how the marketplace works to both serve and deceive consumers. Topics include consumer behavior, fraud, technology, advertising, asset management, consumer services and government efforts to assist consumers. The book helps students become mature and informed consumers by providing practical tips and guidelines on day-to-day choices and decisions for optimal interaction in the marketplace. Special features include addresses for more than 200 important consumer web sites, key terms, case studies, a review of consumer-friendly legislation and a glossary. One of the book’s most important topics, Reiboldt explained, was consumer fraud. “What makes a savvy buyer?” she asked. “How should consumers operate in the marketplace? When they are taken in by fraud? What help is available at the local, state and federal levels? There is a list of laws and agencies to protect consumers. There are examples of complaint letters and proper channels to complain effectively. I want our students to be able to use the book right away.” Reiboldt’s new text works hard to explain key terms. “The beginning of every chapter includes a list,” she said. “Some are legal terms for small-claims court where consumers may obtain restitution. The book works to explain how the seller must beware as well as the buyer.” A glossary defines such economic terms as “supply and demand.” One strength of the book that helps to explain its 16 editions is its continuous modernization. “Websites are updated. I updated every case study,” she said. “Students can see the real-world application to the content. There are links to news articles. This edition is the first to come with tear-out discussion pages. It’s a very useful book.” Consumer Economics also addresses such 21st century movements as minimalism or the pursuit of a simpler lifestyle. “Some people want off the hamster wheel of

Charles Harper Webb book image

consumption,” she said. “We are taught from youth to buy things to feel better. If you get a bigger house than your neighbor does, you will be happy. This text discusses ‘downshifting’ and simple living where people downsize their residential space. As you age, you do not need as much. You do not need the fastest car or the latest technology.” Reiboldt is optimistic about future editions of Consumer Economics. “The biggest change is that the book is going electronic. That will be new for me,” she said. “Social media will develop apps we have not dreamed of yet. There are apps which are popular in Europe that enable grandmothers to communicate with their grandkids in America.” Developments like this suggest a more international view in the next edition. Reiboldt received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio’s Miami University in consumer sciences with a minor in family studies. She received her master’s from Ohio State in 1989 and stayed on to earn her Ph.D. there in 1992. Reiboldt joined CSULB in 1992.