Do you spend the extra couple bucks for quality or brand names? Or do you buy generic

I have a running battle with my own self: I like to buy the more expensive attire and gear for hiking and camping and out-of-doors stuff. I like the North Face and L.L. Bean and The Territory Ahead stuff. I’ll even venture into the Orvis line if I’m really feeling frisky, and sometimes for my toys I’ll shop at the big boy toy shop Lilliput.
My wife rolls her eyes sometimes when she see’s me drooling over a Nantucket Sandbagger Model in Lilliput that costs $300…“What the hell are you going to do with that???

I always counter by saying something like - what do you care, it’ll be in the boy room downstairs!

She doesn’t like that response.

Aside from my own guilty pleasures I do feel a little tinge when searching for a good buy. Like the EMS fleece I can buy for 60 bucks or the north face model for 120. Do I buy the brand name or do I go for the better bag for my buck. A lot of the times I like to shop American made stuff as much as I can, and so I have been veering away from North Face and into the L.L. Bean world a little more.

As for quality, I have found differences in the market. Sunglasses for instance. I pay $8 for my polarized sunglasses from Walgreens. Why? Because I lose, break, sit on, drop in the ocean, more sunglasses than I can count. So why spend $120 a pop for something I lose alot?

Shoes, I like shoes that will last and stand up to the test of time with this rugged outdoorsman. Merrill are my dhoe of choice, but I also like the new Keens for durability. Bu they haven’t been out long enough to see if they stand up to the test of time.

How about you? Quality = $$$ or not?

It depends. As has been hashed out in a few threads here before, there are some things it’s OK to go cheap on, and some where you really do get what you pay for. I mean, ibuprofen is ibuprofen whether it’s Motrin or Walgreens brand. But Kroger Brand Diet Cola is no way, no how equivalent to Diet Coke.

I’m also going to say it depends. I love having a lightweight coat that still keeps me warm with all the little extra things like cooling vents. I stopped buying generic frozen broccoli and switched to Green Giant because I was sick of getting a bag full of stalks.

If the quality is the same, there’s no reason to pay the extra for a name brand. I do wonder sometimes though. For example, there was a news story about some brands of generic multivitamins not having the correct amount of advertised ingredients. So things like that are a concern.

Personally, it depends on what we’re talking about. With most clothing, I could give a shit less if it is brand-name, but it would take too much effort, so I don’t.

That being said, I LURVE Lucky brand jeans. They are made of high quality denim, fit well, and since they are a British (I think) brand, the sizes are based on waist rather than some random, vanity bullshit guess like other clothes for women.

I will also buy Aquafina water almost exclusively. I find that Aquafina has a better, more pure taste. I drink about 8-15 bottles (that’s 16 - 30 glasses or 128 - 240 ounces) of water a day, trust me, it’s not all the same. I will buy Deer Park, Kroger brand or Crystal Geyser (in that order) if I can’t get the Aquafina. Although, I will point out that Aquafina is actually a better price at 15.5 cents/bottle as opposed to 16.6 for the others, but that is only because I buy the 32-packs at Sam’s Club – in the regular grocery, it is way more expensive.

Now, I will spend some money on shoes that I like, but that’s more about style than quality. In fact, i bought a pair of shoes made by Dollhouse (which I was assured is a high-quality shoe) that fell apart in 2 days, I bought a similarly-made (as in, same style, same materials) that were some buddy brand, and I still have them, and wear them all the time. Still look new. The Dollhouse shoes were at DSW for $20 (original price was like $50?) the buddies were at Wal-Mart for like $12.

For jackets, I insist on leather, so yeh, it ends up being more $$$. But leather is worth it for me. I like the look, feel and smell of leather and if you take care of it, it will last forever. I do typically shop at Wilsons, but only out of convenience, I don’t know that their stuff is higher quality than other leather manufacturers.

Also, the cheap-assed $10 Wal-Mart jeans we bought my husband for when he worked in the warehouse have lasted all these years (he still has a couple pair from 4 years ago that are wearable and look good) whereas all his Levi’s went down the shitter within a month of working at the warehouse (obviously why we bought the $10 jeans!)

I guess it depends on if I know that the quality is better. I don’t automatically assume that $$$=quality, though. I will give new/off brands a chance, especially if they’re much less expensive.

In general, I don’t think that $$$ = quality. I have found that some of my favorites are actually the off-brands/generic brands – at least in food.

Well, I could pretty much restate your post as mine. Last summer I bought a hat for kayaking. It was $75, while a baseball cap can be had as a freebie. But the hat was highly recommended by folks whose advise I value. It is the best hat ever, for a myriad of reasons.

Sunglasses, I buy the cheapest I can. I have actually sat on a pair before the tag was off.

ETA: I bought a Camelbak recently. It cost more than the generic versions, but damn, it is the most well designed/built product I’ve seen in a while.

Yep, it depends (and speaking of brand name, Depend is indeed better than the generic.)

When camping, one can never be too warm or too dry. (Well, unless it’s summer, in which case one can never be too cool or too dry.) If you’re a backpacker or an extended camper, then I think it’s worth it to go with the slightly more expensive stuff that’s got a warranty and a reputation. Often, in these areas, more expensive means better fabrics, double stitched seams, tents with their own footprints, etc. OTOH, enameled camp plates from Target are just as good as enameled camp plates from REI. ('Though I covet those expensive plastic origami fold-flat plates and bowls!) I can buy a disposable rain poncho from REI for $7 or the same exact one from Dollar General for $1. But if I was going to get into the reusable, durable rain gear, I’d get it from a real camping store. Air mattresses (I car camp, not hike) I go as cheap as possible on, 'cause 10 years of buying them has taught me that the expensive ones are just as prone to the leakage lottery as cheap ones. My longest lasting air mattress was an Eddie Bauer I used for three years.

As for food, nothing, but nothing is better than the off-label brownie mix that only Aldi carries. Not even brownies made from scratch. Whenever we’re at the name-brand grocery store and the kid badgers me for brownie mix, he’s disappointed when he makes 'em. They’re never as good as Aldi’s.

I don’t have a hard and fast rule, then. I consider each item independently, and also consider how frequently it will need to be replaced - cheap ain’t cheap if it’s 60% of the price but needs to be replaced twice as often.

I’ll join the ‘it depends’ chorus.

Clothing is clothing. One brand of jeans is going to last about as long as all the others so I don’t see a particular need to spend loads on buying something expensive. With shoes I do tend to pick by brand but that’s only because two brands have designs that I think look nice. If someone else comes along with a nice design that’s cheaper then I’d just buy that instead.

As for things like grocery shopping, sometimes I’ll go for the expensive option and sometimes the cheap one. Dried pasta is all the same, for example, and I don’t feel a particular need to buy an expensive brand. I will buy the more expensive range of foods if I know it to be of better quality than the cheaper brand. There is nothing in this world to beat Waitrose’s lasagne and I’ll buy it even though it costs a lot more than the one from Asda.

For things like toys (for me) it depends on the item. Books and CDs are expensive anyway in the UK so I’ll get them where it’s cheapest. Branded toys such as cameras or MP3 players etc are bought partly on the strength of their name I suppose but that good name comes about by having a quality product in the first place. I don’t think I intentionally avoid cheap options here but by searching for quality/features I automatically exclude the cheapest stuff. Which is not to say I get hung up on going for the thing with all the buttons and whistles either, it has to be good quality for me to buy it.

Advertisers hate me. :smiley:

Another vote for it depends.

I don’t mind using generic prescription drugs, wearing non-name-brand clothing or buying store-brand foods. I get second-hand clothing for my kid whenever possible and absolutely adore second-hand book shops and any clearance sale I can find, provided I need something (did I mention I also hate to shop?). And I appreciate my Costco-brand undies, too, thank you very much.

Hiking and running gear, though, is another issue entirely - it’s probably the only place where I’m truly brand loyal (well, that and cars - I like Toyotas). I loooove my Kelty backpack. And you’ll get my Brooks Adrenalines when you pry them out of my cold, dead hands.

Can I just say that I take a buttload of Ibuprofen, and I bought Walgreens generic twice. Twice I gave the bottles away to my husband because after they were opened they had a weird taste/smell. I can’t describe it, but they were just gross and I gagged taking them. I went back to brand name Motrin for a while until I found a place that sold Rugby brand in bulk.

I thought it was a funny example to use, because in my case the generic was nasty and I had to go back to the brand name. It must have been the coating or something on the Walgreens ones.

In terms of things like soap, it does matter. I only buy Ivory soap because it’s sensitive and I have sensitive girly parts.

I’ve never not bought name brand medicine, though. I’m not sure why.

I do buy generic brand Vitamin C at Duane Reade.

I buy brand names for almost every thing. I’ve tried lots of generics but they often seem to be of poorer quality, don’t last as long/work as well, and generally leave me dissatisfied.

Clothing and shoes: higher end brand names. They fit better and are of higher quality materials so they also wear better.

Workout clothes: a mix of techinical and generic. Generic wicking jogbras are usually as good as brand names but I find brand name fleece superior.

Pet foods: Science Diet. I don’t want to feed my pets (or myself, for that matter) anything that’s generic.

Toiletries: almost exclusively names I trust. My one exception is the generic version of Cetaphil facial soap. Almost identical to the real thing. And Ultrabright toothpaste. Only 99 cents a tube yet Consumer Reports ranks it up with the big labels.

OTC medicines and vitamins: usually generics, I’ve read they all come from the same factories.

Cleaning supplies: brand name cleaners but cheap scrubbers.

Appliances, etc.: I usually do a crap load of research before I buy anything so it usually winds up being a highly recommended brand name.

For food and drink, it’s brand name only.
Pet food must be brand name only.
Medicines are generic mostly all the time for us, as there’s really no difference.
Paper products like Charmin and Kleenex/Puffs, must be name brand.
Clothing and shoes are usually not brand name. Some are, some aren’t. Depends on what you like, and how long that particular brand will last.
Laundry detergent and fabric softeners must be name brand.
Dish soap/dishwasher detergent/cleaning supplies must be name brand.
Bath items like soaps, shampoo, conditioners, lotions. etc., must be name brand.

For things like groceries and stuff…I don’t mind buying the cheaper, store brand stuff. I mean, what the hell, I’m just gonna end up crapping it out anyways, and personally I don’t taste much of a difference most of the time.

But for things like you describe, like hiking gear and such, I go for quality.

Though for sunglasses I do the same thing, I get the cheap-o polarized ones…no way am I gonna spend $100 or so on sunglasses that will only get stolen, scratched up/broken, or lost.

I didn’t realize until now that I pay not only brand name, but moderately high end brand name (Royal Canin) for my cats’ food, and most often generic for mine! :smiley: It makes sense, though. The cheap stuff makes the male get UTI’s and he pisses everywhere, and it makes the female overeat and get even fatter and makes both of them poop more (my WAG is that it’s less nutritionally dense, so they eat more to compensate and crap more of the fillers and waste afterwards). The more expensive stuff keeps all of us happier!

Same here, we use Ultrabright - I looked it up on CR as well, and was pleasently surprised.

Why Not - We also use Royal Canin Siamese for our siamese attack cats…they luuv it.

Here’s the story for the interested.

I’m Generic Ginny for the most part and will always try the generic first. If I find it’s lacking in quality (like the aforementioned stem-filled bags of frozen broccoli) I go back to the brand name.

But I think it’s worth it to mention that today, you can have the best of both worlds – name brand at bargain prices. I have not, for years, purchased clothing or accessories retail, yet I wear and carry almost exclusively designer and high-end clothing. The trick is supressing the “have it now” impulse. With the internet, and to some extent, catalogs, you can shop outlets with significant cost savings, and with web sites like Slick Deals you can keep an eye out for fabulous bargains. I find this is especially true with children’s products. Just recently, Lands End at Sears had a massive BAM sale. Swim suits for $5! But you have to keep up with it. Ebay is another source. I just got my daughter a designer purse that retails for $150 (no WAY am I spending that for a teenager!) for $50. Acceptable for a birthday gift.

There are some instances where there are actual differences in the product, such as fillers in pet food or the vitimin problem. But for the most part, they’re made at the same place as the name brand and another label is slapped on the packaging. No difference in product whatsoever.

It depends. I tend to go cheap on food - breakfast cereal (generic bagged Cheerios knock-off), TV dinners (Banquet, not Swanson’s), etc. I also go cheap on alcohol - I drink for a buzz, not for taste - except at dinner out. When I’m having only one or two, I drink higher quality.

One higher expense is soap. I always buy Dr. Bronner’s peppermint bar soap. The smell is amazing, and it gets me cleaner with less effort than any other soap I’ve used. I also only buy Scott toilet paper. I HATE the quilty, puffy stuff, and Scott lasts forever.


:confused: Why is this desirable in a toilet paper?

I rarely buy brand names. I insist on a certain type of mayo, peanut butter, tuna fish and cereal. And that is all that pops into my head at this time.