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Brand Names (or not?)
Old 08-27-2013, 03:52 PM   #1
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Brand Names (or not?)

In most cases, Brand Names are more expensive.
The question is: "Worth the Cost?"

Probably not an across the board answer, but what about categories? Just a general answer... yes or no Yes = Brand Names No = generic or less well known

Food -
Beverages -
Small Household Appliances -
Large Household Appliances -
Heating/Cooling -
Computers -
Phones -
TV's -
Cameras -
Hand Tools -
Power Tools -
Auto Parts -
Hotel/Motel Lodging -
Gasoline -
Car insurance -
Shoes -
Clothing -
Furniture -
Lawn Care -
Pharmaceuticals -
Sporting Goods -
Bikes -
Personal Care Products -
Building Materials -
Paint -

Many more categories, obviously, but just a sampling here. Are there some items that you would never consider unless they were Brand Names?
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:56 PM   #2
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My answers:

Food - No
Beverages - No
Small Household Appliances - No
Large Household Appliances - No
Heating/Cooling - Yes
Computers - No
Phones - No
TV's - No
Cameras - NO
Hand Tools - No
Power Tools - Yes
Auto Parts - NO
Hotel/Motel Lodging - NO
Gasoline -No
Car insurance - Yes
Shoes - No
Clothing - No
Furniture - No
Lawn Care - No
Pharmaceuticals - No
Sporting Goods - NO
Bikes - No
Personal Care Products - No
Building Materials - No
Paint - Yes

In general, lower cost is our decision maker.
We're the "generic" type.
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:56 PM   #3
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I usually start at the cheapest, and move up until I find good value.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:53 PM   #4
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+1 on buying value vs "brand"- at least generally. Always been a critical comparison shopper.
For most things there's a sweet spot yielding best bang for your buck. The least expensive often ends up costing much more in the long run. Like cheap paint that doesn't last, cheap hand tools which bend/break under moderate use, or an inexpensive major appliance which keeps breaking down.
IMHO- Buying "brand" depends on the specific item- & my past experiences.
In my travels I've always found Hampton Inn to provide solid accommodations (& usu a good breakfast) at a fair price for that locale. In some cities I even prefer Hampton vs it's "higher-end" (and $$$) Hilton brother. I've had better reliability with "brand" cell phones, and Apple computers have always outlasted my Windows machines. In bicycling I've generally found mid-range Shimano gear (inc. shoes) to deliver consistent reliable value.
OTOH- Store brand groceries are often the equal, or sometimes superior, of national brands. And most US states tightly regulate the quality of gasoline, although there are individual stations which may have bad storage/delivery equipment. Bike helmets (in US) must all meet same safety standard so more $$ does not = safer (or more comfortable). "Off brand" bikes can be good value for casual riding IF you know what you're looking for, although I prefer to buy used major brand (Trek, Cannondale, Giant, Specialized, etc.).

Short version- Critically comparison shop. Buy the best value for your needs whether that turns out to be "brand" name or not.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:28 PM   #5
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Generally, "no" to paying for the name brands. Places I'd differ from imoldernu

Heating/Cooling - Yes I'd vote "no". The non-advertised brands are often made of the same components as highly advertised brands. We installed a "Goodman" furnace which was about 1/2 the price of a Lennox and has given us outstanding service.

Power Tools - Yes It depends. The Harbor Freight plug-in power tools (hammer drills, reciprocating saws, angle grinders, etc) are considerably cheaper than name brands and often do a fine job for me. They even come with replacement brushes for the motors, something I never got with a Makita tool. They aren't as well made, and they run a bit louder, but for 1/3rd the price they will usually get the job done. If I were earning my living with them I'd probably invest in the better stuff, but for the amount I use them they are a better value than buying expensive tools. And, if I destroy one (e.g. a tumble off the roof and 15 feet down to the concrete driveway, etc) I'd rather kill a $24.99 tool than one worth $124.99.

Hotel/Motel Lodging - NO Yes. If we're on the road, we'll stay at a chain we know and which has been reliable in the past. We're not after amenities, we just want the place to be safe and clean.

Personal Care Products - No Generally, I go with "no name brands", but I haven't had good luck with the no-name razor blades, so I keep buying (at exorbitant prices) name brand blades.

Paint - Yes Agreed. We like Behr paints (from Home Depot). They cover well, the price is right, they get good reviews from CR, and they've held up well in use. Given the labor involved in painting, trying to save a few bucks on materials isn't worth it.

Added:
Cars: Yes. We favor certain brands (Honda, Toyota). When other brands have a 25 year reputation of quality engineering and meticulously-selected quality subcomponents, then I'll expand the list. The J.D. Powers ratings of new-owner satisfaction or 4 years of good CR reports don't sway me in the least: I'm planning on driving the car for 15-20 years and I want the car and all it's components to be engineered for the long haul. If Chevy wanted me as a customer this year then they needed to start building good cars in 1985. They didn't.

And a funny look at the "Name Brand vs Generics" issue from the great folks at The Onion:

Onion News: "Man Defends Purchase of Bargain-Brand Cereal"

Quote:
Excited by the discovery, Showalter loaded his shopping cart with bags of bargain cereal, including Cocoa-Roos, Frosted Mini Spooners, Golden Puffs, Marshmallow Mateys, and Honey Buzzers. Though he possessed coupons for Cap'n Crunch, Cheerios, and other longtime Showalter-household staples, he chose not to purchase them.
According to Showalter, the trouble started virtually the moment he arrived home with the groceries.
"The kids love Fruity Pebbles, so I certainly didn't think they'd object to me bringing home a big bag of Fruity Dyno-Bites," Showalter said. "But as soon as [10-year-old son] Mark saw the bag, he just went nuts. He said the Dyno-Bites were embarrassing and 'totally lame.' I'm sorry, but I don't see what's so lame about being a smart shopper."
. . . .
Showalter, who called his children "brand snobs," explained to them that the bagged cereals' no-frills packaging and lack of national advertising enables their manufacturers to pass the savings along to the customer.



"I told them Cocoa-Roos are no different from Cocoa Puffs," Showalter said. "The only difference is that bird on the box. What these kids don't understand is that when you buy Cocoa Puffs, you're mostly paying for that bird."
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:50 PM   #6
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My answers

Food - Yes
Beverages -Yes
Small Household Appliances -Yes
Large Household Appliances - Yes
Heating/Cooling -Yes
Computers -No
Phones -No
TV's -No
Cameras -No
Hand Tools -Yes
Power Tools -Yes
Auto Parts -YES
Hotel/Motel Lodging -Yes
Gasoline -No
Car insurance -No
Shoes - Yes
Clothing -Yes
Furniture -No
Lawn Care -No
Pharmaceuticals -YES
Sporting Goods -No
Bikes - (motorcycles yes)
Personal Care Products -Yes
Building Materials -Yes
Paint -Yes
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:57 PM   #7
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In general, I never say never, and I am a generic type of gal. However, I have just discovered that the el cheapo cable I bought failed to charge my iPad, and that Apple is issuing recalls for these junk cables. In the future I will stick to brand names at least for electronics.

The other item that I preferentially buy by brand is automobiles (Honda).

When the consequences of a bad decision are minor, e.g a menu item that I don't like, I am more adventurous.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:00 PM   #8
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Going by brand can be a useful heuristic when I don't have time / inclination to do research. But generally if it's more than $100 I'll try to look up reviews and use brand as a starting point.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:49 PM   #9
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My answers

Food - Yes and no
Beverages -Yes
Small Household Appliances -Yes
Large Household Appliances - Yes
Heating/Cooling -Yes
Computers - Absolutely yes
Phones -Yes
TV's - heck yes
Cameras - Yes
Hand Tools -Yes
Power Tools -Yes
Auto Parts -YES
Hotel/Motel Lodging -Yes
Gasoline -No
Car insurance - Yes
Shoes - No
Clothing - No
Furniture - Yes
Lawn Care -No
Pharmaceuticals - no
Sporting Goods -No
Bikes - Yes
Personal Care Products -Yes
Building Materials - No
Paint -Yes
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:47 AM   #10
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Generally I'll go with generic but it depends on how long I'm going to keep the product. I just replaced a 26-year-old Honda lawn mower with another Honda mower, and it was for sure not the cheapest lawn mower out there. A drive axle broke and that wasn't worth fixing. I did all the scheduled maintenance on it and it always started on at least the 2nd rope pull.

If the new one gives me the reliability that the old one did then I will get my money's worth. In contrast, my next door neighbor buys a new mower at least every other year, sometimes more than one a year. I don't know what he does to kill them but I've never seen anyone go through mowers like he does.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:10 AM   #11
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Instead of looking at brand names I research and look for quality (which is most of the time). Even if I have been pleased with a product I have used for years I still do my research and checks. Companies are bought and sold and products with the same name can be manufactured by different companies and are not necessarily the same quality any more. I also look for value. Sometimes I will buy a more expensive item if the value is greater and I may be needing it to last under more rigorous use. Otherwise I may opt for a less expensive product if it is a one time use item. I tend to prefer being frugal not cheap.

Cheers!
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:49 AM   #12
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With so much being outsourced to China these days it is sometimes difficult to tell. And sometimes past performance, quality, are a pleasant memory and do not reflect today's reality.

We buy generic drugs. We find that store brands, especially any Costco Kirkland brand product to be as good as any name brand.

And we never buy that overpriced nonsense that is sold by individuals in those pyramid schemes. You know the ones...jewelry, health products, vitamins, the lot.
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