Friday, June 17, 2011


"And so on, and so on, and so on..."

Faberge Organics Locklear
I got out of the shower the other day and I was looking at the jumble of stuff on top of a dresser we've converted into storage for towels and such. There were various products and materials for the bathroom in there, and I started wondering why it is we buy them instead of others.

A lot of the stuff we get, we buy because its cheaper, but some is for another reason.

We use Colgate toothpaste, because our parents did, and I think my brother prefers its flavor. I don't really care what kind of toothpaste I use, as long as it works. Some of it doesn't taste all that great but that's not what I care about.

I used to use Faberge organics shampoo, because I liked how it smelled, and that's what mom got for me as a kid. I don't think they even make it any longer, but these days I just buy the cheapest stuff I can find. We use Head&Shoulders because it works to stop dandruff, but the generic stuff does too.

Mom always used All for laundry detergent and the stuff works really well. But then the 2 bucks a metric ton junk we buy works well enough for us, too.

On the rare occasions I use aftershave, I use Old Spice. I don't care about the modern ads, although they're funny, I just use it because that's what dad got and I kind of like how it smells. Until the new ads came out, Old Spice was considered the stuff of old fogeys and losers, because that's what dad used.

We usually get Barbasol shaving cream because its cheap and does what any other cream does. It foams and makes shaving easier. Actually I prefer the shave I get from an old fashioned soap cake and brush, but they're more work. When I shave I use a Gillette 3 bladed job. I'm not even sure what the name is, Mach3 maybe? Again, dad had one. When I went to college, Gillette gave us a razor as part of the welcoming kit, and I've just stuck with it, with minor upgrades over the years with better versions.

The truth is, I don't think we actually have a lot of brand loyalty. Generally speaking we go with what's cheap partly because that's how we were raised as a poor family and its all we can really afford these days anyway.

Most of the time the cheap product works best anyway. You won't notice the difference between generic store brand pinto beans in a can and Del Monte or what have you - other than the price. Spaghetti is pretty much spaghetti, milk is milk, and so on. Some products really do matter: cheap tuna tastes like they scraped it off the factory floor. Its got eyeballs and fins and slime off the ocean floor in it. But most of the time, you're not really going to notice the difference.

And if you do, these days, I think most people can put up with not quite the same quality to save a few bucks.


Tina said...

My husband loves Barbasol! It's the only shaving cream he uses.

Some brands that we stay loyal to are those that have consistently provided a reasonable (even cheap) price, a high quality long-lasting product, and legitimate, responsive customer service: Barbasol is such a brand - a can lasts Paul for ages. Black & Decker power tools. Dell computers. Sharp Televisions. Sears appliances.

Some brands we support because of the above reason PLUS they are small or relatively local/made in USA type companies: Morton's Chili Blend is packed by a workshop employing disabled people in Abilene Texas - my grandfather used this to make his chili and so do I, but knowing it employs people in our area who need work keeps me from even trying any other brand. McCoy's Building Supplies supports Weekends and closes on Sundays, so I try to go there first for hardware and home improvement supplies.

Other brands were once trusted but no longer: lesser quality construction, substitute poor materials (plastic for metal is a bad one), discontinuance of our favorite product, or devolving customer service.

eric said...

Loves me some Barbasol, and I'm with you on the brush and shave soap method. Williams Mug Shave Soap costs something like $2 for a bar and lasts forever. Last year I got sick of paying Gillette's outrageous prices for their Mach 3 razor heads and I swithced to a safety razor. Takes a little longer to shave but after some practice I now get a closer shave than I used to, and the replacement blades are like $5 for 10 razors.

My wife buys me some kind of moderately priced aftershave somewhere called Oak. I like it OK (doesn't smell like a horny teenage boy), but my favorite will always be the $5 bottle of Pinaud Bay Rum at the drug store, or anything that smells like sandalwood (which is what my grandfather always smells like). I don't wear the Bay Rum too often becasue my wife doesn't like it... but it is my daugher's favorite. More often than not I don't wear any aftershave at all.

I guess we're not real loyal to most brands either, although there is a local ice cream/hamburger chain here in Oklahoma called Braums, and they sell their own brand of milk. I don't know what it is about their milk but it makes all other milk taste like chalk and sour cream mixed together. I think maybe they spike it with a tiny bit of sugar or something... we will drive 20 miles out of our way to stay stocked up on Braums milk.
Their ice cream is pretty good stuff too.

Other than that, I'm a lifelong customer of Case pocket knives (becasue that's what my grandpa uses). Nissan automobiles have been pretty good to us, and I tend to look at those first when we need to trade cars.

Foodwise, I agree with you that the cheaper generic stuff is usually just as good as the top shelf items, espeically when it comes to canned stuff and breakfast cereal.

What realy floors me is people who are paying all this extra money for "grass fed beef" these days. We have a term for 'grass fed beef' where I come from. It is known as a skinny cow. I don't get paying extra money for beerf that has skipped the fattening/finishing off process. Seems like those should be much cheaper.