Monday, August 6, 2012

Sometimes Only A Brand Name Will Do (Just Ask Winston Churchill)

The TOMS shoes post got me thinking about name brands. In most cases, the known brand is not worth the extra money because most generic products are identical to and manufactured right alongside the more expensive ones. But aren’t there some things where only the brand name will do?

I have a few favorite brands, such as ConverseAll-Stars, Wilson tennis rackets, Levi’s Jeans, and Gibson Guitars. Right now I’m wearing Reeboks and Lee Jeans, because they were on sale. I play tennis with a Head racket, also on sale, and the guitar sitting next to me is a Johnson (a Johnson?) because who can afford to learn on a Gibson? In most things, it seems – clothes, groceries, most hygiene products – my loyalty is to price over brand.
But there are some things on which I do not skimp, just like Churchill having some things up with which he will not put….

In the kitchen, I only use Saladmaster cookware. It is simply the best and healthiest and cheapest way to cook, and the food tastes great because it loses so little nutrition.

Since 1977, all my cameras have been Canon. A friend loaned me a Canon AE-1 35 years ago and I was hooked for life. Even though Kelly’s wonderful Nikon Coolpix is on my desk at the moment, I would never purchase anything other than a Canon for myself.

My computer is a big ol’ HP, as are both monitors, the speakers and sub-woofer, the external hard drive, the wireless keyboard and the printer. I like HP, and likely will stay with the brand. Kelly, on the other hand, has a big ol’ iMac on her desk and a MacBook where ever she goes. She is pretty devoted, in the way raving lunatics are devoted, to the brand, and if I point out – logically and kindly – that she could have bought three computers like mine, or six times the computing power, for the same price, she starts acting all wonky, like all Apple people do when you use logic on them.

A recent preference is for Bose speakers. Over the last four years we’ve gotten the SoundDock, the SoundLink Wireless Mobile speaker, and the Quietcomfort 15 headphones. I’m telling you, you have never heard music until you put those babies on and flip the little switch. The sound is stunning and absolutely personal. Don't tell anyone, but sometimes I just put them on with the noise cancelling feature on so I get a little quiet time. Oh, and don't wear them while riding your bike.

I take generic medicine, when I take medicine at all, but if I have a cold, I rely on Vicks VapoRub. It’s the best.
I use regular Zest soap, and only Zest soap, in a bar, because I like being "zestfully clean," and I use Mennen Speed Stick, Unscented.
There are also some brands that I refuse to use. I don’t Google, for example. I don’t wear Old Navy or Aeropostale or Abercrombie, which is good, my children say, because I’m not cool enough. Which, I say, proves the point about that whole TOMS shoes scam.
How about you? What are your brand loyalties?


  1. My only brand loyalty is to New Balance sneakers, and not the expensive ones. I have weird feet, and only NB shoes seem to fit just right. I splurged and bought one pair of the expensive ones (on recommendation of the sales clerk in the upscale store), but took them off before I got home, they didn't feel right. I got the same shoe at JCPenney for half the price. When I returned the expensive ones, the gal behind the counter informed me (somewhat haughtily) that the JCP shoes were of lesser quality materials and not as well made. "Imagine that," I told her, "and they're the ones that don't hurt me feet."

    1. What? Haughty sales clerks behind the counter at an upscale store?


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