Blake Snow

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Off-brand alternatives I won’t buy

Lindsey and I were discussing off-brands last month with our good friends, the Andersens — specifically, what generic imitations we refuse to buy as consumers. Personally, I will never substitute the following products with an inexpensive alternative:

  • Oreos. This chocolate Chantilly sandwich is “milk’s favorite cookie” for a reason: it’s perfect. The inexpensive substitutes I’ve tried over the years while attending thrifty parties just never come close.
  • Coke. I can’t stand carbonated knock-offs, especially Coca Cola. And I can’t for the life of me understand how select individuals tolerate cheap tasting elixir. After all, what does a two litter of coke costs these days? 99 ยข on weekly special?
  • Campbell’s Soup. Lindsey and I tried off-brand tomato soup as struggling newly weds. We tolerated the red paste thanks to the delicious grill cheese sandwiches that always accompany the soup in our home. But we later repented of our crimes and switched to Campbell’s. It’s way better, and well worth the added price.
  • Pumas (shoes in general). I take care of my feet so they’ll last me a lifetime. There is simply no excuse for an adult to drop $15 on Payless sneakers or dress shoes when significantly better quality starts around $30-40. Plus you’ll look cool in front of your kids.
  • iPod. Nothing comes close to the elegant design and smart usability of Apple’s MP3 players. The combination with iTunes (the best music management software in existence) makes the choice an easy one-two punch. To the 30% of the world buying portable knock-offs, what were you thinking?

Off-brand products I will buy: Meds, sunglasses, cereal, toilet paper (if Lindsey would let me), milk, cheese, HDTVs, chargers, RAM, and computer components. So what off-brands do you avoid?