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Quality Is Always What You Think

A little while ago, I got a bunch of books to receive. They’re called “The Skinny On” Series by Jim Randel. I read a few of these books, and was pretty unimpressed. They quote a lot of other books that I should supposedly be reading, and I didn’t learn much from them.

If you’d like to read a more thorough review, check out Financial Highway. At the very least, they’ll make you laugh.

However, I did take away one story from “The Skinny on the Art of Persuasion.” Jim mentions a study performed by Professor Baba Shiv of Stanford University. The study consisted of asking people to try a new high-energy drink that was supposed to make them more alert. It was actually sugar water. Some people were charged full price for the drink while others were given a discount.

Then, everyone was asked to solve a set of puzzles. Those who received a discount for the sugar water solved 30% fewer puzzles than those who paid in full.

Basically, people expect cheaper goods to be less effective, and therefore they are less effective. For the same reason, Coke tasted better than RC Cola and Aspirin works better than the CVS brand.

Pretty interesting, right?

The key to all of this is convincing ourselves that the name brand items aren’t all that better than the store brand ones.

Easier said than done?

I don’t think so. And neither should you. Tomorrow I’m going to show you unbiased evidence that in many cases, the store brands are just as good, if not better, than the brand names.

And if you think they’re just as good, they are just as good. At least that’s what the facts show.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!

Readers, when do you buy store brand vs. name brand? Do you convince yourself that the store brand products are of the same quality? Or do you think that for the 40% savings, a 30% decrease in quality is still a bargain?



  1. Daniel, you’re right. The Financial Highway review of the Jim Randel book -all 3 of the reviews, actually- are lambent gems of American literary criticism.

    Maybe I shouldn’t comment before tomorrow’s post goes up, but I just assume that store brands will be no worse than their brand-name counterparts. Maybe 30 years ago our parents were convinced that store brands were garbage, but now that they’re an accepted part of life I can’t imagine that anyone still thinks that way. I’m scanning what’s in my kitchen and laundry room right now – yogurt, glass cleaner, milk, mouthwash, shredded cheese, pain reliever – and I honestly can’t think of a single store brand that’s inferior. But I guess there must be millions of people who are convinced that name brands are superior, otherwise there wouldn’t be such pronounced differences in price between store and name brands.

    • @Greg McFarlane, There must be a lot of people who only buy name-brands. If there’s a small difference, I sometimes go with the name-brand, but usually there’s a significant difference and why not save?

  2. I’m one of those name brand people. I’ve tried a bunch of store brands and I don’t like them as much, but it maybe just the chains I have in my area. I was at Wegmann’s the other day (which is not in my area) and they’re store brands looked really good.

  3. Some things I feel the store brand is the same thing as name brand (canned goods, etc.). But there are differences with some products that make it worth paying more. So the answer is, it depends.

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