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January 5, 2010


Crap in a box…

No, I don’t mean to literally crap in a box. – I’m talking about junk that you buy that comes in a box. We have all been “had” at some point in our lives when it comes to buying crap. Whether it was that cheap ass toy that your family bought you when you were a kid, or the spatula that you got from WalMart that broke in your first batch of cake batter. We all know the feeling when you realize, “this sucks… wtf.”Empty Boxes by Bramdewijs

There are three main factors that you consider consciously, or subconsciously, when buying a product.

  1. Power of the Brands: We are more inclined to buy Kraft or Hasbro products then the generic stuff sitting next to it.
  2. Quality and visual appeal of the Package: The better a product is packaged the more likely a consumer is going to buy it, or at least pick it up off the shelf and look at it – which is a big deal in packaging.
  3. The Overall Cost: We buy products based on price because it looks like a good deal, you’re cheap, or because you are just flat broke. Cost is a major factor when deciding to buy an item or not. Are you gonna pay $49.95 for a product or $29.35 for the item sitting right next to it that looks exactly the same?

Power of the Brands!!!
Yes, they are powerful for a reason. If a company can last for more than 20 years then they are obviously doing something right. Think about it, your grandmother bought it for your mother, your mother bought it for you, and now you question whether you should buy it for your kids? Why? You’re still alive and kicking. It has been remembered and passed on for how many generations? Buy it! A company that lasts long enough to see 8 different presidents should at least get a chance to say “Hey, give us a shot. We have a proven track record.” Any dip-shit with a half-brained idea can create a product, but it all depends on how long they last that proves the quality and consumer loyalty of a product.

You really are a cheap ass… or just plain irresponsible. Think about it. What expenses do you have that make you pinch pennies? Super sizing your meal, when you throw out the last half of your burger and fires. Getting that Snickers bar at lunch that you really don’t need. Or, like my post college days, you really are broke and need every sale and bargain that you can find. Whatever the case, the cost can be a major factor. But, like everything else in life, you get what you pay for.

OHHH… All the pretty packaging!!! This is my flaw, like many other people. Well, it’s really not a flaw but a subconscious decision maker. Most people aren’t designers and they couldn’t create an artistic rendering of a spec of dust, but they could pick out the product that won multiple package design awards out of hundreds of items. Why? Because it looks good! No other reason.

We all know what we like and we seem to agree for the most part. The talented designers that create these consumer masterpieces, ehh-hem, like myself, are hand picked by the higher-ups to represent their companies. It’s no wonder that you bought the G.I. Joe action figure from Hasbro over the Toys ‘R’ Us generic brand for your kid (or, in my case, for myself.) The box was sturdy, it had silver foiling, spot-varnishes, holograms, the works! It just jumped off the shelf and I bought it. I looked at the True Heroes Military Action Figures right next to them, but you could tell they were crap. The package had no bells and whistles. It was made of cheap cardboard, matte finished, and the colors were muddy. I thought it was going to break just by looking at it.

Well, one day I was at Toys ‘R’ Us and I was sitting there looking at the new selection of G.I. Joe’s – the ones from the new movie (that HORRIBLE ABOMINATION OF A TRUE CLASSIC!! That was NOT G.I. Joe – another topic completely) But I was sitting there thinking, this is not going on my nerd shelf at work. So I slid over to the other brand. I picked out the “coolest” looking guy and bought it. AND… I saved $7!!!

When I opened the package I was very disappointed. First, the blister pack fell apart. I’m surprised it lasted that long on the shelf. Second, it was missing his really cool machine gun! And, when I finally got around to posing him up on my shelf with his weak-ass shovel raised in the air… his arm fell off!!!! Really? That just happened? Piece of crap.

No, the packaging doesn’t always represent the quality of a product. But, here are a few things to consider when trying to argue my point.

  • Materials – The stronger, safer (meaning less harmful chemicals,) more reliable a material is, the more expensive it is.
  • Printing – Silver Foil, Spot Varnish, adding extra spot-colors, holograms, etc…. all cost $$$. The more you have, the more it costs to print.
  • Labor A safe, well licensed, inspected and certified factory is more costly to run than a sweat shop. I’m not talking about things just made in the U.S.A, there are a lot of well respected factories over-seas.

So, when a company produces an item and sells it for a high cost, it’s usually because they spent a lot of money to produce it. Not because they are all greedy corporate pigs.

You will always get what you pay for. Here is the mathematical breakdown. Let’s use Hershey’s as our example. Hypothetically Hershey spends 52-cents to make a single chocolate bar. It costs that much because it is expensive to have the best ingredients, marketing, packaging, etc. Company XYZ spends 23-cents to make a single bar of chocolate. Their company is operated out of east bum fuck New Jersey. They use whatever ingredients are the cheapest. The chocolate is processed in China, the wrappers are made in India and the packaging was designed by Mr. Smith’s 10th grade art class. So, they spend less and sell for less. The factors are different for every product category, but the results are the same. Piss-poor effort results in piss-poor quality.

The next time you think about spending $5 less for a product just because it’s cheaper, think about why it is $5 cheaper. It may not kill you, but it sure as hell isn’t gonna make you stronger.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. MC
    Jan 6 2010

    All very true, except if it’s diapers…LONG LIVE TARGET BRAND! DOWN WITH PAMPERS! See what happens when you have a baby – life revolves around pooping & eating…wtf!

  2. Feb 1 2010

    “You will always get what you pay for” – not always true. In fact, look at Hyundai’s – as far back as 04′ consumer reports had the Sonata as the single most reliable vehicle you can buy. And even now they are still near the top for quality. A used Hyundai for let’s say $8,500 would have a comparable Honda Accord or Toyota Camry priced closer to $14,000.

    Oftentimes consumers vastly overpay for products simply because they are fooled into thinking it’s better when you spend more money. Penn and Teller did an episode of Bullshit on this too actually with food.

    You made some wonderful points about times where you certainly do get what you pay for – but consumers should definitely be careful when applying that concept to all purchasing decisions.


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