What's worth spending more for?

i’m not big into brands, but core competentcy of the products.

my wife and i were shopping cars last month. i was ready to go with a well-known luxury brand, but then started thinking about what we would (re: what sort of jack-assery I would) do with the car. Decided to go with a loaded out honda instead. i just couldn’t see myself in something more ‘pretentious’ than that. love the audis, love the bimmers, hate their quality. they have gone in the crapper in recent years. (boo! too many electronics!)

tools, i use a LOT. snap on or go home. craftsmen are nice tools, but a lot of good a lifetime warranty will do you when a tool breaks at 9pm in the evening and you_must_complete_the job by morning.

clothing-wise, i’m a sucker for liz claiborne, just beause of the fit and style off the rack.

electronics, i’ve been REALLY disappointed with sony’s quality the past 5 years and tend to shop around more now.

groceries, there are certain brands of food items i prefer because the consistentcy is there. i’ll spend more there.

i, too will also specd more at a local establishment than at a retail chain. ever try to find metric hardware at a lowe’s or home depot?

furniture…haha…my wife hates shopping furniture with me. i’ll flip over upholstered pieces on the showroom floor and peel back dust covers to inspect the construction and upholstery grade. i’ll grill the sales people (they generally don’t know crap anyways.), perform my own racking tests, etc.

Oh god yes!

Muji - [goes down on her knees] I splurged on a small milk jug that was just the perfect shape, colour and feel which I intend to place on my mantel rather than use in the kitchen

I went with cheapies and it was fine… though my neighbor had problems with his…

I find a lot of things have that “rinse and repeat” factor, alledgedly, some marking guy came up with the twerm “wash, rince, and repeat” in answer to his client’s desire to double their shampoo sales, expensive cables just seem to have that feel to me. I’m sure a few pixels are sharper, but…

it depends on the quality of your hearing…i personally settle for medium sound quality.

but some people do have a superior hearing, for example my father would choose higher quality. I remember going with him to special shops where it is possible to try different combination of cd-player & amplificator & speakers in a sound-proofed room (no external noise). He also came with a selection of his CDs, mainly with subtle piano works: exactly the kind of music piece where high sound quality reproduction makes the difference: you want to close your eyes and have the illusion of a piano being in the same room.

to give an idea, although he pointed me out that Glenn Gould was singing along in some of his recordings, i had to listen a few times before being able to notice this !

Have to disagree there. Don’t ever touch store brand office depot tape. You’ll have the hardest time getting a piece started and then it always splits before you get a length you want. I’ll always go scotch, others give more of a hassle.

Yeah, I’m waiting for the “dollarstorecheapostufffromchina” backlash already.

ugh… totally hear you guys on the audio situation here… quality versus cost.

i have a pair of Electrovoice Speakers at home that my Dad gave me… he bought them in 1977 with a unique Bass Reflex 12" bass paper cone…

unique kinda design…but over all the years i have been listening to that stereo (ie my whole life) i havent yet found a sound that comes from a speaker these days that can even come close to the sound of these things… truly magic… so every year or 2, i fork out Hundreds for new lightweight paper cones… light weight foam surrounds just to keep my ears happy.

the cross overs are old… and there’s not as much frequesncy response over 20khz… but seriously… have you ever tried to listen to anything at the frequency?

on another note…

i work for a company making footwear for Discount Department Stores… and i am proud of the quality that the development crew here pump out for our brand. $49.99 AUD for a pair of Action Leather skate shoes, with a decent rubber cupsole seems to go ok in my books… we even managed to get some Nubuck on a pair a few months back…

great topic.

I should clarify my love for my Sony shortwave radio. First, the original owner of Sony was a huge shortwave enthusiast. Despite a very small market, it was his call alone that kept Sony near the front of shortwave technology up until his death a few years ago. Now, Sony has stopped all research and is discontinuing all the models. The thing about these shortwaves is the passion of the president is in every one of the models. Unlike the mainstream Sony products, this shortwave feels like it didn’t leave until the quality was there, and the profit margin was of second concern.

Today, shortwave in North America is dead, except for preachers and hate-mongers. I still haven’t brought myself to post my radio on eBay though. It feels more like some hand-made vase from some far away place than just another electronic gadget (despite the looks in the image). I don’t know how you create a feeling like that across a brand, but the bond is there.

Speaking of Sony…

Has anyone besides me and Kung Fu Jesus (see above post) noticed that Sony’s quality has gone straight to hell lately? I use to only buy Sony electronics products - up until about 5 years ago. Then I noticed they started to make “disposable” products instead of “made to last” products. Their level of innovation had also slowed down about the same time.

I’ve flipped over to Samsung and Philips. Great design and good quality. They are the new Sony.

People notice when a brand declines. It becomes a death spiral after a competitor (or two) replaces you as a category leader.

agreed on the sony topic going “straight to hell” for sure they were (back in the day) top shelf items with a superior quality for a mainstream brand. samsung in my book is for sure taking the place of sony in both design and quality.

as for speakers, i was recently in the market for a set for multipurpose use (home theatre, music, etc), and looked just about everywhere. I settled on a pair of old (10yrs maybe) B&O speakers bought second hand here from a B&O shop that im in love with. not only is the design nice and very contemporary, but i find the sound quality is much warmer set for analog sources compared to many new speaker that are made for digital and overproduce the highs and lows. im now audiphile, but i can hear the difference compared to others i tried in several av shops.

good point above though on trying a good recoding to start with to test speakers. i will always remeber some av shop i went to where some guy was trying to pick speakers listening a hard thumping over produced hip hop track. good luck hearing anything on that. i also use miles davis, Kind of Blue as my benchmark disc.

good thread btw… how about food…organic vs. good supermarket vs. cheapo store? I go for good supermarket or organic as much as possible. Food qualiy, i find, is really whatever you put into it.


Let’s not forget that there is the misleading fact of perceived value. I forget where I read the study- but 10 customers were asked to pick between 6 or 7 cordless drills. The best drill was the lightest (best meaning; best motor, longest battery life, best warranty, etc) and the worst weighed in at a heavier weight than the rest. The majority of the customers chose the heavier drill, stating it felt like it was better quality.

I just begged my dad to give me his Sony shortwave radio that I brought back to the US - hoping to pick up the BBC worldservice and other global stations with it.

The ones that stand out for me are the Burton Custom Bindings 06, and a pair of Regular Ralf Nudie Jeans. My big purchases usually come from an undeniable function that will despite it’s appearance up my game. The other is a financial sacrifice for fit and look that will keep people asking, “dude were did you get those”. Of course in these two examples the brand reputation tells it’s own story.


There’s a certain level of confidence you get from something that fits you really good. Nudie also uses great material and has a certain underground status in the denim world. I bought these while in a corporate position and couldn’t do the polished shoes and tight creases anymore. Needed something that was me and said high quality. Even if it was just a pair of jeans and a brand that probably none of these guys has heard of. To my surprise later that week a guy twice my age commented on the jeans. He was a development manager in a division we had been trying to get in with for quite some time. Soon I was invited to a key account brainstorming session, which lead to an extended relationship with the division. I’m sure it was just coincidence (and a few good words put in for our department), but paying $300 for a pair of pants will lead to believe that it was all in the magic of the new uber denim.


With the Burton binding purchase I was drawn to the the new toe cap strap and “gas pedal” function. Something that had never been done before and greatly improved comfort and responsiveness. I bought the bindings pretty much just for this feature alone. Of course next season they sold just the toes caps as an individual accessory for only 40 bucks. Oh well good design and consumer desire is what gets our stuff out there eh…

Also anything Crumpler is cool.

High quality, practical bags with a clearly identifiable brand image. Gotta love a company that doesn’t take themselves too serious. Also one that can sell ugly so well.[/img]

Denim - I’m sure Jaker can feel me on this but it’s something that I’ve been getting into the past year/year and a half. Spending money on some quality, quality denim is something I have never regretted. I’ve felt the pangs of regret on some shoes, video games, dvds, other electronics etc. I just bought a pair of 17oz Samurais and am completely satisfied. Kind of like after you finish the perfect sized meal that doesn’t make you want to explode or feel half empty.

Starting out with a pair of raw jeans and having them stretch, shrink, crease, and fade with you is one hell of a user experience.

Take a look at any pair of Japanese repro jeans and you can see and feel the weight, stitching, and attention to detail.

(If you are in SF or NY there are two stores you can hit up.)

Socks - Nike Elite No Show socks. yo knows I bet. anatomically correct, seamless, literally no show, none of that “sticks out a little bit” garbage. targeted cushioning. i know other brands do it too but I’ve already pledged allegiance.

In general, “You get for what you pay for”.

I’ll add one more impulsive purchase I made where I spent more but got more…

Timbuk2 has a “design-your-own-bag” web site that allows you to customize an incredible amount of elements of a messenger bag.


I decided to play around with it for a while to experiment with the software. I realized that I really wanted the bag I ended up creating, so I whipped out my credit card and bought it.

I figured the order was transmitted to a cut-and-sew factory in China and it would take 2 weeks to get my bag, but instead it was made in San Francisco (who knew?) and I had my bag in 4 days!!! Wow! That level of mass-customization and it was delivered in 4 days!! Yes, I paid over $100 for the service, but I got exactly what I wanted and I got it in a reasonable amount of time. That’s the future.

I pay more to live close to the beach (and trade off a other niceties.)

I pay more to fly out of my tiny regional airport.

I pay more for the attention I get shopping at Nordstrom.

I pay more for “Seven for All Mankind” jeans.

I pay more for Apple (I’m on my fifth iPod.)

I pay more for higher octane gas.

I pay more for good food and wine.

I pay more for Starbucks coffee.

I pay more on my credit cards to get out of debt.

I pay more for design classics, like my Barcelona and Aeron chairs.

I pay more for my Bodum glassware.

I pay more for imported music.

I pay more for good design tools.

I don’t pay more for a Platinum AMEX card.

I don’t pay more for technology.

I don’t pay more for pens (I buy Bic’s by the box!) …but I would.

I don’t pay more for frivolous things like jewelry–we travel instead.

I don’t pay more for commodity goods–we go to Costco.

In general, “You get what you pay for”.

Not always. As I’ve found out (at least in regards to denim) the brands here are all marked up way more than they are worth in terms of construction and quality.
I suppose that goes with all designer clothing though.

this is probably just me but the thing i’m always particular about is when it comes down to soda brands. it’s like i have this compulsion to drink coke during the hollidays and pepsi during the superbowl. i’m usually not THAT big of a tool and i am a very headstrong and independent person. but it’s disturbing none the less.