Part one of brand conscious buying advocated generic alternatives, using Cap’ N Crunch as an example. Here’s the flip side of it.

Unfortunately, sometimes the brand of a product does matter. To illustrate my point, I will be using the best example ever—toilet papers.

Yes yes, toilet papers.

Specifically, Charmin versus Scott toilet paper.

Mmm, bear mauling soft. Sandpaper.

Days ago while at a friend’s house, I was busy free-loading food. This led to an eventual visit to the outhouse. It was at that moment that I had the unfortunate experience in meeting the Scott 1000 sheets toilet paper. Maybe I’m the sensitive type, but man, that’s some crappy toilet paper. I complained to my friend about the poor quality amenity, which promptly made toilet papers the least of my worries.

Fact is, Charmin is a better brand than Scott. Unfair comparison? (Ultra vs 1000) Bah! I’ve tried Scott Extra Soft before, and I was not impressed. Still don’t believe me? Besides being loved by yours truly, Charmin Ultra is also endorsed by Jonathan of MyMoneyBlog. Am I putting words into his mouth? Yes, yes I am.

Do I work for Proctor & Gamble? Uh… that’s not important.

Anyway, as mentioned, sometimes the brand of a product does matter.

If BMW was to bring an economy hatchback into the US market, and assume that its specs, features, and price are exactly the same as a Hyundai alternative—what would you go with? Let’s say we take away the prestige factor of the BMW, would you pick the Hyundai over the BMW? What happens if you take away the manufacturing quality variable? Which make would you go with then?

Another example. Computer parts. A Sony blah blah made in Japan versus a similar “Shony” blah blah made in China. Which to go with? Let’s say we take away the brand image, what will you go with then? What happens when they’re both made in the US?

In the computer scenario, the choice may be a bit more grey.

There are always generic alternatives to name brand products, some will be acceptable, some won’t. For many stuff, the easiest way to find out is to simply try the generic against the brand name. For big ticket items, it’s in the best interest of a savvy consumer to do a little research before committing to a purchase.

The final sway in the decision making would be your value system—because let’s face it, some people are perfectly fine with the Scott 1000. Be wary though—many times, you do get what you pay for.

Not too shabby.

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P.S. The Kirkland Signature toilet papers from Costco, are a pretty good alternative to Charmin Ultra