10 Items You Should Always Buy Generic


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Things to Never Buy Generic
Because the quality of house paint can vary widely, you may want to go with a name brand.
Because the quality of house paint can vary widely, you may want to go with a name brand.
©iStockphoto.com/Thinkstock

Now that we've looked at a few ways advertising and marketing try to keep us from buying generic, it seems clear that our fears about buying and using generic items are pretty unfounded. Social identity, fear of poverty and consumer shame are all factors in that decision, but the fact is that a lot of advertising is geared toward keeping those issues alive for all of us.

The rise of generic branding really began in the early-'80s recession, when no-frills branding appeared clever and appealing to people who had less money to spend. It was, in its way, another form of marketing that managed to keep costs down and consumers happy. Fast forward 20 years, and the situation is once again similar: In fact, 2009 saw record sales for store brands, and Consumer Reports says that with lifestyle stores like Target getting into the mix, one in four products for sale is now a generic version of a name-brand item.

But there are some generic products that consumer groups and polls have told us to avoid. Because of the way they're produced, most experts agree that home paper products (like toilet paper and paper towels) and house paint can vary widely between name-brand and generic versions. Garbage bags and diapers are also commonly pointed out by consumer agencies as being products you'll want to explore for yourself.

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Sources

  • Associated Press. "Generic and Store Brands vs. Brand Names." CBS News. Jun. 19, 2010. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/19/earlyshow/saturday/main6598113.shtml
  • Associated Press. "Sixty Million Containers of Pet Food Recalled After Dog and Cat Deaths." Fox News. Mar. 17, 2007. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,259223,00.html
  • Biddle, Sam. "How & Why To Avoid Premium Audio Cables." Gizmodo. Jul. 22, 2010. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://gizmodo.com/5593784/how-and-why-to-avoid-premium-audio-cables
  • CBS. "Generic and Store Brands vs. Brand Names: Lifestyle Expert Tells When It's Worth the Extra Money for Brand Names, and When It's Not." CBS News. Jun. 19, 2010. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/19/earlyshow/saturday/main6598113.shtml
  • Cereal FACTS: Food Advertising to Children & Teens Score. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.cerealfacts.org
  • Consumer Reports. "6 painless ways to cut your grocery bill." Consumer Reports Money Blog. Sep. 24, 2010. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://blogs.consumerreports.org/money/2010/09/6-painless-ways-to-cut-your-grocery-bill-save-money-tightwad-tod-consumer-reports-money-adviser-supe.html
  • Consumer Reports. "Baby formula: Overview." Consumer Reports. Apr. 27, 2007. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/babies-kids/baby-toddler/eating-and-sleeping/formula/formula-4-07/overview/0704_formula_ov.htm
  • Consumer Reports. "Store brands vs. name brands." Consumers Union of US, Inc. Sep. 13, 2010. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Store-brands-vs-name-conreps-1404330146.html?x=0
  • FDA. "Food Advisory Committee Meeting On Infant Formula: Briefing Materials." U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 2002. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/02/briefing/3852b1_01.htm
  • FDA. "Generic Drugs: Questions and Answers." FDA Information For Consumers (Drugs). Sep. 9, 2010. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/QuestionsAnswers/ucm100100.htm
  • FDA. "Generic Drugs: Questions and Answers." FDA Information For Consumers (Drugs). Sep. 9, 2010. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/QuestionsAnswers/ucm100100.htm
  • Hamm, Trent. "Getting Over The Taboo Of Generics & Store Brands." The Simple Dollar. Aug. 23, 2007. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/08/23/getting-over-the-taboo-of-generics-and-store-brands
  • Stohs, Nancy. "A historic walk down the aisles of the supermarket." Milwaukee Journal. Jul. 17, 1999. (Nov. 21, 2010)
  • Trench, Brooke. "The Best Generic Beauty Products You Should Know About." Sep. 8, 2010. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://lifestyle.msn.com/your-look/makeup-skin-care-hair/article.aspx?cp-documentid=20801402

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