What’s in a brand name?

I took the Young Gun shopping on Tuesday afternoon – as he needs new shorts for the approaching summer. As we wandered around ‘factory outlet’ shopping I was forced to acknowledge that my youngest has developed a brand snobbery I was hoping we would avoid. The kids all have it to some degree (and it didn’t come from me).

When is it worth paying the extra for the well known brand? In my experience, hardly ever, although I am prepared to accept that in some cases you do get what you pay for. There are stories about this in the media all the time – yet our papers and magazines are full of expensive advertising for brand name stuff that is just, well, stuff. Is a Lexus car REALLY worth so much more than it’s Toyota equivalent (bearing in mind they are made by the same people). Do we really get twice the value from a Billabong t-shirt than we do from one half the price at Big W or Target or Best & Less?

The boys tell me that surf brand board shorts are better out in the surf – better cut, better fit, don’t chafe as much etc. I’m prepared to accept that – and it even seems logical that the design brains behind a surf label should be able to produce board shorts that are suitable and comfortable for the job for which they are designed. In that case, I don’t begrudge paying the extra. However, if all they are going to do is lie around on the beach or hang around the back yard pool in them then it becomes all about advertising and not about the quality of the product at all and that’s what I object to.

On a very tight budget, value is all important to me – even more than the actual cost. Fav websites of mine that have similar ethos include Choice, Cheapskates and Simple Savings.