What’s in a Name?

My daughter is attracted by Name Brands. She would almost always prefer a Name Brand if possible.  I’m not sure how this happened as I’m the opposite (although having just typed these words, I may have answered my own question!)  With very few exceptions, I go with generic and cheap.  I do buy Prell shampoo because I love the smell and Birkenstocks because how can you argue with sandals that you wear constantly and after 10 years, they are still OK.  But that’s about it.

Except Kitchenaid. I had one of the earlier Kitchenaid stand mixers – the ones made back in the day when the company was still an offshoot of Hobart, the big commercial baking mixer company.  Because I loved this mixer and never had a moment’s trouble with it, I bought several other Kitchenaid products over the years – all because of the name.

I think most of you have heard my sad story about my old Kitchenaid finally giving up the ghost and the new Kitchenaid not being as durable. I did eventually talk Kitchenaid into sending me a check for half of the amount that I spent on the repair, but considering the initial expense of the machine and the expense of the repair (not to mention my angst), I would not call myself satisfied.  Not satisfied as to the durability of the machine, the length of the warranty on such an expensive appliance, the way my complaint was initially handled and the difficulty of finding someone to repair the machine.

So now I have to say that my love affair with Kitchenaid is over. No more appliances in my house based solely on the Kitchenaid name.  And unfortunately I no longer believe that the new stand mixer will be the last one I own (something I thought at the time I purchased it).  What this means is that my next stand mixer won’t be a Kitchenaid.

What brands are you loyal to?

95 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?”

  1. Loyalty would be too strong a word. There are products I have been satisfied with in the past and will seek out again, but only until the manufacturer makes some fatal diminishment in the name of increasing profit margins and then they are dead to me.

    I think you will find that a great many brand names are only name deep. The company that built the reputation for that name is long gone and the name—the only asset of any value left—has been sold to the highest bidder. The new owner will apply that name to products of increasingly lesser quality and further from the original product category the brand once dominated (think Polaroid and Kodak, for example) until the name is exhausted and meaningless.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I still have my mixmaster after 50 years. I only use it once a year to make enough mashed potatoes for 18 family members. Steve, of course, has one of the new shiny models. He paid $500 for it. No thanks!

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    1. In my photo days I was loyal to Yellow Father because I knew how the products would respond in the darkroom and camera. It used to be that way about a few products. You knew their characteristics so you stayed with them. Grease brands were that way for use on the farm

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I stood in the allergy aisle of the drug store last night comparing the name brands and the generics. This is the most amazing thing to me – that these products appear (from scanning the active and inactive ingredients) to be the same thing, yet the name brands are, of course, more expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And of course WordPress doesn’t tell me, one of the administrators, why it blocked up your comment. Because I saw it this morning before I left for work so I was surprised that there was an issue with it later. Fixed now.

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    1. Strange. There is a line of copy above my comment as it appears on my computer screen. The line says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. What does that means? Who stuck it in there?

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      1. Okay, I just learned something. WordPress has filters that identify comments that might be objectionable. My comment–and I sure don’t know why–failed to pass through the filters. And now the comment lives in a kind of limbo until a site moderator (presumably Sherrilee or Renee) intercedes and allows it to appear. Sheesh!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Interesting that the filter would intercede after the comment was posted and yank it out. What kind of a filter is that?

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        2. The thing I wanted to say about your brand preferences, Steve, is that they are companies that are not and never were American brands. The traditional American big brands are mostly meaningless now and appear on Chinese-made goods.

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        3. Your observation is obviously correct, Bill. It saddens me. I remember when certain American brand names were hallmarks of quality and innovative engineering.

          For example, decades ago the brand name Zenith was a guarantee of excellence in television sets. The name is gone now, having been swallowed by LG, a South Korean firm. Then came a period when Japanese companies attracted the kind of respect once reserved for American brands. Zenith faltered, replaced by Sony.

          This is one reason some folks believe in Tesla with almost religious fervor. The company is obviously clever and innovative, and it is American.

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      2. Was your comment not moderate enough? Does TB have moderators? I post on the Strib a LOT, and once in a while a pop up says; “Malcontent” and won’t publish my post. Must be the deep state.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I still haven’t the vaguest about why WordPress held up Steve’s comment. Luckily this doesn’t happen much!

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  3. My back for the fourth time was bought out. This weekend was the big switch. I had seven hoops to jump. Sunday evening I was supposed to download my transactions history. I came home and crash d in pain and forgot. Now they are denying me access to my records before Monday morning. I did download Friday morning, so I am only missing sa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My comment box froze at that point. Trump?
      Only missing three days.
      It should say MY BANK not back.
      It is not clear what happens for those who do not bank online. I only track things. I do not manage money. I suppose next it gets bought out by a real name brand, one of the real crooks.
      It is such a pain to transfer direct deposits. And would any bank be safe from being sold out.
      New bank is called Old National. That name makes me suspicious.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Husband’s bank was also recently bought by Old National, and he’s been having the same frustrations with access to his accounts as you have, NS. Don’t know that there’s much comfort in knowing that you’re not alone, but there it is. He’s in the process of transferring his accounts to a standalone, small local bank, but is leaving small balances in the old bank, just to be sure that automatic deposits don’t go astray. Once he sees that the monthly deposits are arriving safely in the new bank, he’ll be closing out the old accounts.

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        1. Husband returned from his now Old National bank this afternoon and declared: “that’s closest thing to an open rebellion that I’ve ever experienced.” He had been waiting in a long line of very discontent customers of the previous bank. Angry and sarcastic comments were exchanged, some loud enough for the poor tellers to hear, a very hostile environment for everyone. He was glad to get out of there.

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        2. Because other places had a security breach, my accountant and local store, I had to change my account. The first time the SS account got lost in the transfer. It took me three months to get that money. The second time I changed each account the day after it was deposited, which required some careful tracking. I do not want to go through that again, but I guess I must. But to where.

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  4. Morning kids!

    I am loyal to John Deere. I wouldn’t quite say I “bleed green”, but I’m going to look at John Deere first and anything else second. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I have a good dealer and support and parts. If something breaks I need to be able to repair it and get going again ASAP.
    Same with ETC Lighting equipment. A good support network and you can call them anytime of the day or night and they will answer your question without ever making you feel like an idiot. Plus, it’s just plain good equipment.

    There are some medicines we have noticed the generic brand does not work as well as the name brand.
    Beyond that we probably split the difference; some generic and some names.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I guess I am definitely loyal to Bachman’s. I think I’ve bored you all with my Christmas tree story before but suffice it to say due to the great service levels I get there I keep going back.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Another thought: we’ve bought all our major home appliances from a local store, ‘Appliance Village’ rather than one of the national chains. Yeah, we pay a little more, but we like these people and have always had good support and service from them too. And, they’re LOCAL.
      And mattress’. A small LOCAL store, “Rest Assured”. Great mattresses. (notice how I changed the plural there? Not sure which- if either- is correct) A national chain store built right next to them, but they’re still going strong because they custom make a lot of mattressi for campers and odd size things. And the owner graduated from the LOCAL college and is always willing to donate a couple pieces of foam when I’m building something.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. When we moved here we made a point of a .local bank, or I did over Mrs. Name brand’s objections. Look what happened to it. When Old National told us that they were our new bank and how much we would love them for all the new services they would add, not at that point mentioning increased costs, I went to talk to other banks considering making the transfer of all those deposits and withdrawals, which are a pain. I went to the nearest local bank, three blocks away. I asked if they could promise me they would stay small and local to the three cities they are in, Mankato, New Ulm, Waseca. He told me that they were not really a local bank. They were owned by a local bank who left banks with their names when they bought them out. Sigh.
        I am doing all this talking because I am so wound up over my battles with the new bank, the Old bank, I mean, you know the new Old bank.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. The topic of banks is painful for me. Wells Fargo bankers I dealt with used to end the conversation with a tag line they were taught to use: “Thanks for choosing Wells Fargo.”

          I always corrected them. “I didn’t choose Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo ate the bank that ate the bank I did choose.”

          Liked by 3 people

  5. Our feelings about brands can run both ways. I carry a grudge against Scott Paper that will live as long as I do.

    A co-worker told me she bit into a Schwiegert wiener and broke a tooth on a rock in it. Before she could even get to the dentist a representative from Schwiegert showed up and gave her $600 to get the tooth fixed.

    I told her, “Boy, I bet you never bought anything from Schwiegert again.” She said, “I ALWAYS buy Schwiegert hot dogs and sausages now. I’m lookin’ for the next $600 rock.”

    Liked by 4 people

      1. It is easily explained. In the 1970s our society made huge strides toward health and sanity by stopping the hitherto legal practice of dumping toxins in rivers and streams. Most companies doing the dumping recognized that times had changed, and they quit pouring toxins in waterways. The Scott Paper company, however, went on fighting and trying to elude the new standards long after most other polluters cleaned up their operations. I haven’t bought Scott Paper products for about 60 years. I’m sure bookkeepers at Scott’s offices have been puzzled by this curious black hole in the profitability of their products in Saint Paul, then Portland and now in Michigan.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. Shampoos, body soaps, laundry soaps, dish soaps, etc. advertise all the wrong reasons to buy their products, the off features, mostly scents and other added chemicals. Why do I want my dish soap to have an odor. Is that not getting onto the dishes? Odors added! In many parts of the world people complain about how Americans stink from all this. So I have found brand names that do not add anything to their basic cleaning agent. It took awhile. We buy so stupidly in this nation.
    I need a baby shampoo to wash my eyelids and lashes twice a day. It took a long time to find a truly odor free one no matter what they advertise. Burt’s Bees advertises odor free. My wife keeps trying to buy me their products because they say odor free.
    Are those name brand turkeys on my patio right now?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve discovered that I’m more sensitive to scents than I used to be. Not allergic by any means, but perfumes, colognes and a couple of the products that YA uses, really bug me. And don’t get me started about patchouli.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Patchouli is really nasty if you don’t like it. A few months ago my massage therapist – who is also an aromatherapy expert who mixes her own massage creams – had, unbeknownst to me, included a little patchouli oil in the mix for that day’s cream. It was pretty faint, but that evening, as I sat in my recliner an relaxed, every so often I’d get a whiff of patchouli. It finally dawned on me why. At my next session I told her to never include patchouli oil in my massage cream. A nice long soak in the tub took care of it.

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  7. I was loyal to Saturn until GM messed that division up. I am hanging on to my little Ion for as long as possible. 12 years, 177 thousand miles and still going strong!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Agreed. I drove my Saturn for 12 years and then YA drove it for a year as well. If they had been making Saturns at that point, I’d be driving one around now.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Trader Joe’s. I know they’re not as pure in their organics as they might be, but Iove all kind of their bottled stuff, and their prices. I now get there rarely, as closest one is in Rochester, so I end up spending big bucks when I go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Husband loves TJ, but not because of the products, although he likes those as well. For him it’s about the attitude of the people who work there. They all seem friendly and eager to help. As a matter of fact, I remember reading somewhere that one of TJ’s guidelines for hiring is: “Look for friendly applicants. The rest can be taught.”

      A few summers ago, as we got out of husband’s car in a TJ parking lot, three older women were looking with dismay at their car which had a flat tire. It was about 90º F and they didn’t know what to do. Husband volunteered to change the tire for them, and they gratefully accepted. While he was attending to the tire, one of TJ’s employees, a young man whose job it was to carry groceries to customers’ cars, took it upon himself to bring us each an ice-cold bottle of water. That’s the kind of initiative that you don’t often see, and it’s one of the reasons that shopping there is such a pleasure.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. They give them authority to fix problems as they occur. Obviously within certain limits, but within those limits they are empowered to make things right when they see something go wrong, or a customer has a complaint. We were so impressed that this young man at TJ’s saw that one of their customers was having a problem, and that another customer was helping fix it, that he took the initiative to be part of the solution. No expectation of payment or reward of any kind, just wanted to help out, and he didn’t have to ask anyone for permission. It was within the purview of his authority to do that. I doubt that it would have happened had it been necessary for him to go find a supervisor, explain the situation and ask for permission. Nordstrom’s, too, is known for giving their employees that kind of autonomy. It makes for happier customers and happier employees.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. I’m also a fan of TJ’s. The friendliness is high on my list of reasons why I shop there. Was just there today to get pizza dough and then when I got home, there was a “Fearless Flyer” in my mailbox. A red letter Trader Joe’s day.

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  9. Sandy went through school K-12 with a cousin, in high school at Patrick Henry. They were never competitive, in part because they had such different interests and circles of friends. But the mothers became very competitive. The other mother was a small time snob, especially bragging about brand names. They always drove a Lincoln. To compete Sandy’s mother preached brand names. Sandy became Mrs. Brand Name from that. She insists that the brand name is better than the off brand product packaged in exactly the same bottle as the brand name. Cousin is Mrs. Generic.

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  10. Loyal to no household or consumer goods brands I can think of. I used to love Land’s End clothing. High-quality, reasonable price. But every new purchase was for a garment with cheaper fabric, less elastic in turtleneck collars and wrists, thinner material that frayed faster, and colors that faded faster.

    Bought a gas grill a few years ago that is made from such thin steel that when I lift it by the grip on the side “table,” the table bends upward. Also, the edges aren’t rolled under, so the thin metal edge digs into my fingers like a dull knife.

    Blue Jeans of any brand seem to be made of a thinner material that wears out rapidly. Shoes, same deal. What gripes me almost more than anything is breakfast cereal that is boxed in the flimsiest of cardboard that tears easily and is difficult to close because the tab that fits into the slot barely reaches the slot! And the wax paper inner bag is trimmed so closely that it’s nearly impossible to get a grip on the two sides to pry the package open. What’s up with that??

    I will say, however, that we are most definitely loyal to Toyota cars. We’ve owned five different vehicles since 1977. Each one was/is markedly better in quality, safety, comfort, mileage (relative to the category–we have an SUV now that doesn’t get as good of mileage as our three most recent cars), and each has less of a need for repairs than the previous car.

    But cars may be the exception to the rule–along with perhaps computers (more power and features for the same or lower price) and maybe some other new technologies where competition still exists that drives up quality and drives down prices.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

    1. When Sears bought Land’s End, it was presumably to upgrade Sears’ clothing line, which was abominable, but what ended up happening was the Sears association degraded Land’s End. A similar thing happened with Kmart and Martha Stewart. You can’t buy a reputation.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I miss the old Lands End. Their swim suits alone were worth a lot of loyalty (good long torso suits for women that aren’t two-piece are devilishly hard to find). Even swim suits are not what they once were. Final nail in the coffin for me was when they pulled a campaign that praised (I think) Gloria Steinem for all she had done for women – they got a lot of backlash for her pro-choice politics and they caved to it. Their campaign had nothing to do with politics and they folded, even after getting a lot of folks like me saying they were sorely disappointed. Never got a good response from them. Think I have only made one purchase from them since.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. I decided I would keep typing until I found a product on which I am brand loyal. Coffees and Teas, not brands so much for coffee but brands’ flavors of coffees, the mellower flavors. So Caribou’s Costa Rica and Columbia in particular. I know I should buy the direct from farmer versions, but there is doubt about how true all of that is I read AND I am in love with these two. Cannot drink Folgers and the similar brands, or the cheap ones, such as Camerons.
    I Have a fun story about coffee at Trader Joe’s I will use in a guest blog. I bet some on here are loyal to TJ’s

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Something I have observed over and over is the tendency of some consumers–I think especially males, young males–to merge their identity with particular products or companies. The classic example would be young men who are “fanboys” for Honda or VW or BMW. If you say something against the company they favor, they come at you with snapping teeth. The fanboy factions for Canon and Nikon are notoriously devoted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I forgot the most obvious one. I once had a girlfriend who was secretly vain about the fact she worked on an Apple computer. Like so many Apple fans, she divided the world into those who appreciated the brilliance and quality of Apple and the basket of deplorables who used the less elegant computers of the Windows world.

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      1. I’m 100% loyal to Apple products. I have a five year old Mac Air and, other than my kitten sitting on its Option key which disabled several keys, I’ve never had a problem. What I most appreciate about Apple is the instant, user-friendly technical help offered. They must have a 6″ deep file on me by now. Years ago, if a warranty ended, we had to pay $25 for each service call for help. Taking it to the Genius Bar was free, but inconvenient. I really do love my Mac!!

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      2. Somehow I’ve never associated vanity with a preference for Apple over a PC. At home I’ve always had Apples, but at work I’ve sometimes had to contend with a PC or other Windows based technology. They both work just fine. One seems more intuitive to me, but perhaps that just because I know it better.

        I recall, at the 1986 national convention for legal administrators in Anaheim, prior to personal computers having made much of an inroad into office environments, there were two camps: IBM versus the Mac. The virtues and limitations of each were hotly debated. At the time, many people believed that IBM was the gold standard and the safe bet, they questioned how long Apple would be around. Some technical nerds disagreed. I had my own bias as my previous employer was one of the first large firms to commit to the MacIntosch.

        When my old MacBook Air neared obsolescence about a year ago, I never considered replacing it with anything but another Mac, but vanity had nothing to do with it. Why make life more complicated if you don’t have to?

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  13. OT: a funky small metal sculpture of a flower has appeared on our patio. So did Kevin the handyman make it or find it. I am going to tell him that the winds were so strong last night that they blew a piece of junk onto our patio.

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  14. I was loyal to certain art products because some products are junk and because you get used to how products work. There are many high quality brands for pastels and papers. Each has strength and weaknesses. So you choose for effect or for what you know how to handle. I am surprised that all these quality brands thrive. And pleased.

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  15. If you see me when there isn’t snow on the ground, it’ll be a pair of Mephisto sandals on my feet. I’ll most likely also be wearing linen clothing made by Flax. It’s all about comfort and durability for me.

    I dislike shopping, so it’s not necessarily about loyalty to name brands for me, but it takes the guess work about sizing out of the equation when I buy a brand that I’m familiar with.

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  16. I realize that today’s topic is loyalty to products, not shops, but the issues seem related to me. Part of me wishes I could patronize brick-and-mortar retail shops, the kind of shop I’ve used most of my life. Trail Baboon folks are especially fond of bookstores that have a physical presence and an inventory a shopper can peruse.

    Increasingly, I find myself buying stuff online that I used to shop for in person. There are many reasons, including the way shopping has become painful or impossible for me these days. I don’t want to drive to a store, hobble about and then find that the product I need is not in stock.

    I am pretty much forced to shop online. Today I bought clothing from Penny’s online store, which is well organized. It has been a long time since buying clothing was in any way recreational for me.

    Meanwhile I’m working on my attitudes toward the changing world of merchandising. I don’t want to waste hate on new ways of doing things. Just as new ways are not automatically better than customary ways, so are they not necessarily worse.

    I used to work in a retail store, a fly fishing store. I was shocked by the inefficiency of that way of selling products. I just can’t sustain nostalgia for that model for marketing.

    Meanwhile, I have enjoyed a clean, satisfying relationship with Amazon. I don’t have feelings for Amazon as I once did for Dayton’s. But I don’t want to resent them because this is somehow the “wrong” way to move merchandise. I don’t want to automatically resent new ways of doing things.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Vasque Breeze hiking boots and Lost 40 winter boots. Both are waterproof, a boon when out shooting photos, and the winter boots are so warm, I have yet to get cold feet when wearing them.

    So far I’m a Canon person but I’m not fanatic about it. But there’s definitely a leaning towards that brand as I dream about new camera gear.

    And for getting clean – Sunleaf Shampoo Soap.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. At the co-op. You would think that shampooing with a bar of soap would not be pleasant, but it’s great. It suds up very well and it simplifies packing when you travel, not to mention staying at home, because you just need the one product from head to foot.

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Makita tools. Absolute workhorses – batteries take a beating and keep going. Also, they have a slightly smaller grip that Milwaukee and DeWalt, so they fit my stubby hands better (though DeWalt is a solid second choice for me).

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I regularly buy Lava soap. I don’t know of a generic equivalent. Because I garden, people often want to buy me fancy soaps that are marketed as “Gardener’s Hand Soap” or some such thing, but if you get really, really dirty, and I do, nothing compares to Lava.

    I also haven’t found a generic substitute for Sure-Jel.

    Minnetonka moccasins. Apple computers. Most everything else, generic is my brand.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I am so over the name brands their junk is the same as the cheap junk, just junk, I was talked down to m by Toro lawnmowers and when i read them the page and gave them the page number they hung up on me, that was 13 years ago, never looked back have bought 2 others that lasted longer than the Toro, have spoken against toro to this day..chevrolet drove one for 40 years, now its dodge, treat me like crap, and sell me crap, ok I’ll buy something else

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  21. While the quality of some branded products and the customer service of larger companies can be better, unfortunately it is not always the case. Of course when we know the resources that these companies have, our patience and understanding towards mistakes becomes greatly diminished. However, there are online reviews for most products these days and with some research it is easy to find the pros and cons of a product/company before one decides to go ahead with a purchase. Even if you don’t want to buy something online you can still check out what other customers’ experiences are and that’s very helpful 🙂

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