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janbb's avatar

What consumer items are not worth paying a premium for (Read details)

Asked by janbb (60630points) 4 weeks ago

At the moment, I’m thinking about sunglasses. i was looking for some non-prescription sunglasses and I went into a store where they were upwards of $100—$200. I just went into a CVS and got two pairs of Foster Grants for $25 each.

Another example is patio furniture. You can get a set for $450 at Home Depot or you can pay $2,000 or more at Fortunoff’s. Is there really a difference in quality of these items or is it just status marketing?

Can you name other items where there is no difference in quality while aware that in some areas, it definitely is worth paying more?

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22 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Non-stick pans.
You are going to scratch them up eventually, no matter how careful you are, so why bother wasting money on a pricey throwaway product.
Anything made by crApple. Overpriced status objects that are badly engineered and break easily.
Table forks/spoons/knifes, cups, plates. Just get the cheapest ones you can find, as long as they do not have plastic handles.
Bottled water. It is water, do not waste money on “premium water”.
Clothespins. Just get cheap wooden ones, they last forever. Do not get plastic ones, they get brittle and turn into dust.
Groceries. Dump the name brands, and get the storebrands. They are just as good, sometimes better, almost always cheaper. Sometimes they come out of the same factory, or are even the same thing, just with a different label.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Here are some where it is worth paying more

- mattresses. Big difference between the low end and medium/high end. You sleep on them every night. Get one that is right.

- electronics. Don’t by low end tablets, phones, or computers. Don’t buy high-priced Sony either. Get a good middle of the road one. Low end electronics disappoint all the time.

- Prescription drugs – it’s OK to buy generic – those are regulated and tested. It is unwise to buy drugs from overseas. You don’t know what crap you’re buying.

- Safety gear (helmets, kneepads, etc.) – don’t buy the cheap stuff.

janbb's avatar

@elbanditoroso Yes, I wanted to hear about those too. I agree.

rebbel's avatar

Headphones.
For $40 ish you can get a pretty decent, well balanced, sound pair of headphones.
Do a bit of research online, on and on YouTube (sometimes several reviewers agree on a surprise pair).
So, not really a need to spend upwards of $200—$300 (or ten times that).
Sure, the quality does increase, but, in my book, not as much as as the price would make you believe.

gorillapaws's avatar

I have bought premium sunglasses a handful of times in my life and I end up breaking/losing them within a month or two of buying them. Then I buy cheap $10 gas station glasses and they last for over a decade. Go figure.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Sunglasses, headphones and pans I totally agree with. For starters almost all “designer brand” sunglasses are made by Luxottica. Oakley, Ray Ban, Costa.. They cornered the high quality market and charge what they want. You can find high quality sunglasses by off brands for $50. I do think that’s worth it over a $10 pair from the department store.

$30 Non-stick pans suck, really. One bad move with a metal utensil and it’s not safe to cook in anymore. A $30 cast iron pan you can pass on for generations.

Headphones are a huge rip off too, especially beats and airpods. I have been using the same $20 airpod knock offs for a couple years. My studio monitors I have had for 25 years. You can still get parts and replacement cushions for them. They sound better than the $300–400 “audiophile” brands and only cost a quarter as much.

On mattresses never pay retail, ever. They have a 400–500% markup and prices are always negotiable. If a retailer won’t negotiate then one down the street will.

Also for me just about any big ticket item like furnishings, vehicles (cars, boats, ATVs lawn tractors…), specialty tools… can be found used. I have rarely felt it was worth the hefty price tag to get any of that new. We will once a decade or so get new couches. I don’t want to sit in someone else’s funk.

SnipSnip's avatar

Yes. I bought Brown Jordan patio furniture when I got married and it is still good. Once a tornado blew a tree onto our deck and broke the webbing on one of the chairs. I couldn’t even find anyone who knew how to replace the webbing. Finally I found an old guy who had done upholstery his whole life. He got it done for me. My adult daughter has that set now. I bought inexpensive furniture for the lanai when I moved to the Gulf. It’s fine for us nowadays.
I buy cheap sunglasses. I sit on them and break them. The $200 ones break as easily as the $18 ones.

Jaxk's avatar

I’m a fairly cheap old man. I tend to buy the cheap stuff if I believe it is a Commodity Product. When you do this you will sometimes get product that simply won’t do the job. For instance, We bought a new set of forks. Over the years we lost a few and needed to restock. My assumption was ‘how tough is it to make a fork and what possible difference could it make who makes it’. Consequently we bought the cheap ones. The tongs on those forks are no sharp, they’re blunt. So blunt that you can’t pierce a piece of meat. They are useless and had to be thrown away. I never would have thought to look for this problem when selecting new forks. I will now. I’ve never encountered this type of problem when buying premium products. Save a buck but be aware that sometimes you’ll get a throw away product that won’t do the job.

cookieman's avatar

I agree with patio furniture, at least here in the NorthEast. Summer lasts maybe three months and between pollen, bugs, bird poop, and thunderstorms, they get wrecked outside. There is no point spending a lot on it.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

$30 Non-stick pans suck, really. One bad move with a metal utensil and it’s not safe to cook in anymore

Metal utensils are not appropriate for non-stick. I use a non-stick skillet for about 80% of my stove top cooking. I use only wood/silicone/plastic spatulas and forks. The pans last about a decade.

Cleaning them is trivial. I appreciate cast iron, but the best-seasoned iron is more work than non-stick.

YARNLADY's avatar

The newer nonstick pans with anodized coating are much better than the melted on Teflon was.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@YARNLADY I have a Calpholon anodized roaster. Great pan but it does not seem particularly non-stick to me. Better than plain stainless or aluminum, I guess. But not extraordinary.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Cast iron is not more work. There is just a learning curve and it’s worth going through it. At some point in a non-stick ceramic or teflon pan’s life someone will use a metal utensil and ruin it.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m fairly frugal about most purchases.

I won’t pay $75+ for a steak, even if it’s Kobe. I’m not very into very high end dining, but I do splurge sometimes on a meal, I just have my limits.

Very expensive bed linens. I wait for it to be on sale.

Expensive pillows for the bed. I don’t get why they are so expensive.

I need a pair of sunglasses and I tried on a few a month ago and I really like a pair of Versace! Total rip off at $320, I didn’t buy them, but I still think about them. It is important that the lenses actually block UV spectrum to protect your eyes, so don’t by $5 sunglasses (I assume Foster Grant are ok) but as you probably know there is basically a monopoly manufacturer who makes designer glasses and they charge crazy prices.

Fancy watches. I have a Cartier from many years ago, but it’s still not crazy expensive like a $30k Rolex watch. I can’t imagine it.

eyesoreu's avatar

Over here in englandtown a tub of Lurpak butter reached the giddy heights of £9.95.
The supermarkets have even placed security tags on the product for fear of theft.

As the fat orange bald man said…“thank god it’s not Buddha”

canidmajor's avatar

I’m kinda cheap, I make do just fine with most cut-rate stuff. Sunglasses I will happily pay for quality, (not necessarily name brand) for features like polarizing and UV blocking. I’ve had a few concussions, so bright, especially reflected, sun will dazzle me.
And shoes. Quality foot wear keeps me walking around. And kitchen knives. Quality knives are much safer.

janbb's avatar

@canidmajor I’ll pay a lot for sneakers and sandals that keep my feet happy too! Comfort is key.

kritiper's avatar

Premium unleaded gasoline. (91 octane) It’s not “better” gas and it isn’t “better for your car.”
If you car calls for it, use it. Otherwise you’re wasting money and your car will actually run worse with less power than regular unleaded (87 octane) gasoline. And you’ll save a few cents per gallon!

cookieman's avatar

@kritiper: Agreed. Tom & Ray from Car Talk always said that too. Waste of money.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@kritiper Yeah, that’s 100% true. Higher octane is for performance cars or trucks running higher compression ratios and need more anti-knock properties. That is, they need to resist firing under compression and not spark. That’s all higher octane is for.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Power-ups, buffs and skins in RPG’s. I blew $250 twelve years ago on useless crap for my online accounts that I don’t play anymore.

Smashley's avatar

Subscription TV. We watch too much TV anyways, and you just know it’s going in the direction of more ads and branded content. Pretty soon it will just be another lie you can’t live without. Like cable. There’s plenty of decent free broadcast tv anyway, just buy an antenna..

Phone plans. In North America we are almost always paying too much on our plans because they include “free” (not actually free) super expensive phones. Get a cheaper phone and a more limited plan, and save hundreds each year.

New cars.

Vitamins, supplements, miracles. I mean, take em if you feel you need too, but if you’re paying big dollars, you are being suckered.

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