Think your job is hard? Imagine if your career entailed convincing the public that your company's salt – the most basic of ingredients – was better than some other company's salt. The whole idea is preposterous. And yet, there they sit, side by side, with nothing but their labels and their prices to set them apart. And where spices are concerned, that's just the beginning – can you tell your oregano from mine?
Name-Brand Oregano: $5.48/oz.
Store-Brand Oregano: $1.24/oz.
I'm going to stop this exercise here. Not because I couldn't go on – I could turn this into a book – but those are all the specific prices that I wrote down while we were shooting the above story. There are literally hundreds – if not thousands – of examples of people routinely swapping hard-earned cash for something virtually worthless: a name brand. It happens in the grocery store, it happens in the clothing store and it happens at the car dealer. It happens everywhere.
Am I saying that name-brands are never worth the money? Of course not. I can tell the difference between Dunkin Donuts coffee and store-brand – that's why I pay extra for it. But I certainly can't tell the difference between brands of oregano, bleach, orange juice, bananas, cheese, spaghetti, flour, sugar and a plethora of other products.
Paying extra for name brands that don't offer higher quality in return is nothing less than stupid. If you can use that money to instead build a $342,000 nest-egg, you absolutely should. Even if you don't need the money, maybe you should still refuse to do what the commercials tell you and donate the difference to charity. In either case, the world ends up a better place.
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