This guest post on how to avoid cheap products that aren't made well comes from Brock at Clever Dude.
I don't put a whole lot of value in a brand name. I don't assume that a product is of lesser quality just because it's generic, store brand, or missing the label of the latest fashion fad. I'll try any product that seems of reasonable quality if it will save me money. Sometimes it works out and I find great products for a cheap price that's a fraction of the brand name price, sometimes it doesn't.
Walking through Walmart during my weekly grocery shopping excursion I noticed some dark tan cargo shorts on sale. I liked the look of them, as did my wife, and I liked how they fit. I thought they felt a little thin compared to cargo shorts I had purchased at other retailers, but for the cheap price of $12.99 I was willing to give them a try.
A few weeks later, I was pulling my wallet out of my back pocket and noticed that there was a hole right next to the top corner of the pocket. I had not idea what would have caused the hole, so I assume I caught it on something resulting in a small rip. About a week after that I was squatting down to wipe off my lawn mower and felt something in the seat of the shorts. I reached back and discovered that the shorts had ripped again.
The shorts had now ripped in two different places, and were clearly of inferior quality and as cheap as they looked. I wore the shorts less than 10 times and they were already headed for the trash. I had taken a chance on a cheap product, and in this case it didn't work out.
4 Tests Before Buying
Before buying a new product, I usually apply the following 4 tests:
- Trust Your Eyes : If the product looks cheap, then it probably is.
- The Label Isn't Worth It : Many generic or store brand items are made in the same manufacturing facility as their brand name counterparts. A brand name is not necessarily an indication of the quality. Thus I typically don't let the brand influence my decision unless I've had experience with it in the past.
- More Than A Feeling : I thought the shorts felt thinner than other shorts I own and felt cheap. This should have been a red flag that the shorts were not well made.
- The Price is Right : Price is the one of the biggest factors when I'm contemplating a purchase. If the price is within how much I'm willing to pay, I'm willing to think about buying it.
Cheap in every aspect
I don't rule out purchasing a product just because of the brand, but I do ask myself these four questions before making a purchase. In the case of the shorts, the product looked fine, and the brand name was one I was familiar with, and the price was definitely right. For those reasons I overlooked the cheap construction of the product.
This cheap purchase didn't work out, but it was worth the gamble. I'll be storing this experience in the vault and drawing from it when presented with another opportunity to purchase inexpensive clothing. Next time I might choose differently.