Should You Buy Generic? Ever or Always?

I’ve been wondering this and I want to know other people’s opinions. For the longest time I tried to stay loyal to Kraft, General Mills, Skippy, etc etc. I was really against all generic brands! I thought how dare they steal this other company’s idea and sell it for less especially when it usually looks gross and is gross.

Now that I’m older and poorer, I’ve surrendered to almost every generic product you can think of (there are some things I am too scared to try!) From peanut butter to bread to frozen vegetables to toilet paper, I’ve really sold out.

The real reason why I’m asking for feedback is because we had a discussion about this at our work- someone called in asking about generic vs HP ink. HP recommends that you use their ink for their printers. Why? Well because it is better for the printer first of all, the printer operates better, and they last longer. Generic ink tends to not be fully compatible with the machine and may hurt the machine in the long run. Also, the print quality might be a lot lower.

As a consumer,  I’m trying to weigh out the cost vs benefit for the two different types. Is the damage to my machine large enough to outweigh the benefit of the lower cost of the generic ink?  Hmm.

Now, I may be talked into buying legit brand ink..but name brand file folders? Now what is the difference. I guess generic folders may rip easier, bend easier, etc.

Tell me what you think about generic vs name brand office supplies! I am really interested about which you choose, especially in this economy (where everything seems so expensive all the sudden!) Do you plan for the long run and buy higher quality products or do you just buy what you can at a lower price?

Please share your comments below!

p.s. we sell both! We have great brands like HP, Esselte, and Sanford + Universal, Innovera, & Alera.

  • I think quality is often the main issue between name-brand vs generic too.

  • Melanie Evans

    I think quality is often the main issue between name-brand vs generic. One generic that I have found is consistently lower-performing are self-stick notes. Post-it brand is always more reliable (stickiness). Other generic self-stick type notes often have NO stickiness and just fall right off the page or notebook or whatever you’re trying to adhere them to…..

  • There is always pressure to look at price when buying any product.It boils down to percection of quality over price. Many of my customers buy generic once to try, then more often than not revert to brands.