Are brand names at the grocery store really better than the cheap imitation or store brands?
There are some things that I know are worth it:
toilet paper-you really have to go with one of the top 3 or 4, or you end up using twice as much, and you will probably need some prep H before too long.
canned vegatables-the store brands are usually lower quality, I think they are what's leftover after the fancier brands are done. You find little stems or hard pieces in them.
dog food-just don't even buy it at the grocery store-it's probably made in China (what isn't?)
soda-buy it on sale-there is always a sale, it's worth the couple bucks to have the real thing. I hated when my friends would come over and we had to drink BigK instead of Coca-cola, spare your kids that memory
ice cream-find one you like and stick with it, buy a bunch when it's on sale
olive oil-splurge on this stuff, it is life changing if you use it in salads, makes a huge difference, and you don't go through it fast so it's not a common expense
Is organic really better?
Same concept as brand names-but seriously, a ton more expensive. I am thinking organic was pretty much anything 1980's and earlier. So, we are now paying a ton more to have the food we grew up eating. What in the hell is going on? When did poisoning ourselves become the norm? And why is it you have to be affluent to be able to eat food that is not going to give you heart disease, diabetes, hemorrhoids, or whatever?
Is it better if it is made from scratch?
Well, yes, I believe it usually is. Most things are better when they are not instant or pre-made. Most things that come in a can or a box or a bag are better if they are the real thing-potatoes, pasta, soup, etc. even if those versions are decent.
Also, meat that is pre-packaged is kind of gross, and really just lazy. Like bacon-what's with the precooked bacon? The smell of bacon cooking is half the enjoyment. Sure it's messy and greasy and always sets off my alarm and about starts a grease fire, but it is never crunchy enough unless I stand over and it and squeeze every last millimeter of it flatly so that no part of it is that gross, curly fat that bacon really consists of. Overly processed meats like hot dogs, lunch meat, tuna fish, and sausages just need to be eaten with that "I could live my entire life and never know what is really in this" attitude.
There are some exceptions:
- spaghetti sauce (Raos is the best brand though, and it costs a TON),
- cakes out of a box,
- pumpkin pie-the canned stuff is the best,
- bread-because in Denver, it gets hard as a rock unless you suffocate it instantly,
- biscuits are WAY better out of a can than in any recipe I've tried,
- gravy is better with a mix unless you have a prosthetic arm with a motor, and
- pancake mixes work out just fine for me-since I pretty much suck at making pancakes anyway.
- anything you really suck at making, or if takes way too much time and/or ingredients-it's one meal for God's sake
Do attractive and wealthy people have more opportunities?
Yes, I believe they do. I know there are exceptions but the world is a much kinder and easier place to navigate if you have good looks and/or money on your side. I saw a most amazing quote (probably on the internet) recently. Barry Switzer said, "Some people start on third base and spend their entire lives thinking they hit a triple". While it is annoying, it is very true. Many people who have those advantages still manage to screw up their lives. I don't know the secret formula. I do not understand the human race well enough to know what that is all about-advantages do not guarantee success. But I honestly believe appearances and money in the culture we live in give people a giant leg up on the rest of the playing field. Good things happen to bad people, just like bad things happen to good people. It's a mystery that may never be known.
Do high end products actually improve you?
This is an area women get especially exploited-can you say infomercials?
hair and skin care:
seriously-you can spend a fortune on this crap-and yet, if you have good hair and skin, it just makes it look better-but you already did because genes gave you a head start. Sure, having the resources to take great care of them is helpful, but more in a "don't F it up" way. I have friends with far more money and vanity than I have, and they have had procedures, estaticians, they use products I can't pronounce-and yet, they don't look a whole lot better than I do. I look like a 45 year old mom-with good skin, because my parent's genes gave it to me.
It's a theory I have applied to many other things. Having copper core All-Clad cookware will not make you a better cook, if you are a good cook already, it will help considerable-and make you feel really cool, but if you are not-it won't make a stitch of difference. Skiing is another one. I could buy the most expensive skiis, boots, bindings, etc. I am still an average-good skier, even with my second hand gear. It makes a difference when you have better quality stuff, but it doesn't make you something you are not.
With all that said, I am all about being a brand snob-there are some brands I just love for plenty nonsensical reasons. For instance, clothing brands that I can wear smaller sizes in, shoes I can buy in kids sizes so I can afford them, brands I always longed for when I was a kid and couldn't have, brands I associate with people I look up to or envy, skin and haircare products are almost soley based on smell for me, and I also exclusively prefer foreign cars to domestic. I have owned one American made car, and it was a disaster.