When it comes to grocery shopping for the house, Dave and I take turns.  In fact, it is the one chore over which we fight in terms of who gets to do it.  We both enjoy being in the position of “food dictator” for the week.  He happily comes home with fresh vegetables, experimental ingredients, and inevitably some type of pork tenderloin.  I, on the other hand, fill my cart with sugar cereals, TastyCake cupcakes, and Ramen noodles.  Yet, somehow it all works out and everyone is happy.  I think sharing this responsibility works well for one simple reason:  We understand and respect one another’s brand loyalties.

For instance, I know that if I came home with a case of Diet Coke instead of Diet Pepsi, it would engender the same moment of horror as if Dave brought home Kotex instead of Playtex tampons.   I know that when we need ketchup, I better pick up Heinz because it upsets my husband to use generic “catsup”. (I’m serious.  He doesn’t like the word “catsup”.)  But I respect that because he will only buy Skippy Peanut Butter, Le Sueur Peas and Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts for me.  We are willing to pay extra for these particular brands because we do not want to sacrifice taste, performance, or syntax (in the case of the catsup) by trying anything else.  Other brand loyalties in our house include chocolate chip cookies (Chips Ahoy),  pet food (Natural Choice)/ cat litter (Fresh Step), and — back in the day — diapers (Huggies).

Next there are the fair weather products where we are loyal to some kind of brand – but not a specific one.  In other words, we can be bought, but are not so easy that we would go completely generic.  These items include shampoo, shaving needs, toothpaste, pasta, deli meat, dairy products, bread, frozen pizza and ice cream.  In fact most grocery and toiletry items fall into this bucket.  We are easily swayed by a sale price or promotion (That “buy 5 get 15 free” always gets me.)  To be honest, the quality of these products is indistinguishable between brands – at least to us.

The final category is where we truly see no value in a brand. We ask ourselves, “what’s in a name?” and the answer is “Nada.”.  The store brand is as good as the advertised brand AND (this is important) we are not embarrassed if someone finds out that we are using said store brand.  For us these items include all paper products (tissues, napkins, paper plates, plastic wear and yes, even toilet paper), dishwasher and laundry detergent (I KNOW there are many brand loyalties in this category.  We just don’t have any.), baking ingredients such as flour, sugar, vanilla extract and spices, over the counter pain and allergy medication, and sun screen.  Either of us can bring home the store brand of these items and safely enter the house.

Do not underestimate the importance of brand harmony in a strong marriage.  It is something that should be discussed right after the talk about religion, how many kids you are going to have, and whether you can name your first born Ludwig.  Personally, I would have very little respect for a guy who eats generic toaster pastries.  Thank goodness Dave is with me on this one.  Could’ve been a deal breaker – or a the very least, a loss of grocery shopping privileges.

What is the one brand to which you are devoutly loyal?  With which products does brand not matter at all?   But wait!!   Before you comment here, leave a comment on MoB’s first product review for – you guessed it – Pop-Tarts here. You could win $100 from BlogHer simply by commenting on the Pop-Tarts post.  THEN come back and tell us about your crazy brand preferences.
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