Generic Products I’ll Never Waste Money on Again

Growing up, my family brought store-brand groceries so we could save money for something exciting, like new rain gutters. It’s a tactic I used when I started to manage my own finances so I could save money on something equally exciting, like printer cartridges. But the road to savings isn’t an easy one. Mistakes were made. These were the worst of them — products I’ll never buy generic again.

Dental floss
On three occasions, thinking it would take the Jaws of Life to get this torture string out from between my molars, I’ve considered, with sweaty brow and aching jawline, giving up and going to the ER.

If I’m going to rot my teeth out on soda (eliminating my need for dental floss at all), I’m not reaching for a can of Big Fizz. I’m going straight for real, non-cheap Coca-Cola. Worth it.

Macaroni and Cheese
It’s an extra dollar for the blue box. That proprietary blend of artificial cheese flavors just can’t be beat.

After years of buying store-brand tampons, I noticed a woman giving me the side eye at the drug store. “Don’t do it,” she said, waving a glossy box of Tampax at the box of generic supers I was holding. “You’re going to regret it. Those applicators just fall apart.” I looked around to make sure I wasn’t on a hidden-camera show. “It’s not worth the savings!” she called one last time as she left the aisle like the Ghost of Periods Past.

I caved and spent $3 more on a glossier box of tampons, and life as a woman has been exponentially better since that very special day. All those happy-period commercials you see might have been inspired by me.

Every single adhesive bandage you have ever seen out of place has been a store-brand one: floating in a swimming pool; on the floor of the locker room at the gym; in a fitting room at the mall; tangled in your sheets when you take them off on laundry day; stuck to the carpet at any airline gate. Don’t be the person who leaves a store-brand bandage behind. That’s gross. Spend the extra dollar for something that sticks.

Did you know that Costco sells alcohol? They sell Kirkland alcohol. No. I’d rather pay for rail drinks at the most divey of bars than do it at home for less.

When I’m sick, I want to sleep through it without delay. (Looking at you, Wal-Flu.)

Lisa Rowan lives in Washington, DC.

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