I remember asking my mother to bring back some Fruit Loops brand cereal from the grocery store once when I was a kid. Since we weren't the kind of family that spent a lot of money on indulgences I knew it was a shot in the dark and she would most likely come home with oatmeal like she always did. But, I guess my grades were good enough or there was some room in the food budget because the next morning I come down stairs and see my little brother sitting in front of a big bowl of those multicolored, sugar-coated, circles with a big smile on his face. So I rushed to the cabinet to open it up to make myself a bowl. To my surprise, when I opened the cupboard I did not see the red box of Fruit Loops with the famous Toucan Sam character on it. Instead I found a rather large zip lock bag labeled "Fruity O's”.
I was a little more than disappointed and thought there must have been some mistake. Was I unclear? I am pretty sure I asked my mom for Fruit Loops specifically; I mean that's what they were called in the commercial. Friendly and trustworthy Toucan Sam had referred to them by name many times and assured me that they would create all kinds of colorful happiness in my life. Now staring at this bag I did not feel happy. I had never heard of Fruity O’s and was positive they were inadequate. After all, where was their commercial? Where was their toucan? Where was their box?
Humbly and respectfully I brought it up to my mother asking, "Mom did they not have Fruit Loops at the store? I've never heard of Fruity O's." She quickly responded with "Yes, they had them but the Fruity O's were half the price and we don't have the kind of money to be paying for a name."
Now this was news to me! I was completely sure that we were not paying solely for the name. After all I had heard first hand from the beak of Toucan Sam that his cereal was delicious, whole grain, and had a host of other benefits. How could I be sure this substitute would qualify? Well having never tasted Fruit Loops there was no way for me to confirm in that moment but years later I did. Being the concerned child consumer I was, I staged my own fruity cereal quality and taste comparison. My findings were conclusive that the two cereals did not taste exactly the same but they both did bring me equal amounts of colorful happiness in every bite.
This is a lesson I take with me to adulthood. When we make purchases, it is our job not only to qualify the source of why we think the purchase is valid but we should also do some diligence on the products before we make our decision. With something as easy as cereal, it is cheap enough to buy both, but with other items we may want to check reviews or ask a non-biased expert. All products are not created equal, and we have got to do more than trust the advertisement as I did when I was younger. A brand name is supposed to stand for something and in many cases it does represent a higher quality standard but it never hurts to check and avoid simply paying for the name.