Is quality really key?


I consider myself a bargain shopper, especially when it comes to apparel. Why pay full price when you can just wait for the products to go on sale? Although, there are several other ways that can help you save money. You can sign up for a store’s cashback program, use online or in-store coupons, or even shop for defective products. Now some may be skeptical about purchasing defective products, but in reality you shouldn’t have to worry too much in regards to apparel, unless you are very picky. There are many situations where I would rather purchase a slightly defective item to save a big chunk of change.

As manufacturers produce hundreds and thousands of items, some are bound not to come out perfect. Quality control weaves these defective products from the approved products. From excess glue on a shoe to incorrect stitching on a garment, there are plenty of small details that can be irregular. Now these items don’t necessarily present a hazard to customers, but major retailers such as Nike cannot be seen selling sub-par products in major retailers. That is why they offer these “irregular” or “b-grade” products. You can find a few of them slip past to major retailers, but you mainly find these types of products in outlet stores. Now this scenario would be different in the auto industry, where defective components or products would not be allowed to be sold because of the dangers they may cause.

I bet that many of us have been to and/or shopped at an outlet mall and have seen how much cheaper apparel is compared to full price retailers. “Defective” products that I purchase from outlets (mainly sneakers and sports apparel) usually tend to be just as fine in my opinion. Things are meant to be worn and I believe little nicks do not really affect the overall look/performance of the particular product.


Do you guys think these defective/irregular products are worth purchasing in the long run?

Do you think quality control might be too strict when it comes to products like apparel (that do not pose danger)?


12 thoughts on “Is quality really key?

  1. I think outlet malls are great, because even though quality control is slightly less strict, it is still the same brand. How I see it is you are buying a product for its brand, and no matter how much you pay, it will have a set lifetime. Once that time has past, you will move on and buy another product. So why make such a big deal about a small detail overall? Of course, there are cases when you want to buy the perfect product at a nice retail, so you go ahead and do so, but it is not a bad idea to occasionally shop at outlet malls, get new clothes and save money.

  2. This was an interesting article to read. I think buying the defective/irregular products are worth it in the long run. Most sneakers that are “B” grade that Nike sells at their outlets have a minor defect in the shoe that people won’t notice. If I can get a product that is significantly less and almost the same quality due to a minor flaw I will definitely take it over the expensive “perfect” quality item.

  3. I am on the complete opposite spectrum. Some people I know will buy a clothing item actually slightly torn, ask for a discount and then fix it themselves. When I buy an item I expect it to be new, great quality, and withstand the test of time. Far too often in the past I would buy a ton of pairs of jeans because they would just wear out. Now, I buy one or two pairs of Paige jeans a year and they last forever. Short term the jeans are way more expensive but in the long run it evens out. Same thought with outlets apply. In addition, the clothes tend to be from old season, shipped around from stores to stores, and are not in top quality by any means. I certainly am a believer that quality is key and will always chose quality over quantity when it comes to shopping.

  4. I am a stereotypical guy. I hate shopping; I am not good at it. I basically go to a store with a list buy what I need and never compare the cost or try to find a bargain. This bothers me a lot as I am an accounting major I should at least mind the cost and reduce my expenses but, like clockwork it happens to me every time. Nonetheless I would have no problem with buying irregular products my issue would be the continence of obtaining it. In other words is the product easily accessible?

  5. I agree with the guy above. I don’t like shopping either. If a product is slightly defective and I can’t really tell, but the price is significantly lower then I don’t see why I wouldn’t save the extra money. However, it’s rare to find such products since retailers and manufacturers would prefer to sell exclusively fully-functional products at full price.

    Businesses like clothing companies want people to view their brand positively from every perspective, especially quality. By advertising defective stuff they would make all of their products look a little worse. You could have a business idea here. I don’t know of any vendors that sell only slightly defective items at a nice discount. It could be a niche market.

  6. I don’t see anything wrong in buying a product that may have a slight defect as long as the price is right and the flaw is not noticeable. When it comes to outlet stores you might be saving money but the durability and quality isn’t usually there. I remember when I used to work retail I learned that certain brands would create identical products but in lesser quality fabrics and sell them in their outlet stores.

  7. First of all, what an amazing blog! it has valuable information and it also made me laugh!
    Well, I could care less if it’s a B grade product. Honestly, I don’t see how people could make such a big deal about minor “defects”. I didn’t buy the product to show it off to my buddies…I bought it for ME. If I like it and I spent my money on it, you better believe I could care less is someone thinks less of me if what I’m wearing doesn’t meet their standards.

    I am a HUGE fan of watching movies. As a matter of fact, my perfect night ends with watching a movie. So here’s a good example of me buying product that had some minor cosmetic damage:
    I spent less than $2,000 on a $5,000+ home theater system. Yeah, sure, it has some minor scratches…so?! it sounds great!

    Although I like to save a lot of money on my purchases, I don’t think that the quality control department should be more lenient on the product. Out there, there WILL be someone who wants the product to be 100% to specs. I’ve seen these customers and because it’s higher end products that they are expecting, it should be.

    Here’s what would grind my gears:
    if retailers are well aware of the faults in products and still try to charge full price!

  8. I think it depends on what I’m buying. If its a piece of clothing or shoes then I wouldn’t mind but if it’s a customized product that only a company makes then i would expect it to be perfect. If I’m going to buy a ferrari, I don’t want any dents on it even if its barely noticeable and a lot cheaper. It devalues the product and in my mind gives the company a bad reputation.

  9. I personally agree with you, and don’t mind a slightly defective product. I have worked at a higher end outlet mall and not all products are defective; some products may just be out of season and the quantities produced were a little over estimated. Regardless, even if the product has a so called “defect” it’s most likely not very noticeable.

  10. Good post! I found this post very interesting because I also find myself purchasing items at below the retail price, where it be discounted at a certain percentage or part of clearance. I believe that in some cases buying less than perfect products is fine, but it all depends on the price tag and type of product. When it comes to technology I always feel that it is better to invest in guaranteed to work products than refurbished ones, because the life of the product may not be as long as the product I could have just paid 20% or so more. I think strong quality control is essential, because without it the quality of products would lower more and more over time.

  11. This is a good point, I see you mention clothes, I feel like your views on defective clothes is spot on. However when it comes to other products like technology I would definetly want no defects. With clothes you have to buy new clothes regardless if it’s new or defective, clothes get old and will get replaced. Some places like H&M are cheap but you replace their clothes more often. So I can see why you think outlet malls are good in price because the small defects don’t really matter in clothes. You are right though with automobiles. I think it really depends on the product.

  12. For something like apparel, I definitely think that these defective products are worth purchasing. I can understand the view of the manufacturer, not wanting to hurt their reputation by selling them at full price, but for the consumer theres almost no difference. There are certain products that may not be worth buying if they didn’t meet quality standards, but for something like shoes, I don’t think it matters.

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