So here is how my bizarre mind works…
The hotel clerk recommended a local restaurant for breakfast. After ordering my breakfast, the waitress brought over a bottle of ketchup. Not so extraordinary except for the fact that it was not my preferred brand of ketchup. Instead of my usual Heinz, she instead placed a bottle of Red Gold Tomato Ketchup on the table. Up until that moment I never really considered how strongly I felt about brands, but I should have. As I think about it, I am very particular about all sorts of brands in my daily life, from food to clothes, etc. Oddly, it made me examine my strong brand loyalty for the technology products I favor.
For years I was a huge fan of Dell computers. I had been instrumental in placing literally thousands of these PCs in the various schools I was involved for a period of 10 years or so. I recommended them to everyone. My family members all had Dell’s as well. They were (and likely still are) terrific machines. They were the only machines I would even consider when purchasing or recommending PCs.
Then I found Apple. More accurately, Apple found me. I got hooked very quickly. I am now an Apple evangelist. Not because they are cool and sexy (though it helps), but because they work. Upon doing a lot of research, it became clear to me that the TCO (total cost of ownership) of an Apple is actually far less than that of comparable Windows-based PCs.
I have also been swayed in my printing choices. Once a huge fan of HP printers (still think they work great), I have moved on to OKI printers. Oki makes great, reliable printers too. But what I like most about OKI’s are their low cost for consumables like toner. Over the life of a printer, the TCO of an OKI is far lee than HP or other manufacturers.
The point of all of this is that if I am honest with myself I will realize that often when I break away from my tried and true brands, I find very good, if not better, alternatives.
Maybe the next time the waitress brings me an unfamiliar brand of ketchup, I should actually try it.