I agree with the previous posters. I usually have a smug sence of satisfaction when I score a great deal; whether it was a brand name or not, just based on meeting a performance requirement with a quality piece of gear. Just as an example, I own a lot of Montbell items, but a year ago I had never heard of them. Here in Japan you get no street-credibility (cred) from wearing a local brand. Better to be seen in TNF, ArcTerx, FirstDown, etc.. But for me MB just proved themselves over and over again to be a good value. Same with snow peak titanium cookware, gossamer gear evasote, Petzl lights, smartwool merino, etc.. These are products I vocally recommend to whoever will listen.
I sometimes wonder if something better will come along to replace those items I just mentioned; adding once again to my pile o gear and a landfill.. So lately I make an effort to reduce, re-use, and recycle gear (here at the gear shop).
I'm reading 'Climbing Ice' by Chouinard right now; and it discusses far more than the title suggests. Here is something I just read tonight which seems relevant: (edited for brevity)
"A person can go to the 98c bin and buy a hammer that will pound nails-for a while.. But it will surely break, leaving an unfinished work, and another peice of junk to add to the world's collection. How much better it would be to have a good tool at ten times the price, a tool you would get to know as the years went on until it settled naturally into your grip. You may even have the pleasure of passing a good tool on to someone eager to learn its use, and the art along with it."
And indeed, instead of buying a set of disposable ice axes, I bought a used set of Chouinard ice axes, which have 20 year of use already, to learn the art of the piolet. Hopefully they will last long enough for me to pass them on as well.