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When people talk about companies that offer really great value, a few familiar brands come up again and again:

  • logos-value-brandsSouthwest Airlines
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Honda
  • Target
  • The United States Postal Service
    (as opposed to the popular music concern The Postal Service, which was also good but for a different reason)

People tend to have a certain affection for these companies, and rightly so. They offer stuff that’s better than most of the crap out there, and at a cost that’s noticeably lower than their inferior competition.

The word value sometimes gets a bad rap these days, because advertising makes us associate it with cheap gross stuff: McDonald’s, Walmart—anything with “Mart” in the name!—and all those other companies everybody correctly despises. But value is not supposed to be a bad word. It’s a close synonym to something everybody likes, namely Return On Investment (ROI). When you spend your hard-earned cheddar, you want to get something great. The companies listed above tend to do that a little (or a lot) better than others in their field, and we reward them by making them industry leaders.

logo-oxoSome of these worthy brands might get their own blog post one day, but this first enry is about a company that doesn’t usually make the Best Value list, but which totally should: OXO.

You know these guys: they started as “OXO Good Grips” by making kitchen tools like carrot peelers and meat tenderizers with nice rubber handles and slightly higher quality components than the rest of the stuff at Bloodbath & Beyond or Macy’s. Now they’ve grown to make pretty much everything that can be found in a kitchen.

oxo-jiggerTake this cocktail jigger as an example of what OXO does so well. It’s made of heavy enough stainless steel to feel satisfyingly solid in the hand, and it has laser-cut  lines on the inside, which allow its user to accurately pour 1/4 oz, 1/3 oz, 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz, 1 oz, and 1 1/2 measures. I defy you to search Amazon, any kitchen or barware specialty site, eBay, or wherever you want, and find another jigger that combines all those frequently-used measures into a single handy device. Alternative products are of cheap punched steel, and they usually use 2-3 separate double-sided cups with no internal calibrations. They’re unmistakeably of a lower quality and are also less usable. On the higher end, there are hammered copper items and such, but even those don’t have the interior markings to measure all those different sizes. Naturally it has an ergonomically correct rubber band across the middle, an obvious callback to the company’s Good Grips origins.

Once a device like the OXO jigger exists, it’s hard to see why every company doesn’t just copy it, but years after its introduction, nobody has. . . for whatever reason. And how much does this marvelous object cost? Nine bucks. This cocktail jigger is a gorgeous, satisfying, highly usable design, and at such a low cost, it’s also perfection in value.

That’s what aspires to be—and, some might say, already is. Love us!

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