Usually, I'm the first to say you should invest in wise purchases rather than buying a lot of crap. My husband used to buy multiple pairs of golf shoes each year until I convinced him to spend a bit more. I think he's on his second pair in 15 years.
So, when Bug started school, I bought him a lovely Lands End backpack (and lunch bag). Great purchase. It's held up beautifully. He's carried it to school and taken it on many a vacation. It's been subject to plenty of abuse and still looks like new.
Along comes Peanut, first year of school, I take the alternate route and buy a trendy little pink backpack from TJ Maxx or some such store. Looks great, has all the features, you get the idea. Midway through the year, one of the zippers breaks. It was on one of the small outer pockets, so she made it work till the end of the year.
Lesson learned. I just ordered Peanut's new backpack and lunch bag from Lands End. It's still pink, still cute and even has her initial. I don't know why I ever went the alternate route. At least if the zipper breaks on hers, I know Lands End will replace it.