WTF?!! I paid $4.99 for a pair of off brand ear buds at grocery outlet and they sound fine and are super comfortable.
I'm with you. I wear headphones at work nearly every day and I just buy $8 Auvio earbuds from RadioShack. They sound as good as I need them to (a lot better than those iPod ones), and I don't care if I destroy them. I replace them a couple of times a year when I wind up breaking a cord or dunking them in water. I'm kinda thinking about buying a few pairs at once next time in case they stop making them.