Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the dead USB sticks.
The first thing I do with storage now is check the capacity. Heck, I've gotten bogus stuff from Best Buy. Not that they care when you return it...
The http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=918 was a huge eye opener for me.
For example, Kingston just rebrands other people's chips. I'd already figured out they were crap and put them on my "avoid" list.