What is the best word/expression to describe a phenomenon or tool that, despite its disadvantages, is used by people? In fact, there are some alternatives for them, however, there is a weird inclination toward them.

As an example, smoking is a good one that most of people know its harms and probably its alternatives, however do not give it up.


As another more specific example, take Microsoft Office. There are several (probably more powerful) alternatives for that, however, remarkable numbers of users are still using MS Office. Is it only a habit?

  • An example could improve your question!
    – user66974
    May 28, 2015 at 6:18
  • @Josh61, Of course, for example smoking.
    – Eilia
    May 28, 2015 at 6:20
  • 1
    You may include this and other possible examples in your question.
    – user66974
    May 28, 2015 at 6:21
  • 1
    An addiction, a stupidity or lack of responsibility?
    – user66974
    May 28, 2015 at 6:30
  • 2
    Addiction to smoking is not a weird inclination to some sort of tool but a nasty habit of substance abuse. Weird inclination to tools that are inferior to alternatives is a totally different question, and could be due to any of a plethora of reasons, such as familiarity, nostalgia, stubbornness, laziness, adversity to change...
    – user21820
    May 28, 2015 at 6:47

2 Answers 2


If by tools you mean commercial products (like your MS Office example), consider:

Brand loyalty Investopedia, Wikipedia

Brand loyalty is a result of consumer behavior and is affected by a person's preferences. Loyal customers will consistently purchase products from their preferred brands, regardless of convenience or price.

For instance,

  • He keeps buying Samsung phones even after better alternatives have emerged; out of brand loyalty.

For cases other than that of commercial products, you could consider proverbs like...

there's no accounting for taste

  • "I love working at weekends." "Well, there's no accounting for taste!" (From cambridge)

to each his own / each to his own

  • I keep telling him that car is the better and more comfortable way to commute, but he keeps using his motorcycle. Well, to each his own.

one man's meat is another man's poison

These expressions are a litte broader than your requirements, in that they cover a person's preference to something with no obvious disadvantage (like color). They're applicable, nonetheless.

PS - Your smoking example is a poor one. That's obviously a case of addiction/substance abuse, as pointed out in the comments.


The word used in this context is most likely 'vice'. It's pretty well-attested too when talking about bad habits.

The Cambridge Online even gives an example sentence that is similar to the first example you've given.

vice noun (FAULT)

C2 [C or U] a moral fault or weakness in someone's character: Greed, pride, envy, and lust are considered to be vices. mainly humorous My one real vice (= bad habit) is chocolate.

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