Quite true. In this case, though, I first learned of these el-cheapo wonders from various review sites.
C|NET (for one example):
$6 in-ear headphones you won’t regret
The Good The Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 Earbud Headphones are really inexpensive and sound decent for their measly price. They also offer a comfortable fit.
The Bad The thin cord has a tendency to tangle easily (especially if you stick the headphones in a pocket). They don’t seem incredibly durable, and there’s no integrated microphone for cell phone calls.
They won’t cure cancer or beat out your Beyerdynamic T90s, and for @JeffL the tangly cord is maybe a deal-breaker. But they’re dirt cheap and they sound pretty decent.