The Alien Bee's offer you a couple of features I don't think any other company has even considered offering.
!. A money back guarantee if you're not happy with the units within I believe 30 days.
2. The ability to upgrade to the next power level. Say you start out with a couple of 400 w-s units and then decide you really needed 800 w-s units. Send them back with roughly the difference in original price and a few bucks more and they'll upgrade the units to the 800 w-s.
3. Fast, friendly service. The people there answer the phone on the first few rings, know what they're talking about, steer you to the good deals, and generally make you feel good about dealing with them. Bless 'em!
The lights aren't the most expensive or encased in steel. They may not have all the bells and whistles others may have. But it won't cost you an arm and a leg to replace a busted flash tube or a cracked case and you'll have the units back in your lifetime.
If you think you have to spend lots of money, the Paul C. Buff division of the same outfit will sell you White Lightning units.
Besides, the Bee's ads are cute, and the bright colors are outrageous...
A dedicated Bee user...