I am buying a set because it is the most cost effective way of getting the pots and pans that I want. I priced it out several ways, and buying the pans that I want is actually the same price as buying the set, but the set comes with couple of extra pieces that if I find no use for will make great gifts.
I realize that a set isn't always the best way to purchase pots and pans, but with amazon.com and Walmart selling sets in particular at ridiculous discounts, i felt it was a good compromise and easy way to save a few bucks. I have done the research on what is the best price, best reviewed, best this best that. It comes down to no being able to use any of this stuff in person.
If money was no object, then I would have probably just picked out the all clad pieces I need and called it a day. I have a few pieces that i got used and they work well. I have heard that their customer service is crap, but so is everyone else's.
Bed Bath and Beyond is way too expensive for me at this point in time. I like the royal doultan set, the all-clad of course, but it's all too rich for my blood as they say.