<quote>I think my prejudice is against the UL 900 down jackets with 4 ounces or less of down. My old 550 down jacket from REI has been around for 25 years and cost me $60. </quote>

There may be a number of factors going on here. I share your skepticism of some of the super-high fill ratings. I wonder if there is a certain amount of "specification creep" going on -- given that there is no official oversight (except now in europe for finished goods).
Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.