There are defanatlly a few bad burners out there to avoid, but like others have said, there is no one perfect burner. There are several good ones, each with their strong and weak points. For instance, the most recent burner I got was a samsung 18x burner. It performs better than any drive I have seen with verbatim 16x disks burned at 18x (and very fast), but it only likes a couple of medias (most disks burn like crap), so its got its strong points with only a couple of medias (exelent performance), and its weak points with other medias.
Personally, I would go with one of the newer liteons for an all around good drive, but there are lots of other good drives depending on what features and or types of performance are most important to you. Thats why its good to read the reviews (to see which has the strong points you like). Pretty much any burner that is getting good reviews should do the job.
Fyi, you are getting ripped off with those drives at office max (unless on sale cheap). Iomagic, hp, memorex etc. are all rebadgers, meaning they buy someone elses drive, slap their name on it, and double or tripple the price. You can get most drives from newegg for about 30-40$ (many closer to 30$), and get the same drives the brands at office max use. You dont get a better drive, just a more expensive name. You can look up drives to see who really makes them here
Or look through the forums and or ask here, as some models use diffrent drives (they just use whatever they can get cheapest so one model can be several diffrent drives sometimes).