Like every other maker of mp3 players, Apple makes the cheapest possible headphones for each of their players.
Problem with the Shuffle is you need that headphone just to control the unit, unless you shell out $20 at Wal-Mart for the control adapter so you can use a better pair you have in a drawer somewhere.
IMHO, Apple needs to make the ADAPTER standard equipment, and then just ship with the same cheap crap earbuds they ship with all their other iPods.
That way you can listen to the crap headset if you want, or just plug in your favorite earbuds using the included control adapter.
If Apple wants to save the reputation of this product, this is the route they need to go.
I dropped my crap headphones in the trash the day I got my Shuffle, got the $20 inline adapter, and am listening to it through a nice, though inexpensive, pair of JVC 'air cushion' buds right now. It's great, and NO MALFUNCTIONS.
But I shouldn't have had to pay extra for a VOLUME CONTROL. Everybody knows the first thing you do when you get an iPod is throw the headphones in the garbage and use a pair you already own. To make that option unavailable is a terrible mistake.
I use my Shuffle because it was a free gift from Dish Network; all I wound up paying for it was the $20 for the adapter! So I love it. If I'd had to pay $70 for the unit AND the adapter, I guess I'd still be using my iPhone to listen to my podcasts.
That's a shame. It can't cost much more to separate the volume control from the headset and include both pieces with the Shuffle. And it would put Belkin's spiffy aftermarket control business down. We need Apple to hear us on this. I LOVE my Shuffle; the headset is worse than useless.