Agree on all points. And I saw those Tricker's too when they were posted and almost sent an email for a quote as soon as I did. Most people that regularly post here also post in other shoe threads so it shouldn't bother anyone IMO, I like AE but there are other options for the gaps they don't fill. A regular poster on here sent me a PM last month because he knows my shoe size and saw a great deal on a pair of C&J shell wingtips which I did score. The CEO of AE says that he doesn't see Alden as competition for AE so I don't feel we should either, or similar smaller companies. Paul knows the numbers and what sells to keep the lights on at the AE factory so I trust his judgment, including the new releases even if they don't float my boat.
Those Tricker's are sweet, and Alden has more than a few that are also. In my opinion I would make sure you purchase the boot with the features that you really want, and know that you will get the most use out of. It should make you feel good while wearing them and of course fit well too.
Funny, we think alike! I almost immediately sent Richard an email, then I stopped myself. Now I have a number of ideas that I am going to email him about to ask for his help in narrowing things down - after I fully get used to the idea of how much money I'll spend! Those Tricker's scream for a group MTO; but I don't think I'm ready to deal with the logistics of that.
Excellent point about Paul at AE, too. Of course he knows what sells, and their churning out all these styles that some of us criticize must be based on them selling. I look at J&M as the example. Years ago they really were the Great American Shoe company, at least in my book (I'm pretty sure every president before Reagan - or including him - wore J&M's). And I specifically remember being in a shop when a salesperson told me they had a new CEO who had a marketing background and had all these great ideas. Since then, they have dramatically expanded their line, lowered their quality, and changed their styles. They are also part of a larger conglomerate now. But obviously it must be working. Maybe we should be thankful that AE is keeping its quality and heritage with mainline shoes while dipping into this fashion pool, instead of abandoning those great products altogether, like J&M has mostly done.