Originally Posted by JLibourel
If you're concerned with value for money, I just received the last pair of A-E seconds of the Cortland in brown in my size on Tuesday. Price: $129. Pretty darn hard to beat for a very marginal perceived gain in quality from things like C&J Benchgrade and whatnot. And the $129 price tag is not exceptional. I have gotten 11 (new) pairs of A-Es for this price or less. I expect to get three more in the near future. That will give me 33 pairs of A-Es, which is a pretty nice shoe wardrobe for a comparatively modest expenditure.
I agree that A-E represents excellent value for money, but that wasn't the issue here! The thread started with "If Allen Edmunds [sic] is my baseline, and Edward Green (on sale) is my peak, then what else falls in between?" and "[Does] Anything else bridge the gap and fall in around $400-$500?" Thus, we've concentrated on shoes selling in the $300-$500 range.
You've offered the A-E value-for-money argument many times, and it is a valid and useful point--but only as far as it goes. Sometimes we aren't content with the level of the "value" part of the argument (perceived quality from all perspectives) concerning an entity, no matter how good the value-for-money proposition is, in much the same way that what would be a good poem for a 14-year-old to have written is not necessarily a good poem in general terms. If this is the case, we have little choice (other than trying to alter our cognitions, I guess) but to suck it up and pay more. A second point would be that although you may see the difference between an A-E shoe and another shoe as "a very marginal perceived gain in quality from things like C&J Benchgrade and whatnot" (and it's the "whatnot" that perhaps brings this into clearest focus), others may see the same difference as distinctly non-marginal. To my eye, there is a truly non-trivial difference in perceived quality (mostly in the last and overall style features, and less in construction quality) between my A-E shoes (of which I have eight pairs) and my C&J Benchgrades, not to mention my C&J Handgrades. Trying to suggest that such a difference really doesn't exist except to only the smallest degree is futile to those for whom the difference is ultimately consequential.
I think that there are many SFers for whom A-E is just not good enough, in certain ways, anymore for particular occasions. The opportunity to buy a large number of them at a very low price doesn't change the perception of them as lacking in certain qualities that now--after we've had some seasoning through the forums and normal life experiences--have assumed much greater importance. If one has had his ideas about qualities of shoes, such as their lines, overall shape, weight, sleekness, finishing details, etc., evolve over time, then the A-E Park Avenue just might not do any more (no matter how inexpensively they can be purchased), and the corresponding C&J Handgrade plain captoe balmoral, the Whitehall, or the Benchgrade Connaught will be required.
Not meaning to be confrontational here, JLibourel, but just thought that this issue of value-for-money needed to be examined and put into perspective.