Originally Posted by Roger
What I was trying to suggest is that the extremely deep discounts create an impression of cheapness with A-Es--not that they are necessarily "cheap" shoes in the pejorative sense. However, in my comparison of A-Es at $129 and C&J seconds at the factory, my point was that it's unlikely--given the wages, dollars, etc., involved--that as much paid labor and as expensive leather went into the former--that they are cheaper (in comparison with C&J Handgrades). Again, this doesn't necessarily imply that "AEs much be of 'cheap' quality." But at the end of the day, if one shoe costs $60 to make in a country with high wages, whereas another costs $125 to make in a country with lower wages (and please don't get hung up on the numbers here), the probability seems high (although never 1.0) that the latter shoe is of better quality.
But doesn't this implicitly buy into the operating principle beloved by Bijan, Tiffany and other overpriced vendors that "If it never goes on sale, it must be good"? How do we know that C&J handgrades really have $300 worth of additional handwork in them, rather than just, say, a $200 markup? This argument seems to give the benefit of the doubt to the less-discounted good simply because it's less discounted. I could see that if we were operating in a vacuum, but AE has earned its reputation over many years.