I've ordered from him with some good experiences and some bad. By and large I use the shoes I got for days when I don't want to risk anything nice in the rain or am in a hurry. I've had to do some kind of work on every pair though (either refinishing or repairs).
Re gemming vs handwelted:
I have pairs of both and have noticed no difference. While DWII is certainly correct it probably won't make a big difference to you over the lifetime of the shoes. My Meermins often have some small flaw that sends them to the cobbler to be repaired where as my Carminas don't.
I don't own a pair of Meermins, yet, and from reading recent posts it seems that the main line are "beater" shoes at a good price, and the LM line are a better constructed pair of shoes, perhaps just under Carmina, at a reasonable price. Is that accurate?
Having said that, is it worth investing any money into the mainline for a staple shoe, or would you prefer your money in the LM line, Carmina, C&J, etc.?
Despite Meermin not being my favorite, they are probably my most common rotation shoes. Why? It just works out that way. I don't care about them as much as my other shoes so if I'm not expecting any kind of special occasion or extra interaction with co-workers I don't bother. Someone steps on them in the sub way or drops something on them? No problem, I'll just polish them.