I don't see how you could say they are trying to compete with EG and GG when their shoes are half (or less) of the price and no where near the same level of craftsmenship/detailing/finishing. As for Vass they are 25-30% less so even there it's not realistic to say they are in the same league. I love my Carmina shoes (3 pairs so far) and I love my G&Gs (also 3 pairs). But they are completely different animals. As for the slash in your shoes - I agree - should not have passed QC - glad they fixed you back up.