Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Case Knives and the Fruit Tester

I opened the newspaper the other day to see what I had missed on Black Friday other than voluntarily lining up in frigid weather to buying things I don’t need.  After perusing the newspaper ads I discovered I hadn’t missed anything.

I did however note that our local outdoor store had Case knives on sale.  I also noticed that several of the knives had pocket clips and a thumb stud.  I couldn’t tell from the pictures, but it didn’t look like the knives locked open.  I searched the Case website, and yes, they do have lockable knives with pocket clips!  But only a few.

So why not more?  I always knew not every knife needs to be a tactical knife, but an article on infobarrel suggested that a tactical knife was originally any knife that was issued by the military for use as a weapon and as a tool.  Later marketing took the idea and hasn’t stopped running with it yet. 

Case introduced tactical knives several years ago at the SHOT Show.   I always considered Case a stick-in-the-mud company, but the announcement made me reconsider.  Several years later, I’m still not seeing tactical knives in catalogs or knife press.  The Case website doesn’t find “Tactical” during a knife search.

I guess they don’t feel it’s a market they want part of.  Of course I still think Case is really a collector company like the Franklin Mint.  With all the SKUs Case carries, it would be impossible very difficult to have all the representative knives in any one store.

Credit where credit is due:  Their date system is a stroke of genius for keeping the collectors interested and driving up prices due to scarcity.

I recently picked up a long skinny non-locking folder.  Yes I know, what am I doing with a friction lock knife?

fruit testing knife on target background
I've had a few misses, but I think this knife from Gurrentz International Corporation (it's a meat company!) is a hit.

The truth?  Well, it looks like one my father used to keep in his fishing tackle box.  He said it was a sausage testing knife and the cream colored handle and long skinny silver blade fascinated me.  It looked too sharp for me to use without cutting off a leg or some other equally important body part.

I later learned the knife was also called a fruit testing knife.  The long slender blade always seemed too fragile to cut open a cantaloupe or watermelon.  A peach yes, a strawberry of course, but why did that type of knife need such a long blade for such small fruit?  But cutting open the casing to inspect the grind and mixture on a length of sausage, I think that knife would shine at that. 

Maybe fruit tester had higher job status than sausage tester.

Anyway, the knife went missing years ago and my father has no idea where or when is disappeared.  When I saw the knife on the seller’s table it reminded me of fishing for bluegills with Dad.  I have a picture I took of him standing on a dock holding a walleye he caught in Canada.  He was a little younger than I am now when I took it.  That knife takes me back to standing there with my camera snapping the photo.  I’m glad to have that knife.

This knife? The blade is stamped stainless (good for handling fruit or raw meat) and is made by the Colonial knife company.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Post-Obama Gun and Knife Show

I expected the first gun show after the election to be a crazy place.  I’ve heard stories of people rushing in to buy ammo with two-wheel trucks following the first election of President Obama.

Heck, I’ve heard of people buying ammo for guns they don’t have.  I guess they anticipated either all ammo sales would dry up and they could find the right gun later or they were already planning to buy the appropriate gun.  Who knows?  Maybe they planned on using it as trading wampum following the zombie apocalypse.  

I didn’t see the frenzy this time.  Either people are still overstocked from the pre-election feeding frenzy or this election hasn’t alarmed them as much.

What I did see was a lot of was knife sales.  Used, new or collector, they were all there.  I seldom buy used knives.  For one, most people want back what they paid for it.  I can’t do that.  Many of my sales are impulse buys.  It’s a new knife; you haven’t seen it before and it beckons to you.  Unlike Ulysses, the songs of the Sirens prove too much and a purchase is made.  Well, it’s not quite that pleasant but impulse buys are a big part of my business.

Older knives almost always need to be marked down to sell.  It may surprise you, but I am in business to make a profit.  If I pay you top dollar, I can’t sell the knife.

Collectables are another story.  Many of them are too valuable, or rather too expensive to buy at “market price.”  I can’t buy your collectable at market price if I want to make some small but fair profit.   

collectable randall knife
The collectable Randall knife

You bought it for the pride of ownership, for the status, for the physical appeal and maybe for the investment.  I have to speculate the market will remain hard long enough for me to get my money out of it. 

I did run into one fellow who wanted to sell a knife, so he claimed, made by Kershaw.  It was some sort of “collectable” but he left the knife at home.  Instead he brought a crappy picture of the knife which he displayed on a smart phone screen.

Not interested – Pass!

I also had a person ask me why Benchmades are so expensive.  I’m not sure how to answer that.  The big question is why do things cost what they do?

That’s a cosmic question.  It deals with how we value things and the sliding scale we use to trade hours of our work for hours of someone else’s work.  Honestly, in the face of that question I’m often at a loss for words.  Can I explain our economic model to him?  I don’t fully understand it myself and I’m in it, like most of you. 

I could just ask him if he’s filled his gas tank recently.  I think I’ll ask next time how did you get here from the 1950s?  Please don’t park your time machine near my car, ‘cause it always resets my radio stations.