Wednesday, January 22, 2014

At the Show

It was a pretty good knife gun show.  I ran a sale on most of my fixed blades hoping to sell the Buck gut hook, the two knives from TOPS and Benchmade’s Bone Collector caping knife.  I even entertained ideas of selling the damascus blade from Mr Maan.  No luck.  Finland’s Marttiinis sold well and quite a few of the folders hitched rides to new homes, so it was a good weekend.


My goal is to help each customer find the right knife for them, even if I don’t have it or carry it.  Your knife should meet several personal criteria.  It should feel good in your hand and deploy from your pocket or sheath the way you want it to.  It should be able to provide the all the performance you are capable of demanding of it.  Your knife should be a quality product, but I know that quality is handmaiden to purpose.
 
If you’re heading for a two-week, self-guided Alaskan hunting trip, you might want something better than the knife you found in the '2 for $3' bucket.  But if you’re looking for gag gifts (heavy on the gag) those knives might be right for you.

At this show I thought I’d try to have a little fun with some customers.  Sellers attempt to qualify potential customers into: tire kickers, buyers and circus audience.  Tire kickers might become customers if treated right, but circus audience will always be interested only in entertainment.  I firmly believe their spouse gave them a fiver and told them “Don’t come back until suppertime.”

There are a few subgroups not represented by the above big three.

I exclude most children from the above categories.  I like talking to kids about knives.  They aren’t buying unless dad has more money than sense.  Who would buy a fifth-grader a $200 Benchmade?  But I do enjoy showing them how a knife works and asking about their fledgling knife collection.  

If I had started putting away nice pocket knives when I was in fifth grade, I could have a very nice, and perhaps impossible to duplicate, collection now.  But even then I carried, used and eventually lost everything I bought.

I also enjoy the quirky, but harmless fellows that frequent these shows.  One of my favorite is the guy (women have more sense) who opens every knife on the table.  I had some spectacular openers this weekend.  They would politely and quietly pick up every knife and with two hands open the blade on each knife to about 45°, stare at it for 10-15 seconds, close it, put it down and move to the next.  I like to ask if they're looking for anything particular and the answer is always the same, “Nope, just looking.”  

It makes me wonder if there is a knife watching society somewhere and members are making a life list of blades seen.

Someone from the circus audience asked about American made knives.  I showed him the Bucks, a few Gerbers, lots of Benchmades and a couple of Kershaws.  He almost beamed with pride and then he said, “These are pretty expensive knives.”

“Yes, sir,” I said.  “They’re American knives made by American workers paid an American living wage.”

He walked away strangely deflated.  I guess he thought companies had American workers accepting Chinese wages.

Another audience member worked his way down the line and stopped at the Benchmade knives.  He had indicated he was a knife collector but he looked at the blue Benchmade boxes and said, “I’ve never heard of Benchmade.”

Usually that statement is a tell that a purchase of any knife will not be made today.

“That’s because they are too much knife for you,”  I said.

That answer seemed to make a lot of sense to him and he left the table smiling.

I often regret I’m not a sociologist.  I think there is room for a ground-breaking study of the knife shopping segment of the gun show culture.  At the very least there’s a lifetime of potential grants here.

First Peek.
Every year the Western Reserve Cutlery Association (in Ohio) holds a big knife show/expo and they sell an Expo knife. Each year a different knife is selected.  Here's this years. 


Victorinox  Expo knife Secretarty silver AloX
Two-bladed pen knife 
  The Expo will be April 26 and 27 at Breitenbach Winery.

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