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Maintain Your Steely Resolve

, , , , , , | Right | December 13, 2021

I make knives as a business. While I do make some more utilitarian items, most of what I make is very elaborate and decorative with special patterns in the steel and a lot of hand-carving work done on the handle. Consequently, these items are also very time-consuming and challenging to make and are priced accordingly. I have set up a booth to sell some of my inventory. A man approaches and seems interested in one of my bigger knives.

Customer: “How much for this one?”

Me: “That one would be about [price].”

Customer: “What the h*** is it made out of?! Gold?! That’s insane!”

Me: “It’s made out of two bars of steel, pattern-welded together.”

Customer: “How can you justify charging an arm and a leg for what’s probably only [lower price] worth of steel?”

Surprisingly, he’s actually pretty close to what the raw steel costs.

Me: “There are a whole lot of hours and hammer swings between a bar of steel and what’s on that table.”

Customer: “Yeah, sure. You got quite the racket buying steel and selling it to people who don’t know any better with that crazy mark-up. You’d better sell me this at [lower price] or I will let everyone know about your little scam here.”

Me: “You know what? Sure, that’ll be [lower price].”

With a look of pure smugness across his face, the man hands me the money. I reach below the table and pull out some of the raw steel I bought while I was in town and hand it to him.

Me: “Here you go.”

Customer: “What the h*** is this?! I wanted the knife!”

Me: “Same thing, right? If the time and effort don’t add anything to the price, then surely they don’t add any value to the knife, either.”

After ranting at me about my “scam” for a few more minutes, he finally got tired and wandered off with his flat bars of steel. I wonder if he was ever able to so much as put an edge on them.

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