master violin and viola case maker
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Everyone is talking about VALUE these days - OK, but what is it?
Especially today, in these times of economic difficulty, everyone seems to be obsessed with "value". We are all trying to get products that represent "our money's worth", get a "good deal", etc.: in other words, to spend one's money wisely. As a recent study commissioned by the Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore showed, 82% of advertising of durable goods is currently focused on "value". Fine, but what is value?
A quick look at Wikipedia provides no less than 16 different broad topics as to how to define "value", from the ethical standpoint to the economic one, and some of them, to an extent, are contradictory when not even mutually exclusive. Since there is some confusion to this regard, I shall modestly try to offer my definition of value, at least as far as violin cases are concerned.
1 - Usefulness. A good judge of the value of an object is what it does for you, or what you get out of it. A case will be more valuable if it protects your violin well. If it doesn't it, it could cost you instrument repair bills in case of mishap, and cost is the opposite of value. This may seem obvious, but a lot of cases don't offer as much instrument safety as one might imagine.
2 - Warranty and repairability. A good warranty and available repair/maintenance service is an added value that will become useful as time passes. If you can't get a replacement cover or handle for a violin case, it's worth much less than one that can be kept in service longer, postponing the necessity of purchasing a new one. That's why my reconditioned pre-owned cases have the same lifetime warranty as a new case.
3 - Resale value. The cost of a case is it's purchase price minus it's resale value. While most cases have little or no resale value, my cases seem to hold their value quite well. Here is a pre-owned Aeternum that sold in 2003 at Skinner Auctioneers' for close to the same price as a new one (and at two and a half times their own high estimate!). A 2004 Enigma case was recently sold for more than it's original purchase price! And I offer buy-back and trade-in services as well. Perhaps that's why there is a waiting list for my reconditioned pre-owned cases.
4 - The feel-good effect. If the aesthetic beauty of an object, be it a painting, an evening dress, an antique, a piece of jewelry or - why not? - a violin case makes you feel good, then that has it's value too in the context of the quality of life. And if it has the above-mentioned values as well, it makes perfectly good sense as well.
So if you're in the market for a new case, I suggest you think about what value means to you before making any decisions!
Thank you for your attention.
Dimitri Musafia, October 15, 2009
“Ideas shape the course of history.” - John Maynard Keynes
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