AzB Silver Member
Luxury is all relative so again, I respectfully disagree with you. There are "wants" and there are "needs." Do you NEED a pair of $200 Nike sneakers that cost $3.00 to make in Vietnam? No. Why don't you just strap a piece of leather to your feet and make utilitarian shoes or tie plastic bags to your feet to make socks? Does a $10,000 watch tell time better than a $100.00 watch? Actually......yes. It does. It does it's primary job of telling accurate, precise time BETTER than a 100 dollar watch but only the customer can weigh the price they're willing to pay for that level of precision machine work vs. the finite differences in the two timepieces. Since pool is SUCH a mental game, some estimate 90% mental/10% physical then playing with a higher end cue can and in my humble opinion DOES make a difference. Does a $10,000 cue play better than a broom stick for $1.50? Yes. It does, even though I've seen gents run rack after rack with the latter of the two. Does it play "better" than a mass produced cue? I think it does if the cue was built specifically for you and your wants and needs. Why did you select the cue you play with? Most likely it was because the quality of the materials and the look of the cue vs the price vs it's ability to do what you want it to do is where you drew the line in the sand regarding price. Why didn't you just buy a K-Mart special and learn to use that if you wanted nothing but utilitarian? But again, it's relative as to whether or not you're willing to pay the difference for the higher quality materials vs. a broom stick or carbon fiber or fiberglass or any other material out there. Luxury is relative but I dare say the vast majority of people could improve their game by having a custom cue made JUST for them by a highly skilled craftsman/artisan cue maker. How much of an improvement would be physical or mental; I have no idea. The willingness to pay for that finite difference in improvement is also relative. Is a 2% improvement worth $50.00? How about a 4% improvement for $200? As cue makers we would be offered shaft wood for pennies and we'd turn them down. We'd rather pay $100.00 per piece and get the absolute best of the best vs. sorting through 100 shafts to find one that was worth a rat's ass while throwing out or selling off the other 99. Why didn't we use Titebond-II wood glue to build the cue instead of the highest quality adhesives available on the market? The customer ultimately pays for that pickiness that technology, that engineering, that research, those materials regardless of whether or not the cue ever had an inlay put in it. Why not just buy a $2.00 watch at a Dollar Store if all you want to do is know what time it is? Why spend $100? Again, luxury is relative. After all when you really get down to it a $1000 bottle of the world's finest wine is still just aged grape juice in a bottle and a $2.00 My Little Pony wristwatch from the Dollar Store is some person's luxury sundial. For the record, I've never believed inlays have the ability to make balls but a state of mind.....can.
All this assumes that as you go up in price it automatically means the product will perform better instead just being fluff extras. There is no specific relation to cost vs how well you play with a cue. You can just as easily go from a $10,000 cue to a $300 cue and play better as the other way around. There is a HUGE difference between a broomstick and say a Joss for $300 but a lot less between that Joss and a JossWest for $2,000, especially if the shafts perform the same, then the difference for the player is pretty much 0. A Rolex does not keep time any better than any other good watch, it's just more hand made and detail and marketing and name driven. A digital $30 watch will be just as accurate, if not more so, and a $100-200 quarts watch even more so. A great analog fancy watch is accurate if it's about 4 second a day off. An OK quartz watch like a Citizen or Seiko or Casio would be off by maybe 15 seconds a month or less, several times more accurate than watches that can cost a thousand times more.
And I am also not saying that it's not nice to have nice things, just that functionally, past a certain level of quality, the extra is just extra. I own the cues I do because I wanted them, but the shafts I use are due to the performance I get from them. I am not trying to lie to myself that I bought fancy cues because I win more with them. I played just as well with a $60 McDermott Lucky as I did with my custom cues, in fact I liked the balance and hit of it better than several of my much more expensive cues that are valued at more than 10 times the price.
We just need to set aside ego or trying to justify some high price that was paid when it comes to actual value of the performance. Everyone can spend a year talking about how high end stuff is somehow "better" than normal products, but they really are not when it comes down to utility and function and even comparison of the job they need to do. A Rolls sure is more expensive and has a ton of hand work and expensive material in it, but I'd rather have a nice Toyota to drive to work each day, not only can I buy an extra house, I also don't need to spend $300 on each tire or worry that a bird will poop on it, and I will still get to work in 30 minutes. Will my Toyota go on auction for $100,000 and have people talk about the classic lines and 0-60 times? No. Will it run for 10 years and drive well at a good enough speed? Yep. It's a car, it does the car thing well. A Rolls is a car but it is not as good as a car to do the things cars are made to do, but it does the showing off thing well. So what is better, a $30,000 car that is a great car will run over 100mph if you want it to, will last 10 years with oils changes or a $200,000 car that costs more to own and repair, breaks down more but is sure fancier? Depends on who you are and why you bought it. A Toyota won't get you a front side parking spot at the Ritz, but you won't need a tow truck to move it from there LOL
The cost for any luxury item is almost never tied to performance. Sneakers, sure they may, but for 99.999% of the people spending $600 on a custom set of running shoes will not make them win any more races than just using a decent set of $100 shoes, or even $50 shoes. Bikes, same thing, shaving 1 oz in weight of some part by making it cost 3 times more due to material is something only the top bikers in the world would be looking to do, and in those cases the cost does equal more performance. However in cues, watches, purses, jewlery, etc... there is nothing really that fancy materials, can do to make it "better". A wedding ring made of steel will fit as well and show that you are married as much as some Tiffany platinum ring that cost 50 times more. A 19 oz cue balanced a certain way made of maple will weight the same and pocket the balls the same as a 19oz cue made with burl, ebony, silver and ivory and can feel better to some people in the hit feel since that is all personal preference.