Case recently announced their new vault program, an announcement that took me by surprise to say the least. It appears to be true, though. Here’s a portion of the press release that confirms it:
Coins, jewelry, stock certificates and your Case knife collection — all of these are items to be stored away for safekeeping. There are many valuable items at Case, but the most prized would be the knives we make. Or more accurately, the knife patterns we make — like the Case Trapper, Case Peanut or Case Seahorse Whittler. The Case patterns, and there are more than 140, are treasures not only for the factory, but they are prized by our collectors. That’s why the time is right for Case to build a vault — the Case XX Vault — where knife tooling will be stored for safekeeping.
That’s right, starting Jan 1, 2008 Case will toss the Doctor, Lockback, Tuxedo and Cheetah (my personal favorite) into “the vault.” Sounds like a good thing, right? Think again. For those who don’t know what “vaulting” entails or how it’ll work, think Disney — as in “buy one for your kid now ’cause we’re not going to let you buy one for a few years.”
Basically our read on this is that Case will discontinue and re-release knives every few years or so. We assume that their goal here is to control the demand for their knives and drive up the value of the ones in inventory by imposing a production cut-off date.
Neither Chuck nor I expect this kind of used-car-salesman-type strategy from Case — a company that prides itself on taking the long-term approach to business-building, creating steady growth through quality and value as opposed to applying manipulative marketing tactics. And while I understand that Case is trying to run a business and that this system does work — Disney does, what, about one billion dollars in sales each year? — I still cringe a bit every time I hear “Hurry before it goes into the vault!”
The bottom line: We still love Case knives, but we’re somewhat annoyed about the “vault program.” C’mon, Case. You know better.