The $80 Knife

cutco knife

It must have been a Saturday in about 2005, I can’t remember exactly.  All I know is that Lisa told me she had an appointment at the house on a Saturday afternoon.  She was cryptic.  I thought maybe it was the traveling bra saleswoman with an enormous suitcase who visited my mom back in 1974.  I didn’t ask.  I didn’t want to know.

That afternoon, an attractive young woman drove up to the house.  She got out of the car with a magazine and a bag the size of a large purse.  I was trimming bushes in the front yard.

“Are you Mr. Tanner?” she inquired as she walked up our front steps.

I held my stomach in and puffed out my chest wanting not to look as close to 40 as I was.

“Yes.  I am.  Mrs. Tanner is inside.”

“Here, use these.”

She walked over to me and pulled out a pair of hand held yard clippers from her bag.

“These are Cutco Clippers.  The best in the world.”

I nodded and resumed my work on her dime.

Damn. I thought to myself.  These things could cut brick.

I’d found the Cadillac of cutlery.

It wasn’t until last week that I discovered that the three knives my wife had purchased from a struggling younger sorority sister 12 years ago cost well over $100 each!

What’s worse than a cute sorority girl selling you knives that you can’t afford?  A dear friend’s son selling you knives that you can’t afford.

Ben called on a Wednesday.  “Mr. Tanner, I’m selling knives, and if I don’t meet with you, I won’t meet my quota this week.  You don’t have to buy anything.  I’m new at this.  I just need appointments and experience.”

When he arrived, he had me pull out a couple of my old knives, not the Cutcos that Lisa had purchased, the rusty ones with the wooden handles.  He then proceeded to give me the schpill, complete with demonstrations.

“Now, Mr. Tanner, cut this rope with your knife.”

As I sawed through the thick tread, he counted my swipes – 1…2…3…13…15..29.

“Twenty nine.  WOW.  Never seen it take that many before.  Now try it with the Cutco.  1…”

“Man, that would come in handy if I was trying to cut someone loose from a Totem Pole.  How does it work on a cucumber?”

We sliced through leather, and he pointed out the inadequacies of my collection and the unique engineering and craftsmanship of his.

I’ll have to say, he had me.  I was ready to pounce.

I asked about price several times during our hour and a half long visit.  He looked down avoiding my inquiry.

He explained to me that there was a major Cutco convention in Atlanta in February and that he only needed to sell two more table knives to get his trip to attend paid in full.

I headed to grab my checkbook.  These boogers could cut like Tarzan’s bayonet.  I would be the envy of all other widowers working to feed their children something other than French fries.

He showed me a listing of their competition’s pricing, a full set at $2,800.  “We are better than them, so you’d expect to pay more for the same set of Cutco, huh?”

“Ahhh…”  I sat down.

“Our price is half that!  Only $1,400!”

“Do you sell them individually?  Like only 1?”  I so wanted to support.

He proceeded to walk me through the multiple sets you could buy.  Sort of like the school picture packages – A:  17 wallets, 18 4 x 6s, 10 5 x 7s, an 8 x 10 and if you order today, a life size 14 x 36.

I wanted package F:  the 5 x 7.

Although I hated to diminish his dreams of Atlanta, what in the heck would I do with two table knives?  Lisa’s mother would look down on passing the steak knife from person to person on Thanksgiving day.  And a set was out of the question.  Besides, what kind of college kid wants to spend a weekend at a knife salesperson convention?  That is not healthy.  He should be out under aged drinking with friends.

Besides, I already had three of his knives from 2005., and they still cut as if they were only 2 years old.

It took some work, but I talked him into letting me just buy one knife.  The cheese cutter.  My FAVORITE food.

It was only about $86 with tax.

I’m renting it out for parties – $10 per night, if anyone is interested.

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