Taming the Excess

Over a year ago, I had written a review of some CD cases that were gifted to me and I was impressed with the quality.  They’ve been in use ever since I got them.  They were initially for my “overstock”, which were CDs of which I had duplicates or had replaced with better versions.  Essentially, the cases held my sell/trade copies.

Over some time, I’ve been scoring a lot of smooth replacement jewel cases, so I started storing them in with my trade collection as my “supplies” collection.  As you would imagine, the supplies come and go with the growth and management of my collection, but the trade selection just keeps growing.  Part of this is because I feel I have some decent value trades.

Let’s address that irrationality of mine right off.  The value of CDs is nothing.  The value only matters to the few people that collect CDs.  I know this.  Otherwise, the CD pressing has no bearing to a person that just wants to hear More Than A Feeling and Smokin’ by Boston.  Again, I know this.  But, my reluctance to simply take them to the local shop and get $1 or less for these is not because I feel I deserve more money for these unique pressings.  My reason is that I’m holding them for the right owner who wants them.  I’m not going to gouge them for the discs.  The money is less important than having the disc appreciated.  And that, is far more irrational than what you might have thought at the beginning of this paragraph.

But that’s not the point of this post.  The point is that I had run out of space with my supplies and my overstock.  When I received the CD storage boxes, my brief research said they cost $65 each.  Out of consistency’s sake, I searched for more cases of the same make.  I figured there would be some used ones on EBay for cheap.  What I found on EBay were brand new ones, with double the capacity, for $37.  And, if I bought two, the price was discounted to $26!  And they had free shipping!  Well, I guess I’m unexpectedly spending some money today.

So, when these cases come in, my overstock storage capacity will go from 120 to 360.  It just seems to be the next logical step in me becoming “the CD guy” at the local flea market.  That’s sort of been my long-range, expected, retirement plan (for social enrichment, not financial).  How many CDs do you need to have an impressive storefront?  Not quite sure, but I should be there when I’m ready.

It wasn’t buyer’s remorse that set in right away, but I started to get a real suspicion that I had bought cheap knockoffs.  You know, “too good to be true” certainly applies here in the price department.  I began studying the pictures in the listing very closely.  They looked nearly identical to the authentic Vaultz product with two exceptions.  There was no Vaultz nameplate on the ones I bought, and the drawers had adjustable velcro dividers.  Both of these differences seemed like reasonable design changes over a few years, and I couldn’t really find any official Vaultz imagery to prove otherwise.

Then UPS sent me a delivery notification that my package would arrive tomorrow.  It was being sent by… Yahee Technologies.  Oh, there’s that sinking feeling.  I’m already preparing a scathing feedback message for them misrepresenting their product as Vaultz.  And you know, they got me.  Shipping these things back will cost me probably half of what I spent, so I might as well keep them.  I guess the best I can hope for at this point is that the quality isn’t complete shit.  Maybe there’s actual wood construction and not fiberboard.  The aluminum edge protectors look decent and the rubber feet look just like the Vaultz. 

I received the cases and as expected, they are not authentic Vaultz product.  However, they are a very close replica.  The locks are different and a lot of the construction that is wood on a Vaultz is thick fiberboard (again, as expected).  I jumped on EBay to vent about it, but after reading their “please contact us before leaving negative feedback” pleas, I slowed down and thought about the whole situation.

All things considered, these cases aren’t too bad.  They aren’t as flimsy as I expected.  Honestly, they were packed quite well and had no China smell.  To be fair, they were exactly the quality for the price you should expect – not cheap, not premium.  For a replica/knockoff/ripoff, they’re well done.  And I think I can live with them.  So instead of negative feedback, I just chose to leave no feedback.

Is that fair to future purchasers?  I think so, because I don’t think the great majority of people who are buying these cases would be like me, actually looking for additional authentic Vaultz product.  They would have no basis of comparison, as as such, they would be perfectly happy with what they got.  After all, I found the product decent for what I paid, too.

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