How to frame this question?... There are probably many variants of it that can be loaded one way or another, but lately I've been musing over the issue of why one would settle (or pay 5x) for a *new* piece of cookware when there are many equal or better pieces that can be had used? I'll try to avoid loading in phrasing a half dozen below.
Variant #1: If you must have Saucepan X, are you open to buying an equally functional used one that has some minor signs of prior use? Would buying used detract from your satisfaction of having or using the pan? Would it always be "someone else's" or could you make it your own?
Variant #2: If you learned that vintage Toaster Y (e.g., manufacturing ceased in 1953) is considered the *ne plus ultra* of that appliance and can be found occasionally on eBay for $25, would you nonetheless go out and spend $75 or more for a 2011 Toaster Z that had no crumbs inside? If both toasted equally well, which one would give you more satisfaction or tempt you to use it more?
Variant #3: If you had the choice between one vintage pan that has 25% better performance characteristics than another new pan, but the vintage pan required one additional minute of care per use than the new one, which one would you choose?
Variant #4: Are you open to the possibility that some particular thing made before you (or before your grandparents) were born will outperform anything that is offered new for sale today? Note Bene: I'm not talking about general technological progress here, but strictly Item Alpha vs. what's available new in 2011.
Variant #5: I know there are folks out there who treasure Gran's Griswold or their own antique-store rattail Sabatier for various reasons or purposes, but I'm curious if that value gets compartmentalized when it comes to adding pieces. I.e., If you have a valued vintage piece, are you really likely to go looking for another one of a different size, material, configuration, etc., or are you more likely to buy new?
Variant #6: You're at your friend's or neighbor's for a meal (the pay your voice!), and the cook is using a banged up, mongrel set of vessels and tools, none of which you even faintly recognize. When you lift fork to mouth, are your expectations likely to be *any* different than they would had your host been cooking in/with new-looking, shiny things perfectly-matched and -coordinated for finish, color and popular brand?
Just a little food for thought this weekend, take your truth serum and let us know.