Over the years I've seen various knife threads where people have extolled the virtues of Shun knives. Alton Brown even gave his Seal of Approval to a line of Shun knives. (Yes, I know he was paid, but he said he only endorsed things that he carefully vetted, and these met his criteria.) To be sure, all of their knives seem to command a premium price although, like most premium brands, no one ever pays the full rack rate.
That brings me to w00t. Shun knives regularly show up on w00t at steeply discounted prices. For example today there is a set of four steak knives in a bamboo presentation box. Alleged list price: $452. w00t price: $149.99. Similar sets at other online retailers range from $279.95 to $359.95.
I regularly see similarly discounted Shun's on w00t. There is never anything in the descriptions that say these are seconds or refurbished, or anything else that would indicate there anything but first quality.
You occasionally see second string knives from Henckels or Wustof for sale on the site, but never the high-end lines. So, what is it about the Shun's that show up on w00t that warrant firesale prices? I know that w00t buys overstocks and closeouts for much of what it sells. How would that factor in?
If I wish to add to my "High-Quality Knife Collection" should I grab one the next time I see one on w00t, or should they be, ahem, Shunned?