I've been reading a book called "Linchpin" by Seth Godin and I highly recommend it.
The author makes a point that, to become indispensible, a person has to transcend "labor" and offer something else, which he labels "art" or "craftsmanship." He postulates that this doesn't just apply to durable goods but to services and even just general "attitude" as well.
Let me tell you what I saw today.
I've been out of town visiting friends and found myself with a day to kill. What to do but Google "paintball shop," plug in the GPSr and take a drive. Store 1
The first place I get to has a pro-shop and a field. I pop in to the shop (which has an open door, just next to the registration desk) and I'm told by a couple of guys inside who were doing renos: "they're sorta closed you're going to have to leave," followed by closing the door after me.
A sign on the door reads "if the store is closed, go see the main counter of the field to have it opened." I walk around the corner to the field and see one you fellow, probably late teens or early twenties, trying to get a group registered. A second kid shows up and is told by the first kid, "we open at 11am, you're supposed to be here at 10:30." Second kid, without skipping a beat, throws back "nuh uh! We open at 11am, I'm here at 11am, haha!" It was around 11:10 by that time.
The first kid opens store for me and I have a look around. I asked about a few things items I was looking for but they didn't have in stock.
They had a clean KP-3 on the wall listed at $500 as a "paintball shotgun." They may have had other treasures in the shop but I'll never know because I didn't get a chance to look around; the kid clearly didn't have help to take care of a store and players so I didn't linger. Store 2
Second shop I get to: the store's filled with the usual gear. Speedball guns, milsim, electronic hoppers. There's a case with some classic guns and masks and next to "the New Trracer" there's an "Original Trracer (not for sale!)."
Things get a bit more interesting.
After chatting with the owner a bit about the type of ball I normally play (pump, stock class, old school), he pulls out a couple of crates of gear.
SMG-60, BE Nightmare, Crossman 3357, VM-68 and a type-III hard anodized Line SI Bushmaster Pointman. Now we're getting somewhere.
A bit more chatting, he brings out a box with a small "Dye" sticker on the end and opens it. NIB, never gassed up Dye Buzzard, 1.5 finger trigger, "Cobalt to Silver" anodizing. Asked if he wanted to sell, he felt he'd never get what it was worth and was going to pass it down to his kids.
I thanked the guys for their time and took a quick detour for all you can eat sushi. Dukie's Shop
Last stop of the day before writing this: Dukie's shop.
I was cheerfully invited to the shop to see the latest machinery and swap stories. Dukie humored me, patiently answering my questions, me admittedly being a total tool when it comes to machining. (no pun intended) This is a guy who takes pride in his work for the sake of taking pride in his work. Craftsmanship
All this to say, I started out visiting a shop where at least one of the "staff" should (IMO) have been reprimanded for showing up late and fired for having an attitude.
Things improved at the second shop with someone sharing a bit of their passion for the good old days and pulling out some very rare gear. They weren't manufacturing anything but they shared their enthusiam instead of just punching a clock.
Dukie isn't just enthusiastic about his sport, he produces works of art with the DSG and DRV.
I'll never be a machinist but I try to deliver this kind of over the top service in my work.
Another book I've read recently entitled "Cheap," points out that "design" isn't the same as "craftsmanship." An IKEA "Billy" bookcase is a fascinating design but there's no "craftsmanship" in it - it's just cleverly engineered.
A DSG or DRV shows both clever design and gorgeous craftsmanship.
Enjoy the photos.