Turtle... From the outside looking in (west to east?) it sounds like you've got a good "big picture" perspective. Thanks for your insightful posting.
But I hope you have it wrong about the "holier then thou" attitude of the consumer. I like to think there's more to it than just blind faith.
Resale is another issue entirely... at least for the guys I know. Few if any make that a consideration when they're choosing a board. I'm thinking proximity may pay a role in that as well, but most guys here who are looking for a custom have pretty high standards and know at least SOMETHING about what they're buying. They're a discerning and educated consumer, skeptical about where the "herd" is leading them, and have at least the presence of mind to look beyond the brand. This, at least to me, is the opposite of narrowmindedness. Money and quality waves around here are equally short lived and hard earned.