Again I have to say many points on this thread resonate well w/me, but I really like one of Rick's comments abt it being like having a favorite uncle caught at the brothel. I remember my first visits to the factory; how friendly & informal they were. I guess that had to go, & in truth, they were still not all that overly formal last time I was there. Just not the really easy going informality of the old days.
But, more to the point, I trusted them, thought of them as unofficial family, and trusted their work in the old days. Later, after they had already worked on both my guitars a couple times over the years, they suddenly got stuffy & suggested I wasn't the original owner, one guy openly sneered. I only found a few old reciepts (who saves that old junk?) & this evidently was - minimally - acceptable; note: THEY lost THEIR old records.. not me. Anyway after this, they screwed up my bridge several times, knocked the binding off one guitar & never knew it. I found it when I inspected the guitar when I picked it up. Took more time..
In the old days, when I lived overseas, I would brag, especially to my German pals, abt the impeccable quality of Martin workmanship. This workmanship was something American in which I could take confidant pride. And that definitely included not only new instruments but repairs. I guess I felt personally invested in Martin, & later felt betrayed, like a jilted lover. (CORNY! but not a bad analogy, I CARED.) Probably explains why I feel so pissed...
I'm glad to hear that Chris cares.. I wish him luck, & only hope his employees care as much as he does. An old & justly famous family reputation is a tradition which SHOULD be cherished, & a source of pride & motivation for excellence.