I'm fine with agreeing to disagree, I'd like to get this straight tho. You say that yes, Stern made AIQ pro first and yes, they are making Mando pro first and yes, Gary Stern states in every interview that they make pros first and yes, distributors all get pros first but I'm wrong about them making pros first? That is some slick reasoning you've got going on there, I guess I just can't keep up.
Here's where I'm coming from, pinball is cool in your house BECAUSE it doesn't belong there, wasn't made to be there and isn't supposed to be owned by the general public. It's cool because in order to have one, you kinda have to pay your dues, you gotta learn some shit, or you gotta be a rich guy who fuels it for everyone else. It's cool because it was made to be DESTROYED!! and thrown away, so the ones that made it out are cool, it's fun to bring them back to life or to make them your own, but you gotta learn or pay or get out. That is one of the big reasons I personally like pinball, cause it aint made for me, but dammit, I figured out how to make that shit work.
Also, I don't know about in your neck of the nape but around here at least 60% of the people I know who own machines route them. I'm not talking hard core operators (know a few of those but they do all coin op, not just pinball) I'm talking guys with 4-6 pins who want them at home, have day jobs but still put them on route to pay for them or offset the cost.
Two local examples, PPM has over 100 games with a door charge of $20 but up front they always have 3-5 of the newest games on coin drop. those games are always owned by local pinheads, occasionally a serious operator will put one there but mostly just dudes try'n to make their $ back. Then there's the Flipper Room, mostly about framing (pictures) but they have a large showroom with games, owned mostly by local league dudes, all on coin drop and here's the thing, I have never, ever heard even one of those people complain about warranties or playfields. Period. Never.
Anyhoo, yes, agree to disagree.