@bicyclebuck Aside from the wastefulness of that approach nicer bikes are also nice to ride. I grew up on big box bikes (for the most part, I did have a 24" Gary Fisher when I was pretty young) and the difference in even a half-hearted attempt at a higher end bike is amazing. My first "higher end" bike was a $350 hardtail that I rode the piss out of for a couple years, broke everything, wore the rest out, but it got me in and led me to building a Banshee Paradox back when 29ers were not ubiquitous. THAT bike was fantastic. Enormous to fit me (XL frame) but smooth, lighter than it should have been, and just worked. Built like a tank and handled daily riding duties and trails 3-4 times a week.
Yeah I could have rammed through crap bikes but having one reliable, well built bike was so much nicer to live wtih