One and a half years ago, I decided to give pipes another try. After 2 meers, five briars, a handful of cobs and a couple of thousand bowls of various tobaccos, I decided cobs were the answer for me. I saw no reason to spend more dollars on briars and meers when a cob (most particularly natural finished cobs) gave similar to much better smokes. Reading the forums, it's not hard to come up with many stories of more expensive pipes that don't smoke well as cobs and some that are down right stinker's.
Though I greatly admire the beauty of some briars and meers, the thought of spending more money and ending up with disappointment again have convinced me that cobs are the pipes for me and I can spend the money I save on adding to my cellar.