I think it morphed because of what people consider "cheap" vs. "expensive".
I mostly don't go to high end restaurants because of the price. If I'm traveling I've gotten more into the habit of "business class" hotels, mostly because of my husband liking better quality places (if I'm on my own, I will tend to go someplace cheap, especially if I'm going to be there for a couple of days -- such as for a pen show; my attitude is that "I can stay at the site hotel for convenience, or I can stay someplace that's less expensive that isn't too horrible a commute and then spend more money at the show itself; I choose the latter option...."
I mostly don't buy super expensive pens. I do have a few in the $275-$325 range, but only a very few. Most of mine I've paid between $10 and $75, because I'm a cheapskate. And even the few really expensive pens I didn't pay list price for; they were either used or on eBay -- and the two REALLY expensive ones, the two M405s, which were ONLY purchased because at the time I had the budget (something that isn't likely to re-occur any time soon) I got from Rolf Thiel at Missing Pens, so I saved the Chartpak markup costs and he didn't have to charge me VAT.
That's also one of the reasons I like vintage pens. They're from when "fountain pens" were just "pens". They were designed to be used. They are not, for the most part, big heavy bling-y pieces of tacky looking "art" that live in a display case. They fit my hand better, they were designed to be working tools, they're often lighter weight (even the Sheaffer Balance Oversize that was my husband's grandfather's pen is light weight even though "big"). And they're often way less expensive than modern "good" pens are.
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth
"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."