I'm not sure that I, a commoner, can explain to George Will, the patrician, why I found his piece "The Making of Sausage Can Be a Beautiful Thing" {op-ed, Oct. 4} vaguely offensive. However, I'm going to try.

I think it's true that too often people don't take enough pride in their work, and it's wonderful that David Nosiglia and "Sam Adams" can be "micro-manufacturers" and make a living from it. But they shouldn't be held up as examples of the direction the U.S. economy should take. I couldn't afford it!

I, too, care about quality, as I suspect many of us plebeians do. It would be wonderful to have the disposable income to buy only the best -- I love nice things. But as a federal employee, I can rarely afford it, and frankly, even if my disposable income could stretch to a trip to Boston for a taste of expensive sausage (granting, of course, that Mr. Will's taste as to the best is exemplary), I probably wouldn't go. There are too many other claims on my income. I'm looking for value -- a reasonable price on a reasonably good product.

Sure, we should encourage quality and pride in one's work -- there's certainly room for improvement. But isn't part of the American genius the ability to create a way to bring quality to within most people's price range, not just to the "discerning minority" who can afford it? Today, we seem to pay high prices for low quality and outrageous prices for no quality at all, just a label. Don't tell me I lack the discerning taste of Mr. Nosiglia's more affluent customers because I choose not to buy, or cannot afford, the best of everything. Taste is not dictated by income, consumption is.

When value gets built back into the American system, it will be because the David Nosiglias and Sam Adamses of this world will have figured out how to make quality available to more than just a few. And that is the American ideal: not just quality, but value.

CYNTHIA LA COVEY Arlington