Back in the 1980s SKSs were incredibly cheap. Somewhere I have a crumbly old Shotgun News with a "three for $69.95" ad.
7.62x39 ammo was oddball and expensive then, and I was turned off by the funky look of the SKS and the fixed, 10-round magazine. If you were going to buy something that shot x39, "cheap" was about all you could justify for an SKS.
I had no idea how ingenious the SKS' mechanism was, or how nicely they handled. They were fine rifles, but in my ignorance I just laughed at the idiots that bought crap like that. Now, with justification, they can laugh at me.
There's a slot in my gun rack for an SKS, and filling it will cost some painful multiple of what I could have bought one for back then...