I've been working in IT related stuff for 15 years, and I have yet to find hard evidence to support the idea that unseen static electricity actually harms computer components.
Does anyone have a link to an empirical case study that was done to prove that systems put together using a static-reducing wrist band vs. systems put together without one actually have a measurable affect on the performance (or lack thereof) of the machine?
Everything I'm finding online is just "common knowledge", talking about how bad it is and spouting off made-up numbers (one site claimed there was an estimated $1,000,000,000 in static electricity damage every year) and not citing any scientific reference studies or actual experimentation that went in to testing it.
ESD damage, in and of itself, definitely isn't a myth and it definitely does exist, but, in my own experience, it's not a big deal and something that should be feared like it seems to be, either.
Not once in my life (~15 years of building my own systems) have I killed/hurt a component from ESD, and I never wore a wristband or took extreme precautions. I just wasn't an idiot with how I handled the components. That's seriously all it takes. A little common sense and knowledge.