"Coal Creek Armory, Tamara speaking. May I help you?"
"Yeah, do you got any Blastomatic 2000's?"
"No sir, I don't have any Blastomatics in stock at all."
"You expecting any in?"
"I'll happily special order you one, but I don't currently stock any Blastomatics. You can read into that what you will."
"You just hate Blastomatics, don't you?" *Click!*
Truthfully, I don't think I "hate" any brand of guns. There are plenty out there that don't do a thing for me, and that I wouldn't buy for myself, but that's because I know what I like and spend my limited personal money on those guns. If I ordered inventory based on what I like, the store would contain nothing but old S&W revolvers, antique military rifles, and $1,000+ custom 1911's. And we'd have one customer: Me.
Because I am in the business of selling guns, however, I have to stock what all kinds of people like. Because showcase space and dollars are finite, I won't be stocking everything. Because our business model is based on happy repeat customers coming into the store and giving us their money over and over again, I sometimes make stocking decisions that raise the hackles of the brand loyal.
I'll call a spade a spade: The "Blastomatic" from the initial phone conversation was Taurus. For about an eight month stretch, I didn't stock in any new Taurus handguns. This isn't because I "hate" them; I don't have the energy or the inclination to "hate" a gun brand. This isn't because I have no experience with them: I've owned several Taurus handguns myself in the past and had satisfying ownership experiences with each of them. More importantly, I'd sold hundreds and hundreds of them over the previous decade, and they seemed to offer good value for the money to the customers. Then, in early '05 something happened. Maybe it was a statistical fluke, but I wound up sending more Taurus handguns back for warranty work right out of the box in a three or four month stretch than I had in the past several years combined:
1) We ordered 25 stainless Model 85's to sell as part of a "CCW Package", with a certificate for our CCW course, eyes, ears, and a box of ammo included. Of those guns, six wound up having to go back to Taurus, for problems as diverse as a hand too short to rotate the cylinder, a cylinder stop bolt that didn't, and congenital absence of a single action sear.
2) We never stocked the 24/7, but we transferred three through the shop. All three went back to Taurus for warranty work.
3) Of the 8 Taurus Model 94's that have passed through my logbook since X-mas '04, two have been shipped back to Miami. One of them took two trips.
4) We sold five Taurus Model 905 IB's in the same period. All but one have gone back to the factory. One had so much endshake right out of the box that it wouldn't reliably light off primers. It went back to Taurus for a fixin'. They didn't. Customer pissed. We shipped it back again with a note saying "Please stretch crane this time!"
Now, there are some guns by the company that I expect problems from (the non-"Pro" Millenniums have had a pretty abysmal track record over the years, for instance,) but the small-frame revolvers are their bread-and-butter guns; the bugs in that design were worked out when dinosaurs roamed the earth. So I reluctantly decided to hold off on stocking new Taurus handguns even though they had once been a great profit center for me, because I didn't want to use my customers as guinea pigs for the company's newly-spotty QC.
Bring this up on an internet gunboard, and you're a hater. Joe Smith has had three Taurus pistols and they're all great and how dare you insult his guns! You're just a snob! Stupid gun store clerks don't know anything!
It gets hard to take, which is why I just don't bother anymore.
As a postscript, I'm a big believer in time and tide changing all things. Back in July, I experimentally started stocking a few Taurus small-frame revolvers back in. Five or six Model 85's and a Model 94 or two later, there haven't been any complaints. Maybe things are shaping up for Taurus. We'll see...