Thursday, March 22, 2007

Boomsticks: An open letter to gun store clerks.

Dear Gun Store Salesdroid,

It's good to have preferences. Preferences are what makes the world go 'round. If it weren't for preferences, we'd all drive gray Toyota Camrys and eat meatloaf every night. It's cool to have preferences in music, clothes, cars... even guns.

Lord knows I have preferences in firearms. For instance, they allegedly make handguns other than S&W revolvers and $1,000+ custom 1911s, but you'd never know it from looking at my collection. If we were to meet socially, and you were to ask my opinion of the Blastomatic 2000, I'd say something along the lines of "It's a wretched, pulsating ball of f&*k, and it's full of toaster parts. You know who didn't design the Blastomatic? John Moses Browning, that's who. If someone had my mom hanging over a volcano and threatened to cut her loose if I didn't buy one, I'd have to say 'Sorry, mom, but you raised me to have standards.'"

But that is my private preference. If I was standing at the sales counter and you said "Hey, can I see that Blastomatic 2000?", I would say "Sure!" and hand it to you. When you followed up with the inevitable "So, what do you think about these Blastomatics?" I would reply, truthfully, with something like the following: "Well, they may not have triggers like a target pistol, but they're accurate, and very durable and reliable. If they fit your hand, I think it would be a fine pistol for you."

And do you know why I would say that? Because, Fellow Gun Store Salesdroid, when we are standing behind that counter, our employers are not paying us to convert people to the Faith Of The One True Pistol (or to give lessons in Tactics 101, recount bogus VietNam stories, or share our dazzling expertise in terminal ballistics), they are paying us to sell guns. Got that? Salesdroid = Sell Guns. Period. Full Stop.

When I walk up to your counter and say "Good sir, I would like to see that Euroshooter 55," I don't want to hear "Damn, honey, you don't want one of those. We had those in the 'Nam, and they got all of us killed. Why, I was killed five times because my Euroshooter jammed, plus the bullets just bounced off Charlie and actually made him stronger when you hit him. They're crap. You want you one of these here Thunderzappers! That there's a real gun!" Aside from the fact that calling me "honey" causes me to have to fight down the urge to shoot you in the kneecap, if the Euroshooter is such a crappy gun, then what in the hell is it doing in your showcase? Does your employer know about your scintillating sales pitch? I know that if I heard that in my shop, you'd be out checking to see if WalMart had any greeter's slots open within the hour.

So please, when you step behind the counter, leave your BS in the breakroom and just sell the guns, okay? It really shouldn't be that tough of a request. After all, that's what you're getting paid to do.



J.R.Shirley said...

Heh-heh-heh. I miss ya.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more!

There is one gun shop I buy 99% of my 01FFL goods and reloading supplies through precisely because I don't get the attitude, just the facts.

Which reminds me that I have two stripped AR-15 lowers I need to pick up...

Anonymous said...

I usually reserve "Salesdroid" for idiot employees, the type who can ring up a number 4 combo meal, but perhaps has a problem substituting chicken for the grade Z meat that comes standard.

These are the ones that you can totally throw off their carefully focused button pushing, if say the bill comes to $3.67, and you happen to hand them $10.02. (after they have already opened the drawer)

I might go to mall*wart to pick up a box of clays, because mall*wart is really good at getting items from the manufacture to the retail outlet at the best possible prices. I'm not going to ask the guy in the blue vest whether I should go with the Mossberg 500 or the Remington 870, and the strong points of each. When it comes down to detailed questions about the difference between different items, these are not the droids you are looking for.

Ambulance Driver said...

Even worse are the fuzzy cheeked adolescents who pretend to have some level of expertise in something. I try not to be ageist, but damn. I was shooting and hunting when some of these kids were in grade school.

Then again, I can remember a time when I was an adolescent gun nut working in a gun shop. Probably wasn't even legal to have me behind the counter, but most of the patrons tolerated me.

Tam said...

"Heh-heh-heh. I miss ya."

I miss you, too. Stay safe over there, okay? I want to hear cool stories from exotic lands when you get back.

Anonymous said...

Is this good sales technique?

Caleb said...

Reminds of a time where I had the temerity to say out loud that I didn't care for the 1911.

I'm not sure which was faster, the thunderous chorus from the gunshop employees decrying me as a heretic, or my decision to not spend my money there.

Good times, good times.

Jeff the Baptist said...

"I might go to mall*wart to pick up a box of clays, because mall*wart is really good at getting items from the manufacture to the retail outlet at the best possible prices."

You know I've found that the prices really depend. Mall*wart and the sporting goods stores tend to beat my local on gun and ammo prices. If they have the guns and ammo I want. Big "if" in my area. My local tends to be competitive or best them with a lot of cleaning supplies and gun sundries though.

Anonymous said...


Poor Tam, the curse of being a "fetching lass" doesn't work in your favor, even if you are wearing a Magpul t-shirt and a CCA ball cap.

They are trying to impress (hit on?) you, not realizing you have more knowlegde about what you want to buy then they do.

BTW, how come your employers website doesn't sell those uber nifty CCA caps in the apparel link?

I will order one today if you can show me a link. Love the store logo.

Now I don't know if you are a "honey" but you are definately my hero(in).


Anonymous said...

Even better was the time I went to the local mall*wart, and they had an entire shelf unit full of the boxes of clays cut open with box cutters on the tops and sides so as to more attractively display the bright orange paint job on the contents. Like a whole box was a few bucks or so, but if I wanted, I could purchase them in a single clay pigeon quantity, or something.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring along the camera that time.

Anonymous said...

There's several things that will cause me to spend my money elsewhere. That's one. On a side note: I was in Farragut a week ago and went into the local Turkey Creek Wal-Mart to pick up some .44 Mag ammo (I usually bring reloads with me, but had forgotten the .44). I heard an interesting conversation between a customer and the guy behind the gun counter that went something like this:
Customer: "Every time I come in here for the last few days, I can't get anyone to take the time to sell me an XYZ Bambi Zapper! It's like you don't want to sell me one!"
Clerk: "Well they're all getting shipped to another store tommorow!"
Customer: "What? Why?"
Clerk: "The Manager of the store doesn't like guns! But We'll still carry ammo."
I left the store and will never shop there again. That occured on the 12th. I can't confirm or deny they did stop selling guns there or if the manager had any say in the matter. I won't shop there again regardless. I ended up going to CCA to pick up a box of .44 (Didn't see Tam).

footprints blog said...

I live in the UK. Did John Moses Browning design a water pistol, with no sharp edges mind, that we may be permitted to own?

What! me bitter?

Anonymous said...

I have meet some of these yahoo at my local gun stores.

I have three classifaction for them.

Dump ass,smart ass, and kick ass. The first two are easy to figure out and I avoid if possible. The latter is the old guy who doesn't say much, but when he speaks you know it's from years of knowlege and experiance with firearms. This is the guy I buy guns from. For, he give his opinion amd not he's preferences for a perticular gun. That is what I like.

Anonymous said...

The lady can write. Once again, she describes a corner of the world like no one else can.


Alcibiades said...

I actually once had a squirt gun that was a 1911 (or maybe a Hi-Power, can't remember) and it could be cocked back to fire a single shot of water.

Unfortunately, my mother took it away from me, not due to hoplophobia, but because cops were shooting kids with toy guns.

Anonymous said...

db said "Now I don't know if you are a "honey" but you are definately my hero(in)." and all I could think of was that you are a drug to all male shooters! *LOL* Couldn't help it. If you don't want to be called "honey" or "babe" you ought not be one. Of course you can't change that at all. So, you're going to have to cowboy up on that point.

As to the rest of the post, you're right on.

Porta's Cat said...

When Sugar Cat was just getting into shooting, we figured it would be a constest between a Glock 19 and 26 for her, based upon how each fit her hand. Now, I can BUY them direct, but I don't stock them. to the local sporting goods store we go for a "test fit".

When I go in, I don't announce I am "Joe-Bob the FFL guy", I am just "standard issue customer", and want to remain that way.

So we ask to see the G-19 and the G-26, and she decides the G-19 is a nicer fit, so now we know. The sales guy had been bantering a bit, and laying heavy knowledge on the two dopes he had in front of him (us), and I just smiled blankly and nodded on cue and focussed my attention on her and the handguns.

So, we are done and I look into the counter and see a little Beretta semiauto in .32 caliber. So, for grins, I ask him to break it out of the case and let Sugar Cat get a feel for that little cat-variation.

As he pulls it out, he utters in a thundering voice of dripping sarcasm and all knowingness for all the store to hear, the grand old chestnut....

Sooo, boy....are you JUST WANTING TO PISS THEM OFF?!?!?!

I just smiled and grinned and nodded blankly, but inside my mind the wanted-to-say-but-felonius response was...

"Let me load up a mag of Winny White Box Ball .32 and unload it into you from 5 feet and we will see if you are pissed off or fucked up."

Anonymous said...

Toaster parts. I love it. The ultimate tribute to a 'non' JMB design! Truer words, etc.
Speaking of which, although I'll be in to fondle some AR's, I lately ordered an 1892 Winchester clone - another JMB design.
Don't laugh too loud - I avoided the Duke Loop lever...

shooter said...

During my days at the Range, I never treated customers like that. They deserved more than simple platitudes from me. If some husband dragged his wife kicking and screaming to buy her first gun, I talked to her and ignored him. About half the time, she'd settle on a Glock or even a compact 1911 over the .38 Featherweight her hubby slapped in her had.

Now, if the WASP soccer mom came into the store with the hand written note from the hubby on what to buy him for his birthday, she got the "hunny" treatment. "Sure, Hunny, we got that thar Uberblaster 6000 SUX. But what yer husband really needs is the Uberblaster 6000 SUX Custom. Back when I was with the No-See-Um agency in Nawlins, we used to shoot looters on the run at 1000 paces with this here thang." A man stupid enough to send his wife to the gun store with a Gold Card and a shopping list is just asking for it.

Strings said...

Ok... note to self: if I ever actually get to meet Tam, either set verbal buffers extremely high, or wear articulated steel knees...

Although i VERY seldom use "honey" (or any derivitive thereof), I usually refer to women as "darlin'". Hmmm... ok, maybe I should just wear the full steel suit...

staghounds said...


DO SOMETHING PRO GUN rather than gripe to believers.

We lose by a thousand cuts. CUT BACK! Not carryng guns is a business decision, not a political or emotional one.

First, send a feedback telling them their anti gun outlook has lost this particular store a customer. Here's the URL:

Write an actual, paper letter to the CEO.

Here's him-

Lee Scott
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611.

So there.

Anonymous said...

A man stupid enough to send his wife to the gun store with a Gold Card and a shopping list is just asking for it.

You're absolutely right, Shooter. All our wives are idiots and have no business doing a man's work. I'm surprised Tam hasn't drilled your kneecaps.

Anonymous said...

Nicely written and very true.

What I find fascinating is going in the gunstore and having clerks tell me about guns that I already own and have shot a lot. For example I recently was looking at a SuperMatch M1A. The clerk was telling me all the reasons I should buy some bushmaster and not a "cast" springfield. Finally I asked how many of them he owned and he said none, but "that is what he heard".

I said I currently own 4 and have owned as many as 8 including a Super, a National and a bunch more that I have sold off and out of all of those I never had the problems he described.

Pitiful. Had he just handed me the Rifle, discussed the price and otherwise kept his trap shut, I would have bought it just to have a spare. Instead I picked up another 38/44 I ordered in and saved my money for another day....

Alcibiades said...

Which is worse, calling a woman "honey" or "ma'am"?

Anonymous said...

You don't know me. Don't make judgement calls on one comment.

Billy Beck said...

"Which is worse, calling a woman 'honey' or 'ma'am'?"

What the hell are you talking about?

By the age of five, my parents had drilled me with the "sir" and "ma'am" forms of address, and I'm here to tell you that they have served me well for nearly half a century.

They still do, even in these rotten days.