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View Full Version : What the hell is wrong with gun stores?


dcbiii
10-23-2009, 3:26 PM
Let me say this: I'm a small business owner in the extreme sport industry, I serve large distributors, smaller mom and pop stores, and the retail customer with a variety of products that we manufacture, market, and sell. I've dealt with 300mil\year distribution company customers, and guys that run stores just on the weekend. Some customers are jerks and small minded, some "get it" and make good money.

It seems, by the vast majority, that every gun store in Southern California seeks to hire people that: A) Don't want to be there B) ACTUALLY know next to nothing about their industry C) THINK they know more than everybody who walks in the door.

I've called probably 5 gun stores today looking to purchase a very specific pistol. I've either wound up transferred to a line that doesn't exist (and consequently been hung up on), transferred to "the gun counter" and had it ring FOREVER and nobody pick up, or been handled by someone with some savage holier than thou attitude.

I'm not a jerk on the phone (I spend most of my day dealing with customers, I know how to act)...and I'm not asking stupid or out of the ordinary questions.

Ex.

Him: Hello, ******* Gun Store?
Me: Hi, I'm looking for a Springfield XD or Smith and Wesson M&P in .40 or .45. I'm looking to pick one up today or order one. Do you carry them?
Him: Haven't seen one.
Me: Do you normally stock them?
Him: Depends.
Me: Could I special order one?
Him: Depends.
Me: Sweet, thanks for your help.

Ex.

Him: XXXXX Gun Store, how can I help?
Me: Hi, I'm looking for a Springfield XD or Smith and Wesson M&P. I'm looking to pick one up today or order one. Do you carry them?
Him: I don't know why you'd want something like that, and no, we don't carry them.
Me: Thanks, goodbye.

My question.....WHY ARE YOU IN BUSINESS IF YOU HATE WHAT YOUR DOING AND YOUR CUSTOMERS?

(That being said, Ammo Bros and RifleGear were fantastic on the phone, and clearly they "get it" and I hope they do well)

Am I just cursed?

It'd be one thing if I was asking "SUP CUZ, I'M LOOKING TO GET A FOUR FIVE, WHAT YOU GOT IN STOCK SON?", but I'm being pretty courteous and I know exactly what I'm looking for.

ar15barrels
10-23-2009, 3:33 PM
Him: Hello, ******* Gun Store?
Me: Hi, I'm looking for a Springfield XD or Smith and Wesson M&P in .40 or .45. I'm looking to pick one up today or order one. Do you carry them?
Him: Haven't seen one.
Me: Do you normally stock them?
Him: Depends.
Me: Could I special order one?
Him: Depends.
Me: Sweet, thanks for your help.


You should have asked what it depends on...

JagerTroop
10-23-2009, 3:36 PM
My question.....WHY ARE YOU IN BUSINESS IF YOU HATE WHAT YOUR DOING AND YOUR CUSTOMERS?

Depends

Am I just cursed?

Depends

LOL :p

Man that sucks. I have often wondered the same thing. Although, I don't think I've ever been treated quite like that. (In person) I usually get the cold shoulder because of my outward appearance. I am never rude, nor do I talk like a thug/wackjob, yet sometimes I'm treated like I couldn't ever afford or appreciate any gun in the store. It only happens once, then I just take my money elsewhere.

audihenry
10-23-2009, 3:43 PM
It seems guys who open up gun stores are the last people to open up a business of ANY time. Forget customer service, courtesy, etc.

Granted, there are a FEW exceptions (IAC/Ade's/etc. come to mind), but the vast majority are so poorly run it's disgustingly sad.

B Strong
10-23-2009, 3:46 PM
Sad to say it's the rule rather than the exception.

If it's any comfort, it was this way 40 years ago too.

PolishMike
10-23-2009, 3:49 PM
If your not going to post what stores they were how do you expect them to get better?

SeanCasey
10-23-2009, 3:49 PM
I remember when my wife was wanting to buy an XD-45 right after Obama's election it was a pain trying to find one. Most places seemed pretty disinterested in helping. Some were helpful but just didn't have one. A small mom and pop store called Old West Guns in City of Industry was helpful and had one in stock and held it for me and even stayed open late for my wife to go down and purchase it. They probably arn't interested in OLL stuff at all but I feel they are a decent small FFL (and usually have some ammo in stock).

Bizcuits
10-23-2009, 3:50 PM
Yeap...

Dekker
10-23-2009, 3:53 PM
I've been insulted by employees before, usually not face to face but they'll always walk away before saying it. And it always involves how THEY expect me to spend MY money, regardless if what they are showing me is not what I want. I walked in once to look at a specific rifle and they'll placed another one in my hands and told me I should consider this one instead. Every time I tried to tell them "No let me see the one I want" they'll start telling me the specs and showing me how it works and how I'd be better off with this one. Finally I got tired and yelled "Dude I don't WANT this damn rifle!" and all the people turned around and the manager came over. I told him what had happened and he took care of me, but not before the employee walked away while muttering an insult.

I swear if he was standing behind the counter, I would have grabbed his face and smashed it against the display case. It's like going to a restaurant and when telling the waitress what you want, she keeps saying "No, you don't know what you want but I do so have this instead!"

I couldn't tell you the name because I honestly don't remember. I was bored while driving and stopped by this gun shop I had never heard of or seen before, and pulled in to see what they had.

bballwizard05
10-23-2009, 3:56 PM
I was at a gunstore the other day, small place, just me and the guy behind the desk. I was asking him intelligent questions about a few different handgun models trying to get his opinion on stuff. And during our talk he keeps looking up at the TV watching soaps!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! and then like three time during our talk he haulks a luggy into the trash... wow. Anyways needless to say, its like they all call each other every morning and discuss how they can F with us.

Mitch
10-23-2009, 4:05 PM
I remember when my wife was wanting to buy an XD-45 right after Obama's election it was a pain trying to find one. Most places seemed pretty disinterested in helping.

And gun stores are often an outsider's first contact with the shooting community.

No wonder we are so well loved out there.

Mitch
10-23-2009, 4:07 PM
I walked in once to look at a specific rifle and they'll placed another one in my hands and told me I should consider this one instead.

On the other hand, the last time that happened to me I ended up buying a Henry Golden Boy instead of a Marlin 39A. One of the best firearms purchases I have ever made.

Scratch705
10-23-2009, 4:26 PM
sure, but did that employee try to force it upon you to get the golden boy or did he bring it out along with the marlin and compare it with you?

i'm all for employees recommending me other rifles, but don't force your opinion upon me.

yellowfin
10-23-2009, 5:23 PM
I would guess the large amount of paperwork and bureaucracy probably gives them a bit of librarian's attitude. I recall one store owner saying it takes at least 50% of their time just doing paperwork and insuring compliance. Government literally stealing half of their time, their most precious resource.

a1c
10-23-2009, 6:05 PM
Gun store employees at medium to large gun stores (and some smaller ones) are IMHO possibly hurting the future of the Second amendment more than some bull**** laws already in effect.

Many of those guys are just as condescending, rude and snotty as those geeky indie video store clerks. I can't count the number of times I've heard a non-gun owner friend who was interested in purchasing or renting his first gun tell me about the disastrous experience he got, which completely turned him off, making them feel like gun owners were a club they weren't meant to be part of, and concurrently validating their stereotypical views of gun owners as a bunch of unpleasant rednecks.

We badly need to expand the gun owners base - and subsequently the 2A supporters base - and it's not going to happen as long as gun store employees treat newbies like crap. I don't know why that seems to be that way all too often.

k1dude
10-23-2009, 7:32 PM
I thought it was just me for the longest time. Then I realized they treat most people badly in stores. It didn't matter what state I was living in - the gun store employees attitudes sucked. And the stores wonder why they've lost so much business to online dealers. Why would I pay more to be treated so badly?

Greg-Dawg
10-23-2009, 7:37 PM
Quit your job, work at a gun store and come back to me.

ConcernedCitizen
10-23-2009, 8:55 PM
And gun stores are often an outsider's first contact with the shooting community.

No wonder we are so well loved out there.

Then there's the GS where I live named after the owner's dog. And on the TV commercials, he actually INTRODUCES the dog!

How's that for representing?:D

bruceflinch
10-23-2009, 9:07 PM
I went into Canyon Sports in Martinez yesterday. I was in the neighborhood & had some time to kill. Figured I'd buy a gun sock for a pistol.

So I go in & I'm checking out the gun socks. The Blowhard Zach & the kid are talking about some mundane BS & Zach wants to bet this kid he's right about whatever they are talking about. So in the first 30 sec, I heard the "F" word about 15 times, because these mental midgets have such a command of the English language.

Finally Zach notices me in the store. We've had a few words before. He goes into the back to avoid me. I look at the handguns in the display cases, & the kid helps me with my purchase.

Going in there twice a year is about 2 times too many...

Bruce
10-23-2009, 9:19 PM
Years ago, I went into a now defunct store in El Monte. They mostly sold surplus stuff and had some of those S&W Brazilian contract 1917 revolvers. I asked the clerk, a guy in his 50's to see one. He told me no because he was alone in the store, and couldn't see the front door if he went to case with revolvers in it. Besides, I might be setting him up for a robbery! If he went to the case on the opposite side of the store, "my pals" would run in aad take guns and ammo. I tried to reassure him by showing him my badge, but he told me I could have stolen it from some cop, and that I had better leave. Not knowing what that wing-nut might do if I didn't, I left. By the time I could get back by there when a sane person was behind the counter, they'd sold out of the S&W's.

dirtyJ
10-23-2009, 9:29 PM
Sounds like everyone needs a new gun store to take care of them :). I bet there's one in Woodland that will give you top notch service, and handle anything as long as it's legal :).

ar15barrels
10-23-2009, 9:35 PM
Years ago, I went into a now defunct store in El Monte. They mostly sold surplus stuff and had some of those S&W Brazilian contract 1917 revolvers. I asked the clerk, a guy in his 50's to see one. He told me no because he was alone in the store, and couldn't see the front door if he went to case with revolvers in it. Besides, I might be setting him up for a robbery! If he went to the case on the opposite side of the store, "my pals" would run in aad take guns and ammo. I tried to reassure him by showing him my badge, but he told me I could have stolen it from some cop, and that I had better leave. Not knowing what that wing-nut might do if I didn't, I left. By the time I could get back by there when a sane person was behind the counter, they'd sold out of the S&W's.

Federal Ordinance?

Dr Rockso
10-23-2009, 9:41 PM
The problem of the useless gun store has had an interesting side effect of creating gun nuts enthusiasts who rarely ever go to gun stores. Most of my guns are C&Rs from out of state (03 FFL) or modern guns transferred at a local "kitchen table" 01 FFL. I really have no interest in going to most gun shops, and until the Calguns booths came around had no desire to go to gun shows either.

Edit:
Guess I should add my "bad gun shop" story. I had just finished the 10-day on a shotgun at Reed's (the store, before it closed). My buddy had been looking for a specific 1911 that he was having a hard time finding, and they happened to have one sitting in their used case when I picked the shotgun up. After finishing all the paperwork on the shotgun I asked if I could see the 1911, and the employee asked if I was going to buy it. Told him I wanted to look it over for a friend who had been in the market for that specific model (which, by the way was nothing too special, sub-$1k pistol). Guy told me if I wasn't going to buy it I couldn't look at it, but I ought to send my friend in. Never stepped foot in there again, neither did my friend.

bballwizard05
10-23-2009, 9:54 PM
Its true that I will pick a small in house kitchen table FFL with a tiny selection over almost every gun store I have been to. Those in house ones are owned by gun enthusiasts, and they may have high prices, but other than ammo its worth it to me. Just for the conversation, and sense of inclusion they have. For anyone on the central coast let me recommend Herb crowley in santa maria.

bigstick61
10-23-2009, 11:19 PM
Some of the kitchen table guys actually have some darn good prices. My father actually bought an M1A from one who sold it to him at the price he got plus the fee FFLs charge, which was very low by California standards, the latter seeming to be the norm among the ones I've come across. They also seem much more willing to order or transfer guns from a wider variety of persons or places than many gun stores are (some stores won't order except from a handful of suppliers, which pisses me off, and then they want to charge a rediculous fee; no, thanks). There are some decent gun stores out there, though.

gotgunz
10-24-2009, 12:01 AM
You would have gotten better service over the phone if you were asking about a CZ instead (or a Rock Island)!


LOL

SJgunguy24
10-24-2009, 12:21 AM
The one I like is, "Hey, where did you get this POS airsoft crap?"

I bought it here last month, it wasn't crap then. What happened?

steelrain82
10-24-2009, 1:26 AM
Haha I asked the guy at my local shop about the beretta px4 and the keltec su16. The guy says you don't want either of those their made of plastic and plastic guns are crap. I glanced at the pistol on his hip and it was a glock. I asked him if plastic guns are crap how come he carries a glock? And then he says it's polymer not plastic. So I than left and spent my money on an enfield instead. I really hate that gun shop.

SickofSoCal
10-24-2009, 1:35 AM
Every gun store I have ever visited in California has sucked balls.

The guys behind the counter have always been non-helpful, lairs, and insulting. What's new?

Plisk
10-24-2009, 1:36 AM
Try this number.

714-744-3373
10am-6pm M-F

I think you'll find good customer service there.

Cokebottle
10-24-2009, 1:53 AM
I was very happy with Dave's in Berdoo. That's where I picked up my XD9 Service in '07. $30 for DROS, $25 for HSC, $625 OTD
Very helpful, no BS, no ignoring me, answered all questions, didn't try to talk me out of the XD, even when I showed interest in a 1911.

They don't allow Wolf ammo on the range.

Vanguard
10-24-2009, 6:12 PM
I stopped by the Ammo Brothers off the 15 today on my way back from Bass Pro Shops. They were pretty busy but as I was buzzed in, one of the guys at the counter greeted us (my wife was with me) in a friendly manner. As I was looking around, two seperate times someone asked me if I needed any help or wanted to look at anything. The staff was very cool and friendly. I only ended up buying some cleaning patches though.

+100 for Ammo Bros.


Edit: Oh, and they weren't spreading any FUD. I overheard a guy was asking a bunch of questions about an AR and the Ammo Bros guys were giving him all the correct info.

smle-man
10-24-2009, 8:00 PM
Went to Red Star Arms in Culver City long time ago. Asked to see a rifle. Clerk said it would cost me $20 to look at it. I waited for him to laugh and hand the rifle over. He was serious. Told me that the store was tired of tire kickers handling their firearms and not buying anything. Guess what? I didn't buy anything. I didn't go back in the store either. They're out of business. Wonder if the attitude had anything to do with it?

etaon
10-24-2009, 8:00 PM
I've had some good and bad experiences at gun stores (mostly good actually). One thing I've noticed that seems to be very common is I'll go in, stand there for a while with no one helping me, as I try and stare at them or get their attention. I'm not counting when they were helping other customers, they just didn't really seem to be doing anything.

For people who work at gun stores: take 2 seconds to tell the customer you'll be right with him and finish up what you're doing (if anything).

Sky_DiveR
10-24-2009, 8:22 PM
I've had some good and bad experiences at gun stores (mostly good actually). One thing I've noticed that seems to be very common is I'll go in, stand there for a while with no one helping me, as I try and stare at them or get their attention. I'm not counting when they were helping other customers, they just didn't really seem to be doing anything.

For people who work at gun stores: take 2 seconds to tell the customer you'll be right with him and finish up what you're doing (if anything).

That seems to be the current SOP. I'd go into a gunshop and just stand there or look at the guns thru the glass case... sometimes they help other people that walk up after me or they just walk around me and don't say a word. The ONLY gunshop that doesn't do that is, "The Gun Room" in Elk Grove... imagine that!

Wonder why I buy my guns PPT or out of state. Hmmmmm....

tuna quesadilla
10-24-2009, 10:06 PM
Try this number.

714-744-3373
10am-6pm M-F

I think you'll find good customer service there.

Good customer service? Maybe, on a good day. Good prices? Heck no. :\

Beelzy
10-25-2009, 6:10 AM
It'd be one thing if I was asking "SUP CUZ, I'M LOOKING TO GET A FOUR FIVE, WHAT YOU GOT IN STOCK SON?"

I'll bet you that would have actually worked.:p

I look like an A-hole, so I rarely get crap like that. But those rare times I do, I hand it right back with a fork.

Fire in the Hole
10-25-2009, 8:12 AM
I find the same indifferent attitudes at many of the booths at the big gun shows like Crossroads of the West. Typically the booth owner is busy talking to his wife, or another assistent he has at his booth, and not really paying much attention to you. They consider what they have to sale to be priceless, and what you have to sale or trade to be junk. Very elitist attitudes. I now make all my firearm and accessory purchases at Scheels in Sparks, NV. Sure have to pay to have it shipped to a FFL here, but it's worth it. All the guns are right out there in the sales floor. Not cable locks running through them. You can pick them up and smell them all you want. The sales staff is about thte neatest cleanest and helpful sales people I've ever met. Knowleable too. Excellent prices, no gouging. Hughe selection. If they don't have want you want, they call their central inventory and get it ordered for you pronto.

PonchoTA
10-25-2009, 9:16 AM
Every gun store I have ever visited in California has sucked balls.

The guys behind the counter have always been non-helpful, lairs, and insulting. What's new?
Try Uncle Paul's then :yes:

I've had nothing but great experiences with Paul and Eric both.

:cheers2:

.

Rob454
10-25-2009, 9:38 AM
II'll go in, stand there for a while with no one helping me, as I try and stare at them or get their attention. I'm not counting when they were helping other customers, they just didn't really seem to be doing anything.

For people who work at gun stores: take 2 seconds to tell the customer you'll be right with him and finish up what you're doing (if anything).

I used to do that. Wait till someone finally saw me standing there like a idiot came back from laughing with all their buddies from the back room ( probably taking bets how long they could make me wait)
Now if I see they're not doing anything then I simply say hey can I get some help here. Or hey let me see this gun. Some are shocked by my talking to them so they either snap to or they mumble and run in the back with some i gotta finish up with this customer ( no customer in sight and the phone hasn't rung)
I get tired of the elitist attitudes and I usually tell them off. I personally could care less and actually root for those places to go out of business. yeah we need FFL's bla bla bla. Sure I agree we need FFL and gun stores but these elitist attitude gun stores hurt us more than help us. I rather have fewer gun stores who know what theire doing than a ton of gun stores with elitist attitudes and fud spreading counter people. One bad experience at a gun store for a new gun owner usually turns that customer off from gun stores so they dont buy. MOST people tend to shop in their neighborhood stores so you will get local walk in traffic and if you treat that person right guess what. they will come back to shop there again. I know its baffling. Imagine treating a customer right and them coming back to buy from you again. It costs 3x as much to get a new customer than it takes to get a existing one to shop there again. A new customer may buy one gun and maybe some ammo from you while a existing one will buy another gun more ammo and accessories and probably order crap through you too simply because you make him feel good by the way you treat him. Granted you treat him like crap you not only lost a customer but theire gonna tell all their gun owner buddies abotu your crap attitude and they tell their buddies etc.

Gun store employees. If you don't know the laws STFU OR LEARN the laws and give out correct information rather than what you wish/want to be the information or what you choose to interpret the information to be. You're not a lawyer so don't act like one. Most people walking into your gun store have not one clue about the laws and they believe you ( the "expert" behind the counter)
Also if a customer walks in GREET them. NOTHING turns me off from a purchase than standing at a counter WATCHING you fart around doing nothing like I'm not even there. I dont mind waiting a reasonable amount of time but when you just flat out ignore me i get pissed.
When I have a customer walk up to me I either stop what Im doing or acknowledge theire there finish up ASAP and they get my UNDIVIDED attention.

To the gun store employees that know what they're talking about

Thank you for keeping our sport or hobby something we can still enjoy by keeping your doors open and treating us like family when we walk in the door.
There are a few shops I go to ( Ade's and Ammo Bros On Target)
There are other stores in my area but I simply dont go there due to the crappy elitist attitudes.

1GooDDaDDy
10-25-2009, 9:49 AM
I haven’t had a lot of experience over the years buying my firearms at gun stores.
Since Nov. 4th 2008 however, I’ve bought 4 new hand guns, (including my sweet Mossy 500 and all the spiffy grips/stocks and accessories for it), 2 AR “lowers” and assorted goodies from “Wild Bill’s” just down the road from me here in Elk Grove.

In all that time, I've always been treated with respect from these guys.
They answer all of my questions without that aggravating “roll of the eyes” attitude that makes you just want to jump over the counter and give the guy a "slap" up side the head.

If they’re not too crowded, we even have a conversation or two about 2nd Amend. “current events” and national politics.

5 ✭’s for their business.

And no, I don’t get any “kick backs” from them for posting this, I just appreciate good business practices and customer support from any shop that I frequent.

Just my 2¢.

P.S. I pick up my .308 lower that I ordered from them on the 1st to complete my AR .308 SASS build.

Not Over.

okimreloaded
10-25-2009, 9:53 AM
I called one gun store in sac yesterday to ask about getting a gun from a gunstore in another county shipped up to them. IT's an off list pps - I found out it must be face to face transfer -however I found that out on CALGUNS as none of the stores knew that.

Second, the guy told me, "yeah you can have them ship it up here, I think, unfortunately since you can buy the same guns from us it's a conflict of interest and our fees are prohibitively high for transfers, you'd be better off just ordering the gun from us."

I was frustrated because for one, he clearly had no idea what he was talking about and two - didn't want to help me. I just looked up a small ffl in the area who said he would CALL THE DOJ FOR ME and find out how to do the transfer and would only charge me 65 for the transfer opposed to the 100. Next gun I get, I'm just going to see if he can order it up for me. I'd pay more knowing it was going to a guy who would find out if he didn't know the answer.

Dangerpin
10-25-2009, 10:22 AM
Which gun store in Sac, so I can avoid them?

Cokebottle
10-25-2009, 1:47 PM
Second, the guy told me, "yeah you can have them ship it up here, I think, unfortunately since you can buy the same guns from us it's a conflict of interest and our fees are prohibitively high for transfers, you'd be better off just ordering the gun from us."
I had something similar from Turner's in Chino Hills, though not in such an a-hole way.

I asked if they did FFL from online sales, and she said that they did, but their FFL fee is $125+DROS+Tax, so it would be smart to compare local pricing vs online pricing.

Okay, that's fine. She didn't specifically recommend that I buy from them to avoid the FFL fee, she just recommended factoring that into the difference (though she didn't recognize the legality of the BB).
And that's cool, and Turner's FFL is pretty high. My buddy brought in a Ruger 556 through a shop in Newport for something like $60 total FFL and DROS.

Scratch705
10-25-2009, 1:58 PM
only reason a lot of FFL's charge very high transfer fees is to "punish" you for not buying from them, and to make money for almost doing nothing.

find FFL's that charge normal rates which is usually around the $50-70 range from what i've called around and emailed near me.

RedFord150
10-25-2009, 2:12 PM
Entreprise Arms is located in Irwindale and they are nice enough to publish their fees. They have their own Board on this forum. You might want to look them up.
I used a Pawn Shop in Ontario for one of my transfers. I remember they were pretty reasonable.
If the gun shops do not want to earn our business, maybe the Pawn Shops do...