employed at gunshop, bought gun elsewhere


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jashobeam
January 7, 2006, 06:16 AM
A few weeks ago I made up my mind to purchase a CZ P-01. The gun shop I work at does not have this gun in stock so, like any regular customer, I filled out a "Special Order" form. The next step in the process would be for the owner of the shop to let me know the price of the gun. If the price he quotes is acceptable, a percentage of the total cost is paid and then the gun is ordered. I submitted my request on December 23, and noting as I did so that there were already several other special order forms filed, some a week old. I was kind of surprised; I had figured that these were looked at and processed on a more or less daily basis. On January 5, my request form had not been touched. I had wanted to buy the gun at the shop I work at, NOT because I get a discount (which I do not) but because I wanted to be a loyal employee (yes, an $8/hr employee can be loyal) and imagined that it would be good PR to tell customers that I bought my gun there at the store. Also, I wanted to be like one of those happy, excited customers that I have the privilege of seeing actually buy the firearm of their choice. Obviously, if he had quoted me an unreasonable price I would have looked elsewhere.

CONTRAST:

I walk into Kerley's Hunting and Fishing on Stevens Creek Blvd. I'm talking to a clerk there about guns and books, and ask him about the CZ P-01. He immediately gets on the phone and gets me a price and finds out about availability. He tells me $505. I said, "Let's do it," and he filled out the order form. Simple. That's good customer service.

What my boss doesn't understand is that all those "Special Order" forms represent real people who have expressed a desire to become his customers. It's a big deal (for poor folks like me anyway) to actually decide to spend money on a new gun. I always get so happy for customers who are looking to buy guns. I'm always very patient because I know it's a big decision. They want to make the right choice and buy the gun they really want. I'll come into work and see a customer that I recognize standing at the sales counter and filling out paper work, and I'll go up to him and say, "Hey, all right! What'd ya decide to get?"

I'll be happy to get my new gun, but I'm sort of disappointed that I couldn't have had this experience in the gun shop I enjoy working at. My co-workers would've shared my joy as well. I guess I'll have to buy another gun!

The owner is too busy running the business to remember the business! Shame on him.

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whm1974
January 7, 2006, 07:07 AM
Since very if any gunshops will have the space to stock every item a customer would want, they should be able to order an item and tell how much and when they can get said item.

-Bill

dmftoy1
January 7, 2006, 07:45 AM
The local small mom&pop gun store that I try to give all my business has a reasonable number of handguns/rifles in stock but usually doesn't ever have anything that I want. When I ask them about a gun they immediately pull out the flyers and will quote me a price. If it's something that they think might have limited availability they get on the phone. They always charge a little more than other places but they get my business.

Have a good one,
Dave

Majic
January 7, 2006, 08:12 AM
You did tell the boss that the special order was for you and not a customer?

Demariana
January 7, 2006, 08:26 AM
You did tell the boss that the special order was for you and not a customer?

What Majic said.

Also did you point out the other forms to the boss? And offer to help with getting them processed?

Demariana

1 old 0311
January 7, 2006, 08:44 AM
I have had trouble special ordering firearms also. I guess they want to sell what they have in stock.

Kevin

SJG26
January 7, 2006, 09:21 AM
Step 1:
Go to Cabelas to handle the wide select of fine firearms.........try them for fit, finish,trigger pull - grill the staff for info.
Step 2:
Ask for cost---------------price almost always MSRP.---walk out of Cabelas.
Step 3:
Goes to local gunshop--------tell Jim I want a Sig model xyz--------in irridescent blue w/ nite sights...oh by the way---how soon can it be ordered and cost??

Step 4:
As usual, cost is very very good....Jim writes up sale and I have a new toy in 3-5 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

twency
January 7, 2006, 09:58 AM
The owner is too busy running the business to remember the business! Shame on him.I used to work in a (non-gun) mom&pop store like this. Owner couldn't be bothered to order stuff for employees or customers in a timely fashion. One of the reasons I stopped working there.
You did tell the boss that the special order was for you and not a customer?Shouldn't really matter. In a specialty store which can't afford to stock every last make, model, and finish of a particular product, special orders are an important source of revenue. Every customer's order is important, and should be treated as such. (Whether or not the customer is an employee of the store.)
Step 1:
Go to Cabelas to handle the wide select of fine firearms.........try them for fit, finish,trigger pull - grill the staff for info.
Step 2:
Ask for cost---------------price almost always MSRP.---walk out of Cabelas.You're perfectly within your rights to do this, but this kind of thing does bug me a bit. I worked at what you might call a mid-size store in our field, which had more stock than some of the other local guys, but less than the big mail-order outfits.

It always burned me when someone would come in, handle the merchandise, ask a ton of questions, learn all about how to use the product, then announce that he could get the product from so & so cheaper and leave. How come the customer didn't just examine the item there? In the case of the mail-order places, they didn't have local stores. Lower overhead, lower prices. In the case of the smaller stores, they carried just about no stock, so had lower overhead. The store where I worked had to charge a bit more because it was expensive to carry the stock. Sometimes it was a product available from a national retail chain, at a slightly lower price. Why didn't the customer just look at it there? "Those guys don't know anything. You guys are so much more knowledgeable." Somehow it doesn't dawn on these people that hiring knowledgeable staff costs more than hiring unskilled drones.

In order to encourage customers to buy from us despite higher prices, one of the keys would have been superior customer service. Unfortunately, management was a bit shortsighted in that regard, including in how they dealt with special orders, as I mentioned above. Despite the best efforts of employees, the owners had a way of sabotaging customer relations.

I realize Cabela's meets no one's definition of mom&pop, but that's not my point. Fondling one store's merchandise, taking up employee time, keeping other customers from the merchandise, then ordering somewhere else to save a couple bucks punishes the store which invests more in employee training and knowledge, diverse stock of merchandise, nicer facilities, etc. It's your right, but in the long run, it may not be in your own best interest.

___________
-twency

V4Vendetta
January 7, 2006, 10:03 AM
"It's a big deal (for poor folks like me anyway) to actually decide to spend money on a new gun. I always get so happy for customers who are looking to buy guns. I'm always very patient because I know it's a big decision. They want to make the right choice and buy the gun they really want. I'll come into work and see a customer that I recognize standing at the sales counter and filling out paper work, and I'll go up to him and say, "Hey, all right! What'd ya decide to get?" "


You sound like a ideal employee. Any chance your store is in the Western NC area?

erik the bold
January 7, 2006, 10:32 AM
Buy your boss a copy of Percy H. Whiting's The 5 Great Rules of Selling

Try to find the 1978 Dale Carnegie edition. Can be had on Amazon for as little as a $1 + shipping.

Try to make him read it..............:neener:

hksw
January 7, 2006, 10:36 AM
Personally, I've had pretty good service from my local shop. My dealer, when a price quote is requested by me on an item not in stock, would either get on line with his distributor and look up te price, calculate his cut, and give me the quote or, if the distributor does not have it or is on a dealer direct program and has to call the manufacturer, gets it in a day or two.

I do agree with most folks here that to be a good business, the owner should be following up on the request for quotes whether he likes it or not. However, it could be that he has received in the past numerous requests and have had very little return and now feels it is not worth the trouble. That type of mentality is wrong if you are running a business (i.e., any and every request should be treated as a probable purchase), but maybe he has just fallen into that rut.

axeman_g
January 7, 2006, 10:45 AM
sound to me like you need to put in a application at Kerley's.

6inch
January 7, 2006, 11:03 AM
I've found that it's just good business to try to keep your employees happy. They're not going to do a good job selling ,or any other job they have, if they're not happy with the boss.

Sounds like this owner has a thing or two to learn! :rolleyes:

TallPine
January 7, 2006, 11:43 AM
Sounds like the jackass that I used to work for ... but he is out of business now - the bank finally closed them down several years after I walked out, never to even buy a nail or faucet washer there again. They treated most customers and all employees like horse poop, and then got all huffy because the town wouldn't "support them" and would drive 50 miles to Billings instead.

One day I was finishing up the paperwork (bound book) after selling a $1000 rifle, and the "mom" of the mom & pop came over and chewed me out because I wasn't over in the clothing dept the instant that somebody walked in there :banghead:

You might as well be looking for a new job, as the business side of Darwin will eventually catch up to your employer.

gremlin_bros
January 7, 2006, 12:08 PM
i know the feeling when i ordered my first beretta i went to a local gun store id say mid size nice selection but the one i wanted wasnt in stock. so i special ordered it and was told 3 to 5 days. 3 weeks later still no gun i demanded my deposit back they said ten percent would be kept for restocking. i said restock what you dont even have the gun. long story short i was able to get a friend who is a lawyer to write them stating my intent to sue for the full deposit as well as the cort cost and lawyer fees needless to say they gave in paid the lawyer off and gave me a full refund trying to say it was all a big mix up. yeah right truth was they have done this to other customers and finialy got one who didnt just roll over.
in the mean time i went to a highschool friend who's dad has his ffl and a small shop about 30 miles away. i tell him over the phone what i want and he quots me a price and i say order it call me when its in no problem. (side note he also saved me just over 100 bucks as well. wish i had went to him first) 2 days actualy more like a day and a half he calls me it in. 1 hour later it in my hands and paid for he hands me a box of ammo and says let's head out back and see how it shoots. so off we go and its a tack driver needless to say i never went anyplace else after that untill he passed away. now after much looking i have found a small local shop that is prety much the same thing nice friendly dosent over charge on special orders and if i want to look at somthing and it will sell even if im not the one to buy it he orders it in and gives me a ring when its in so i can have first "crack" at it. now i have only dont this three times and bought two of the guns the third had a huge rough triggerpull that would have wrecked the shot. well he took it and reworked the trigger (hes a licenessed gunsmith as well) and sold it to sombody else who still got a good gun at a nice price.

beaucoup ammo
January 7, 2006, 12:40 PM
Start lookin'. Your boss will be one of the"poor folks" if he keeps this detached attitude. I've seen many a place go under for the simple reason that the ONLY thing that seperates one from the other is customer service.

That, and word of mouth.. can make or break you.

Take Care

bearmgc
January 7, 2006, 01:05 PM
A friend of mine, who used to manage a gun store, derived most of his business from customers who were disgusted with other gun shops. He was 100% customer service, and would even call people back with quotes, when he couldn't find what they wanted immediately. He left that store for a better job, and the "long distance" owner never knew why his store then began going in the red....?

Beetle Bailey
January 7, 2006, 02:31 PM
Wow. I guess I really didn't know how good I had it. :uhoh:

I bought my first two rifles from a small local shop (unfortunately they are now out of business) and when I went back in a few months later the owner remembered me and asked "How is that Mosin Nagant shooting? By the way, I just got a few more SKS's in, interested in getting a spare?" :cool: Right then I decided this would be my number one gunshop.

A few months after that, I went in to ask for a price on a CZ452 Lux. He said, "Write down all the info on the model you want and I will have a price for you tomorrow." I did just that and the next day called him. He gave me the OTD price which I agreed with. Then he said, "I knew you would, that's why I went ahead and already ordered it for you. It's on the way."

When the day came for me to start the DROS and begin my 10-day wait, I show up to the shop and the owner, John, said "I ordered two, so you can have your pick - I'll just put the other one on the rack." I examined both rifles and everything looked right, so I just picked the prettier one. :D

That little .22lr rifle is with me on almost every single range trip and I have allowed over a dozen people shoot it - all seemed impressed and a two even went out and bought their own CZ452 afterwards.

Ken

P.S. I agree with twency on not using the local shop to fondle a gun, then order it elsewhere to save a buck. Now, if the local shop is run by a jerk, that's one thing, but if you are getting good service from a shop, it would be a good idea to reward that good service with a purchase. Otherwise that shop might not always be there for you for future purchases.

P.P.S. The shop I mentioned in my post closed down because they couldn't get their FFL renewed after they moved the location of the shop.

f4t9r
January 7, 2006, 03:33 PM
You did tell the boss that the special order was for you and not a customer?
thats true But it
should not matter , sounds like bad customer service to me

newfalguy101
January 7, 2006, 03:53 PM
The guy has no excuse for not filling the special ORDERS, anytime I get someone wanting to spend money, I tell you what, I get the deposit and ORDER asap.

On the other hand, as for quotes, I have changed the way I do those as I got tired of looking for the best price, writing up the quote and hearing " thanks, one of these days I might get one"

Now I go to one source ( they have good prices on most everything I look at), quote the price of the gun + my cut, add an ESTIMATED S&H, and tell them that there will be tax added. I still get lookie-lous, but I dont spend all damn day trying to find the best price. When they place an order I then look for the best possible price and reflect MY savings in THEIR final price. Seems fair to me, and when they spend less than quoted they are happy.

NMshooter
January 7, 2006, 05:19 PM
Bwhahahaha!:D

jashobeam, you are not alone!:banghead:

Having the right employees and giving them the lattitude to get the job done is the difference between a good place to shop and bankruptcy.

You might be suprised at how many gun shops are just like yours...:eek:

byf43
January 7, 2006, 08:34 PM
jashobeam:

Unfortunately, too many businesses today are going the way that you say your boss is going. That's too bad.

My former supervisor (God Rest His Soul) always said to his employees,
"If you don't take care of your customers. . . . someone ELSE will!!"


*********************************

In closing. . . I've been reading a LOT on this site. GREAT forum!!!
I'd like to be a part of it, if you'll have me.

Keith

Standing Wolf
January 7, 2006, 09:04 PM
I walk into Kerley's Hunting and Fishing on Stevens Creek Blvd. I'm talking to a clerk there about guns and books, and ask him about the CZ P-01. He immediately gets on the phone and gets me a price and finds out about availability. He tells me $505. I said, "Let's do it," and he filled out the order form. Simple. That's good customer service.

I used to stop into Kerley's once or twice a month. I hardly ever left empty-handed. It was a gun shop whose people seemed to value my business.

JeepDriver
January 7, 2006, 09:14 PM
WOW!

I am amazed that you don't get any discount. Hell the shop I work at we order our own guns as we get them for cost! Plus free transfers on anything we buy online.

Lupinus
January 7, 2006, 10:07 PM
A lot of places give horrible customer service this is nothing isolated. The big places could care less cause a customer and maybe his friends loss doesn't effect their bottom line to much even if combined they spend several grand a year. And the small places? Well they don't really care either and are often grouchy. Knew butcher in PA once and if you wanted anything other then how he thought it had to be cause he's been a butcher for x number of years :rolleyes: oh heaven forbid. Ordered a prime rib from him once and he delivered it so screwed up I was ready to shove it where the sun don't shine if I didn't get my money back. He is no longer in buisness. Why these little mom and pop stores act the way they do I will never know. The big places dont give a rats bottom and they can afford to. The mom and pops often dont care either and they cant afford not to. Always amazes me.

SJG26
January 7, 2006, 10:36 PM
so I have no problem buying elsewhere-------------The whole Cabelas issue here was a list of broken promises and small-town politics.

If Cabelas was within 5-10% of another shop's cost---I would buy it!
But 20-30% MORE is just crazy.

The other shops carry no where near the inventory---so hands on is a plus.
And I'm close enough to go off peak----------I have never noticed that another customer was waiting while I browsed...................

jashobeam
January 8, 2006, 06:18 AM
I've read other threads here at THR about patronizing gun shops that provide good customer service. It's strange how my coworkers and I, who have the least to gain from the success of the business, work the hardest to develop relationships with the customers and to provide an easy-going atmosphere for anyone interested in becoming acquainted with firearms. It's a great gunshop/range because of the people who work there. They're regular guys. They don't act like you should feel privileged to hear them speak. If I had to work with the owner I would not work there.

BTW, if I had bothered the owner to tell him that I needed to have him order me a gun or quote me a price, he would have looked at me like I was stupid (he thinks he is very smart and that everyone else IS actually stupid) and told me to fill out a "Special Order" form. This is why I avoided this unnecessary and unpleasant step and simply filled out the form. IF he had even looked at the form he would have known it was for me (one of his employees) because my name was on the form where it says "customer name".

As employees we get free range time and can shoot the rental guns free of charge (ammunition and targets are not free). I have met some great customers in the four months that I have worked there; a few have been kind enough to invite me to shoot their guns with them.

This is not my only job, nor is it the main source of my income. I work there because I love guns and I really enjoy being around other people who love and appreciate guns (that's why I love THR). I have worked with customers in retail for nearly 20 years. I am a supervisor at a grocery store where I have worked for 16 years. I have learned the importance of treating every person like a valuable customer. Some of what I know I had to learn the hard and humbling way.

Something else that my boss doesn't understand: When I have money to spend on a gun, I need to hurry up and buy a gun or else I will end up squandering my gun money on rent and utility bills.

newfalguy101
January 8, 2006, 10:17 AM
When I have money to spend on a gun, I need to hurry up and buy a gun or else I will end up squandering my gun money on rent and utility bills.



Now THATS funny, I dont care who you are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D

Sir Aardvark
January 8, 2006, 10:44 PM
Every gun I have ever sold has been a "Special Order".

Running my gun business off of my kitchen table did not leave much room for a massive inventory.

My customers would state that they wanted to purchase a XXXX, model XXXX in .40S&W, and ask "Can you get it, and how much?".

I would usually let them know within an hour, and I would make it a point to find the cheapest wholesaler and pass the savings along.

I guess people like me are hard to find........

Hobie
January 9, 2006, 11:49 AM
I had much the same experience when looking for a New Vaquero. Finally I went to a shop owned by a high school friend (female) who doesn't actually work at the store (it is one of several businesses she owns). The young lady behind the counter agressively pursued the sale and had the gun ordered within 5 minutes. I put my money down, returned 2 days later and had the gun. Why no other store would do this, even when asked directly by me standing there with cash in hand (literally) is beyond me. One of these shops calls me by name as I walk in. You would think that they would get the idea that the main part of their business is SERVICE.

BTW, not all $8 an hour employees are as loyal as you are.

Jeep274
January 9, 2006, 01:17 PM
Every gun I have ever sold has been a "Special Order".

Running my gun business off of my kitchen table did not leave much room for a massive inventory.

My customers would state that they wanted to purchase a XXXX, model XXXX in .40S&W, and ask "Can you get it, and how much?".

I would usually let them know within an hour, and I would make it a point to find the cheapest wholesaler and pass the savings along.

I guess people like me are hard to find........

Yes, people like you are hard to find. How did you get your business? Did you advertise, were you listed in the yellow pages, word of mouth? I recently found a local guy to do my transfers and I believe he will order anything as well, but it took me a few years to find him and that was thanks to a board like this.:)

Stiletto Null
January 9, 2006, 05:32 PM
I love the gunshop I go to (shameless plug for Raleigh THRers: PDHSC (http://www.pdhsc.com)), great staff, great service, etc. etc..

I asked for a quote on a CZ 452 Lux, got a number back a few hours ish later.

ctdonath
January 9, 2006, 09:16 PM
How about starting a gun shop totally devoted to special orders? Few places carry what I want, nor have the expertise to knowledgeably address obscure questions about models & options. Rather than carrying inventory which few want - and considering there's a multi-day Brady delay in many jurisdictions - focus on information: answering every question a customer asks, and getting delivery in fast. I know something like it can be had from many stores, and may sound like a glorified kitchen-table shop, but is just a degree of niche I haven't seen fulfilled yet. Yes, fondling guns on the rack is important - but that's what other stores provide to varying success.

Almost talking myself into it. "Honey, would you object if I opened a gun shop next month?"

Gotta say: any shop that provides such bad service that employees go elsewhere for it is in trouble.

Stiletto Null
January 9, 2006, 09:34 PM
You know, that's a really good idea, if the demand's there. All you would need would be a small storefront and a big-ass safe. I don't know what the requirements are for an FFL, though.

newfalguy101
January 9, 2006, 11:05 PM
Thats basically what I do, I carry only a very few items in inventory at any given time.

The problem is that most people want to be able to fondle the merchandise or at least put their hands on some kind of gun when they visit a "gunshop", or at least I do.

The small shops that dont carry merchandise, dont get much business from me and never did simply because I was there to BUY something, NOT order it.

Besides its never as much fun perusing a catalog as it is to handle the guns.

just my obversations

gonzo_beyondo
January 11, 2006, 12:51 PM
Interesting thread! Made me stop lurking and post for once ;)

I wanted/wished to enter this hobby for a long time. As it stands, I don't have any friends locally who are into firearms whatsoever. Buffalo, NY does not seem to be the ideal place for gun owners.

Anyways, the final straw was witnessing Katrina, and knowing that I'm also in a "welfare state" where looting/rioting seems to be just a pin-drop away at any given time... I don't feel comfortable being unable to defend my household.

The biggest obstacle in gun ownership was not knowing anybody, unclear laws, and general lack of knowledge on how to proceed. I guess I was "gun shy" :o

The forums, this and a few others, provided lots of info... but, I still needed a good FFL dealer, as the gunshops and gunshows here are very overpriced, and not at all customer service oriented. That is, unless you're loaded and spending like mad on whatever they tell you is "good". That's not me ;)

I found a listing on, Gunsamerica I think it was, for a guy just around the corner. I called him up... and we must have spent about 2hrs. discussing laws and legalities, and firearms in general too. He's a really nice guy!

Since, I've done multiple transactions with him. Not for everything, the internet often offers better prices than his "cost" etc... but we both understand that and he's OK with it... I help him find new sources and better prices too.

He's happy with the $25 transfer fees, as doing enough of those keeps him in ammo, which is why he's in business... to help support his own hobby... not to make a fortune off of unwealthy guys like me. He does his best to beat anyone else's price, and sometimes he can, sometimes not, nonetheless he'll still be there for ya to transfer it for $25

And no problems getting price quotes, or things ordered, or fast and good service of any sort, this guy is tops. :) He has turned out to be more of a friend than just a "dealer". I've been thinking about leaving this state, but he's one aspect of living here that I'd really miss.

There should be a central list someplace of "The Good Ones" to deal with. It would make it easier for new guys to get started in this hobby if they could find an honest knowledgeable dealer to talk with.

Rezin
January 11, 2006, 01:47 PM
My biz in not gun related at all, but about 40-50% of my business is from special orders.................

zahc
January 11, 2006, 02:55 PM
I'm amazed how hard it can be to spend money some places.

Nail Shooter
January 11, 2006, 03:18 PM
I would never have this problem because I would likely never special order a gun--IF I HAD TO PAY FOR IT IN ADVANCE, and did not have right of refusal.

Have seen too many NEW rifles w/ chatter in the bbl rifling, poor wood, or horrible triggers in handguns, scratches, etc. for me to ever buy sight unseen.

NS

entropy
January 11, 2006, 03:56 PM
I buy guns at other shops all the time....but they are used milsurps, which we don't have too many of.;)

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