More gun shop idiocy


October 11, 2007, 04:41 PM
So I'm looking for a Sig 556 and consulting Sig's website they list a place I know as a stocking dealer for thier rifles. Place is large locally well known outfitter shop.

"Hi I'm calling to see if you have any Sig 556's in stock"


"SigSauer 556"

"What model"

"556 - it's a rifle"

"Hold on"

After several minutes on hold....

"I have a Weatherby"


"A Weatherby - in .223"

"What about the Sig 556?" :uhoh:

"I only have the Weatherby in .223"


Well I guess I'll just come in and get that one then - because what the hell you've seen one .223 you've seen 'em all right!


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October 11, 2007, 04:45 PM
That was both sad and funny at the same time. Kind of like the who's on first base and who's on second routine.

"Hi I'm calling to see if you have any Sig 556's in stock"


WHAT? is not a proper response.
If he had any social or proper retail skills, the correct response is below.

" Can you help me out, is that a pistol or a rifle? what is chambered in, ? oh, .223? ,thanks, let me see if I have it in stock or can special order it for you?"

HERE IS WHAT BOTHERS ME THE MOST!!!!!!!!!!!:banghead::banghead:
If he didn't have it in stock, why not offer to special order it for you? Is he retarted to turn money away?:banghead:

October 11, 2007, 04:56 PM
I had a similar experience calling a local shop.
"Hi, do you have any AR-15 lower receivers in stock?"
"The lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle. Do you have any?"
"I don't know what that is."
"Thanks, bye."

And yes, this conversation took place in 2007 and the place sells plenty of guns. More of a hunting shop than a gun shop, but they sell plenty of pistols, rifles, etc. Oh well. Us kids and our new-fangled plastic black rifles. How long ago did Colt start selling the Sporter? 40 years ago? It's routinely on the covers of gun rags, not to mention full-page ads. Gun shows have dozens of them.

Gotta love retail.

October 11, 2007, 05:03 PM
perhaps he thought you meant a Sig rifle in 5.56 and offered you a rifle in .223 since he didn't have a "Sig rifle in 5.56"

October 11, 2007, 05:21 PM
I just went through a similar thing at a local outfitter. How these guys get to be called "experts" I will never know, because they sure are not experts with guns. I ask, "may I see that Browning Buckmark behind you." "Ummmm, hmmm, ummm, the wwwhat? " As he starts to reach for a Taurus revolver." "No, no, the Browning...the .22" Guy runs hand up and down the case like he's reading braile. Finally, his hand goes to it. I said "yes! that one," with a sigh. "Of course he instead moves past it and picks up a Ruger" :cuss:

I don't get it. I mean, nobody knows everything, but I could tell you what's what by make, model and basic specs at least.

Hmmm, perhaps I should become a consultant and make my living in firearms. After all, Tom Knapp (of Benelli) says if you do something you love, you'll never work another day in your life. He was talking about making a living at the hobby.

Anyone else have this idea? How hard can it be?


October 11, 2007, 05:28 PM
It's retail just like any other unfortunately. 99 times out of 100 if I go into an Autozone or Advanced Auto or anything similar, I get nothing but blank stares when I ask for almost anything.

Me: "Hi I need an alternator for my 99 Corvette"
Them: " which manufacturer is that?"
Me: "Ummm....Chevy?"
Them: "Oh okay...2 door or 4 door?" (or the ever popular, is that a 4 or 6cylinder)
Me: "..."

Seems simple to me (Corvettes being probably the most recognizable V8 2 door for the last 50 years or so) but some people just don't know anything about cars. Same formula applies here.

Just makes me glad to have Four Seasons here in Woburn, MA. They are amazingly helpful, useful, and have prices comparable to online sales.


Standing Wolf
October 11, 2007, 05:38 PM
How these guys get to be called "experts" I will never know, because they sure are not experts with guns.

You don't often get much retail expertise for retail wages.

October 11, 2007, 05:48 PM
At a major shop in Fort Worth that is rumored to have prices less expensive than soil..

Me: How much are you guys selling that Kel-Tech SU-16 for
Them: **looks at wall**
Me: The folding rifle
Them: ** Looks at wall some more**
Me: On the right side, top..... Vertical.
Them **...............** Oh, that? That's used.

October 11, 2007, 05:58 PM
To be fair, even knowing what I know now about pistols and rifles, it's not enough. This time last year, I couldn't tell you that AR's had uppers and lowers. But I just sell shotguns and 22 rifles in a major discount retailer. It's not like I'm trained in what I'm selling, just in what not to screw up to avoid jail-time (and most of that I learned myself).
Especially at sports shops (places that sell things other than guns) you're going to get at least one worker that is just filling a spot, not necessarily knowing anything. At an actual gun store, I'd expect better, but a lot of those guys that actually know something aren't the best service people. It's a rare breed that both knows guns and has good customer service skills.

October 11, 2007, 06:01 PM
Lighten up.

The profit on new firearms is between 15 and 20 %, out of which the owner of the place has to pay the sales staff a glorious salary between 10 and fifteen dollars an hour, probably with no benefits and no paid holidays. In fact, since it's retail, the sales staff can expect to work many holidays while everyone else gets to go hunting and shooting.

In return for which, the salesman has to know and understand federal and state gun laws, and the procedures needed to comply with them. He is expected to have knowledge of every rifle, shotgun, revolver, and pistol made between right now and roughly 1875. He is expected to know something about the exterior ballistics of the various cartridges all of these guns fired. He is expected to know something about the different applications for the ammunition: self defense, plinking, target competition, small game hunting, large game hunting, pheasant hunting in New York, pheasant hunting in Nebraska, varmint hunting, what do you mean this ammunition is dangerous to fire, etc. He is also expected to know something about shooting the various guns, and the sights used. he is expected to understand the processes used to make the guns, the steels and alloys therein, and the optics that are used with the guns. He is also expected to know how to the benefits and drawbacks to the various types of sights, and what kind of coatings and engineering are used to build them.

Add to that a smattering of game laws in a hunting shop, or general history in other shops, and just think for a minute about whether that is worth $400 or $600 a week.

The guy didn't know what was a Sig 556 and suggested another rifle in the same caliber. So? If that's the worst thing you've confronted this week, you had a pretty good week.

October 11, 2007, 06:22 PM
I was selling a Lee Enfield 303 for $100 bucks and a guy called me and asked about it and ended the conversation by saying :well, I kinda wanted one new in the box".............

At Wholesale Sports a couple years ago, I ordered two Rem mountain rifles and two 4x12 Leupold scopes with rings and bases....about $2800. worth. Enroute to get them, my buddy asks if I could pick him one up in 25-06....

I get this stuff and ask the guy if he had one in 25-06. He said no but the other store might have one that he could get....I said ok. He says he didnt have time to call them to find out. I asked if I could call them. He told me to use the payphone outside. I left the rifles and scopes and rings on the counter and walked out. He runs up to me in the parking lot and asks why I didnt buy the rifles and scopes. I told him. He asked me "what should I do with them"?

I told him to spray a little G96 on the end of the barrel and force it up his arse.

I'm sure that we have the dumbest clerks in our gun shops. But at $8.50 per hour, you ain't gettin' Jack O'Connor neither......

October 11, 2007, 06:30 PM
Sig226, I just read your list of what the guy is expected to know, and I know most of that stuff - and I'm a freakin' lawyer who doesn't deal with guns for my job at all!!

On top of that, the shop is a stocking Sig Rifle dealer!!!! I certainly don't expect him to know how many guns are available in .416 Rigby, but gimme a break! I'm asking him about a gun the store stocks!!!!!!!!!!

Oh and the icing on the cake is that the store stocks Bushmaster and a few other black rifles and this guy tells me the Weatherby is the only .223 there - I KNOW there are at least 1/2 dozen other .223's in that shop.

The worst thing that happened to me this week is hardly fodder for this board, but the state of gun shops certainly is. If the worst thing that happened to you this week was reading my OP, you had a pretty good week.


October 11, 2007, 07:39 PM
Well, It's not just the gunshop employees, it's some of the customers, too.

I'm standing at the back of a local shop, talking to the owner about a really nice Mauser Broomhandle that he had taken on trade. It was sharp, had matching serial numbers, shoulder stock, the whole nine yards.

Yuppie crew-cut (YCC) walks up: Wow, I saw one of those in a Clint Eastwood flik.

Owner: Yeah?

YCC: So, is it for sale?

Owner looks at me: Yeah, if this fellow doesn't want it.

Me: You know anything about these?

YCC: Yeah, they're like awesome machine guns.

Before the owner and I can say a thing he asks the owner, "Can I order a new one in 500 S&W?"

We offered to sell him that one for $250,000, and I swear, for a minute he was really thinking about it!!!

Tom Servo
October 11, 2007, 08:01 PM
226, thanks for chiming in. One of these days, I'm going to start a thread about the jerks we deal with on a daily basis.

Everyone has their own area of expertise. I'm a pistol and European military rifle guy. We have shotgun guys, hunters and folks from other specialties. The plain fact is, there's a seemingly infinite amount of information out there, and nobody can be expected to know it all.

Maybe the OP just got a guy who didn't know about the 556. Most shops don't stock them, and maybe he hadn't seen one yet. No reason to get unpleasant or superior about it.

Heck, until a few weeks ago, I'd never seen a gun chambered in .45 Winchester Magnum. We learn new things every day. That's the nice part about the job. Dealing with people who have advanced knowledge of some niche specialty (what cartridge for shooting an African, not Asian, Rhino as it charges you at exactly 40mph at exactly a 47deg angle) and choose to be jerks when you don't know what they do is the ugly part of the job.

Our daily grind involves acting as instructor, salesman, appraiser, range officer, amateur legal advisor and shrink. On top of that, we have to deal with attempted straw purchases, ATF plants and the fact that, statistically, there is going to be blood shed on the premises at some point.

Really, try to see things from other people's point of view before getting an attitude. As far as, "what?" as a response, you try carrying on a conversation when there's a shooting range 20 feet over, and the person calling has a bad cellphone connection :mad:

October 11, 2007, 08:03 PM
Standing Wolf

You often don't get much retail expertise for retail wages.

SW, I believe you nailed it! You pretty near always get what you pay for. You don't ask the McDonalds counter help what their secret is for fries, do you? At the same time, a certain level of competience is suggested by the very product they sell. I expect them to know which end of a gun is dangerous, but beyond that, you're on your own. :uhoh:

October 11, 2007, 08:31 PM
I might be missing the boat, as I have never seen or heard of a Sig 556, but nowhere in the conversation in the original post did GRANUALE mention .223. So why did the salesman offer a Weatherby in .223 since that was the only rifle he had chambered in .223? How did the salesman decide that the rifle should be chambered in .223?

October 11, 2007, 08:39 PM
Oakville Shooter-
The "556" in the Sig 556 stands for 5.56mm NATO, .223 Rem is the civilian version of the 5.56 NATO. That's probably where the sales guy got the .223 connection. Not a complete jump in logic. But annoying that he would offer another completely different firearm than what was requested.

October 11, 2007, 08:40 PM
So why did the salesman offer a Weatherby in .223 .223 rem is generally considered to be the same as 5.56mm by some people

October 11, 2007, 09:02 PM
Thanks guys. I definitely understand the 5.56 NATO/.223 and 7.62x51/.308 deal. I just didn't know anything about this particular rifle, so I didn't know what it is chambered in. I am now guessing that this is on of those "evil black rifles":neener:

October 11, 2007, 09:54 PM
I had a similar experience calling a local shop.
"Hi, do you have any AR-15 lower receivers in stock?"
"The lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle. Do you have any?"
"I don't know what that is."
"Thanks, bye."

I've had that exact same experience. The shop owner asked me if it was legal to own.

October 11, 2007, 10:47 PM
Firearm sales can be a fairly high risk, low yield buisness. Many of the owners/partners I have dealt with have taught me a lot, and are very knowledgeable and passionate about firearms. OTOH many of the sporting goods store employees are merely assigned to the gun department, but hey, that is where the good price comes from. My little brother works at a big outdoor store in their fairly sizeable gun department, his coworkers include, a former marine armorer, an older man who holds a couple dozen trophies for john Garand, IPSC, and CASS competitions, and a guy that has several pictures of himself, his rifle/revolver/shotgun and kneeling behind basically nearly every critter that walks, runs, swims or flies in North america. Sometimes there can be an honest misunderstanding. Ask the hunter about the newest tacticool plastic wonder 9 and he will scratch his head, and promptly call the marine over. There is a huge wealth of specialized info there, but to the untrained observer, they may think "this guy is clueless"

October 11, 2007, 11:11 PM
You get what you pay for. You dont pay workers then you dont get smarts. Its not only the gun industry. Its everywhere.

October 11, 2007, 11:22 PM
No one who knows jack about guns would simply suggest a buyer take any other gun just because it is chambered in the same caliber as the requested gun. If they do, they don't belong working in a gun shop. PERIOD. No amount of specialization, confusion, or any other reason is an acceptable excuse for that kind of poor performance. Honestly you guys who defend this ridiculous customer service boggle the mind.


October 11, 2007, 11:29 PM
*** Spelling Nazi Alert ***

Is he retarted to turn money away?

Not quite as much as seeing you spell RETARDED the way you did. :uhoh:

Wes Janson
October 11, 2007, 11:34 PM
Erik, 226, thanks for helping to explain the other side of the equation. One minute I may be discussing the specific choices and differences in the realm of .50 BMG projectiles for long distance shooting, and then two minutes later find myself trying to help a customer who wants a "forty-millimeter pistol like in the movies".

I once had a customer ask to see which .223 match loads we carried, and when I suggested that he might get better performance from 77gr Black Hills, he very casually, and quietly mentioned that he competes at Camp Perry. On the other hand, I've watched shooters try to beat the bolt handle of a semi-auto against the wall to close the bolt on an empty mag because they didn't (even after demonstration) understand the concept of a bolt hold-open.

It's just truly staggering to consider how much information a person must know in order to be able to field all of the questions one inevitable faces. Let alone the amount of hands-on trigger time necessary to be able to give informed advice...

October 11, 2007, 11:57 PM
I was in our local "big" gun store here in Charlotte, Hyatt's Gun and Coin a few years ago.

I pointed to a .22 copy of the PPSh-41 with a drum magazine and said "I'd like to look at that one with the drum magazine."
The clerk puts his hand over the H&K MP5K with a stick mag that's hanging above it and says "This one?"

:scrutiny: :banghead:

fast eddie
October 11, 2007, 11:57 PM
"I have a Weatherby"


"A Weatherby - in .223"

"What about the Sig 556?"

"I only have the Weatherby in .223"
What's the big deal? He didn't have what was requested and suggested an alternative. Just a working stiff doing his job; cut him some slack.
I'm sure he would have ordered one for you if you had asked.

October 12, 2007, 12:07 AM
*** Spelling Nazi Alert ***

Is he retarted to turn money away?
Not quite as much as seeing you spell RETARDED the way you did.
good eyes there. I missed that!

October 12, 2007, 12:24 AM
MMMMMMMMMMMM Many good points here. 7 months ago I never worked in a shop, now I do every other weekend. If I'm working on your forklift in my real job you are paying my company nearly $100/hr. I don't get but 1/5th of that. I take around a $12/hr cut in the store enjoying helping people in the shop and make a little extra on the side.

I have just as much responsibility on both jobs, better chance of jail time in one, and don't make a lot of $$$$.

I shoot IPSC, hunt deer and reload pistol ammo. I skip most artical's on weatherby's and the high end stuff, over under shotguns, big bores in general are not in my league but I have customers that like to order guns and ammo in these so I try but I'm sure they know more than I do. When this happens I play student and don't talk 1911's with them since they don't care that I know more.

It goes both ways, life's to short. Breath deeply.


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