I Got a Job at the Local Gun Shop!


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colemanw
February 24, 2009, 08:20 AM
I finished my masters degree six months ago just as the economy tanked and jobs dried up... It has been extremely frustrating not finding work... After all, you cant feel like a man if your not producing!

I got a call from the store owner this morning seeing if I was interested, (hell yes!) Its not exactly what I went to school for but it will keep me in the black while weathering the economic storm!

I couldn't imagine a more fun job, sure beats burger flipping :D

Any advice from the pawn and gun owners out there? I like the business, the owner, and my new co-workers, known them for years. The owner is really helping me out and I want to do right by him.

I understand how pawn works, most common calibers, scatter gun chokes, and all the basics-

Any insider, quirky, things to consider? How to deal with drugged out or otherwise skunky pawn customers?

Any advice or thoughts would be welcome. Thanks- :p

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bannockburn
February 24, 2009, 10:38 AM
colemanw

Well one thing comes to mind; you don't want to be your store's best customer. I worked part time at a gunshop while I finished school and tried to find something in my career field. It was difficult but I did manage to fight off the temptation to turn my paycheck back over to the owners.
Some more serious stuff: you really have to aware of your surroundings and the people who come through the door. You may know some of them, but the vast majority may be total strangers to your location. Keep on eye on everyone as well as looking out for your fellow co-workers. We always carried while we were in the store, and had several more guns discretely placed in strategic locations behind the counter if the need arose. It never did, but you have to be prepared for that possibility. Absolutely no straw deals (I don't care how close of a relative they are to the actual buyer!), no sales to anyone under the influence (actually we wouldn't even show a gun if somebody was intoxicated or acting strange), and at the first sign of improper gun handling, the gun was taken away from the customer and they were told to leave. Zero tolerance for any sort of foolish or improper behavior. We also used a triple check system after the paperwork was filled out (i.e. we checked each others forms and then a final check by the acting manager), to keep clerical errors to a minimum. Hope this helps.

Sam1911
February 24, 2009, 11:10 AM
One thought:

Try to be a light in the darkness when it comes to safety. As is often recorded here at THR, gun shops are second only to gun shows when it comes to poor muzzle discipline.

Of course you have to remain polite, but use the bit of situational authority that you have while standing behind the counter to insist on proper safety procedures.

1) Check that every gun is clear as you pass it to the customer.
2) Pass it to him/her cylinder open or slide locked back, bolt open, etc, and with the muzzle at the floor.
3) When they return it to you, clearly and visibly check that it is STILL clear before putting it back in the case.
4) Develop a repertoire of "muzzle" directives, ranging from gentle and polite to quite direct, and never hesitate to use them with ANYONE who sweeps you or others in the store.

You will pi$$ some folks off with this. Who cares? If they take offense it only displays their own ignorance and inexperience. You WILL impress upon a lot of young/new folks the importance of these concepts. And you just might keep yourself or someone else from getting shot someday.

Believe it or not, you are stepping into the shoes of the "professional" in a lot of folks' eyes. Use that authority to do some good.

-Sam

P.S. -- Learn to say "I don't know." Always resist the urge to fill someone's ear with a bunch of hogwash or speculation. It may be peeing against the tide, but try not to contribute to the misinformation that flows so freely in some shops.

CoRoMo
February 24, 2009, 11:55 AM
There are three ways to do a job.

The right way.
The wrong way.
and
The boss' way.

Always choose the latter.

MT GUNNY
February 24, 2009, 12:01 PM
Ya, Loose the Preconception of what a Pawn store Customer is!!

I would suspect that during these Economic time alot of People Frequent Pawn shops more often, Including Myself!

I am Not a Drugged out Skunky Person as you so Elegantly Put it!!

See this thread http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=430536

I_AM_LEGEND
February 24, 2009, 12:02 PM
big discounts for THR members right???

ants
February 24, 2009, 12:06 PM
Go to that thread on Worst Lies I've Been Told at a Gun Store.
Become familiar with the behavior of idiots behind the counter.
Don't do what they did.

The best thing I hear from a guy at the gun counter when I ask a question that he doesn't know: "I'm not sure, let's find out."

slim76
February 24, 2009, 12:08 PM
Just a few things that have bothered me when dealing with staff at gun shops:

-Don't criticize calibers..."Why the #%@# would you want a .218 bee?"[Then staff condescendingly tries to push patron into a gun he has in stock]
-Remember people don't have to have reasons for buying guns. And don't make up reasons in there presence..."I bet she's going to shoot her boyfriend with it...well, are you mad at your boyfriend?"
-If you don't know about a specific gun, don't make stuff up...Patron: "Yeah, I was looking for an L.W. Seecamp .32.", Staff:[Thinks hard for a moment and then says dismissively]"I've only ever seen one of those in my entire life and it was $5000.00 and we don't sell class III weapons here."
I have personally observed or experienced the above examples.
The gun shops I go back to have staff who are friendly, safe and want to sell guns to men and yes even to women too.
Good luck, it sounds like a fun job.

Hungry Seagull
February 24, 2009, 12:19 PM
I am one of those customers who like Gunshops. As per the handle I chose I flit from spot to spot looking for tidbits. I usually find something good in gunshop.

Ive had good luck with shop folks most of the time, just stay on topic regarding whatever gun or something you are seeking or questions if you dont know.

Ive asked some really basic questions from time to time refreshing my memory, some of the questions Ive asked have tested the patience of some gun shop folks. However, they have been very gracious.

I dont do Pawn shops, dont know anything about them and avoid them but.. I went into one for the first time seeking out a specific ammo. They were nice enough but.. I think a little hardened from the less than... desireable customer base that must have gone into there.

Dont let yourself get jaded and hardened to the druggies or those that are not worth your time. Yer on the store's clock and if you are good to your customers, they will come back and maybe refer you to others.

I asked one Shop person specifically once recently "Are you a GUNSMITH" His reply was straight forward "No sir! I am not." without getting all puffed up or somehow being insulted. I will be returning to get more stuff there because of the good experience there.

Long ago went into a gunshop in a tiny town in a small rural area looking over handguns. This fella had a stack of handguns, I find myself being herded towards the smallest way over in the end of the case. I dont wish to say anything bad but the weapons did not have that solid feel that I crave. Maybe he read me as a shrimp and not a hauler of steel coil at the time I dont know.

Anyway, enjoy your Gunshop employment and please.... take that paycheck and bank it. Dont spend it back into the store if at all possible. My spouse once worked at a place and made very good money unfortunately well over half of it went back into the store because it was SSOOOOO convient to pick up some milk and bread just prior to leaving for the day.

whew.

Nugilum
February 24, 2009, 12:40 PM
Congrads colemanw! We can all tell you're pretty stoked about your new job!

Since everyone else is giving advise, here's mine (since I worked at a local gun shop in Albuquerque for 5 months):

1.) You're going to meet some incredible people. Many will be ignorant to the gun world (especially now since the previous national election). You can help these people, especially in the realm of safety.

2.) Every once in a while, possibly up to once a week, you'll have to deal with "the Village Idiot". This will tax your patience to no end, but you'll soon master the skills for diplomacy when dealing with him/her/them. They don't teach this skill in college, but it's actually a very important trait to learn.

3.) DO WHAT THE BOSS SAYS! - Enough said.

4.) Always stay alert. Be aware that not everyone that walks in the door is your friend. I ended up catching someone stealing ammo from the front, and it turned out to be for a handgun the guy had on him. That was a fun day! Know how security is managed at work. Is there a codeword to get everyone in the shop on high alert? Ours was "Heads up!"

5.) The best way to prepare yourself and become a true asset to the store is to search THR for "dumb customers", "dumb clerks", "lies from gun stores", etc. These are recounted events that have actually angered THR members. Read them and take their lessons there to heart.

My best advise and biggest hope for you is to re-iterate what Sam1911 said. Teach safety to the masses! Due to the taboo that exists around guns in today's culture, gun safety has not been adequately taught in over 20 years (Sheriff Woody in Toy Story didn't have a firearm!)

OK I'm done preaching. Sorry... :o

[off soap box]

Norinco982lover
February 24, 2009, 01:01 PM
Have fun.

Treat everyone like you would want to be treated.

Be prepared.

~Norinco

KBintheSLC
February 24, 2009, 01:07 PM
I finished my masters degree six months ago just as the economy tanked and jobs dried up... It has been extremely frustrating not finding work

I'm glad I'm not the only one. Just finished my MBA in December of '08... still stuck at the same company working for the same lousy wages. Lots of applications out there but no bites yet.

As for working at the gun shop... thats a good idea. One of my favorite shops is hiring. I may just have to apply.

CoRoMo
February 24, 2009, 01:22 PM
I'd imagine that it will sort of be like working at a liquor store.

It seems like an awesome place to work at first, but with time, constantly over-scrutinizing every customer to cover your butt and continuing to catch customers trying to get away with something illegal becomes something too detestable to endure from day to day.

Liberty1776
February 24, 2009, 02:39 PM
Try to be a light in the darkness when it comes to safety. As is often recorded here at THR, gun shops are second only to gun shows when it comes to poor muzzle discipline.

Of course you have to remain polite, but use the bit of situational authority that you have while standing behind the counter to insist on proper safety procedures.

1) Check that every gun is clear as you pass it to the customer.
2) Pass it to him/her cylinder open or slide locked back, bolt open, etc, and with the muzzle at the floor.
3) When they return it to you, clearly and visibly check that it is STILL clear before putting it back in the case.
4) Develop a repertoire of "muzzle" directives, ranging from gentle and polite to quite direct, and never hesitate to use them with ANYONE who sweeps you or others in the store.

You will pi$$ some folks off with this. Who cares? If they take offense it only displays their own ignorance and inexperience. You WILL impress upon a lot of young/new folks the importance of these concepts. And you just might keep yourself or someone else from getting shot someday.

Believe it or not, you are stepping into the shoes of the "professional" in a lot of folks' eyes. Use that authority to do some good.

-Sam

P.S. -- Learn to say "I don't know." Always resist the urge to fill someone's ear with a bunch of hogwash or speculation. It may be peeing against the tide, but try not to contribute to the misinformation that flows so freely in some shops.

everything Sam said, and -- "Smile, say hi, ask if you can help when it's appropriate." a genuine smile brings customers back - remember; people don't have to buy from you. It's also psychologically harder to dissapoint a "friend" so smile...

last point - there's two shops I've stopped going to, because the one has their ee's scream out "LOOKING FOR ANYTHING I CAN HELP YOU FIND!!!??" before the door even closes behind me, and the other has a gun dept guy that hollers at you - regardless of what gun you look at - "THAT'S A RARE GUN - THEY DON'T MAKE THEM ANYMORE!!!"

GOOD LUCK.

mio
February 24, 2009, 02:56 PM
congratz on not only getting a job but getting one that interests you and that you will for the most part enjoy.

it feels good to see somebody get a job rather than lose one.

Jim K
February 24, 2009, 08:51 PM
Just remember all the "$^%#^* clerk in the gun store" stories you have seen on here and try not to be him.

Jim

Kind of Blued
February 24, 2009, 09:17 PM
colemanw,
Thank you for helping me get excited about grad school. :barf:

Your friend,
Kind of Blued

P.S. Congratulations on becoming gainfully employed. Get to sellin' those guns! :)

rangeops
February 24, 2009, 09:28 PM
1) Determine the customer's requirements
2) Fulfill those requirements in a competent way.

Don't brag, don't be a gun shop lawyer, and don't push your martial art as better then another's martial art. They may have to hold their Glock sideways because they're cross eyed, cross-eye dominant with a wrist defect and their doctor said they have to shoot like that.

If they say they want a box of 600 Nitro Express FMJ for house cats...sell it to them. If you play it right, you'll get an interesting story out of it. Do it wrong and they'll get all grumpy and you'll miss the cool story about how they were hunting tigers in India with a 22 and the cat climbed up the elephant to have a little talk.

colemanw
February 24, 2009, 09:28 PM
Sam, Seagull, and everyone- This is some awesome advice and I am very greatfull! All of you are damn right about the patient safety watch. I need to keep the mindset that I'm a responsible adult. Patience and respect will go a long way toward customers looking to you as a responsible resource!

Thank you all

And to KBintheSLC: Keep at it, I know your pain... Just a few weeks ago I had given up looking out of frustration... it was killing me... but when I least expected I got a phone call-

colemanw
February 24, 2009, 09:31 PM
kind of blued, are you just starting? of so you are set man! its gonna take a few years for things to turn around... by the time you get out you should have no problem finding work!

i gotta tell ya though, having an grad assistanship and tuition waiver sure helps out... im not saddled with student loans ;)

colemanw
February 24, 2009, 09:37 PM
I didn't mean to imply that all pawn customers are skunky... it was just in reference to a few bad ones I have seen while in the shop. I know pawn fills a critical financial gap between the people and banking... Pawn is much more honest though ;)

Kind of Blued
February 24, 2009, 11:50 PM
I'm gonna be workin' for the gubmint. So I'm not really worried about it. ;)

colemanw
February 25, 2009, 12:01 AM
yeah, that's what i thought :) i was all lined up for a university administration job and then our lovely governor here in Washington implemented a hiring freeze... I understand why but it still royally sucked for me...

WTBguns10kOK
February 25, 2009, 01:23 AM
I'd just say make safety your top priority, and be helpful. Smile and nod to the ones who insist on telling you how it is, and gently guide the ones whose minds are open. Your mouth will make or break you.

colemanw
February 25, 2009, 01:31 AM
"Your mouth will make or break you."

That pretty much says it all right there... few words and a whole lot of meaning-

chuckusaret
February 25, 2009, 08:34 AM
I would find out where the loaded SD guns are within the store. Most gun stores, so I am told by a very good source, keep loaded guns in key locations within the store to ward off any possible store invasion by the BG's.

wep45
February 25, 2009, 11:28 AM
can you get me a deeeep discount and a S&W revolver:D

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