Cabela's: Some things HSTerrific, some less so


January 15, 2011, 06:54 PM
Hey guys,

Took a small road trip to the Sidney, NE Cabela's (world HQ) for a little shopping with some friends today with the help of my good friend Christmas money.

Mostly, it was a great time. Grabbed a few shirts, a nifty Buck knife for a steal, and 200 rounds of Federal HST in the non-"chump" boxes.

This would have been entirely a great trip. The HSTs are literally impossible to find in my neck of the woods, and I prefer Federal ammunition. I have found them on sites like LuckyGunner in the non-chump box, but the $15 shipping makes it about equal to chump boxes in pricing.

However, when I was looking for the HSTs, I thought I'd enlist a gun counter individual to help me out. They had 4-5 workers and a pretty busy counter. I waited patiently for about 20 minutes until I saw a worker with an opening. Keep in mind I have roughly $60-70 of merchandise in my hands already. I am obviously a customer. I intend only to ask the gentleman where I can find the 50-count box of HSTs. I am more or less exact quoting here, as the interaction was short and irritating enough to stick in my memory.

Me: "Excuse me sir, are you busy?"

Gun Counter Employee: *slightly irritated voice, looks up from computer* "What?"

Me: "Are you busy, sir?"

Gun Counter Employee: "Yes, I am."

That is IT. He did not say he'd be with me in a few. He did not point out other help. He did not give me an estimated time. At that point, the interaction was over for him and he went back to computer.

Now, I understand being a college-student in my mid-twenties with glasses I probably look not too dissimilar to the Call-of-Duty aces he probably deals with regularly. However, when I have an armful of merchandise, I expect to be treated better than that. I'm a law student for God's sake. I am going to be a HUGE customer for Cabela's if they treat me right. I purchase a good deal of outdoors wear, knives, guns, and ammo already even with my college-kid money.

This was the first negative experience I'd had with the store, and I was quite unhappy. Am I overreacting to a small thing here? Be brutally honest if I am.

On an unrelated question, even though I went with the 50-count boxes of 180-grain .40 HST for $24, they had 50-count boxes of Winchester Ranger 135-grain .40 for $15. That seems like a steal. Is 135-grain heavy enough for social work, and is the Ranger a solid round?

They also had a 50-count box of Winchester Silvertips for $47, which seemed crazy expensive, but as I understand those are prized and rare.

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January 15, 2011, 07:21 PM
Did you ever come right out and ask him to help you? Frustrating all the way around. How about, "Excuse me, where are the 50-round boxes of HST?" Then when he looks up and says, "Huh?" you can repeat the question.

He answered your question. :) One question per customer, please take another number. Just kidding, I've never been to a Cabela's, but they send me the hardbound catalogs every year.

January 15, 2011, 07:26 PM
Perhaps he technically answered my question. Having a decent amount of retail experience, though, I have never worked in a place where that'd be an okay answer.

January 15, 2011, 07:53 PM
I saw some Ranger .40 ammo there a fee months ago. It was not the hollow point ammo, but FMJ practice ammo. I bought some because $15 a box isn't bad. If you saw the JHP Ranger ammo at that price I'd jump on it. HST at $24 is a good deal too.

January 15, 2011, 08:11 PM
He answered your question. One question per customer, please take another number. Just kidding, I've never been to a Cabela's, but they send me the hardbound catalogs every year.

JohnBT, you do not know how close to the truth you are!! I will nver buy a gun or ammo there again, and it pains me because they are local, good prices and have everything you would ever need.

The problem?

You literally have to take a number. No way, I said "I will take a number to buy bologna but NOT firearms or accessories" I feel like I have shot myself in the foot but I cannot stoop that low.

I have a loophole though, I buy from them online and have the merchandise shipped to the store at no cost to me. So, I just go to Customer Service and pick it up :)

January 15, 2011, 08:25 PM
I've worked quite a bit of retail, and if I ever made a habit of answering customers that way, I would not find myself burdened by employment for long.

You literally have to take a number. No way, I said "I will take a number to buy bologna but NOT firearms or accessories"

One question per customer, please take another number

Really? The day that my LGS implements a number system, I will dance for joy.

Think about it....Instead of standing around fighting for their attention, and having them run all over the place while you try to do your shopping, you take a number, wait a little bit, and then have their undivided attention for however long it takes to complete your order.

You know, just the same way it works at the grocery store meat counter. We use a number system in my retail store, and it saves us a whole lot of headaches and irritated customers. Let's face it, at the core, gun sales are a pure retail environment.

January 15, 2011, 08:34 PM
we dont have one anywhere near where i live, but my uncle used to live near one and he had the same experiences. he said he went 2-3 times just to say he had been to cabelas. i've always liked the small shop feel.

Messenger Guard
January 15, 2011, 08:35 PM
I would say this is a common interaction in American commerce today. Hourly employees who have no stake in the future of the company being paid low wages with no incentive to go above and beyond.

January 15, 2011, 10:10 PM
Like Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Too often the help is harried because people come to gun shops to B.S. The fact that they're buying something (maybe a box of .22 HPs) gives many the idea that someone owes them their ear. Even with sites like this which are devoted to gun talk, they just can't get enough...or maybe can't type.

My most frustrating experience was at a small local gunshop where the owner is the one & only worker. He's a Glock dealer but had to order me a G19 'cause he was out of 'em. Once the gun was in his shop, I had to jump thru the normal NYS paperwork hoops before taking possession. The day in question was beautiful and sunny, I had some free time, the paperwork was complete and all I had to do was pay the balance, do the transfer, clean the thing and head to the range...and I was eager to do it. So I called ahead and told the owner I'd be there shortly.

When I got there, the owner was just finishing up with one customer, but another was ahead of me, which should've been no big deal. He was an old guy of about 70 who had arrived on a Harley, as I recall. He apparently knew the owner and wanted to bring him up to date on all his shooting experiences and thoughts...of the last year or so. The resulting near monologue went on for nearly a half hour. Shooting .50 BMG in a Barrett was discussed, so was the .348 Winchester (what a shame no one appreciated it), shooting +P ammo in a Colt 1911 came up as well a sundry other topics. The talk went on and on with the shop owner only inserting a word here and there.

I studied the display cases, circled the gun racks, tried to get interested in holster and CT laser displays. Finally the talk wound down and the garrulous old fart got on his Harley and disappeared from view...without ever buying a dam* thing. I was amazed anyone could be so inconsiderate of other customers and equally amazed that the owner put up with it.

In any event, I was out the door 10 minutes later, G19 in hand still shaking my head.

Before anyone takes offense, I should point out that I'm a garrulous old fart of 65 myself with this post as proof of the garrulous part.

But I can type...and you can click past me at will.

January 15, 2011, 10:21 PM
Me: "Excuse me sir, are you busy?"

Gun Counter Employee: *slightly irritated voice, looks up from computer* "What?"

Me: "Are you busy, sir?"

Gun Counter Employee: "Yes, I am."

I would have said "Oh, that's okay then. Do me a favor, restock all this merchandise that I'm not going to purchase now due to your poor customer service and communcation. By the way, is your manager available?" and dumped everything I was carrying on the counter.

January 15, 2011, 10:58 PM
i am a retail gun counter employee. the clerks behavior may not be the most acceptable but is definatly understandable. most clerks are horribly underpaid for the amount paperwork we are responsible for not to mention being expexted to everything about every different gun ever made and on top of that the stupidity or ignorance of the general public is absolutely astonishing. only about 1 in 6 customers comes to the counter intending to buy anything at all and only 1 in 20 has an idea what they might want. the rare customer who knows what he wants and is there to buy it without telling you life story is sometimes lost in the shuffle of tirekickers and bs artists.

Jorg Nysgerrig
January 15, 2011, 11:08 PM
When I first saw the number thing at Cabela's, I rolled my eyes. Now, I find it pretty handy. I get a pretty good idea of how long the wait is by which number they are on; I can take my number and go browse the used gun rack, the ammo, and the other accessories instead of standing at the counter staring into space waiting; and I don't have to worry about someone who is more loud or pushy grabbing the next open guy out of turn.

January 15, 2011, 11:08 PM
Nope, at that point for me, being a red blooded greenback carrier I would have replied "I think you mean Yes I am SIR" and would have either asked to talk to a manager or taken my business elsewhere.

As for being underpaid? This is still somewhat of a free country. If he did not like the job and/or pay and this is the reason, then he can go else where.

January 15, 2011, 11:11 PM
Always tell the manager. Make sure you get the employee's name.

January 15, 2011, 11:58 PM
Really? The day that my LGS implements a number system, I will dance for joy.

I visited the Cabela's in Hamburg PA and when I saw the number system, I laughed and rolled my eyes. However, having started going to my LGS more frequently recently, I have found that it is almost always packed during operating hours, there are always people just standing at the counters, and most of them are just BSing with each other and the staff etc. etc. It is almost impossible to actually get anyone to help you. You can't just walk up to a register and get checked out like at a grocery or drug store. If you walk up the the register, you have to wait for anyone to even notice you up there.

So yeah, maybe the number system would work

January 16, 2011, 12:56 AM
Was the employee's behavior acceptable? No.

[Although I don't know what he was doing on the computer. Maybe the computer thing took 100% of his IQ and he was overtaxed intellectually. Maybe he's just a poor moron from Sydney doing his best to keep up with the modern world. No disrespect to him, I'm just sayin'...]

What really makes me chuckle is the time it took for you to post your compaint online at THR, and me to reply. We probably just wasted our precious time online. Meanwhile, that employee is probably at home right now, cuddled up in his nice warm bed. Maybe you and I are the real morons.

So you were snubbed by a counter monkey. So what. Learn to be a gentleman about it.

No disrespect to you, I'm just sayin'...

January 16, 2011, 01:08 AM
Not a bad point at all, ants. My ego could most certainly use a trimming, even if the behavior of the employee was poor.

January 16, 2011, 01:39 AM
I wouldn't hold one clerks attitude against the store. IF you went and complained to a manager, and he acted like that, THEN you can be upset with the store. Forget about it.

It's not just the 135 Rangers that are a good price. The 155 grain Rangers are also around $15.00 a box, where you can find them The big difference in price is partly because the 135/155 grain Rangers are loaded with a conventional hollowpoint. The star/talon bonded bullet is only used in the 165 and 180 grain weights, and you won't find those for $15.00 a box.

January 16, 2011, 01:43 AM
Maybe I'm spoiled, but I rarely wait longer than about 5 minutes in my choice of our LGS for a salesman to notice I'm there, and what I need. Their prices are a tad higher than say Bud's, but their customer service is great. The grandson of the owner is their armorer, they don't have a gunsmith on site, but anything the grandson can't handle, they have a list of competent gunsmiths they can refer you to.

The last gun I bought there was my SR-9 C, and I took advantage of the 15% discount Ruger offers, and got the "big dot" night sight from them. When I took it to the LGS to get them installed, it was done, re-sighted in and out the door in about 15 minutes. The cost? Zip, as they knew I bought that pistol there.

Granted, they have a couple of guys working there their friends stop by to BS all the time, and that's cool with me. I've learned a lot from these older guys I would never have thought of myself. And I'm hardly a youngster, I'm 56, but I kind of quit guns for several years after getting out of the Army. The experiences these older guys have had that I missed out on during those years helped me add to my knowledge of the shooting sports.

January 16, 2011, 02:36 AM
Maybe it's a cultural difference, but from my experience in the midwest US, it was *your* behavior that was odd. "Are you busy" could be a message that you would like to start casual conversation and not that you have anything relevant to discuss. Try just asking your question next time, or summarizing. "I'm looking for a certain type of ammo" probably would have worked.

January 16, 2011, 08:11 AM
You asked him a question, he gave you an answer.
Wait your turn.:uhoh:

Sav .250
January 16, 2011, 08:21 AM
Next time try their "On-Line-store." Always nice. Plus, you`ll save on gas money. :)

January 16, 2011, 10:25 AM
Yes you are over-reacting. You ran straight to THR to tattle on the college-age sales worker that didn't treat you right. You should have delt with him right then and there, see post #10 for the perfect response.

Expect that type of thing from that age group...sad isn't it.

Expect that type of thing from people in the service industry...ironic isn't it.

January 16, 2011, 10:54 AM
youngda, interesting you would assume he was college-aged. I never said that. I would estimate his age at late-40s, early 50s. Oh, and "tattlle"? Here I was thinking this was a discussion forum. I guess any time you complain about a business having bad service you are "tattling".

Though I do agree response #10 was perfect. Thanks ,#10!

As for the gentleman who told me to "wait my turn", I didn't see any number system nor anyone with a number of the 15-20 customers milling about. I didn't hear any numbers called. I waited twenty minutes, patiently, occupying myself, until I saw a salesman who looked unoccupied.

Things I have learned from this experience:

1.) Be more specific with questions
2.) If behavior is truly unacceptable, get a manager
3.) If still unsatisfied, walk away

Thanks for your input everyone, I appreciate it.

January 16, 2011, 11:07 AM
Hmm... maybe I will give it another try. It is so convenient. The biggest issue I have is that the primers are behind the gun counter, so I have to wait in line for a consumable I have no questions about.

January 16, 2011, 11:50 PM
Thats why I purchase most things online. The number of people that have no courtesy or respect has gotten pretty bad.
Then again, I've heard people talk about bad experiences at just about any retail store, and its almost always an isolated incident.

January 17, 2011, 12:23 AM
They had 4-5 workers and a pretty busy counter.

But how many of those "customers" were walking away from the gun counter empty handed? I'd bet a big majority of them. So after spending several hours trying to sell some guns but having to deal with time wasters you'd be pretty annoyed to. After all that guys job behind the counter is to sell guns and when no one buys, well what do you expect, a handshake and a cup of coffee?:scrutiny:

As for the full shopping cart, I'd venture to bet that a good group of the afore mentioned "customers" had a bunch of stuff from other areas of the store that they were going to buy also (or their wives were and they just went to stare at guns).

January 17, 2011, 01:52 AM
I went down to the Cabela's near Olympia, WA today. We were bored and wanted to take a road trip, so we drove the 60 or so miles to check the place out.

Prices were OK on ammo, nothing I'd drive 60 miles for. Prices on guns were higher than area average trending toward the ridiculous. For example, a used SW9VE for $425...what? Pretty paltry selection of reloading gear, lots of bullets but very little selection of presses and such. On the plus side, the one guy I talked to was friendly and helpful and we bought some delicious fudge in the general store area. We enjoyed the spectacle, the store is huge and has a neat taxidermy display, but I won't be returning unless I find a very compelling reason.

January 17, 2011, 05:05 AM
...and 200 rounds of Federal HST in the non-"chump" boxes...

OMG! Did you really buy 200 rounds of amunition?? There should be a law against that! You probably own 2 guns too, you criminal! This is the problem with this country! We need another gun control law so these scum are limited to 1 bullet per person per year! Where is Mike Bloomberg or Frank Lautenberg! Are they reading this? :D

Sorry about the Cabelas trip. They do need to hire people who actually enjoy their jobs and enjoy helping their customers...which is why they're there in the first place!

January 17, 2011, 03:25 PM
I'll be honest, my Cabela's must spoil me in comparison :) I certainly didn't find the price of 23$ (after tax) per box of Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr SMK .308 rounds to be horrible, nor the price of 604$ after taxes for a Remington 700 SPS DM, with Cabela's ("functional") scope, palco case, bore snake, and rem oil to be overpriced in the slightest.

The Customer service is interesting. I find that when I'm there and I KNOW what I want, such as when I bought my 700, they are overwhelmingly accommodating. However, when you ask them to help you select something, they tend to be less helpful and a bit more pressing. When I got my 700 the guy behind the counter went from grumpy "Can I help you?" to pleased "Certainly, let me grab one off the rack" After we got done signing the paperwork and all, he proceeded to ask if I needed anything else and took my promptly to the places to get them. The register folks were not terrible either, had I not had a huge line when I bought my reloading kits, I would have argued tooth and nail over the pricing, since they honor their webpage price, but the lady recognized right away that I was looking for the discounted prices and took down the discounted prices on everything and changed them all rather quickly.

I'm talking about the Cabela's store in La Vista Nebraska (Basically Omaha) which happens to be right across from my place of work, which is an unfair temptation! :)

January 18, 2011, 09:31 PM
A letter to the manager of that particular store with a copy to the Cabela's CEO is in order. The employee's behavior is unacceptable and you have a duty to inform the store about an employee that they should be ashamed of. If I were the manager of that store I'd be real happy that you let me know about my problem so that I could deal wth it and not have more of my customers offended in the future.

January 19, 2011, 07:00 AM
Living basically in between two Cabela's stores (Mitchell, SD and Rapid City, SD) I stop there when I have the opprotunity. While prices tend to be higher than average on many things, I tend to concentrate on their sale items. Oftentimes, their sale price on things isn't the least bit out of line, and the employees I have dealt with have for the most part been nothing but friendly. As a stickler for good service, poor service stands out to me, and I've never had a negative encounter at Cabelas. AS an added bonus, I picked up a few hundred rounds last Sunday, as their "Herters" brand steel cased 7.62x39 and .223 ammo was on sale for 3.99 a box......

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