I think I stepped on someones toes


February 28, 2011, 07:44 PM
The other day we were at the gun shop waiting our turn for assistance. As I was perusing the hand guns, I over heard a conversation between a customer (young woman) and the sales clerk. It boiled down to the young woman being undecided in what handgun to purchase. She was asking some very basic questions, and the way that she was handling the pistols given to her for inspection, she didn't have a clue. From the attitude of the sales clerk, he had decided that she wasn't a real customer, and started becoming short and non-helpful, however he kept trying to push a specific pistol :( He stepped away to answer the phone, I approached her and suggested that she go to our local firing range for some instruction in gun safety and mentioned that she could take the time to test some hand guns. She was very receptive, asked the name and location of the firing range and thanked me profusely! When the salesman came back with the pistol that he was pushing on her, she thanked him for his time and said that she would not be purchasing anything that evening and left.

I was raised with guns, so I practice safety at every turn. I could see that she didn't have a clue! I can't believe that someone who sells these weapons daily couldn't see it too. for her safety and other's safety, why wouldn't a sales person suggest something as simple as a gun safety class?

I guess now that I'm getting this out, I'm NOT sorry that I stepped on his toes :)

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February 28, 2011, 07:52 PM
I can't believe that someone who sells these weapons daily couldn't see it too.

He's a salesman. Firearms are just a product to him.

February 28, 2011, 08:07 PM
What you did was responsible and very helpful for someone new to firearms.

Stepping on toes is more like when I was at my usual store (back before I was a regular) and some guy was buying a random AK he didn't spend more than a minute looking at, and I suggested he open it up and make sure the insides weren't rusted out. The sales lady looked rather offended that I would suggest her product was defective. The guy looked very uncomfortable and proceeded to just pay the asking price and leave.

I learned then to not interfere with customers and salesman unless asked. I've only been asked to do so once, and that was on a product that I ordered through the store.

T Bran
February 28, 2011, 08:07 PM
When she decides what fits her best I hope she buys it elsewhere !

February 28, 2011, 08:22 PM
You simply did what you should have done. The guy may be just a salesman but he obviously knows nothing about customer service or relations. He eventually will learn the hard way.

March 1, 2011, 08:22 AM
good job

March 1, 2011, 08:29 AM
No, you didn't do the wrong thing here. A reputable shop owner won't have a problem suggesting that people get trained and try before they buy. They may not make a sale that day, but that customer will spend a lot more in the shop over time than if they'd purchased the wrong gun.

It boils down to thinking about your business's long-term survival instead of this quarter's profits.

We also keep the business cards of some local instructors on-hand for these occasions.

March 1, 2011, 09:09 AM
In all fairness, it is his job to SELL firearms. Tell/Show the customer the basics of operating the pistol and maybe even how to fieldstrip it for basic cleaning. That's really all he is responsible for doing. He can suggest she get some further training but that is not why he gets a paycheck. The customer is responsible for acquiring any additional information they desire to know about training and where to shoot.

March 1, 2011, 09:15 AM
There are pushers and there are salesmen.

I spent a few years behind the counter of a gun shop and to me the sale of a gun played second fiddle to selling the right gun to the right person. I had no problem if they did not want to buy and if they said so from the get go it was all the better to me. I would let them handle as many as they liked and would talk to them as long as they wanted even if it was busy in the store. I would encourage them to shop around other shops even if they liked to find the right gun for them.

This, I know, is not the way to run a shop but every shop needs at least one employee like this. We had cards for firearm instruction, applications to join the local range, and phone numbers of gunsmiths to contact. I dont pressure anyone into a sale. If you are not knowledgeable then I will do my best to teach you.

No, you can step on his toes anytime you want to. It is things like that that make me glad I am not in a gun shop anymore or even retail for that matter.

Guns are just another product, I know, but gun salesmen have a moral responsibility to try to sell the right gun to the right person. You are not selling silly putty. You are selling inherently dangerous tools that could be used to take and save life.

Cal-gun Fan
March 1, 2011, 09:18 AM
It seemed that essentially, he was trying to have her make a purchase she would most likely regret later on, or at least one she wasn't quite sure about. That was a very nice thing of you to offer her not only a way to test out the guns and learn more about them, but a way out, in a manner of speaking. Its very awkward when you go into a gun shop, wanting to buy something, then have second thoughts, then have the owner step up his sales pitch. But now, she has a way to be sure about the gun and make sure that she gets a good one and not the one the owner forced on her.

March 1, 2011, 09:32 AM
What you did was responsible and very helpful for someone new to firearms

Agreed. If you had to stomp his toe and then grind it in a little bit, well it's still ok. :)

Cal-gun Fan
March 1, 2011, 09:35 AM
Agreed. If you had to stomp his toe and then grind it in a little bit, well it's still ok. :)
Exactly. He isn't "entitled" to the sale, even though owners probably view this as "he stole MY sale". If gun stores want to be successful in this age of online stores, then they need to provide good support, honestly.

March 1, 2011, 09:38 AM
IMO, if you work at a gun shop, you have a responsibility to (in a situation like this one) give the customer info they need to get the training they need to be safe, and then make an educated purchase. I feel like if this is done, the customer will come back to purchase from you. They will also probably suggest you to their friends and family.

March 1, 2011, 11:15 AM
Every response hit it right on the head. I understand that it isn't the job of a salesman to educate, simply to sell a gun, however the key word here is "gun". It was just hard to see one of the staff show little regard for the safety of a customer, and others, since he was too busy trying to make a sale. IMHO I feel that if a person who is obviously clueless should be directed to take a safety class first. Again, IMHO :)

March 1, 2011, 01:12 PM

Salespersons are often told by their employers to "push" high profit items regardless of quality, or even safety.

I will intervene when I see this being done intentionally to a client who has little or no knowledge of weapons or shooting. I certainly symphathize with the salesperson who is following his boss' orders. But I feel a strong moral obligation to be honest, and to DEMAND honesty from others. :)

March 1, 2011, 01:50 PM
I have to commend you on stepping in,to help the lady!What if she HAD bought the firearm,and something bad had happened? I rely on my local gun shop,as do all of their customers.They have been in business for over 30 yrs,and it's because they CARE !The owner,not too long ago,refused to sell a handgun to a petite lady,because the owner Knew the lady couldn't handle the recoil.Instead,she showed her a lighter,better-fitting gun,and suggested a friend who owned Both types,that could show her the differences in firing,recoil,etc. The lady came back,and bought the lighter gun,an has been a customer,since! This is the way any customer should be treated.for ANY product.If,as a small engine eqpt salesman,I sell a snowthrower,that is too large,difficult to use,or doesn't fit their needs,I won't be in business very long,and if they get hurt,I cuold get sued!

BP Hunter
March 1, 2011, 02:17 PM
Good job in sharing your thoughts in keeping this sport fun and SAFE. About 2 years ago, my wife and I went out to buy my Ducati ( a sport bike):D. Anyway, the salesguy was relaying a story to me about a customer in a Yamaha store who was entirely new in motocycling and wanted to purchase a Yamaha R1 - a street legal 1000cc race bike - to learn and start. The Yamaha salesman didn't care if this new guy was going to die in his new race bike. My salesman approached the Yamaha salesman and nearly ate his head off reprimanding him for the unsafe salews practice.

March 1, 2011, 02:46 PM
earlthegoatsaid: There are pushers and there are salesmen.

this is my experience as well having recently purchased my first handgun. I went to a store, started handling weapons, renting and firing them, etc. I decided i liked the Springfield XD series. So, i went to the counter and asked to see what they had. The guy looked at me and told me i didn't want an XD because i could break down a glock in like 10 seconds and it would take me 15 mins to break down the XD for cleaning (which is not true, they are both very easy to break down, imho). I said "thats ok, i like the XD, i'd like to see them" he says ok, and hands me an XD, then opens the glock case and starts to tell me about how i should buy a glock because they are better etc etc and handing me glocks. I ended up walking out and buying elsewhere.

March 1, 2011, 03:08 PM
Sorry I work in a professional services company. The sales guy was going for the scorched earth approach. Sell whatever you can just once. It is dumb. It ensures you spend the max amount of time on the sales effort and get no repeat business.

The intelligent way is to be intelligent, try to help her out, give her good guidance and say "I don't know" if you do not. She may buy little to nothing the first time around but she will be back and she will tell friends about you. It works with any product from professional services to firearms, cars, etc.

My first handgun purchase I got crap for help. I got REAL lucky in the weapon I picked out. I should have done way more research. However, the sales guy missed an opp to really help me out. It was obvious I had no idea what I was doing.

OP you may not have helped out the sales guy much but sorry he sucks. You did the responsible thing which is, IMO. more important. Personally, I have issues buying any place like that.

To go to seuadr's point, when I bought my first AR, it was a DPMS Classic 16 I got from a store in Concord, NC. When I went in to order it, the sales guy brought up 3 different brands and explained to me pretty logically what my options were and even made a point to note what was opinion, on his part, and what was documented fact. I had made up my mind though, and when I told him I appreciated his input but I really wanted to go with what I originally asked for, he politely dropped it, and pleasantly assisted me in purchasing what I wanted. I have bought 3 rifles from that store to date and sent a dozen folks there to shop as well. I actually drive past 3 other gun stores to get there.

March 1, 2011, 04:04 PM
India, you were in Rileys weren't you. I've seen that before in there.

March 1, 2011, 04:40 PM
A shop can have a great relationship with their regular customers, educate the new ones and enjoy the fruits of their labors :) Or, use pushy sales tactics have a loss all the way around.

Swiftak, I don't want to say where this happened, one poor salesman shouldn't cause bad publicity for a whole shop, because on a forum, things spread like wildfire and you never know who is reading :) I will say that it was not at Riley's :)

March 1, 2011, 06:00 PM
He's a salesman. Firearms are just a product to him.
No. He's a salesman. Firearms are his product. And his job is to produce tremendously satisfied customers.
And this clown wasn't doing it. Let's say he actually sold the poor woman some gun. The chances are very great she will not like it. It will not do what she wants, it will not meet her needs. She will be a very dissatisfied customer. She will never go back for another gun, nor will anyone she talks to.
The salesman is an utter failure.

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