Interesting take on gun sales


PDA






wristtwister
July 2, 2011, 06:57 AM
I work in a gun shop now, and we don't work on a commission... all straight salary. Yesterday, one of the guys I work with just got totally incensed that I sold "one of his customers" a gun from stock... and then proceeded to tell me that I shouldn't wait on "his customers".

Well, after the initial shock of this, it started to make sense... he and one of the other guys "up front" are running their own games in the shop. They have "their customers" come in and either sell them their own personal firearms, or take things out of stock and set them in the layaway bin and sell them for a commission. The way they do it, is to put money down on the gun in layaway, and then simply transfer that money onto something else when they sell the firearm they're holding for "their customer". Evidently, "their customers" are giving them money off the books related to the sale, and still paying the retail price of the guns to the shop.

Most of "their customers" are regular buyers in the shop, and well-heeled, so it's not like they miss the extra money... but it's causing problems within the staff. My take on it is that unless they're selling something personal, it's "shop material" and any customer is welcome to it.

Right after chastising me for selling something to "his customer", this same guy butted into a sale I was making and sold "my customer" (one I had spent an hour showing guns that simply walked through the door) a gun when I walked over to the other side of the room to answer the phone... Nobody makes a commission (except through underhanded means) and nobody's sales are chased or monitored to see who sells what in the shop, so it's not like there's a job at stake. The owner, however, absolutely doesn't want his staff members selling items "out of stock"(personal firearms) in the shop, and will fire you for it.

I think the guy is going to get a conversation this morning that goes something like this... "Since you butted into my sale yesterday after telling me not to sell to "your customer", all stops are off... If you have a problem with it, go see the shop manager, and we'll have a discussion about what's going on up front, and let you identify "your customers" to the shop manager".

I think everybody that walks in is a "shop customer", and anybody on the staff can help them. If they ask for a particular salesman, that's a different situation... but nobody owns the customer... other than the shop owner.

WT

If you enjoyed reading about "Interesting take on gun sales" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
btg3
July 2, 2011, 07:20 AM
IF indeed your co-workers are unethical as you suspect, they won't take kindly to you supsetting their apple cart and could retaliate. Don't put it past them to fabricate some tale about you such that you get in hot water with the manger or owner.

I like your approach of gentle confrontation to sort things out, but try to be aware of all possible outcomes and seek the best for all concerned.

22-rimfire
July 2, 2011, 07:43 AM
Are you judged on sales volume? Is there some sort of bonus system in place?

It may be just a misunderstanding and bad manners.

Ala Dan
July 2, 2011, 08:00 AM
No commission sales mean every customer is "fair game". Suppose a long time
customer of your sales associate wants to purchase a firearm on a particular
day; but his "pal" and your co-worker is on a scheduled "OFF DAY", then what
happens~? I'm a firm believer in "what goes around, comes back around"; only
to bite the wrong do'er in the butt~! Even some of our customer's have their
favorite sales people; but sometimes those sales do not fall at their feet~! :what:

AlexanderA
July 2, 2011, 08:33 AM
If it were me, I'd go straight to the owner and sort this stuff out. Don't bother talking to your co-worker.

Onmilo
July 2, 2011, 08:59 AM
Sounds like the employees at that shop have "some issues",,,

If I was the owner and found out that the hired help was playing around with "my merchandise", the culprits would no longer have "a job".

And as an ex owner of a store front gun shop/gunsmithing service, I can assure you the owner "finds out".

Customers don't keep their mouths shut for dick and will rat you out in a New York minute.

Sam1911
July 2, 2011, 09:03 AM
If it were me, I'd go straight to the owner and sort this stuff out. Don't bother talking to your co-worker.

Yup! I'd do it extremely politely, privately, and play as "dumb" as possible.

"Hey Mr. Owner, can I talk to you for a minute? I think I really made a faux pas yesterday and I want to clear it up. I guess I sold a gun to one of Jim's customers. Heck, I didn't even know anyone had their own special customers and I sure am sorry. I guess he wanted to sell that new Rem. 700 I saw up in the used rack, and I sold him one off the new rack. I'm just really confused 'cause I don't understand why that's a problem. I sure don't want to make such a mistake again..."

That way, if the owner is NOT cool with what they're doing, you can watch him hit the roof and go out and clean house. But, if he IS cool with it, you haven't called him unethical or said anything too accusatory that can't be covered with a simple, "ahhh, thanks, now I understand."

stonecutter2
July 2, 2011, 09:15 AM
Yup! I'd do it extremely politely, privately, and play as "dumb" as possible.

"Hey Mr. Owner, can I talk to you for a minute? I think I really made a faux pas yesterday and I want to clear it up. I guess I sold a gun to one of Jim's customers. Heck, I didn't even know anyone had their own special customers and I sure am sorry. I guess he wanted to sell that new Rem. 700 I saw up in the used rack, and I sold him one off the new rack. I'm just really confused 'cause I don't understand why that's a problem. I sure don't want to make such a mistake again..."

That way, if the owner is NOT cool with what they're doing, you can watch him hit the roof and go out and clean house. But, if he IS cool with it, you haven't called him unethical or said anything too accusatory that can't be covered with a simple, "ahhh, thanks, now I understand."
I agree with this approach. Clarify the situation with the owner by playing Mr. Confused. Then see how things proceed.

Axel Larson
July 2, 2011, 09:21 AM
When I go to a gun shop and I know the people there and some of the employees are more polite than others I will deal with them, but you are obviously polite if you spend the time showing a costumer guns for an hour. Most gun store workers around here wonder off after about fifteen minutes of showing you guns. So thank you for that.
You do not have any proof yet as far as I understand of them getting extra money, so the most you could bring up is the discussion. Also unless you know the owner well, he might know what the other employees are doing and not care too much, if it is just extra work done to the firearm. I do understand that you said he would fire anyone that sold personal firearms.

Double Naught Spy
July 2, 2011, 09:28 AM
Let me get this straight. You don't work on commission, but some guy got mad because you sold something to his customer which upset a process where you think the guys in the shop are running some sort of scam, and now YOU are upset because the guy sold something to YOUR customer on whom you are not running a scam. Is that right? Nobody monitors your sales?

Don't be a dope. If you don't think people can have "their" customers then you can't complain about losing a sale to "your" customer and just be glad somebody wants to do more work than you.

If you think there is a scam, you should discuss it with the boss. Getting into some sort of grudge match with the other employees will make your life in the shop quite unpleasant.

Walkalong
July 2, 2011, 09:49 AM
Do as Sam suggested. For all you know the owner is aware of what is going on.

Unistat
July 2, 2011, 10:01 AM
If it were me, I'd go straight to the owner and sort this stuff out. Don't bother talking to your co-worker.
This is what I would do. Unless you are in a manager position, it's not your job. Let the boss do it. These guys are stealing from the store and the customers and that is not going to be good for the business.

kimbernut
July 2, 2011, 10:13 AM
Agreed. Sam has the plan and as Walk says " For all you know the owner is aware of what is going on." Add this to the situation: The owner may be watching to see if you play their game as well or if you are a straight arrow he can depend on to do right . He could even have these guys baiting you to see what you are made of. Always take the High Road.

22-rimfire
July 2, 2011, 10:24 AM
The High Road approach is usually the better approach regardless of the outcome. At least you can feel good about it.

Added: You didn't say what kind of firearm we are talking about. I could see a tip being given to an employee for providing information on an available collectable firearm that was in stock to the regular customer. Honestly, in the right circumstance, I would provide such a tip myself. But for an employee to provide a "regular customer" inside information on actual shop cost or "what the owner will accept" that might allow them to purchase a gun at a much lower price than they would normally get would be "wrong" and something that I would dismiss an employee over.

I really don't understand this from the opening post at all how anyone "profits" unless a sales person is using the store to sell their personal firearms.

They have "their customers" come in and either sell them their own personal firearms, or take things out of stock and set them in the layaway bin and sell them for a commission. The way they do it, is to put money down on the gun in layaway, and then simply transfer that money onto something else when they sell the firearm they're holding for "their customer". Evidently, "their customers" are giving them money off the books related to the sale, and still paying the retail price of the guns to the shop.

cambeul41
July 2, 2011, 08:15 PM
I could see a tip being given to an employee for providing information on an available collectable firearm that was in stock to the regular customer.

You don't see that as a conflict of interest?

Sam's advice is good.

Nicodemus38
July 2, 2011, 08:36 PM
man this is like totally stupid.

if i get this correct, its hard to follow.

an employee is taking a used weapon and putting it into the new gun rack, selling it at new gun prices, and only giving the store owner the price for a used gun?

and apparently taking new guns, putting it into the used rack so they can get their buddies a really good discount and only reporting it as a used gun getting sold and only giving hte lower amount in?

thats just plain business fraud. legaly its fraud. the owner is getting defrauded, the state is getting defrauded from accurate business tax, someone is obviously committing an embezzlement because they are stealing from the boss.

and by putting a gun off the 'remington/sw/winchester" delivery truck directly into the used bins, they are screwing with the atf for improper records. if the final sale form for the brand new gun states its USED, then why is there no record of the gun being sold to a customer before resale?
and in michigan, i havnt found a used gun for sale that wanst checked by a competent gunsmith for safety, do these "used" guns have any proof of that?

Aiko492
July 2, 2011, 09:02 PM
If I was the owner I would be pissed if this was going on in my shop.

wristtwister
July 2, 2011, 11:48 PM
Nicodemus, you've got this all wrong... everything's being sold as advertised, it's just the handling of the items that is the problem. "Store stock" is being kept back and sold at a premium for "special customers" of the sales staff, and serriptiously "put on layaway" until they arrive, and then sold to the customers after moving the money put down on them to "other guns". In effect, they're tying up stock that should be sold to the public and using the shop owner's money to buy it... plus, they're getting a premium over and above the cost of the items. They're also making contacts with "customers" in the shop and selling personal guns that the workers own to those customers... they just go somewhere else to do the transactions.

It's kind of like calling a drug dealer a pharmacist... The employees aren't doing anything illegal, just unethically using the shop owner's stock to make money, and using their job contacts to sell their own personal guns. It's abusing the layaway policy and unethically using the contacts they make in the store to sell their own stuff.

We all have customers we call when particular items come in, but they're "store stock" and sold on a "first come, first served" basis. I keep a book with people's phone numbers who request to be called when particular guns come in, but it's nothing more than respectibly calling all the customers to tell them that items they've requested are in... they aren't held back from one customer to sell to another one. Everybody's money is green and spends... and store policy is to hold an item for 24 hours if a customer requests it specifically. There's no allowance for "putting them in layaway" and letting customers pick them up at their convenience... or cutting a deal on personal items and then selling them outside in the parking lot. There's nothing illegal going on, just unethical.

WT

afponiky
July 2, 2011, 11:56 PM
I'm really confused now................

Nicodemus38
July 3, 2011, 01:11 AM
i get it now

5 dollars into till to put gun on law a way
sell gun to mark at 100 dollars NOT THE 50 dollar that appears on the purchase slip
put 45 dollars into till to fully pay for guns actual price (45 plus 5 for lawaway makes 50)

take the original 5 dollar bill and put another gun on lay away
spend your 55 dollars on beer and hookers.

thing is, they are still breaking the law. its bad for the store owner because his employees are selling items ABOVE the sticker price set by the store.
its an old law that covers all things.

if the sticker says 100 dollars it can only be sold for 100 dollars, not the 150 your co workers do.

Bubbles
July 3, 2011, 02:11 PM
I'm trying real hard to figure out how the owner could not know what's going on, since he should have full acess to the invoicing and accounting systems.

Hocka Louis
July 3, 2011, 06:42 PM
Sorry, I still don't get who is running the "till" in colusion with the bad sales boy that somehow gets away with double-counting the down-payment u reference, and why would the customer pay MORE than the price on the gun unless it was intentionally marked well below the value and the customer is paying somewhere in between?

DO make sure you understand what is really going on before you accuse someone. Could be people are territorial, have friends they get satisfaction out of helping, the owner is invloved...

mrvco
July 3, 2011, 09:01 PM
This is very confusing.

It "sounds like" the employee(s) in question are putting "limited stock" items on layaway as soon as they arrive in the store so "their customer" can pick them up anytime rather than having to adhere to the "first come, first serve" store policy and rush in ASAP. I'm not entirely sure why you would consistently pay a premium for those items unless they were a limited edition or highly collectible.

Initially I thought he was saying that the customer would put the item on layaway and the employee would buy the item at an "employee discount" price and then sell the item privately to the customer as a private transaction and pocket the difference.

Dazen
July 3, 2011, 09:20 PM
IF indeed your co-workers are unethical as you suspect, they won't take kindly to you supsetting their apple cart and could retaliate. Don't put it past them to fabricate some tale about you such that you get in hot water with the manger or owner.



This right here really does happen! I have had it happen to me 3 years ago with 4 employees that i worked with, they didn't like the fact that i wouldn't steal diesel with the company card and charge it to some rig's. I just simply told them I wouldn't be a part of this and next thing i know the boss and others started treating me alot different. Long story short dont give them a chance to make up some story about you!

mgkdrgn
July 3, 2011, 09:24 PM
If it were me, I'd go straight to the owner and sort this stuff out. Don't bother talking to your co-worker.
+1 on that ... I'd ask the manager/owner if he was aware. If he is ... walk away from the situation ... but I'll wager he/they ain't, and aren't going to be happy.

gym
July 5, 2011, 12:12 PM
After being an owner in business that was commision based, "hair salons, and health clubs", always go to the owner. This will come back to bite you if you try to handle it yourself. The owner will take care of it. Be prepared for a lot of back peddeling on the part of your co-worker. Also tell the owner you aren't familiar with the policy on this and would appreciate clarification. Ask him, how he expects you to handle it. Don't say much about your co-worker, only the situation.

wojownik
July 5, 2011, 03:15 PM
+1 for all those advising to go to the store owner first. One employee is telling the other what store policy is. Go to the owner to find out the real store policy. And if anything untoward is going on up front, let him handle it.

You really don't want to stir things up with your colleague. As a manager, I've ended up having to terminate both employees to keep the peace.

Also be careful if the other employee has been on the payroll for longer ... he may have earned more cred with the owner than you might know (deserved or not), and new guys tend to lose (been there, done that)...

MtnCreek
July 5, 2011, 03:26 PM
The additional money they are charging either belongs to the shop owner or the person purchasing the firearm. Either way, they are thieves. If someone is steeling (by whatever means) it is your obligation to report it to the shop owner.

CapnMac
July 5, 2011, 03:46 PM
I think I'm seeing some of this--see if I'm tracking right.

Employee knows Customer A really wants old Winchester lever actions.
Customer B comes in with a Winchester lever to trade.
Employee then takes the trade-in and puts $25 on it, and squirrels it in the lay-away.
Then, customer A gets a call, and then comes in and buys the lever-action at full price, or perhaps full+finder's fee?

I'm getting a sense that, maybe Employee has a lever-action and has a confederate come in and straw-man trade the employee's weapon into the shop, whereupon Customer A gets a call that they have a lever for him, and the Employee 'gets' to sell the Customer his own gun as if it were a normal trade in?

Getting a lot "duck" here in walks like, flies like, even if there's no echo from the "quack."

Sav .250
July 5, 2011, 04:06 PM
Poeple do strange things...........

mizzlep
July 5, 2011, 09:33 PM
Last I heard, this situation sounds like embezzlement. If these employees are cooking the books and pocketing the difference, they are DEFINITELY stealing from the company.

Now, if it was a one or two time thing, that for some reason the customers were 'tipping' the sales person for excellent service or something (yeah, right), I wouldn't say too much. But that doesn't sound like the case. It sounds like text-book embezzlement, and you may want to seriously consider telling the shop owner.

22-rimfire
July 5, 2011, 10:25 PM
You don't see that as a conflict of interest?

I think I was very clear in my statement. If I were a regular customer and for example a Colt Diamondback came in and the store employee called me, I have no problem providing a modest referral fee if I really want the firearm at the shop price. The point is I would have to really want it. And what is modest? Modest is $20.

Referral fees are paid all the time in business. I paid some fees just the other day for job referrals, but that was our agreement up front and it is very above board. In this case, it would have to apply to collector guns as far as I'm concerned. Otherwise, why pay a "premium" at all. You just buy it somewhere else for the same price.

I frankly don't completely understand the OP's second post or do I....?

...everything's being sold as advertised, it's just the handling of the items that is the problem. "Store stock" is being kept back and sold at a premium for "special customers" of the sales staff, and serriptiously "put on layaway" until they arrive, and then sold to the customers after moving the money put down on them to "other guns". In effect, they're tying up stock that should be sold to the public and using the shop owner's money to buy it... plus, they're getting a premium over and above the cost of the items.

I assume that the difference between the store price and the premium goes to the employee if I understand this correctly. I would not define it this way. But ultimately the employee makes some money on the side. There aren't any guns I would pay a "premium" on to a shop employee unless it was something I really wanted in the collector area.

The store owner is happy that the item sold quickly at the shop price. I don't understand how the employee is working with the shop's money part. Stuff is placed on layaway all the time if the shop has such a policy. It ties up the item until the buyer decides they want it or not and they may loose their deposit under certain circumstances if they change their mind or there may be a "re-stocking fee".

If there is a layaway policy that requires a deposit and a store employee puts down $5 to hold a gun for a regular customer who later pays the employee the $5 he did as a favor, I have no problem. This is the part I don't understand?? There is no "premium".


Another example.... gun shop employee or owner calls me that a really nice Colt Diamondback just came in on consignment and they want $500 for it. Do you want us to hold it for you? The answer is probably 'Yes". This happens all the time. If I gave the owner a small fee for the information or I buy some ammo I really don't need when I would likely not see the gun otherwise, I see no problem with that. It happens all the time. Why do you think some customers seem to get all the "good stuff"?

danprkr
July 6, 2011, 07:51 AM
If it were me, I'd go straight to the owner and sort this stuff out. Don't bother talking to your co-worker.

+1 then handle like Sam said

gym
July 6, 2011, 01:39 PM
Another approach, to this may be a bit more stealth, but limit your exposure being you don't know how high up the ladder this goes.
You might consider a letter, lay it all out on paper and leave it or mail it to the owner.
If the manager is not the owner you really don't know who is in on this or how long it's been going on.
A letter if properlly worded can keep you from any retaliation if he merly decides to call a meeting and it comes out that you "told", on something that may have been going on for a long time.
I remember when I started in business and my boss left me in charge of a 40 person business, and I knew he had plans for me to eventually run one of his stores. He always said , "remember I am your boss, you work for me, and I am the only one who's opinion matters" If it were not for me, none of these people would even know each other.
So when he left, a couple guys went in the back and smoked some pot. It put me in a bad spot when he came back because I knew how he felt about drugs, and he had made himself very clear about it. He said all these mouths I feed will stop eating because one idiot got busted smoking a joint on my property. So I told him. I asked that he please not mention who it came from. Big mistake, he went like an arrow and grabbed these two guys, who were all friends. It took a year for them to start talking to me again, but what he said was right. You two idiots could put all of us out on the street. "It was a high end town", and even though everyone was smoking pot, "most of the clients also, in the 70's" it wasn't spoken about. And the police in Nassau would have closed us down. So be careful how you approach this as you don't ever know how people are going to react. My old boss and I ended up as partners, Because I always told him the truth about anything he asked me. He was the one paying me, not some kid who was hired to sweep the floor, like I was in the beginning. So maybe a letter is a better way. I would start out by saying I needed to make you aware of a situation that exhists, one which I did not know how to handle, so I decided to put it on paper so that it comes out the way I meant for it to come out, sometimes emotions get in the way when you are trying to explain something like this., Just another approach. This way if it is something that he is aware of, "i doubt", you are out of it. He may pull you on the side and thank you, or say nothing. Or he may fire a few people, it's impossible to know.

If you enjoyed reading about "Interesting take on gun sales" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!