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Firearms retail industry incompetence and root problems. Is there a cure?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by 40SW, Oct 11, 2007.

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  1. 40SW

    40SW Member

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    As an NRA firearms instructor, I have relationships with numerous gun shops who give me student referals as well as being a patron myself. It always amazes me how the retail firearms sales is so ridden with people who simply lack people skills and so are subjectively biased that they are incapable of understanding that a firearm that may be best for them, may not be for someone else, example of bias overselling, simply ignoring customers, calling out to female patrons: "Can I help you little missy?", or a customer being in the store for over 10 minutes walking around and not a simple "May I help you find something ?" (not over selling, simply acknowledging them."
    We have all either witnessed or have been subjected to this treatement or lack of treatment. Be it salespeople who are mall ninjas with tactical vests and 10 Glock magazines on their belt who are so hopped on adrenaline that they are about to burst or the apathetic gun store employees who totally ignore you. Be it overselling, or apathy, what do you guys think the root of the problem is? Why is it so prevalent in retail firearms sales, Is it because there is lack of corporate oversight structure and accountability from the standpoint of family run or nepotism run establishments, or is more complex. Any thoughts?
     
  2. jefnvk

    jefnvk Member

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    Not unless you find a way to run a gunshop and pay your employees a lot more than minimum wage.
     
  3. K3

    K3 Member

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    OK, but how do you explain owners of gunshops that don't act right?

    From owners, I've seen apathy, rudeness, ninja-caffeine-tactikewl hyperactivity, and stupidity.
     
  4. redneckrepairs

    redneckrepairs Member

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    You just as well ask why mcdonalds messes up your order . I have " babyset " gunstores for friends on vacation if that counts as working in them , and as a rule neither side of the counter need apply to mensa .
     
  5. honkeoki

    honkeoki Member

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    I've had similar experiences (lots of them) in gun shops. But I've had many, many more in retail establishments that sell electronic equipment, sporting goods, furniture, clothing, megamarts that sell everything, etc.

    I don't think it's necessarily a gun shop issue -- I think it's more of an apathy issue.

    Having said that -- I really really hope I never see another gun shop employee recommending a .22 LR semiautomatic to a woman as a self-defense weapon. :fire:
     
  6. 41mag

    41mag Member

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    How,exactly is this any different from other retail enterprises?IMO,paying salespeople an hourly wage-as opposed to a wage based all or part on performance-promotes apathy.Also,the alluded to mall ninja problem needs to be addressed by the employer-who likely isn't terribly clued in about the whole customer service thing his own self.Which also explains the salespersons tactic w/women customers.


    & on the subject of a "lack of people skills",have you spent any length of time trying to talk to an attorney or a MD?
     
  7. RoadkingLarry

    RoadkingLarry Member

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    Think about how stupid the average person is, then realize that half of everybody is stupider than that - George carlin.
     
  8. News Shooter

    News Shooter Member

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    I work in a gun shop on weekends, which means I work seven days a week. I would do it without being paid. We (mostly) treat our customers right. They are always greeted on arrival and asked if they need help finding anything. We don't play mall ninja and we aren't rude even to stupid people. I wish I could say that about all gun shops
     
  9. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    Gun dealers are an unusual lot. They remind me a lot of coin dealers. In some respects, I think it is partly an act they put on because people expect gun and coin dealers to act that way, and partly their personality.

    I suggest getting over it. Or, starting your own gun shop where you can treat your customers exactly as you feel they should be treated.
     
  10. MrPeter

    MrPeter Member

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    I've worked in retail stores, and let me tell you, it's not only gun stores that do this.
    What happens is the kind of people willing to work the conditions a store owner requires, and be paid the dirt the store owner can afford or is willing to pay - often very close to minimum wage - are usually not going to be well-versed, educated, and socially adept people. You're going to have kids walking in and turning in applications because they just need any old job. With gunstores, this is even more of a problem, since you can't just be any kid, you have to be 21+ years old AND be willing to take working conditions that most highschoolers won't even take. On top of that, you have guns being a very specialized field, which takes a bit more knowledge and intellect than bagging groceries.

    Occasionally you will get the kind of employee like News Shooter in a gunstore, just like you'll find them every now and then in a computer store, auto shop, or any other specialized store. Unfortunately, the people who truly love their trade and care about spreading their joy through customer service are few and far between.

    Pay more and offer better working conditions, and you'll find yourself having better quality employees if you do it right. Paying more doesn't mean commission, mind you, it means hourly. Commission jobs appeal mostly (estimate, don't get offended) to the kind of people who can "sell anything" which has very little to do with product knowledge and customer service, and everything to do with psycological manipulation of the customer for personal gain. Where I come from the most effective of these types are known as "sleazeballs" or "weasels".

    And that's pretty much that.
     
  11. damyankee

    damyankee Member

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    When I worked at a retail gun shop I'd always ask if someone needed help. Anyways like you said some guy came in and wanted a pistol for home defense for around $500. So I gave him a couple options. He ended up with a Glock. Not my favorite pistols but he liked and who am I to judge??

    A couple other guys at the shop were very cool and helpful to the customers and us other "clerks".

    But most of them were like you said. They had their brand and stick with it and try to sell everyone what they carry, or half the time were just straight ******* to the customers. I think they need to shoot more or practice martial arts like I do to get the testosterone at a manageable level. :D
     
  12. Chris B

    Chris B Member

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    Before I was born some gun shop employee sold my unknowing father a revolver in .22lr for SD/HD. What a jerk.
     
  13. The Wiry Irishman

    The Wiry Irishman Member

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    I think that's just a retail problem, not a gun store problem. You'll find just as many idiots and decent people as you would at in a mall or a Best Buy, I'd imagine.
     
  14. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    I can't think of many, if any, retail stores where I'd ask for opinions and ideas. I might ask just to see if there's anything I didn't think of, but otherwise, I try to find out as much as I need to before I go to buy something.

    That's ANY retail, not just gun retail.
     
  15. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    A local gun shop here was recommending cheap 38 snubbies for self defense when people who were not knowledgeable would ask. several came to the pistol club safety class with their snubby and were dismayed to find out that it was probably a poor choice. the club eventually asked the dealer to stop suggesting such things.

    i suspect he bought a pile of them cheap and wanted to get rid of them. or he may have thought it was better than nothing.

    people will often set a price point they are unwilling to pass when buying things, and the seller has to deal with that in some way.
     
  16. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Cheap .38 snubbies have saved a lot of innocent people from criminals over the years.

    Why did they feel "dismay", exactly?

    (It seems to me that more gun shop employees will insist that only the tacticoolest gun is adequate for anything at all, regardless of purpose.)
     
  17. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    The problem is that a large percentage of gun shops are hobby businesses and as a result NOT run like proper for profit businesses.

    Many of these gun shop owners are hobbyists first and businessmen second whereas most other retail businesses are run by people that are businessmen first.

    Look at any other hobby business and you'll find a lot of the common complaints that we have about gun shops.

    The real solution is for professionally run stores to run the poorly run mom & pop gun shops out of business ... but nobody likes to hear that.
     
  18. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    pretty dismaying for a new shooter to not be able to hit a target at 10 feet because someone sold them a snubbie with a 2" barrel instead of a more appropriate firearm.

    i would agree a snubbie is a good choice for some cases, but for someone who has never fired a gun, it is not a real good choice for self defense. and since it really has no other utility, its a bad choice all around for that individual.
     
  19. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    The instructors blamed that on the gun, huh?

    I don't shoot snubbies much, but the last time I did, I put the first cylinder in the 10 ring at 7 yards. Surprised myself, since I expected the snubbie to be really hard to shoot.

    Everyone talks about how you can't hit much with them, but at close ranges, if you can't hit the target at 10 feet with a snubbie, you probably can't hit it with an 8" 686 either (why did they quit making that BTW?).

    Sounds like the class should have started absolute beginners out with loaner .22's, so they have a clue how to hit the target, and the instructors were awfully quick to blame the guns.
     
  20. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...Many of these gun shop owners are hobbyists first and businessmen second..." Exactly. Even the ones with years of gunsmithing experience. Mind you, there are also customers who only want you to tell them what they want to hear. Or sell them something they saw in a movie/on TV, on the Internet that's either doesn't exist or is illegal. And they want it cheap or to trade a firearm that isn't worth anywhere near what the new one is and get offended when you tell them they'll have to come up with some cash too.
    It's worse when you sell milsurps. Had a guy buy a 1903A4, sans scope, long ago. He butchered the stock with a hand saw, then came back complaining that it didn't shoot. Couldn't understand why he wasn't getting his money back.
     
  21. JohnL2

    JohnL2 Member

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    I agree that it is a retail problem. Not just gun stores.
    I don't buy firearms at the big box stores. I have had some lame experiences with the firearms counter there.
    I consider myself knowledgeable about firearms and sometimes I feign ignorance just to hear what the salespeople know. Always a bad experience at the box stores.
    It is hard for some guys to check their chestpuffing at the door.
    Just impress me with your knowledge and I am your customer. Simple as that.
     
  22. shooter429

    shooter429 Member

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    I have noticed the same thing

    I see it frequently, and I wondered about it. It is like un unwritten rule-you must be rude, opinionated, ignorant and apathetic to work in a gunshop. You also have to be unethical to manage one.
    They not only look over people, but many will take people for a ride-just like used car salesmen. In fact, I know one owner who was a used car salesman.

    BTW,
    Why are you taking a stab at the customers? Do you think all gunowners are stupid?

    I don't think it has to do with minimum wage workers either. Some of these guys are making a living and still act this way.

    There are rare exceptions and they really stand out in my mind. One owner was attentive, polite and gave everybody a fair shake. I remember sitting around the shop chatting, but whenever a customer walked in, the chatter stopped and they were promptly greeted warmly. He gave honest appraisals to people with whom he was doing business too. He even told people that he would rather they sell their guns on the market than trade them in because they could get more money that way and he did not want them to feel like they were being ripped off. I miss that place.

    Shooter429





    I
     
  23. huntinstuff

    huntinstuff Member

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    I have a small gunshop in Northern Alberta and I run it myself. Casual hours/backwoods type set-up. And I outsell everyone in northern Alberta.....why?

    Because I give a s**t. I remember customers. I pour coffee. I dont sell, I allow people to buy. I answer questions, I don't guess.

    Fewer and fewer employees care. If your heart aint in it, you are of no use.

    Big shops used to laugh at my setup. Rough wood walls, pictures of customers and their animals, pictures of moose drawn by my 5 yr old......

    They don't laugh anymore.
     
  24. U.S.SFC_RET

    U.S.SFC_RET Member

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    If you are going to run a gun shop it is a must that it be customer based. I will recognize and support you. I will value you as a critical and key member or our society. I will understand that you have life hard and will pay your price to keep you in business because I value your type of business.
    If you treat me like an idiot, Overprice your stock and insult me with your crappy product and your attitude I will tell you so and vote with my feet and spread the word by word of mouth.
    I will use the internet, I will buy everything gun related through the internet. Don't lie to me as to why your doors are closed when you should be open and I am forced to always call in advanced to see if you are open first. Don't tell me what your transfer fees are one day and what you charge the next.
    Don't take guns on consignment without inspecting it first. It speaks volumes when a person two steps above a blithering idiot can tell that the gun is junk and way over priced.
     
  25. shooter429

    shooter429 Member

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    huntingstuff has the cure

    Your shop sounds a lot like the one I remember. I don't understand how anyone can be in this business and not give a rip. I mean, from my perspective shooting sports, hunting, fishing and the outdoors are all part of who I am and what I love. I cannot imagine that an owner would have any trouble finding reliable, enthusiastic and knowledgeable help who could add to the value of the place and the merchandise. I gladly pay a few bucks more for friendly, knowledgeable service. Am I alone?

    Shooter429
     
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