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Discussion Starter #1
So the wife gave me a green light to buy a new pistol after my year-end bonus. I wanted something smaller and lighter than my full size M&P9, so I settled on a Glock 19, which appears to be the best compromise. I also wanted to start working on my own pistols an figured Glocks have a good reputation for simplicity.



Anyhow, I go to Cabellas in Hazelwood, MO to check out the pistols as they have an advertisement for $50 off any Glock in stock. After waiting at the counter for about ten minutes I am greeted by a kid, relative to the gray hairs that mostly work the counter. I announce that I am there to purchase a gun so that I get more attention than a casual window shopper. Throughout the process of showing me the pistols he generally feels disinterested and lacks any desire to tell me the pros and cons of the guns in the case. He also refused to disassemble the Glock into its main functioning parts so I could compare the inner workings to my M&P for quality and durability.



At one point I ask him what he thought of the pistol and get this line. "I personally carry a .45 because that is the only caliber that matters." I asked him about a G19 and I get that line? I hit my limit with him and bought the Glock. When I got home I sent a very strongly worded email to Cabelas telling them of my experience and that their "salesman" was practically useless and had some very juvenile thoughts on firearms. I also noted that his views would make a less knowledgeable person feel unjustly inadequate about carrying a 9mm. More so, it could cause a lay person to buy a .45, regardless of their ability to hit anything with the more robust caliber.



Anyway, I got a response within two hours and a personal call from the store manager later that night. I repeated the story and told him that I shop at local retail stores and pay the premiums they charge (versus the web) because of the better perceived customer service and I don't need an FFL. The reality is they will always loose on price to the online retailers so they better do a damn good job on the more qualitative elements of the sale. I also told them that this kid should be further educated on the pros and cons of different calibers and that multiple hits with a 9mm are better than a miss with a .45.



In my mind, advising a person on a gun purchase is a very serious matter. If the buyer is convinced he needs something that he is not able to control, it creates a liability for himself and others he may injure. I also expect a little frickin respect when I plan on dropping $500+.



As a side note, my confidence in retailers was redeemed when I went to Bass Pro in Overland Park, KC and the guy behind the counter knew everything about the guns and show me the differences between the S&W 1911 and Sig Models. I now know the best day to buy a gun is Christmas Eve around 3pm when the gun counter is empty!
 

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cabbellas in hazelwood

MY wife bought my m&p 40 at cabbellas in hazelwood and had a difficult time with the salesman

who didn't know anything about the sale price and the $100 off if you use their credit card.

Fortunately the check out lady did, took her two hours to get things done right.
 

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I'd imagine that most of the folks in the big retail stores don't make the most money. You don't attract the best workers with low salaries. It would be nice if everyone took their jobs seriously...no matter their pay grade. it just doesn't happen at some places.



Perhaps the person you dealt with was just having a bad day?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree, but I don't think it was just a bad day. I honestly believe it was a sign of youth and inexperience. My salesman was no more than 25 years old with a couple of earings. He did not give me any impression that he was well trained. He also racked the slide to clear the gun, left the mag in, then let the slide slam shut with the release. I usually prefer to be handed a pistol without a magazine, and with the action open. I would also hate to be the guy who buys a pistol after he dry racks the slide a couple of hundred times. I bought one of the sealed guns from out back.
 

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mikenkansas said:
"personally sonny, I don't care what your opinion is, now either get me another salesman or the manager... chop, chop........"


That's the ticket!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
He did not say that he would specifically do anything, just that he and Cabelas take customer complaints and feedback very seriously. I don't want the kid fired, I just want him stocking shelves where his attitude has less consequences.
 

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I think the kid didnt know anything about the weapon other than what he had read or his friends told him. When I get bad service, I simply move on to another store who treats me right. Just because it is a big name retail store with all the bells and whistles why put up with ignorance. IMHO
 

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I still haven't made it to the Cabela's in Phoenix but at the Bass Pro they are way overpriced and refuse to remove trigger lock from pistols so you can try the trigger. Which is dumb. The people at Sportsmens Warehouse are not very knowledgeable either but they are courteous with decent prices and have books, ammo and cleaning supplies as well. I bought both of my M&P .45's from them, one of them on a tax free day prior to Christmas. $499 tax free for a .45 with two free mags and $50 rebate? Easy decision that day!
 

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Random thoughts on gun shops...

In 30 plus years of gun shopping I've been to darn few gunshops that attracted the best and the brightest. They just don't pay that well. It's a job that tends to attract kids that like guns but don't know a heck of a lot about them yet and the occasional retiree. Thank god for that occasional retiree! By six months into the job most of the kids are sick of dirt poor pay and their customers and it shows. Those that stay long enough to make chain store manager tend to be those that either couldn't make it in a better paying career or were too lazy to try. Over the years I've learned to spot which of the species I'm dealing with. One will be grumpy and only grudgingly helpful, and the other will be cheerful but may have way too short an attention span to be of much help.



Feel lucky that you have choices. I live in a small town and really have only 3 choices for a stocking dealer. The local shop with a total of maybe 10-20 handguns in stock. This is actually a pretty good place - if it's a stocking item. Prices are usually fair and the staff is eager even if a few of them are just as green as spring grass. The pace of life in our town is slow, and special orders can be back-burnered for weeks before they remember to place the call. Still good jobs are really hard to come by here and this family owned shop did manage to attract some really good if very green kids.




The next closest (40 miles) has an excellent selection of pistols for top dollar. The staff ranges from a barely unhelpful and totally disinterested retired LEO, to somewhat a helpful but not too knowledgeable future LEO, to the gruff and way too busy owner, to a total 'used car salesman' (the owner's son). "It was owned by a little old lady who only fired it on her way to church on Sundays..." I don't shop there any more.



Finally there is a large retail chain hunting and fishing store 50 miles from here and they are paragraph one in spades. I suspect that this is the situation that you ran into. I'm done with them to.
 

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Morgan Walker said:
I think the kid didnt know anything about the weapon other than what he had read or his friends told him. When I get bad service, I simply move on to another store who treats me right. Just because it is a big name retail store with all the bells and whistles why put up with ignorance. IMHO


Bad service is one thing. If you get bad service, you should speak up so the owner/manager knows WHY you are going to go someplace else.



(rest not to morgan directly)



Bad attitude is another, but at the holidays, the people who wind up working are either people who want to make extra money, or the low man on the totem pole. If you get the new guy, probably the best thing he can do is keep his mouth shut and let you buy what you want to.



If you need someone to tell you your choice is good and stroke your ego, maybe the problem isn't the sales help. If you are looking for a nice conversation, maybe you need a shooting buddy, and not "better" sales staff.



Sometimes you get the new guy, if you don't give them time to correct their ignorance, how do you get experienced guys?
 

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I worked in retail for a year or so while I was in college and man did it suck. I can't imagine doing it for a living unless you own the store and derive some personal satisfaction from it. Maybe that doesn't even help.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The upside to this is that I now make enough money to patronize the local gun shop who does have a knowledgeable staff and carries good inventory. I don't mind paying th extra money if it is earned. However, $50 was too good a deal at that time.
 

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My rants about customer service at gun stores are somewhat legendary on other boards. In other words, everybody "over there" is sick of hearing me gripe and complain as well as all my shooting buddies. Thing is, though, that I feel your pain. There are simply no other stores that I visit where I am treated as badly as I am treated at the majority of gun stores that are within close proximity to my home. Granted, I live in rural eastern Kentucky. To me, though, that's an even bigger reason to treat customers and potential customers well. A business in a small economy MUST go above and beyond to be successful. Price is really not as big a factor as customer service, but you can't convice anyone of that here. I am an accountant by trade. I see the repercussions of customers taking their business outside our local economy on a daily basis. I know what a detriment that is. Moshooter, you made a good point about treating a potential "convert" to our hobby well so that they continue to advance in the hobby. The frustration I feel with the "big" stores like Cabela's and Bass Pro is that those organizations have the funds necessary to train their people well. Joe's gun shop down the street can't do that. There is no way that a local "mom and pop" store could afford to pay to have their people professionally trained. There is no reason, though, that Cabela's could NOT afford it. On the flip side of this, whenever a store opens up why don't the gun manufacturer's have representatives visit each retailer and offer them some training on their products? Restaurants, for example, would fall apart without that type of support. Imagine if a McDonald's representative did not train the staff of a new McD's restaurant that is opening down the street. Imagine they just sell them the ingredients and the recipe and tell them "good luck". How well would that work? It's the same in the gun industry. There is no reason that Smith & Wesson couldn't at least offer to send someone to a gun store that sells their product to train employees so that they could at least be knowledgeable about what they are selling. I think the day is coming for a revamping of the retail gun industry. At least, I hope so.
 

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I tend to run into the know it all, wanna be smarter than you, types at gun shops. The younger they are the more likely this is. I think attitude is often more of a problem than training. I see that at bike shops too. I race road bikes (bicycle) and high end road bike shops are known for snobbiness towards their customers even though they are dropping $5k to $8k on a bike.



I was buying a .45 Glock at a very large gun shop here in Phoenix (Scottsdale Gun Club) with a lot of high $$ guns and the kid I bought it from told me that 1911's are the only .45 worth having. I didn't bother to tell him that I had been issued and shooting 1911's since many years before he was born.
 

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I had the same service last night at bass pro cept the roles were reversed. Im 27 I'd say the salesman was in his fifties. My wife and I stood at the counter for about 15 minutes, I made eye contact with the salesman several times over the course of that 15 minutes but I assumed (hoped actually) that he worked only in the knives since that was where he was standing. Finally I asked one of the many HS juniors that work there where the gun guy was, and he pointed at the fella that had been at the knife counter the entire time. So the kid asks the salesman to help us. Get this, remember I mentioned that I had made eye contact with him repeatedly!! He says "Oh Im sorry I didnt see you" I wanted to go off on his old a$$, but I cant do that around my wife anymore, she's easily embarassed. So I made him show me every gun they had instead. After an hour he used what Im sure is the only close he knows. Which one you want to take home, None of them I said, I would never buy a gun here, I just dont like to bother the real gun stores while Im researching a purchase. We all know the truth is that I cant afford it, but he didnt know that.



But ya really just cant expext great service from most of your $8 an hour retail folk, thats the exception not the rule. Thats why whenever I run into the good one's I let them know how rare they are, and how much I appreciate them.
 

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BIGOLTOM said:
. . . We all know the truth is that I cant afford it, but he didnt know that. . . .


Was this part of your comment made to us in all seriousness? I'm not sure if you were joking here or not. I want to make sure I understand your entire post before I respond substantively. Were you at the gun counter to actually purchase a gun, but then because of how you were ignored you responded accordingly? Or did you really have no intention to purchase a gun in the first place?



Thanks for the added information,
 

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My experiences at the local Cabela's, a very new location in East Hartford, CT have all ranged from mediocre to downright stupid. On a recent visit I saw a used Taurus PT 1911 for $599, and new ones for $549-identical model! New KelTec P3AT's for $279, an identical used one for $299. There is also a KelTec .380 labelled as a "PSAT" (something new to help you get into college?). The people at the counter know NOTHING about handguns, and I won't even waste any time going there anymore-a gunshop 5 minutes from work and I can't stand going in there. It's a world gone mad!
 
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