Ramblings of a Crazed Gun Shop Employee

This is a discussion on Ramblings of a Crazed Gun Shop Employee within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; You know, they say we learn something new every day. I learned something last night: People take you less seriously as an employee in a ...

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Thread: Ramblings of a Crazed Gun Shop Employee

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    Ramblings of a Crazed Gun Shop Employee

    You know, they say we learn something new every day.

    I learned something last night: People take you less seriously as an employee in a gun shop when you look VERY girlie.

    While it's well established that I am a product of the XX chromosomes, I believe some people see a little "Y" in me when they see me standing behind a gun counter. Usually I'm wearing jeans and a fitted t-shirt and maybe a nice cover shirt, but that must not scream "FEMALE" enough.

    Last night, is the first time I ever wore a skirt to work at the shop.

    Let me rephrase that; a skirt, heels, a cute red sweater and probably the most jewelry I've worn to work, EVER (a necklace, earrings and my wedding rings).

    While my fellow male employees, who know me best, commented on how good I looked last night (I shall not go into specifics), the customers seemed.... confused.

    One poor customer looked me over from head to toe when I asked him if I could help him and desperately looked around for anyone else before he broke down and asked for a box of .308. Hmmm, I didn't know skirted women couldn't read numbers on boxes.

    However, the pentacle of my night was when a gentleman approached and (as I was the only one at the counter at the time (Why, Me, God. WHY?)) asked me if he could see a 1911.

    Well, by my last count we have over twenty-five 1911s, twenty-three of which reside in our .45 case, the other two rest in the 9mm case.

    I asked him which he would like to see.

    "What's your cheapest one?" he asked.

    I pulled out a Taurus PT-1911.

    Now, I understand that we all start somewhere. At one point in time I was sitting at the feet of my brother learning the in and out, the up and down, the to and fro of the 1911. I understand that no one gets anything over night and I also understand that some people are idiots who don't listen, pretend they know more than the people who are doing the teaching, and make fools of themselves.

    He takes the Taurus from my hands and bursts into what I like to call, novice-gun-owner-idiotic-gleeful-ramblings.

    They go something like this: "Oh Wow. That feels nice... WHOOOAHH, would you look at that? Oh, that is nice. Would you feel that? Ohh, man, look at that. Oh, YEAH, I like that."

    You can tell they are a novice because never do they point out anything USEFUL about the gun like, "I see it has adjustable tritium night sights, very cool... I like that checkering... Those forward serrations are very neat... That beaver-tail grip safety is a thing of beauty... That trigger is very sweet... I like that bulled barrel... I see it has a rail... "

    See the difference?

    So while he is gleefully rambling, I can tell he's trying to get the slide to close by pounding on the back of the slide with his palm.

    "The slide release is on the side," I say.

    "Yeah, I know," he says and starts pushing on the magazine release.

    "No, it's up here," I say, and point.

    "Yeah, yeah." He says emphatically and GIGGLES!

    The slide slams shut, he looks it over a little more and shots, "Oh my God! It's got a hammer! VERY COOL!"

    Never have I seen someone so excited to see a hammer on a 1911.

    Knowing he's a novice I start to ramble off the workings and features of a 1911 to help familiarize him with the gun in his hand. You see gun shop employees do it all the time, they drone on about specs while the customer plays and fidgets with the gun listening to catch any bit of information they don't already know about their potential purchase.

    I don't think this guy heard a single word I said about the thumb safety and grip safety and firing pin and hammer because all of a sudden he has the gun upside down and is pressing in the grip safety like a kid playing with a pop-up button.

    "What's the matter?" I ask.

    "I'm trying to get the hammer to fall."

    I think I stared at him for a whole three seconds before I was recovered enough to ask, "You mean, dry fire?"

    "No, isn't this the decocker?"

    "No, it's a grip safety."

    "Well, if it doesn't decock, what the heck does it do?"

    Here I go again, re-explaining everything I just went through.

    Since he wouldn't return the Taurus he was holding for the demonstration I pulled a Springfield out of the case and went over the safeties and features on the Springfield, trying to demonstrate how the gun operates.

    After learning the TRUE nature of the grip safety he yells at the top of his lungs, "HEY STEVE! GET OVER HERE!" To me he says, "Steve's my son, and he's GOT to see this... STEVE!"

    When his son finally arrives, the man says, "Watch! The hammer won't fall."

    With his hand around the gun, depressing the grip safety, he pulls the trigger and what would be no surprise to you or me, the hammer falls.

    He looks shocked for about a half a second, then pissed, "What? Mine didn't work. It's broken."

    "No, Sir, you were just depressing the grip safety."

    "I was not."

    "If you weren't, the hammer would not have fallen... Watch."

    I take the Taurus from him, cock the hammer, keep my hand off the grip safety and demonstrate trying to pull the trigger.

    "Now, why did it work for you and not for me?"

    I wasn't going to fight this battle, so I just cocked the gun, and out of habit more than anything, engaged the thumb safety before handing it back.

    He tries once more, and of course the hammer doesn't fall, but when he grips the gun and tries to dry fire it, the hammer also doesn't fall.

    "NOW what's wrong with it?"

    "The thumb safety is engaged."

    "Yeah, but that doesn't touch the hammer."

    I explain the purpose and function of the thumb safety to him, and when he fains understanding, he thumbs off the safety and pulls the trigger.

    Miracle of miracles, the hammer falls.

    He tries to engage the thumb safety again with the hammer down.

    "Now it won't go back up. It's broken, again. It went up for you."

    Once more, through the function of the thumb safety.

    Then he really drops a bomb on me, "Do you have a Hi-Point in .45?"

    Unfortunately, we did. I hand it to him. He holds it up to the PT-1911 and says, "Now, what's the difference between these two?"

    Another three seconds of silent, awe-inspired silence as I stare at him and the brick of a Hi-Point in his right hand and what looks like a slim thing of beauty comparatively in his left hand. Where to begin?

    He explains that he owns a Hi-Point and he wants to know why he should spend the extra $300 on a Taurus rather than just sticking with his Hi-Point.

    Sigh... I quit.

    Just kidding.

    I try the best I can to explain to him the difference between a Hi-Point and the Taurus he was holding.

    I'm not even into half of my shpeal when he says, "So this," indicating the Taurus, "would be better for carry, huh?"

    I didn't directly answer that question. You know what they say; if you have to ask....

    I also remind him that unlike Hi-Point, Taurus ENCOURAGES one to take apart their gun and give it a good cleaning.

    He seemed to sneer at the prospect of actually taking apart a gun and cleaning it so we move on.

    Then he hits me again with, "Now, is this Taurus better than the Smithfield?"

    "Smithfield?"

    "Yeah, the Smithfield 1911."

    "I'm sorry, I've not heard of a Smithfield. Do you mean Springfield?"

    "No! Smithfield!"

    "I've not heard of that."

    "Yeah, you had one in your hand awhile ago."

    "No, Sir, I had a Springfield in my hand."

    "No, it was a Smithfield. Let's see it."

    I pull it out of the case and point out the beautifully engraved "SPRINGFIELD ARMORY" across the side.

    "Oh," he says, "Well, what's the difference between that one and this one?"

    And here we go, around the mulberry bush again.

    Be kind to your local gun shop employee, you don't know what kind of people he (or she) has gotten before you.

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    Senior Member Array dunndw's Avatar
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    ...being from the south all I can say is god bless 'em.


    either that of take down a long gun and BEAT HIM ABOUT THE SKULL UNTIL THE NOISE STOPS.
    "If I was an extremist, our founding fathers would all be extremists," he said. "Without them, we wouldn't have our independence. We'd be a disarmed British system of feudal subjectivity."

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    Senior Member Array Cap'n's Avatar
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    Did Mr. Smithfield buy a gun or did he stay on his Hi-Point and keep asking questions as to why the dang hammer on the Taurus wouldn't fall?

    Lima, you definately have more patience than I, good job!

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    Oh my God.... Lima dear, you should keep a bottle of anti-acid tablets under that counter. And God Bless your patience. Guys like that are the reason I am not a good salesman. I cannot tolerate stupidity that blatant. Why won't people just plain admit "Hey, I don't know squat about it, can you help me? I am looking for this or that."
    Is it really that difficult?
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
    Signed: Me!

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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    that's pretty bad. I have to admit, I've looked dumb in front of a gunshop employee, trying to figure out where the controls are on an unfamiliar gun, but when they try to instruct, I try to listen. Sounds like that guy had a case of the know-it-alls, and would have acted the same way no matter who was helping him (or trying to).

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    You have got to be making this up. This is the funniest thing I have heard in awhile. I believe he should stick to the Hi-Point or better yet just leave all guns alone. He will probably get someone shot because he is too stupid. Too ignorant to own and too stupid to listen and learn means he should be using his money for something else.

    My wife has not been around guns alot. Her dad had some rifles and a 22 revolver. When I started showing my wife her way around my pistols (Kimber 1911 and Beretta 92/96) she at least knew where the slide release and safeties were from just watching me clean and load the pistols. When I showed her how to use both pistols she listened and learned. Now she can handle both with somewhat ease. (The Beretta is a little large for her hands.) So I know it is not hard for someone that has not been around pistols to learn. But this guy should give it up.

    I am so sorry you have to deal with people like that. It is really a hugh shame that people like that exist in this world. I see you have a lot more patience then I have. I believe I would have pass him off to someone else or told he shouldn't be looking into buying a pistol until he takes some safety classes or something. Nice job in handling him.
    Things happen, but the only thing that matters at the end of the day is what you do during and after in order to survive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n_America View Post
    Did Mr. Smithfield buy a gun or did he stay on his Hi-Point and keep asking questions as to why the dang hammer on the Taurus wouldn't fall?

    Lima, you definately have more patience than I, good job!
    Nope, didn't buy a gun, though he did say the Taurus was going to be his next purchase once he saved up his pennies.

    The poor gun (and I'm not even that big of a fan of Taurus's 1911s).

    Ahh well, it lived a good shelf life.

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    Member Array Sonic Misfit's Avatar
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    I think I met this guy at the range a couple weeks ago...He didn't say he was coming from Texas did he???

    You have a lot more patience that the average gun shop worker. God Bless You!

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    There are some folks that need a revolver or DA-only pistol. The enthusiastic customer seems to be one. Without a bit more understanding of the function, his plan to own a 1911 could be full of holes, so to speak.

    Hm. Imagine a series of posters that could hang on the wall at the gun shop. You know, like the ones in the tire/brake/alignment shop that describe the difference between disc and drum brakes, how a suspension works, the function of snow tires vs. all-seasons vs summer tires, etc. Now, imagine a series of posters covering the variety of gun designs: 1911 style, a DA pistol, a DA/SA variety, a decocker model, a DA revolver, a SA revolver, a shrouded-hammer revolver, one that distinguishes between hammer/striker fired styles, etc.

    Each poster could have a series of clear and simple photographs of each major function, with basic descriptions of how the features operate. Each could illustrate the safety of that sort of gun, with basic comparisons to other types of guns.

    That sort of thing could easily work on a web site, or here at DefensiveCarry.com, with a series of threads, one thread for each type of gun, with each post in the thread describing a different major feature of the gun. Hm ...
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are in desperate need of a HUG every time you go home from that job.

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    I'll second the patience thing Lima! Good grief. I just don't have the time or where-with-all to deal with Stupid people. And yes...let's not try to be PC...STUPID is the correct word. There's a difference between folks who are not knowledgeable, but teachable and those who are just plain STUPID. Can anyone tell I can't work in retail?
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the crap out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
    -The Mist (2007)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggy View Post
    Why won't people just plain admit "Hey, I don't know squat about it, can you help me? I am looking for this or that."
    Is it really that difficult?
    These are my favorite customers. They stand there, they stay quiet unless they have a true question, they observe, the express genuine understanding and interest and they also usually sign up for a lesson as well.

    The good customers make the bad ones tolerable.

    Somehow I always get stuck with the bad ones and when they finally leave and I turn around, all of my colleagues are standing there with huge grins on their faces shaking their heads.

    I think they get a kick out of watching me deal with them, especially since I'm too nice to tell them to come back after they've read two books on that particular make and model of gun.

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    This is a good lesson for me. I have many bolt action rifles, break open shotguns, a break open .22, revolvers, and my DAO kel-tec. I know zip about 1911s or slide-releases and such. When someone shows me one someday, I will make sure I explain that I know nothing about them, and I will pay close attention. I'm man enough to admit when I do not understand something.

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    JD
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    The wonders never cease, it's the guys like that that give us all bad names, I totally have to agree, there's teachable and theres not teachable. You had to deal with the latter.

    You should've blown the other guy's mind with the .308 ammo and asked exactly what .308 ammo he wanted? BTHP? Remington CoreLokt? How about some Winchester Silver Tips? Hornady Match?
    Soft point? FMJ? HP?

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    ... there's teachable and theres not teachable.
    Well, I started out with pistols in exactly that boat. The, uh, unteachable variety. Thought I understood a lot. Didn't, of course. Had "the attitude". That was quickly dropped, though, once it was clear that it hindered everything, mostly my learning. Duh.

    I understood a revolver's basic function, but not a semi-auto pistol's. Picked up a brand new Browning BDM in 1994 and proceeded to thrash it at the local range, over the course of 10K rounds in the first year. Learned enough about handling, safety, cleaning and the function of semi-autos to progress to IPSC matches. Won a couple of novice class competitions, with a friend's Browning Hi-Power. Realized that I liked the simplicity and reliability of revolvers, so picked up a S&W 442 Airweight for concealed carry (2yrs after starting down the road in '94).

    Thirteen years later, I'm all semi-auto in the collection, and still carrying. Have learned much in that time. Most of all, that so long as someone's willing to give me the time of day (kudos Lima!) in a shop, he/she likely knows more than I about the variety and function of what's out there. Though not uniformly true any longer, it certainly was during those first two years of learning.

    Everybody's been there, to start. This customer just started much later than many. If he drops the attitude and listens, he'll learn much.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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