Messing With Customers Is Fun--Never Underestimate the Little Girl Behind the Counter
Picture with me, if you will, me. Blond, blue eyes, only five feet and some odd inches tall, long hair and big dangling gold earings, a cute little tan sweater, modest makeup and slightly nerdy glasses, standing behind the counter of a gun store looking through a store stock catalog. I'm like any other girl, in any other job, and most who don't know me expect that I'm the poor brother's sister-in-law who got conned into working at a gun shop as an office gal or something.
Sometimes I'm respected by customers, but most of the time I'm ignored until I step up. On rare occasions I get to be the lucky soul who some poor schmuck tries to impress.
And so, in walks exhibit A. He doesn't know me from Eve. If he does notice me at all he instantly assumes I'm there for office work, legalities, show or all three. But for some reason he's decided he's going to teach me a thing or two.
It's not that I'm unimpressible, it's just that regular gun knowledge no longer is sufficient to raise my brow. What impresses me more than an individual's knowledge of firearms is their graciousness and accomplishments with said firearms. Show me a man who can modestly and humbly demonstrate his abilities and I'll show you a man who impresses me.
Here he comes open carrying a 1911 stuck in the waistband of his jeans, he isn't talking to me, he's talking to a coworker and he asks for an in-the-waistband holster for a 1911.
My colleague is busy and I'm just reading a catalog so I ask, "For what size 1911?"
"Full size," he tells me.
"Do you have a material preference? Nylon? Leather?"
"Belt or Clip?"
He cocks his head at me. "What would you recommend?"
"Belt. It has a little more support and is held in place better."
He looks at my coworker who's nodding.
"She'd know," my coworker says, "She carries the things."
The can of worms has now been officially opened.
"Alright," says the customer, "What do you have in the way of IWB, leather, belt holsters?"
"Nothing much right now. You'd have to special order them."
"Well, what do you have?"
I turn and raise my sweater slightly to show my nifty leather IWB belt holster and tell him I got it online.
He looks slightly aghast for a moment and says, "What? You didn't get it here?"
"No. They don't carry what I want here. I have expensive tastes when it comes to my leather."
The customer looks at my coworker again who is still nodding.
"Yep," my colleague says, "She likes her holsters expensive."
The customer straightens his shoulders and lifts his chin. "Why aren't these holsters good enough for you?"
"Well, for one, I carry a 1911 with a four-point-one inch barrel so it's too big for an officers sized and too short for a government holster. The commander is a pretty good fit but we don't usually keep sizes other than government and I don't want an extra inch of holster I don't need. If I'm going to order the holster I want I'll just get it directly from the source."
His brow furrows as he realizes I've just quoted him a very unusual barrel length for a 1911.
"What kind of 1911 do you carry?"
And now come the lessons.
He pulls the magazine from the Springfield stuck in his pants and strips a cartridge off the top, holding it up in the air like a trophy.
"Have you ever seen these before?" he asks in a slightly condescending tone.
"Yeah. They are expanding full metal jackets."
His eyes register the surprise that I recognized the ammunition.
"What do you put in yours?"
I reach back and pull my spare mag from my pouch. Now it's time to compare scars and I'm not about to be outdone. I sheer off a Federal Hydra-Shock off the top of my mag and hold it up to him.
"Either that or Speer Gold Dots."
He holds up his expanding full metal jacket and says, "But have you ever seen what these look like once they've expanded?"
"Yes, and I've also seen what these.." I emphasis my point by twisting my cartridge in my fingers, "..look like when they've expanded. They will do just fine."
"But can your gun feed hollow-points?"
"I wouldn't carry them if it didn't."
He blinks and looks at the magazine in my hand and does some quick calculating about where it came from "And my God, girl, but.. is that a SPARE magazine?"
He regains his composure a bit and says, "Have you tried Springfield Armory's 1911s?"
"I own one."
"How about Colt?"
"Got one of those, too."
He blinks again.
"Why Wilson Combat and not any other 1911?"
"I started out with a Kimber. It was a good gun but when I started shooting more I realized it was just too little for what I wanted to do with it. I put too many rounds through it and ended up pulling a tendon in my hand. That told me I needed a heavier gun to absorb more of the recoil. I pretty much said 'screw it' to trying to build my own so I got the Wilson."
The surprise hits him again and he narrowed an eye. By golly if he wasn't going to find SOMETHING to teach me tonight.
"I prefer rubber Hogue grips on my Springfield."
"Then you'll like this," I say as I make my way over to the safe where Wilson was resting. I clear Wilson and hand him over. "These grips were a Christmas present from my husband."
Wilson gleamed in all of his stunning glory sporting his dashingly Wicked Grips.
The customer couldn't hide his surprise even if he wanted to. He looked at Wilson like a kid who looks at a toy he'd only heard of. When he handed Wilson back he was silent.
But he was not going to take defeat easily this one. He was a MAN after all. And men are the protectors; the strong ones. There was no way this little lady was going to show him up in the weapons department.
He waited and he watched, he plotted and he planned, and finally the opportunity presented itself.
My colleague asked me to cut a tag off of a box.
He flipped open his folding Tanto blade and offered it to me eagerly enough to be annoying.
Simultaneously I pulled my Ka-Bar from its sheath on my left hip and my Kershaw from my right pocket and said, "Thanks, but I've got my own."