Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gun Store Blues

Why is it that 80% of gun store workers have such bad customer service skills? I can't count the number of times that I've been to a shop to research or buy my next gun only to be dismissed, ignored, talked-down-to, or thoroughly disgusted by the time I walked out the door. What, if any, other retail environment has such an exclusive group of counter jockeys? Why does having limited knowledge about guns make you such a target of scorn?

As someone who's livelihood depends on people, well-versed or not, buying guns, you'd think they'd have more incentive to make you feel comfortable and at ease instead of making you feel inadequate and stupid. Not everyone spends every waking moment thinking about, using, buying, or selling firearms and ammo, but most shops only seem to cater to the guys that do, or the ones who drop large chunks of cash on the biggest most expensive and shiny boomstick they can find. 

Refer to a magazine as a "clip" or use some other misnomer and click, there goes their attention and general level of respect.  Don't get me wrong, there are good clerks out there too; ones willing to talk with you respectfully and give you advice and take your budget and other concerns into consideration. I've found one or two in my day. But in today's big box store world of cheap unknowledgeable sales associates they are few and far between. 

My other current gripe is shopping around and going to all these different gun shops only to find the bulk of their inventory is a rack full of Remington 700s and Ruger Americans with only AR parts on the walls and all the handguns in the case look exactly the same, bearing some resemblance to a glock. I go to a physical shop to lay my hands on different guns and see how they feel and which one fits me better in hopes of refining the research I've only looked at online, and to hopefully find a good, comparable deal and walk out with my own new or new to me firearm. 

"No I'm not interested in the Remington 700 or 770 or whatever... Yes, I really asked you if you have that gun in stock..." And my trials and tribulations go on, lol. 


  1. Most of my recent experience with gun counter clerks in large outdoors stores and big box stores that sell guns, when asked a question, has been that they just don't know. Usually they don't know where to find the answer, either -- except their manager might know and he's not there right now. Oh, well. The kid was in high school a few months ago. What did I expect?

    Now if you go to a gun store, I've observed that the clerks are different. They are often vets, or LEO's moonlighting or retired. They know about the weapons used in their world; the ones in high demand now for self defense. Get outside their domain and you often loose their interest quickly. But I'm the one shopping and they will let you see whatever you wish. Just don't expect much in the way of advice.

    The internet is a wonderful place to find information regarding almost anything, including guns. But as you mentioned, I also need to hold and personally examine a gun to know if it may be right for me. A few times I've stumbled upon a real deal when I'm just checking one out and wind up bringing it home. More often, I find something unexpected that I add to my wish list.

    I don't dare complain about all the shoes my wife has in the closet. Heck, sometimes I even buy her a new pair.

  2. I feel one gets the same treatment in most guitar stores. The clerks can be a real pain in the tuchus. Maybe for similar reasons as the gun store clerks.

  3. I thoroughly agree with everything said here thus far, including the comments. I'm often ignored completey in gunshops until I say something specific to clue the clerk in that I'm not clueless. That usually gets me enough attention to have a gun handed to me, but not much more.

    When I worked gun counters I always tried to be what I wanted to find as a customer: someone knowledgable and friendly, helpful but not pushy; definitely not a dickhead to noobs. The problem is that in big box corporate world the value of a knowledgable employee has been pushed aside in favor of worker drones who sn stock shelves cheaply. And in small shops, Dave is spot on. They're LEOs or vets who know their stuff but could care less about how to sell something or give good customer service. They mostly ignore you if they don't know you or saw you drive up in a $100k SUV. (Same with guitar shops, I can attest along with Andrew)

    There needs to be a middle ground. Why can't more shops find that? Why can't we as customers find a shop that has found it? If you know of any, let us know.

  4. Hi Dave, your post make me feel that I need to share your post on my magazine for all of gun seller to improve their skills. Cheer~!

  5. The customer is God. How a store treat their customers decide wether or not they success in a long-term. Being a customer, I will not return the shop that totally ignore my apperance. Let's share this post to wide awareness.

  6. Gun store should educate their staff about customer service first, I also met lots of gun sellers staff that do not have good knowledge about guns

  7. I hear you completely, It's a shame to see fellow gun enthusiasts or would be enthusiasts abruptly shutdown by the clerks if they show any sign of not knowing the ins and outs of every gun on the shelf. We should be working together to strengthen the second amendments rights of all, not intimidating people out of owning guns.


Keep it clean and courteous people. Lively is good, mean spirited is bad. Thanks for participating!


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