Thursday, August 09, 2012

Excuse Me Sir, Do You Sell…

…Belt Fed .50cal?

It’s been two weeks since I hit the floor working at the big box outdoor outfitter written about here. The following are some early personal observations of mine.

Co-workers for the most part are polite, helpful and friendly. Few of them are young adults, most are part-time seasoned citizens like me who are near or past retirement age. Management folks are all retail career people.

So far, no issues with management that I have heard of or experienced myself. The all seem pleasant and respectful.

Ammo is literally flying off the shelves especially .223 in bulk dry-box containers of about 800 rounds or less. I get a lot of unsolicited comments from customers as to why they are buying AR15’s and stocking up on 223 ammo. You probably already know why so draw your own conclusion. It’s not for me to say why here on the blog and while in the store I keep my personal thoughts to myself. Most AR15 shooters are opting for the steel case (Russian) ammo brands for target practice. Others would never consider using steel case ammo, especially for semi-auto handguns.

There is no typical customer for the AR15’s. I have seen older doctor and lawyer types on down to young professionals and ordinary working stiffs buying them. It’s easy to spot the newer shooters. They generally will also buy a scope, bulk box of ammo, a cleaning kit, a carrying case and they ask a lot of questions. THEN they ask me where they can go shoot a gun for the first time. I direct them to the state DNR operated outdoor ranges and strongly urge that they enroll in NRA firearm safety classes first.

In my brief experience the top selling handgun ammo is 9mm. Top selling hi-power ammo is .223. We also stock exotic and hard to find calibers many of which I am unfamiliar with. One guy came in and bought a box of .375 H&H, sheesh that’s almost a cannon. This is safari type elephant gun stuff.

I have assisted both Michigan and Illinois resident customers as well as those from Indiana. Michigan and Indiana have reciprocal gun laws so they can make purchases with little hassle. Residents living in the People’s Republic of Sillynoise who shop here are still restricted by the laws and regulations of their state-controlled dictatorship party. But they do save tax $$ here in Hoosierville.

Now, this is odd to me since I have never walked into a big box gun store possessing a weapon.

IF a customer brings a gun into the store for sale, repair or a simple appraisal it must be checked in at the front desk. Once at the desk a designated and specially trained employee wearing an orange vest will (with customer permission) remove the firearm from the case, open the action to clear the receiver and the magazine of any live or spent rounds (if any are spotted the customer is asked to leave the store immediately). Jammed weapons are forbidden to enter. The exam is performed only with the muzzle pointed into an iron safe bullet trap. The gun then gets a trigger lock and a yellow plastic flag that hangs out of the receiver indicating the chamber is empty. The employee then walks the gun upstairs to the gun desk or gun library. The customer is not allowed to touch the gun again until it is carried back to the front desk period. 

BUT, since it is legal to carry in Indiana if a customer walks into the store wearing a loaded handgun and it is visible nothing can be done and no questions are asked. They are permitted in to shop as long as they do not remove it from the holster or handle their firearm in any way.

It is surprising how many shooters reload their own ammo. I have been told by some of the customers that the store has the largest selection of reloading supplies within hundreds of miles so when some item is not in stock they are surprised. It happens. One customer I waited on came in from South Bend just for his reloading necessities. He bought primers, some new dies, powder and a lot of lead. His only complaint was we no longer carry 8lb. containers of powder. I don’t know why this is and neither did the other outfitters (what we’re called) I spoke with that day. It’s probably a legal or liability issue or both. One liability issue I know of for sure is that we cannot recommend any reloading formulas to anyone who asks. All questions are directed to the manufacturers manuals.

I did manage to sell a large gun safe, probably my biggest single item. At my suggestion this customer also signed up for the “points earning” company brand credit card and so did his buddy. I get a nice gift card bonus for that.

The work is somewhat physical for an old carcass like mine, lifting 50lb. boxes of ammo, loading dry boxes of up to1000 rounds, stacking them and being on my feet all day is taking its toll. I must be walking at least ten miles a day on concrete floors and bending over constantly. The hips, feet and legs are killing me but I am determined to give it a chance to get used to it.  But my back is fine. We’ll see about that in a few more weeks.

This started as a part time exploit but they have given me two straight 40+hr weeks with only one day off out of seven. The idea here was for me to stay active, have something to keep me from getting bored, earn a few extra bucks and ease into a job that I could potentially use to supplement my combined So. Sec. and annuity income in 2.5 few years. Down the road. If necessary. But my real plan is still to fully retire at that point. For good. We’ll see.

When I get home at night all I want to do is eat and watch the White Sox on TV. Thank goodness they are winning a lot of games these days. A 2012 playoff series? We’ll see. Who knew? They look like a really good team this year and a pleasure to watch.

So I crash on the couch usually around 9:30pm or earlier with my warm furry Dottie dog lying on top of me.

Home sweet home never felt better.


Dan from Madison said...

That is great to get a workout while you work.

Talk about .375 - I once shot a .375 JDJ reloaded by my cousin, out of a single shot Thompson. It was the most insane thing I have ever shot. It is a necked down .444.

What on earth are they using it for in Indiana? Or the US for that matter? I guess it isn't any of my business, but I am of the opinion that a .335 WinMag, much more popular and plentiful will fell pretty much anything on this continent.

But then again, I know quite a few people that just want to shoot the big stuff - and more power to them.

Gerry from Valpo said...

What he uses it for he didn't tell me and I didn't ask.

I have discovered customers who come in either have very deep pockets or gag at the price of the cheapest available.

Carl from Chicago said...

Ha ha Gerry you are the worst retiree ever.

Now you are working 40 hrs / week with one day a week off.

Very interesting bunch of customers, though. Are the employees allowed to open carry?

Dan from Madison said...

Interesting comment about customers either being loaded or price shopping.

Gerry from Valpo said...

Employees must be unarmed at all times on-premise.

Jonathan said...

"This is an .88 magnum. It shoots through schools."