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6/25/2017 7:35:25 PM
6/21/2017 8:25:40 PM
Posted: 12/11/2001 3:04:18 PM EDT
I do not work in the firearm industry anymore. But, I would like some feedback from you guys on why you do, or do not, feel the indusrty is sick.

My general perception and experience of the industry shows it to be full of arrogant companies and people who have a "I don't care if you buy it or not" attitude. This may be due to politics or the swap meet mentality of gun shows. In either case this is not an excuse.

There are also company reps I have spoke to at SHOT shows and SOF shows that truly have a no customer service attitude.

My belief is that the gun industry has the LE, Military, and Civilian markets. Like a good captalist it is about moving boxes; and that's okay. But, they do to much pandering to each of the 3 groups and because they're just selling most of their firearms to the same 3 areas they have become stagnant; with the people in the industry that have no chance of getting their share of the "pie" to whore out their products to whoever. (ie. the swap meet gunshow)

I have only skimmed the surface and I know I kinda threw everything in one pot. But, what's your thought?
Link Posted: 12/11/2001 3:08:56 PM EDT
The gun business is like the drug business you can be the biggest penis and still sell your shit. The demand is greater than the dickheadedness.
GG
Link Posted: 12/11/2001 4:50:01 PM EDT
Because there is a bunch of whinners who blow it for everyone. You can offer a product cheaper than everyone else and some dick will complain that your price is too high and that they can get it cheaper else where. They will complain and complain, then buy one item and shortly returning complaining that it has a scratch or dent which you need a magnifying glass for.

To get around this you find nitch groups that don't behave like this and sell just to them. Everyone else can go piss off because they will probably cost you more money than you will make off them.
Link Posted: 12/11/2001 6:10:22 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/11/2001 6:33:41 PM EDT
What Troy said. Sometimes it's worth paying a little extra to keep the decent shop in your town operating, rather than trying to find someone to order you the gun you want at cost + ten bucks. In the long run, we all lose.
Link Posted: 12/11/2001 7:12:09 PM EDT
Because they can.

There is not any market preasure to change. If you could get a gun as easy as a car, it would be different.
Link Posted: 12/11/2001 10:15:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 4:53:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Garryowen:
Well, here is something from the other side....

I try very hard to be friendly and helpful, I get on my guys to also try and present their selves in a friendly and professional manner. I think that most of the people we have had dealings with will attest that Cav Arms is a "Stand Up" shop. But, It gets hard to be nice when your at a gun show or on the net and there is some fellow talking smack about your product. We work hard and try hard to put out a good product so it hurts, kind of like some joker telling you your kid is ugly or stupid. We all have to remember the golden rule; we must try and treat people, as we would expect them to treat us. Also if you can get something that I am selling for less from “That Guy Over There” or “I can get that cheaper on the internet”, well good for you, don’t tell me about it, just go do it. Yes, you can save some money buying from some guy who don't have and overhead (or liability insurance to pay), but the sad truth is I have to charge a certain percentage more then I pay to make or buy a product or I just can’t keep the doors open.

That said, there are a lot of “sour” people in the gun business and there is a lot of bull-shit too, but I think that in general, customer service has dropped in this country in all fields.




I agree,

My issue is when you go to a shop, cash in hand ready to do business, and you are treated like crap.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 5:10:48 AM EDT
My experience is that it depends on the individual shop. I know a lot of gun dealers who pretty much run their business out of their house - most of these people are quite friendly and professional. A lot of times with bigger corporations, just like anywhere, it gets crazy....
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 5:19:35 AM EDT
At the gunshop level, if all shop owners remembered that they are in a retail business the complaints wouldn't exist. I used to be an ffl holder back in the 80's and I never had much in the way of problems with my customers because I went about the gun business the same as I would have gone about selling cars or shoes or ice cream. Selling is selling. I've heard guys who have gunshops use the "paperwork and legalities" excuse for having a shyttie attitude, but that doesn't hold up under examination either. Pharmacies are also closely regulated, but you don't seem to run into nearly as many pissy pharmacists as you do gun dealers. If you like guns but not dealing with people (as your customers), perhaps you need a different line of work. Retail isn't for everybody.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 5:45:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/12/2001 5:51:27 AM EDT by monkeyman]
There are idiots on both side of the counter. It is just amazing to me that the firearms industry has managed to survive.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 6:06:38 AM EDT

[snip]...but I think that in general, customer service has dropped in this country in all fields.


Amen to that!

Maybe with the downturn in the economy and therefore greater competition in some markets, we can hope for an improvement in customer service? Not like I'm holding my breath though.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 6:42:19 AM EDT
If you are shopping for bargin-basement prices, you will find these types. I don't mind paying a little more for great service.

I needed a replacement bolt for my AR and Fulton had them, a little more than normal but I was willing to pay. I cannot remember the chap's name but he mentioned there was a "run" on bolts but he would sell me one to keep my business. Great service and I didn't mind paying the premium.

Gunshows are also replete with ill-tempered individuals. I find the tables without lines have friendly staff with only slightly higher prices. Hawkers of the discount ammo can be some of the worst, claiming their brand-x will group under 1 MOA. Right, FMJ "match" ammo.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 7:09:08 AM EDT
The gun business has so many jerks because it is fundamentally a commodity business. A commodity business starts out like any other with decent margins, innovation, classy people, etc. As the product matures, management cannot increase profits by selling more units unless they reduce price, service, or quality so they do so for survival. These are short term "fixes" which are ultimately bad for the customer. As a result of this short term mentality the "good" people leave the business. The remaining people are just a commodity. Their business interests are essentially minimal, i.e., they only employees who are motivated only by their own short term interests, e.g., "how can I do the least work & still collect a paycheck?" Note that many of the "entrepreneurs" that you see at gun shows are guys who could not make it in any other business & are fundamentally the type of "employees" that I mentioned above.

That paradigm holds true for the bulk of the business. Now, because of legislation like GCA 68 & the 94 Crime Bill & the cities suing the gun industry, 9/11 terrorism, the business has taken a hard left turn. (No offense intended. It's only a figure of speech.) As a result of that, the market has seen a serious resurgence of interest. Now many segments of the market, like AR's, have reverted from a buyers market to a sellers market. Have any of the industry personnel changed? For all practical purposes, no. I still see mostly the same sellers at gun shows & in retail gun shops that I saw 10 - 15 years ago.

If you want to see a good analogy look at Harley Davidson dealerships. About 10 years ago, in the previous recession, those dealerships were owned & managed by people with the same mentality. That segment of the motorcycle industry, heavyweights, is in a similar place. Their sales people are paid very little, trained poorly, etc. so they do not get customer responsive employees.

The result? We have ignorant, arrogant "sales" people in both cases. How can this be fixed? As customers all that we can do is take our business elsewhere. As sellers it would be nice if they realized that the worm will turn. Treat us good today & you can make us long term customers.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 7:09:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Troy:
Also, a lot of the folks in the business are engineers, not businessmen or "service" people, and have little skill in either of these areas. That's okay if they hire folks of these types for appropriate positions, but many shops are too small, and you have to interact with the guy who should be in a shop designing things, not out with customers.

-Troy



I resemble that comment.

I'm Scott - an engineer with poor people skills. I got reprimanded once for adding a note to a drawing I knew was going to go to a particularly troublesome employee "MILTFP".



Make
It
Like
The
F_cking
Print!

Off to sensitivity training....again....
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 8:52:20 AM EDT
Foremost...it's a commodity-based business (stated previously by another member). The customer is looking for the cheapest price, because the product is identical in most cases.

HOWEVER, I think a number of behind-the-counter workers are working for low wages in a gun shop BECAUSE of their bad attitude. That is, they probably got cross-ways with past employers and ended up in the shop.

Another reason they have poor attitudes is the Testoterone factor. I don't know how many gun shop owners/workers think they ARE THE SH!# because they work with guns all day. Sitting in a gun shop does not make you a gun pro any more than sitting in your driveway makes you a car. I have been fed more mis-information from gun shop workers than any place else.

SMILE, ANSWER MY QUESTION HONESTLY AND POLITELY, AND I'LL DECIDE FOR MYSELF IF YOU DESERVE MY MONEY.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 9:26:46 AM EDT
The Gun Control Act of 1968 Made it this way.

The Feds made it so that casual sellers or anybody who isn't primarily in the firearms business can't sell guns legally. Also, it has jacked up the prices becuase dealers have to pass their costs on to you, and the manufacturer has to pass his costs on to the retailer. Without the 68 law, we could order directly from the manufacturer. That way, only the best Dealers would stay in business. By forcing people to shop at whatever FFL is in their area, you are altering the natural economics of Retail Sales. That is if a seller is a dickweed, you look elsewhere. if he is really bad, you can always order out of a catalog. And he will feel it in the wallet.

Not true for guns. Simply becuase we can no loger catalog order guns w/o shipping to that same dickweed.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 10:45:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tailgate:
Foremost...it's a commodity-based business (stated previously by another member). The customer is looking for the cheapest price, because the product is identical in most cases.



Hmmm, I always thought that if you were in a commodity retail business, you attempted to differentiate yourself from your competitors by offering better customer service than the other guys.

I think the problem is that the gun business is mostly staffed by ex-cops, ex-military, engineers, and others who have an interest in, or experience with, guns. The blow-dried MBA types don't seem to be very prevalent in this business.
Link Posted: 12/13/2001 5:04:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/13/2001 4:57:28 AM EDT by Golgo-13]
I posted something meant for another thread here, sorry.
Link Posted: 12/13/2001 7:04:30 AM EDT
Used to work part time in a shop that did some class III sales, as well as the usual.. The full auto crowd, you'd meet one or two odd, or abrasive personalities at best out of the group..Otherwise, they were suprisingly low key, and polite..

the general populace though was damn scary.. the guy wandering in, wanting to know how to make an AK full auto "Like in Geraldo", or the guy toting a Ruger Redhawk, with a 10" barrel in a low ride western holster trying to convince people that it is just for self defense.(Riight.. Surrogate penis anyone?)

But the worst, was the manager the owner hired.. This guy had NO concept of firearms outside of what crap he saw on Miami Vice reruns.. Basically, I watched this idiot run the shop to oblivion, by selling people what HE thought they should own, rather than just selling em what they wanted..
A guy wants a box of 9mmLargo? Fine, DON'T pull out a 800.00 hotrod Beretta, and do a hard sell.. Chances are he DOES NOT HAVE THE MONEY, and you'll just piss him off by rubbing his nose in it..

I am no firearms expert, but it amazes me to walk into a local shop and get the glassy stare when I ask for "some 62 grain .223 ball" or " 100 rounds of .303, mark seven ball"..
I'm sorry, but if the employee cannont turn around, scan the shelf, and grab the Ziploc freezer baggie of .303 LABELLED ".303 MkVII, corrosive, 100 rds." then maybe he needs to go back to watching daytime TV in Mommy's basement..

I watch in amazement (and fear) at the downright unsafe handling that occurs with the surplus rifles as well.. Guy is interested in a Yugoslav Mauser.. So the counterboy turns, grabs the rifle, and hands it to the guy, who then swings it about like the 16" cannon on the USS Missouri.. HELLO!? anyone check to see if someone might have jacked a round in that tomato stake? And DON'T POINT IT AT ME JACKASS! (Sure, it may not be loaded.. But getting whacked in the back of the head with a rifle's muzzle is no damn fun either..)

When the guy asks the counterboy details about the rifle, the kid just shrugs and says "I don't care about that old junk". Ohh. Nice sales technique..

No, I don't think the industry is sick. Just staffed indiffrently.. The ones that know, or are interested rarely want to work in firearms sales.. The ones that want to frequently should not..

Rant off..
Meplat-

Link Posted: 12/13/2001 11:18:15 AM EDT
It's the ignorance and the downright stupidity that gets to me. People come in to find out what pistol/rifle/shotgun to buy and the jerk behind the counter is off and running showing off how little he knows.

People all have their own opinions of guns, what we think are good and bad ones, types of actions and calibers...but, you don't recommend a small-frame .357 Taurus revolver to a new woman shooter.

Too many cop wanna-bees and weiners who didn't have the guts to go in the military but try to compensate for it by telling us how good they would have been etc...too many gun stores are just very tiring to visit, the BS is too thick.
Link Posted: 12/13/2001 1:20:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/13/2001 1:16:44 PM EDT by Cummins_4x4]
I have experience on both sides of the counter. On the industries side, running a full stocked gunshop is hard today. There is competition that is blatatly unfair as in Walmart with their government subsidies. You also have an arrogant wholesale structure to deal with at times. It is best to find a need and fill it. Such as surplus guns and ammo where one doesn't compete against the mass merchants. Keeping a good attitude is also hard as SGNews readers come in and demand a product at the price they see advertised. Which sometimes one can do with a leveraged purchase. In other words it takes some business accuem today. It is very discouraging to sell someone a product they want but the person doesn't purchase it from you and have them come back from the weekend gunshow and having bought it for $5 less. Yes just $5 less. This on a big ticket item we were trying to make $25 on. Not smart keeping inventory with that low of markup. But also going to shops and being treated like a piece of dirt because you like a differnt type of gun than they do is hard to take. There is great room for improvement in the industry. Nuff said.
edited for spelling
Link Posted: 12/13/2001 2:45:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ken_mays:

Originally Posted By Tailgate:
Foremost...it's a commodity-based business (stated previously by another member). The customer is looking for the cheapest price, because the product is identical in most cases.



Hmmm, I always thought that if you were in a commodity retail business, you attempted to differentiate yourself from your competitors by offering better customer service than the other guys.

I think the problem is that the gun business is mostly staffed by ex-cops, ex-military, engineers, and others who have an interest in, or experience with, guns. The blow-dried MBA types don't seem to be very prevalent in this business.



Couple comments:
I agree that you SHOULD try to differentiate yourself with better service. The problem is, a commodity is simply a commodity. Therefore, people will come to your store to get the friendly help on what they want to buy and help them make a decision. THEN, they go shopping to find out where they can get it CHEAPEST...just as Cummins 4x4 said, for $5 less at the gun show. Rarely do the best customer service shops have the cheapest price...quality of employees equals higher costs and prices in a free-market system.

Yes, former cops/military/engineers/etc. typically work there...and they are not known for their pleasant interpersonal skills (typically).

As for the blown-dried MBAs...watch it! I are one! :)
Link Posted: 12/13/2001 3:29:36 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/13/2001 5:15:46 PM EDT
I kinda believe you find 'attitudes' in all
kinds of business. At least most of the gun guys speak English. Maybe I have been lucky.
I don't have too much trouble, although there
are the fair share of assholes at gunshows.
John
Link Posted: 12/13/2001 5:24:36 PM EDT

If more businesses in the gun industry operated like Cav Arms, Tromix, SWFA, Sable Co, Socom (and a few others)....we would not even be having this discussion.

Exactly!!! However, I think that the majority of firearm related businesses fall into the category of these guys mentioned. The jackasses always stand out. Recently, I bought a Model 70 Winchester and upgraded the painted aluminum trigger guard to a Williams blued steel version. Didn't fit. I contacted Williams Firearms of Prineville, Oregon 1-800-257-3006 (gotta plug these guys) and explained the problem (BTW, bought part from Brownell's). Matt Williams invited me to send in the parts and stock and he would correct it. A few days later I get a call from Mr. Williams: problem was a bad floorplate/hinge assembly (made by a competing vendor). Solution: I went ahead and put a new one of the proper type on your rifle. Cost: no charge, just keep us in mind if you decide to buy any bottom metal for another rifle. ATTENTION BONEHEADS: DO IT LIKE THESE GUYS!!!! www.williams-firearms.com
Link Posted: 12/13/2001 6:01:36 PM EDT
I am a customer but I find other customers to be real pains. All that lo-balling and whining from customers all day long would make me grouchy too if I had to be behind the counter.

I seek out stores that know what they sell, are honest and treat me decently. I support those stores to the best of my ability.
Link Posted: 12/16/2001 8:35:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Cummins_4x4:
(snip)
It is very discouraging to sell someone a product they want but the person doesn't purchase it from you and have them come back from the weekend gunshow and having bought it for $5 less. Yes just $5 less. This on a big ticket item we were trying to make $25 on. Not smart keeping inventory with that low of markup.
(snip)



$5??? That would be frustrating, and shortsighted, IMHO.

I would glady pay $20 or $30 more per weapon from a local, service oriented stocking dealer, but in my personal experience, the differential is often more like $60-$75 on a $300 to $500 weapon, and about $200 or more on an AR15 or other more expensive stuff. That's a lot of jack for support.
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 9:57:41 AM EDT
I work for a company that relys on customer service for it's customer retention. I also have had bad experience with most gun dealers. There are a few good reps out there and ALL the others have blown it! Just think how much better the industry can be if the people take pride in the product they sell and care about the people who buy them! I also understand that some customers can be over demanding and some you can never please. Customer Service keeps the people comming back when they need something else.
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