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Old June 25, 2012, 11:59 PM   #1
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You Are Standing at a Gun Counter and a New gun buyer Walks up...

...and starts asking questions. You hear the sales person ask two questions and then recommend a gun. How hard is it for you to stand there and not say anything. I know that a salesman's job is to sell guns, and shame on the person buying on their lack of due diligence.

I was in this position yet again this weekend- A man and I am guessing his wife walk up to the counter at a large sporting goods store and the man asks about getting a gun for home protection and CC. The buyer knows nothing of gun laws, paperwork, and guns in general. The sales person gives the most basic rundown on paperwork, "You fill out a form, we make a call and in 3-7 days you can pick up your gun" I could hardly keep from grinning at this point and my attention was peaked.

So now that paperwork was explained it's on to gun selection... "you need a Glock" now I am a Glock fan, no basher here, however if you were helping someone would you go with one option or give a few and let the customer decide-
Buyer- "hello I have never had a hamburger in my life"
Seller-" well then you must have a McDonalds hamburger, they are popular and there is over 1 billion sold, on your way please"

I am kicking myself when writing this thinking back and not saying anything, but then think about all the times I have been buying guns when people come up to me with unsolicited advice on the matter.

Where does everyone else stand?
But in with your two cents.... Mind your own business
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Old June 26, 2012, 12:14 AM   #2
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I have had this happen and I pipe up and tell them what I have. Why let someone make a mistake because some (probably) inexperienced salesman has to sell something.
Better yet I would ask if they wanted to know what I have and if they say yes I would tell them but if they say no...well, good luch newb!
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Old June 26, 2012, 12:15 AM   #3
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To me it kind of depends on the situation. For instance if it is a small shop and there are more sales people than customers I’ll probably just mind my business. If it is a really busy place and the sales person has moved on to someone else I might offer some input, but then only if approached.
A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it ... gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
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Old June 26, 2012, 01:04 AM   #4
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If I'm in a shop where I know the guys behind the counter, I may chip in with an opinion. Such opinions typically include things like, "They have several guns you might want to try out on the rental counter; I personally like that one, that one, and that one - I wonder if any of them would fit your hand well. If they do, I'd rent and shoot them, and see how you like them yourself."

The shop guys generally don't mind, or often even like it, because the customers very often buy a gun.

Sometimes, when the shop has not had a gun I thought might fit the customer's needs in the rental rack, but has had the model in stock, and I've had that particular model - I've offered to let the customer try my gun.

On other occasions, at the connected range, I've helped struggling newbies figure out how to shoot whatever gun they were trying.

So, no, I guess I'm not all that good at standing around listening to a McDonald's speech. (And I, too, have nothing against Glocks, although they aren't my personal choice.)
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Old June 26, 2012, 01:18 AM   #5
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It's none of your business. The buyer is asking the employee, not you.
"I say, boy, I say, you're doing a lot of choppin', but no chips are flyin'."
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Old June 26, 2012, 05:26 AM   #6
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The category "guns and ammo" is a VERY broad and esoteric subject. Those of us who like to delve deeply do so out of passion and curiosity about the whole subject.

But there's a whole lot of people out there who just aren't geared for that level of depth... At all.

There's a cardinal rule in sales: KISS... KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.
There are good reasons for it.

Everyone has to learn at their own speed.

Whatever first gun someone buys will generally be "good enough" for them until they're ready, in their own time, to learn more IF... IF... they want to.

A lot of people just don't care about all the esoterics. They just want a gun.
For them... KISS.

Ask yourself this: Would you butt in during the interaction between a customer and salesman at a car dealership?... At an appliance store?... In a clothing store?
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Old June 26, 2012, 05:27 AM   #7
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I don't know on this one. But if I were to quickly recommend a pistol, it would probably be the staple of pistols like the Glock. I've never fired one or even touched one but I've seen Plenty in holsters and there's a wealth of info on them for the Doit Yourselfer handgun at home training.

One could have recommended a Pistol that's not as popular (could be as good or better) but have no easily found holsters, accessories ect.

Apparently after watching a couple of episodes of Top Shot, once you get good with a Glock, you can't shoot anything else LOL
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:08 AM   #8
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This is a difficult situation.

It boils down to where my responsibilities lie. Do I have a responsibility to get involved or not?
I feel here, though, that the answer is no, unless one of the interested parties has actually asked me for my input.

I do feel for the customer, though. I have often gone into a shop, to explore a new hobby and I can personally tell if the guy behind the counter knows his stuff or not. Not because I know more, but because of how they explain. I believe a sales person should be able to do that: not only impart on the novice client what is important but also why....

I feel frustration if a sales person does not do that.

However, I am not that other customer who may well be perfectly happy with being given a product to buy having being told that is the best one for their needs.
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:31 AM   #9
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Gain employment at a gunshop. Then you can dispense your own opinions to patrons who ask for it...
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Old June 26, 2012, 08:04 AM   #10
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It is innate to the male human condition to believe that one's own opinion is the correct one. How often have you been in a gun store when you hear the casual observer (not the buyer or the clerk), offer up an incorrect un-solicited opinion?
Stay out of it. Everyone thinks they are an expert. Withhold your opinion unless someone askes for it.
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Old June 26, 2012, 08:06 AM   #11
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despite your good intentions, I think diligence is the responsibility of the person buying the gun, not yours. what may work for you may not work for them. a couple of years ago I knew absolutely nothing about guns but now I think i'm a little more educated because I took the time to do my homework. I'm glad I did because there are guns I had considered buying in the past that I'm glad I didn't.
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Old June 26, 2012, 08:20 AM   #12
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I was at a gun show and a Dealer in front of me was trying to sell a new Mauser Broomhandel owner a couple boxes of 7.62x25 ammo. This was back quite a few years before the big Russian imports. I had a "Bring back" Chinese pistol and knew something about the ammo. I informed the dealer that he was wrong and the two bullets did not even have the same dimensions and firing that ammo in a Mauser or Mauser copy could be dangerous. The Dealer was quite upset when the Mauser guy did not buy the ammo. It was a dangerous situation and I spoke up, but other than that, let the buyer be ware.
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Old June 26, 2012, 10:49 AM   #13
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Once again, mind your own business. Would you feel the need to jump in at a car dealership or at a jewelry counter?

Listen and learn vs. speaking and repeating what you already know.
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Old June 26, 2012, 10:54 AM   #14
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I try to stay out of it even when it is hard not to say something. There is enough disagreement here on what to choose, that my opinion really doesn't carry much more weight than the sales person's and that's their job.

If I were the sales person, I would try to get some idea of their experience level and whether or not they intend to try to carry the gun on their person or it is strictly for home defense. Then it comes down to whether the buyer is likely to be more comfortable with a revolver or semi-auto and what size of gun. Caliber is not as important unless it's 22LR.

It is up to the buyer to learn how to safely operate the weapon.
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Old June 26, 2012, 10:59 AM   #15
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I usually keep quiet. At the LGS I frequent, the clerks are all knowledgeable and helpful.

I do see other patrons start babbling to customers and offering up their "suggestions". They're not really trying to be helpful, they're just yammering the usual stuff - "a 9mm won't stop anyone", etc. It must drive the clerks nuts.
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Old June 26, 2012, 11:01 AM   #16
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With sales, you tend to get better results by limiting the number of choices to a potential customer.
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Old June 26, 2012, 11:12 AM   #17
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I usually keep quiet,,,

Especially if I'm in the Evil Pawn Shop,,,
But then again, The Evil Pawn Shop Guy is reputable.

I was looking at a revolver at Bass pro Shop one day,,,
This guy was trying to sell a 55-ish little lady a Taurus Judge,,,
I did wait until he turned away before I struck up a conversation with her.

It's all situational,,,
I felt it was the appropriate thing to do at the moment.

Next time I might feel differently.


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Old June 26, 2012, 11:16 AM   #18
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Would you feel the need to jump in at a car dealership or at a jewelry counter?
Some people would.

I work on the other side of the counter. Many new buyers aren't going to be shooters. They've gotten advice from the internet or from their buddy who used to know a cop. They want what looked cool on last week's TV crime drama or action film.

Most of these folks are going to pursue little or no training. They'll tell us that right up front. "I need a gun for my wife who's not here, who doesn't really want it, and isn't going to practice with it" is a very, very common conversation.

We do our best to make sure they're not getting something completely inappropriate or dangerous, but beyond that, it's about giving them what they want. I happen to believe that Glocks are not the best first choice for a new shooter who's not going to learn to live the rules of gun safety, but if that's what the buyer insists on, I'll provide it.

Despite what many folks seem to think, I don't know everything. If another customer has experience with a firearm I'm not intimately familiar with, and they feel like chiming in, that's great. I didn't know diddly squat about the Caracal pistols until a customer with one gave me feedback and allowed me to shoot his.

However, most of the time folks feel the need to play the White Knight and butt in, that's not the case.

The other day, I had an older woman with carpal tunnel who wanted something to carry. She wanted a small, light gun with low recoil and controls she could easily manipulate. Small automatics were out of the picture, and she found airweight .38's to be too jumpy. She also had trouble with a double-action trigger.

The solution was a J-Frame in .22 Magnum with a hammer she could cock. For most of us, a rimfire isn't ideal, and I usually don't recommend single-action for self-defense, but that was the best solution for her.

But noooooo...Johnny Commando had to horn in on the conversation and rattle off a spiel about methed-out zombies, body armor, and the fact that nothing short of 28 rounds of ALMIGHTY .45 ACP would stop an attacker. Geez, thanks, Johnny: now she's completely confused.

So, yeah, it can run both ways. If I were in the OP's shoes and I thought dangerous or illegal advice were being given, I might step in. Otherwise, let the sales guy do his job.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
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Old June 26, 2012, 11:39 AM   #19
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At the two small shops where I know the owners personally and they know me, I also know that they won't give a newbie a really bad recommendation. If the discussion gets around to a 1911 or a couple of other guns they know I can speak about knowledgeably, they'll usually bring me into the conversation anyway.

At other gun shops, I don't hover around and eavesdrop when the sales staff are dealing with other customers. I consider it rude. And I would not butt into a sales pitch even if I did overhear it. It's not my store so it's not my business.
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Old June 26, 2012, 12:15 PM   #20
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A friend was about to buy a jimenez once and I stepped in..... He was hell bent on buying a cheap pistol so I at least got him to go hi point.

I shot it a few times and though it was funky bulky and a ridiculous small mag capacity, it functioned well and was surprisingly accurate.
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Old June 26, 2012, 12:58 PM   #21
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It's none of your business. The buyer is asking the employee, not you.

Now if there is no salesperson there yet you could strike up a conversation, but be ready to take the "butt out" hint. Even then I'd be loath to chip in my opinion, even though I may desperately want to give it.
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Old June 26, 2012, 01:24 PM   #22
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Just because YOU have an opinion differing from the sales person does not make yours any more right or wrong - if you want to sell guns and give your opinion, go work there
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Old June 26, 2012, 01:43 PM   #23
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I used to have the urge to butt in with advice, and it's awful easy to make the gunshop people mad like that so now I will only open my mouth if I like the gun hes looking at and can add something positive to it, which helps the customer and the shop.

If he's making a mistake (IMO) then I keep my big mouth shut because it is not my business. It may be a greater mistake to butt in than the mistake he makes with his purchase of a poor gun etc..This is a mans business and livelyhood and ethically to be considered into the equation of to butt in or not.

We learn by our mistakes. Let them be.
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Old June 26, 2012, 01:47 PM   #24
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One should never miss an opportunity to mine his/her own business.
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Old June 26, 2012, 01:54 PM   #25
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I know when I worked in a gun shop it was always great when some jerk stepped in to tell someone what a horrible choice the firearm they were looking at would be.
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