Gut Rumbles

November 24, 2003

gigantic pain in the ass


I've never bought a firearm from Wal-Mart before and I never will again. I spent an hour and a half in the store this morning to pick up a .22 rifle.

I arrived at 8:00 this morning. I went through the pet department first and loaded a buggy with dog food (lamb and rice-- nothing but the BEST for MY dog), food and water bowls and a nice bed for the dog to sleep in. I picked out a fluffy blanket to line the bed with. Then, I went to the gun counter to pick up my new rifle.

That dumbass background check paperwork had come through and all was in order. (Have you filled out a Georgia form lately? WTF does ANYBODY think that thing is worth? "Are you a convicted felon?" "Have you stopped beating your wife?" "Do you intend to buy this gun to declare war against the United States?" "Are you a space alien?" Pure bullshit.)

Why is it that a cop can pull my truck over on the side of the road in Oliver, Georgia and radio my license plate number to Command Central and know every bit of that shit in less than five minutes? Why does that dumbass form take two or three days to be approved? Brady Law, my ass.

But... I digress.

"Edith" was working the gun counter this morning, as I discovered after I spent 20 minutes tracking somebody down to wait on me. I introduced myself and explained that I had picked out a .22 rifle on Saturday and I wanted to buy it this morning. She found the paperwork, asked for my driver's license, checked the paperwork three times, then went to "the gun room" to fetch my rifle. I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more.

Edith finally came back with the rifle, checked the serial number, recorded it on the paperwork and then pulled out a big, rubber stamp and ink pad to put Bejus-knows-what kind of official seal on the paper. This entire operation was taking entirely too long to suit me.

"Can I just pay for the gun and get a box of 550 of those Winchester .22 long rounds back there to go with it?" I asked. "I'll be out of your hair right away."

But, NOOOoooo. Under Wal-Mart rules, Edith can't sell me the rifle. She requires a manager with a special key to make the cash register work to complete a gun sale. She pages a manager. We wait. And wait. Then, we wait some more.

Finally, a manager arrives. He appears to be about 19 fucking years old. He goes over all the paperwork Edith already went over three times, then he pulls out some kind of template to lay over to form to make extra-sure that's he's missing NOTHING. This exercise takes about another 15 minutes. Finally, I am authorized, sanctified, blessed by every Power That Exists and allowed to pay for the rifle and the ammo.

But I can't just throw the gun and the ammo in the buggy with the dog food and the dog bed and the food and water bowls and the fuzzy blanket and go on my merry way. Oh, NOOOoooo! The MANAGER HIMSELF has to CARRY THAT RIFLE OUT THE FRONT DOOR OF THE STORE and then hand it to me on the sidewalk outside. Goddam! What kind of shit is that? If I were going to rob the place, I damn sure wouldn't try it with a single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle that I JUST BOUGHT IN THE FUCKING STORE. Give me a break.

I had to leave the doggie stuff in the buggy and I was so pissed off by then that I didn't go back inside to retrieve it. I came home to simmer down a little bit.

I don't have to put up with that shit at Mack's Gun Shop. There, you pick your piece, and if the paperwork is approved, you pay the man and walk out. Easy as pie. The only reason I bought that rifle to begin with was because I happened to be in Wal-Mart shopping for a kicking tee for Quinton. If I had known what I was in for, I never would have looked at ANY guns while I was there.

I'll never do it again.


I've always wondered how many guns Walmart actually sells.

Posted by: Sgt Hook on November 24, 2003 09:44 AM

Sounds like a routine here in MA......gack

Posted by: MommaBear on November 24, 2003 09:53 AM

Where is Oddball? You were going to Walmart first, then the pound so Oddball wouldn't have to wait in the truck.

Where is Oddball?

Posted by: Ms Anna on November 24, 2003 09:57 AM

I bought two .22 rifles at once from WalMart for Christmas presents a couple of years ago. The whole thing took about 15 minutes (including background check). Pretty much hassle free, although they did insist on carrying them outside for me. This is in Missouri, I don't know why it would be different in Georgia, but unless WalMart has changed policy it's not the corporation's fault; sounds like the store manager needs to be replaced.

Posted by: Gramps on November 24, 2003 10:11 AM

MB, I didn't know we were neighbors...

She's right, A-man.

I should describe to you the unique hell that is buying a pistol in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.

Right AFTER I take my blood pressure medication...

Posted by: Guy on November 24, 2003 10:15 AM

Just another reason to avoid supporting Wal-Mart at every possible opportunity.

When ol' Sam ran the store, they really DID strive to buy and sell American Made merchandise. Sadly, those days are long gone, and WallyWorld is now just an outlet store for Communist China, Inc.

The axiom of "knowing the price of everything, but the value of nothing", surely comes into play, here. Yeah, they got low prices. But the COST of those prices in putting small town businesses OUT of business, sucks.

So does WallyWorld's pressure on suppliers to cut, cut, the point where those suppliers MUST move jobs overseas to compete. That's one hell of a high price to pay for "low prices". Too high, in my book.

And, their absolute lack of gun-knowledgeable sales staff, their asinine sales policies such as having to hand you the box out on the sidewalk, etc., ad-nauseum, sucks, too.

They've no more committment to the 2nd Amendment than the man on the moon.

Guaranteed too, the very NANOSECOND that some corporate number-cruncher determines they can use that same shelf space for more profitable merchandise, well, kiss their Guns&Ammo departments goodbye.

Keep supporting Mack's Gun Shop. They need the business, and we need each and every independent Gunsmith and Emporium.

I sometimes HAVE to buy from WallyWorld, when no one else has an item I need.

But it is the last place I shop. Always.

Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim on November 24, 2003 10:19 AM

I have been looking at a couple of guns at
Wallyworld. But considering what you've just went through to purchase one, I'll forgo that
dubious pleasure. I can go to Big 5 Sporting Goods or any number of gun shops and have
a rifle in about 20 to 30 minutes. And they won't walk me out to hand me the gun.
Enjoy your new rifle.

Posted by: Ray on November 24, 2003 10:37 AM

Given that a more than a few might-have-been suppliers have decided to forego the dubious distinction of being on WW's shelves because of WW's predatory treatment of suppliers, one might also wonder about just what kind of people there are in their corporate building, especially as all those practices of demanding to control a supplier's entire manner of doing business came in at Sam W's explicit directions.

Posted by: MommaBear on November 24, 2003 10:55 AM

Maybe that little process is just their way of testing their gun buyers. If at the end of all that, you don't turn around and shoot one of them in the ass with the gun you just bought, you're safe to have one.

Posted by: JaxVenus on November 24, 2003 11:25 AM

A-Man, if Oddball starts to get too fat, it may be due to the lamb and rice. Altho high quality and delicious, it's a very high calorie dog food, per my vet. My Rott got huge while eating lamb and rice and consequently had to go on Fit & Trim to lose weight.

And as to Wal-Mart - you're right, as usual.

Posted by: Indigo on November 24, 2003 11:47 AM

WalMart has changed their procedures here in CO lately. Wasn't that long ago, I could grab 4 boxes of 12-ga off the shelf, go to the checkout, buy them, and walk out. I recently bought 4 boxes of CCI mini-mags there. Last time I'll do it too. I had to wait (and wait ... ) at the counter for some non-gun purchase to be completed -- why it was being handled there, I have no idea. But I had to wait, and ask for them, instead of being able to pick them up from the shelf myself. I asked if I could take them up to the main registers, since I had other purchases. Nope. They didn't offer to ring my other purchases either. Each individual box of shells required some complex cash-register gyrations. They couldn't be rung up using the quantity-times-single scan method. One thing I noticed was a display on the register asking if it was "for pistol?". I'm thankful it wasn't -- I wondered when the cavity search was going to come up. The only thing I can say is that it was marvelously cheap. But I'll never even try to buy ammo, let alone an actual *gasp* firearm there again.

Posted by: jed on November 24, 2003 02:58 PM

Nice Jim, Always. ;)

Posted by: DeAnna on November 24, 2003 05:03 PM

Congratulations on society's granting you permission to live.

Posted by: Brett on November 24, 2003 05:45 PM

Just to give you a little perspective about the restriction of both excorting the gun out of the store and the no ammo with the gun things.

Just over a year ago, a manager, 2 employees, and a customer were all shot by someone who wanted to check out a rifle in the sporting goods department.

The policy is more for employee safety than customer conveniece but in all honesty do you blame them?

It's the CYA approach, don't put yourself in a position where you could possibly get your ass shot.

Posted by: Dale on November 24, 2003 06:39 PM

I'm surprised you didn't get a comment from Kim du Toit. Here's his rant on the subject of Wal-Mart and guns.

Posted by: dipnut on November 24, 2003 07:07 PM

Deanna wins the "subtle cue" award, t'nite. *grin*

Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim on November 24, 2003 08:06 PM

I agree with Jim about Wal Mart. But their policy of carrying the gun outside for you goes back several years--last time I bought a gun there. They said a guy in some Wal Mart bought a gun and opened fire inside the store. If it happened AGAIN about a year ago, I guess they weren't following policy.

The last time I bought .22 ammo there (again, a few years back...1999 I think) they asked at the register if it was for a handgun. It was, in fact, but I lied.

Posted by: hackjammer on November 24, 2003 10:33 PM

I've only bought one gun at Wal-Mart, and that was because I couldn't get it anywhere else (the Wal-Mart version of the Ruger 10/22, a very nice gun in fact). The counter guy was pretty nice, knew his stuff, and had the whole thing done in under 15 minutes even with the NICS check. But he had to walk me out the door with the gun (store policy, as he said) which really made me feel like a total dork and was enough to make me go elsewhere from then on. Wal-Mart has great prices, no question about it. But if they drive the local gunshops out of business then where do you go if Wal-Mart suddenly drops firearms? I support my local gunshops now, the few bucks I would save just ain't worth it.

Posted by: Mike Trettel on November 25, 2003 11:21 AM

Fucking Wal-Mart shouldn't be in the business of selling guns, anyway.

The reason Mack doesn't have to take the gun outside for you is that Mack is ARMED TO THE TEETH -- whereas, of course, the Wal-Mart staff are forbidden to pack.

God, I hate those bastards. I NEVER shop at Wal-Mart -- I don't care HOW cheap they are.

As the man said, they're the retail arm of Communist Fucking China, Inc. A pox on them, with their phony folksiness and singing the company hymn.

Posted by: Kim du Toit on November 26, 2003 01:30 PM

Kim, you can even shoot 'em before you buy 'em at Mack's Gun Shop. He has a range in the back of the store. I like that.

I'll never buy a gun from Wal-Mart again.

Posted by: Acidman on November 26, 2003 10:35 PM
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