Gut Rumbles

February 05, 2009

Gigantic pain in the ass

Originally published November 24, 2003


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.

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