Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Firearm's Shopping Odyssey...

...was not what I had expected when I awakened yesterday to a cool, almost cold, Fall morning. What I had expected was that I would go out and buy a new rifle - most likely either a Savage 111 or a Mossberg 100 ATR. I had the cash in pocket, although I was going to use Amex, and then put the cash into the checking account to make sure it was there when the card account came due. I kind of like the warranty American Express gives you when you buy with their card. I digress, back to gun hunting.


It was a pretty fine Saturday morning, crisp air, clearing skies, and a good day to drive around to look for the rifle I wanted to buy. I set out in the trusty Toyota because I knew I would be covering a few more miles than I had at first expected to during my search, and the little Corolla sure sips the gas as compared to our Ford Taurus. I was figuring on going to Walmart and then to Dick's Sporting Goods if I could not find the right deal at Walmart. I took the time to go Walmart's website, and then call all the stores fairly close to me to see if they sold firearms. Not one within a reasonable distance sold firearms. They did, I was told, sell them at the Wally World in Middle Island, New York. The Walmart at that location is 41.87 miles from my house according to Map Quest, the closest Wally World to my home on Long Island that sells firearms. Now that distance may not seem like all that much to drive to someone who lives in a less populated area than just outside of NYC. I mean what would it take with a 65mph or 70mph speed limit and open roads; probably less than 41.87 minutes. Around here that drive would probably take over an hour, and as it turned out with yesterday's traffic it would have taken me closer to two hours. Lots of Veterans' Day sale seekers on the roads is all I can imagine as the mall parking lots were full to capacity.


I started out en route to the furthest destination first, the Middle Island Walmart. Almost as soon as I got on a large road I hit traffic. I quickly surmised that it would take forever to get to Walmart so I decided to first stop at Dicks which is only about 1.5 miles from my house. This Dick's is in with the Roosevelt Field Mall. It is a pretty big mall with lots of parking, yet I had to park about 1/6 to 1/4 of a mile away from the entrance due to the number of cars there. I guess there had to be Veterans' Day sales going on and folks were shopping for Christmas already - me sure I get some done early too, but I get a lot, if not most of it, of it done on Christmas Eve. Well anyway, I made for the firearm's counter in Dicks up in their Hunting area. There were a couple of people being helped and only one other guy waiting to be helped besides me. In about 5 minutes or so, I was looking at a Savage Model 11FCXP3 in .30-06. It was an okay rifle, but it did not have the Accu-Trigger, and I had been told by a store clerk, over the phone, that it had said trigger. Oh well, off to Walmart.


As I began to drive east toward Walmart, I remembered a Sports Authority nearby, maybe just another 1/2 mile or so from Dick's. Of course, I stopped there before going to Walmart. That short drive about 1/2 of a mile took me about 20 minutes. The amount of traffic was mind boggling, but not as mind boggling as were the number of assholes poor drivers who did not know there right from left or how to stop at a light before blocking an intersection. My daily commute in rush hour traffic is usually never even close to as bad as was this. Well once in the Sport's Authority lot I parked and spied the local Walmart. I figured why not stop there and double check to see if maybe somehow they sold firearms. Heck they did not even sell hunting supplies, and they used to in the past. A clerk got uppity when i asked why not, so I just left and walked over a store or two to the Sports Authority.


Well off to Sports Authority where I headed right to their firearms counter hidden away in the back of the store. It used to be in the center left side of the store, but I guess political correctness mandates they hide it. Lo and behold they had a small numbers of, yet decent variety of rifles, most on sale. I saw a Remington 700 (or something close to that), a couple of Winchester bolties (I could not read the model number), a few savages with scope combo (some with wood, others with synthetic stocks), and a Ruger 77 (unknown caliber). The Savages were all about $420 with the scope. I imagine they had the accu-triggers, since the price was so much higher than at Dick's. The Remington and Winchesters were priced close to those. The Ruger was a mere $440, about $200 off the regular price. I was intrigued. I guess that about 10 minutes went by of my looking at guns over the counter. Not a sales person in sight during that time.

I went to the customer service desk at Sports Authority and asked for help in the firearms department. They paged a sales clerk. I waited at the firearms' counter, 1 minute, 2, then 5, then 10, then about 15. No one showed up to assist me. I caught a passing sales manager and asked for assistance. Again I soon heard a page for a sales clerk to go to firearms. No one showed up, and after about another 5 or 10 minutes, I saw a clerk in a nearby section. I asked him for help. He told me he will not assist in firearms. He did not tell me=it is not his department, or that he is not authorized behind the firearms counter, but that he "will not" help me with firearms. Since my blood pressure medicine was never meat to control a nuclear blast of blood rushing to one's brain, I quickly left the store before I imploded then exploded in a rage of red tinged rhetoric and invective aimed at the clerk.

What was left except for Walmart in Middle Island. Well there was Costco, and I had to do some shopping there for household stuff. I stopped there next and put up with the other maniacs customers who dare to shop there on a weekend. It was a mob scene though i must admit, by some quirk of luck I got to the checkout and had only one guy on line in front of me. great timing. I was in and out of there in about 1/2 hour, a new speed record for me at Costcos. Then I made a quick stop at Home Depot, close to Costco. I am plastering and painting my daughter's old room (my son's new room), so I had to pick up several things there. That was another quick stop, and Home depot was all but empty. I guess those Veteran's Day sales at the malls were just to alluring to most to have them do any work over the three day weekend.

When I left Home depot, I was not looking forward to the drive through lots of traffic to get to Walmart. I figured it would take me well over an hour to get there with the roads as congested as they were. Then I had a momentary attack of my brain working to its near best. I decided to call the middle Island Walmart to see if they actually had the rifles in which I was interested. I was told, nope, none of them in stock, only Remingtons right now in .30-06 or .308. I asked if I could order them. The sales clerk said sure, and it would only take a few days for them to arrive. He would order one of each of the savage and Mossberg and then I could see them and decide. Great, I was making progress or so I thought. I told him which I wanted and said I would be there next Saturday. The clerk hesitated, hemmed, hawed, and then blurted out that Saturday was not good. He then explained to me that they only sell firearms Monday through Friday. Furthermore he said I would have to be there by 6PM, so that the paperwork and sale could be completed by 7PM. When I asked why the store closed that early, he said the store did not close so early, but that management required the sale to be completed by 7PM. I guess that sort of means that if you work in NYC like me, you have little chance of getting to Walmart in middle Island to buy a firearm unless you can get a weekday off. I wondered, hmm, is that due to some political chicanery by NYC's Mayor Bloomberg. Nah, couldn't be could it! That blood in my arteries was beginning to percolate, and I sensed it would soon erupt into a massively over pressured flow to my brain, so I politely said forget about it and hung up.

I figured I would go to a local gun store today, Sunday, and check their usually over inflated prices hoping for a Veterans' Day sale. As it stands no rifle will be bought this weekend I started my plastering work in the son's room - he is at work today but will help tomorrow since he has the day off from school. Then I will go to visit my mom in the hospital. Seems she may have had a mini stroke, or at least a very high blood pressure incident and had to be hospitalized yesterday. She is okay now, and I wonder if her blood pressure somehow went up in sympathy with my own. She lives with my sister so she is in good care, but I'll have to drive out there this afternoon after I finish more plastering. That drive is about 80 miles each way, but of course I have to, and want to, make that one.

I am taking a break right now from plastering, and getting this piece done. More plastering tomorrow, and hopefully a coat of primer sealer before Monday is over. Then a coat or two of paint during the week or the week after. I had planned to be hunting this week and next, but I guess other things that take priority need to be done. I have to paint, have to visit my mom, and will have to visit my brother next week when he goes into the hospital for a lung operation (probably cancer). I will get some hunting in there, next weekend, and the weekend after Turkey Day. Brendan will join me that second weekend, but I guess he will jot be shooting a brand new bolt action hunting rifle, that is unless I find the time to find one sometime this week. Right now, I may have a drink, since my wife is complaining about plaster dust on the upstairs hall floor. I wonder what she expected since I was, and will be plastering. There goes that blood rush again, maybe a drink is not such a good idea right now. Oh what the heck, cheers.

All the best,
Glenn B

1 comment:

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