Have you ever wanted to just curl up in a ball and forget everyone else in the world? Maybe move to Wyoming and live in the middle of 10,000 acres with nobody but your favorite dog or mountain lion to keep you company? Perhaps you’ve seriously contemplated becoming a hermit in a cave in the middle of the woods of Arkansas (I’ve heard they have nice woods)? Perhaps that’s not the best idea, but sometimes, I can totally relate. I’m often amazed at how many times I hear people say that they “hate other people” or that (more commonly) “I’m just not a ‘people person.'” I worked in retail for the past year and a half at a firearms and outdoors store, and I saw all sorts of people, and I saw them in all sorts of interesting states.
Selling firearms in North Carolina is a fairly painless process. There’s a decent amount of paperwork to be done, but nothing that a high school graduate should struggle with. The basic requirements and process consist of a driver’s license, background check, and the filling of a federal form known as the 4473; pistols require a permit or license that substitutes for the background check.
Many people come in to the store knowing exactly what they want and how to go about the purchase process. Those people are easy. I generally didn’t mind dealing with them. These sorts of people usually own several firearms and are immensely familiar with shooting sports, defense, or hunting and the related things that are needed. The worst experiences that I had with these shoppers are the ones who were cocky or curt, and they were not a huge problem. I know how to ignore negativity.
Some people come in not knowing anything about firearms. These are the people who have to be talked through various aspects of owning a firearm, the legal intricacies, and how the firearm works. These are the people to whom I usually recommend a class or two. If the person is open to listening, then the process is usually fairly easy. If the person has been ill-informed or thinks that he (yes, it was almost always a guy) knows something when he doesn’t, then we had problems.
- The “(I don’t really) Know-It-All”
This guy just can’t wait to tell you all that he knows, and he’s never wrong, even when he plainly is. I’ve had customers argue with me even after I’ve shown them the contradicting text on a package, website, or whatever else. They simply cannot stand the thought of being incorrect. This is especially scary when dealing with an item like a firearm. One of the most cliché but but also most prevalent examples of this was the “oh, well it’s not loaded.” Yes, but if you develop a habit of treating loaded and unloaded firearms differently, then you might one day slip up.
- The “Just-Tell-Me-What-I-Need-To-Know”
Some people are simply impatient. I typically have little respect for (rude) impatient people, and I openly dislike impatient people with guns. One of the purposes of a firearms salesman (ew, nasty term, huh?) is to filter through the people who are attempting to purchase a firearm illegally or for illicit purposes. When people were overtly impatient or curt, I then had to probe more and attempt to find out why they were being that way, and my actions often, in turn, made them less happy with me, which made me less happy, and then no one was happy.
- The “Whoah Buddy You Really Don’t Need A Gun”
Several different types of people qualified for this category–the most obvious were the people who had no mechanical inclinations and knew nothing about firearms. If someone picked up a pistol, put their finger on the trigger, and then proceeded to point it at me or someone else, I would politely work with them on proper handling and etiquette. I would often dissuade these people from purchasing a firearm until they had the proper training.
The list could go on, but I think you get the general idea; many people were a pain to work with. That’s not the point, though. Many people were a pleasure to deal with. Many people were gracious, considerate, and easy-going. People have the capability to be a positive influence in others’ lives, and I think that most people want to be.
I no longer sell firearms; I quit that job not too long ago. It was an interesting experience, though. I learned a lot about people, retail business, and (of course) guns. So, to the people who want to curl up in a ball, move to Wyoming, and live with several cats or a large-breed dog, I say, give others a chance. People out there do care, and how you approach them often sets the tone for how your interactions will go.
That’s my semi-encouraging ramble for the year.
I started off writing a post about how I loved and cherished and held to dear to my life all those things filled with words and pages and stuff (books). I realized, though, that a Milky Way bar was sitting on my desk, and I quickly succumbed to the lesser me. Then I realized that I had no motivation at all to write about books. Those are far too sacred of objects to be carelessly scribbled about in a Milky Way-induced euphoria. So instead, I decided to do what I do best. Ramble. The following is a dissertation on everything important.
Everything Important Explained
College: A very large social experiment in which the test subjects voluntarily pay to undergo the strangest of rituals–probably a conspiracy, but what isn’t?
Grammar: The grammar system is the result of all the pent-up OCD of every overly-influential language scholar. It serves no function other than to facilitate the object of written communication, confuse young children, and torture innocent students.
Guns: Guns don’t kill people; bears kill people.
Lighters: Tools used for burning cigarettes, starting fires, and razing buildings. Read owner’s manual before using.
Photography: Photography is the means by which the phrase “taking a picture” describes a legitimate action.
Pop Tarts: Pop Tarts give meaning to any toaster’s life.
Root Beer: This is the best soda ever. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If there’s a national carbonated soft drink of Heaven, this is it.
Rubber Duckies: These seemingly innocent little creatures are plotting to take over the world, aided by the ever-scheming and endlessly-devious goats.
Service Bells: Service bells are like doorbells, they rarely ever serve their intended functions. Instead, they become vessels of annoyance and impatience.
To Be Continued…
A note to my awesome readers: I’m sorry for the large lapse in time between posts. I recently started a new full-time job, so I’ve been a bit busier than normal. Getting up at 5:15 am every morning is a new and sometimes painful experience. I promise that I’ll post something beefier soon. Like a cow.
A note to all my other readers: see above.