While many gun stores are going full-auto retail and implementing 20th century ideas like greeting customers, being polite, and hiring helpful sales staff, you’re going to run into the occasional old school shop run by Clem, Bodean, and Clem’s other brother Clem. Here are a few helpful tips to get you through the experience with a bare minimum of angst and/or gunfire.
1. Don’t acknowledge anyone when you walk in the door. If this makes you really uncomfortable, you can give the briefest hint of a nod in the general direction of Clem, Bodean, and Clem. Don’t work yourself into a hissy about being rude – they won’t acknowledge you either. Under no circumstance should you brightly say “Hello! How are you today? Boy, it sure is hot outside isn’t it!”
2. Stuff your right cheek full of Red Man. Not Copenhagen – that’s for sissies and you’ll be exposed as a rookie poseur right away. If you have not done The Red Man before, practice in advance as uncontrollable nausea can result. If it’s a nice store with real floors, bring the styrofoam coffee cup you used at breakfast for your porta-spitoon. If the shop has a coffee maker, you can top off with a little joe while you browse. Careful, that’s week old coffee there.
3. Don’t remove your John Deere hat when entering the store. You are wearing one aren’t you?
4. If you want to look at a particular gun in the case, but are unfamiliar with the make and model, use the mouth full of Red Man to your advantage. Throw a little extra self-imposed unintelligibility into your request to see the gun. It’s OK, Clem will assume you know what you’re talking about as you have a wad of Red Man ‘sploding your cheek and a John Deere hat. After some practice, your request should sound something like this: “Cun ahhh hole thus mrggumpghphtt rahfull?” (Or ‘puhstull‘ as required)
5. When handing a rifle, aim it at the ceiling and look knowingly over the sights or through the scope as appropriate. Although you may be tempted, don’t try to gain street cred by saying something like “I kilt a buck with one like this last month.” You may be holding something like a Ruger 10/22 or Winchester 9410 and exposed as a rookie poseur. Just nod your head a lot, make grumbly noises, and hand it back when you’re done.
6. Keep your finger off the trigger. Yeah, we know, it’s meant for pullin’, but resist if you can. It’s especially bad form with rifles.
7. Whenever you look at a price tag, shake your head a bit and say “They sure are proud of this one, aren’t they?”
8. Make sure you don’t inadvertently aim at Clem or Bodean. It’s bad form and one or both will almost certainly return the favor.
9. If you do end up buying a gun, and still don’t know what type of ammo you need to go with it, just add some more Red Man and say something like “Gimme 3 boxes too.” Keeping it generic will make Clem assume you know what you’re talking about.
10. Last but certainly not least, don’t dress like a Mall Ninja for the occasion. It’s not as cool as you think.
As an extra bonus tip, if you want some extra-special service, see if you can accompany the President on his next visit to a gun store.