The Dealer's Take: The Customer is Often Wrong

Fellow gun nuts: We hear from each other, from gun writers, and from manufacturers, but gun dealers give us a perspective that we don’t get elsewhere. Scott Moss, who is the third generation of that family (all of whom have taken lots of money from me) to sell firearms, has agreed to come on the blog from time to time and tell us what’s on his mind, good or bad, about the guns he handles. If you’re interested in buying from him or selling to him on consignment, you can call Forest & Field, Norwalk, CT 203-847-4008.—Dave Petzal

In my last blog I wrote about lousy customer service and how dealers/manufacturers need to be more attuned to the legitimate problems their customers may have. The flip side of this is that customers need to shut up and listen to people who have the knowledge and experience to help them.

Not too long ago, an older man came into my store looking for a shotgun for clay shooting. He walked with a cane so he had an obvious infirmity. I was informed by the customer that he was an expert marksman and had been a “gunner” in the military. He made it very clear that he was the expert and didn’t need any help. No problem. I figured he obviously knew more than I do and I gave him what he wanted: an over/under that he insisted he could shoot out of the box.

The next day, he came back with a friend and said the gun didn’t work correctly. He couldn’t get it apart, and he didn’t like the quality. I explained to him that the fore-end is difficult to get off and reseat on a new gun and he just needed to be more authoritative with it. His friend asked me if I would have recommended the O/U to him and I said “NFW,” which means “definitely not”.

What I did recommended was a soft-shooting semi-auto which is simple to use and generally doesn’t require as much finesse. His friend said, “See? I told you he never would have recommended the O/U!” I exchanged the shotguns and the ‘expert’ left with a firearm better suited to his abilities.