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A funny thing happened on my way back from lunch this afternoon. Ted Clutter from ATF’s NFA branch left me a voicemail. He didn’t sound happy with me at all. I’m usually a pretty easy guy to get along with and Ted is a pretty happy fellow, but when ATF’s NFA branch calls – it’s because something went wrong or they came up with a response to a complicated question that I framed for them and they had to research it some more. This time it was the former rather than the latter. I know Ted Clutter by reputation to be one of the folks at ATF that has more answers than questions on most things, so I was surprised to hear him calling me . . .

Most of my interactions with him have to do with looking at a Form 3 or Form 4 that he has rubber-stamped. I returned his call right away and he got right into it. The conversation went something like this.

FC: Mr Clutter, what can I do for the bureau today?

ATF: We have two NFA articles that were submitted and approved for transfer that are supposed to be on your books from the middle of last year. Can you tell us what the status is?

FC: Can you be more specific?

ATF: Stoner 63 with a silencer. Approved mid July 2014.

FC: Now I remember.

Flashback to 2014.

Last year, right about this time – I got a call from a fellow who had just bought a machine gun from a dealer out of state and wanted me to run the transfer. No problem, I said. I’ll get right on it, I said. I’ll make sure the dealer gets my shipping info and everything he needs, I said.

This began a series of regrets that I will now document in a (hopefully infrequent) TTAG series I call “Gun Deals Gone Bad.”

Machine guns are great. They’re even greater when they’re yours. In this particular transaction, I eventually find that none of the paperwork submitted was of the Form 3 variety. They are all Form 4s. The dealer that the fellow is buying from is actually not the owner of the gun but rather an intermediary. A broker of sorts.

This means that instead of clearing on a Form 3 relatively quickly, the wait on a Form 4 to get the item local for another Form 4 would be a while. I get yelled at by the new owner about this running on a Form 4 and not a Form 3. The rage is displaced because this falls in the category of NOT MY CIRCUS – NOT MY MONKEYS.

What comes next is a line straight out of an ATF sting operation. I’m asked by the new owner to prep and submit ATF Form 4s on his new gun. A gun that’s not even here yet.

The reason?

“You know ATF just ages these forms like a fine wine before they get around to it. By the time they look at the Form 4 we submit, the other one in process will have already been approved.”

For the uninitiated: The bottom of ATF Form 4 — IN BOLD BLOCK LETTERS — just above my signature states, “Under penalties of perjury, I declare” (transition to regular typeface) “that I have examined this application and to the best my of knowledge and belief it is true, correct and complete.”

Not having even seen the gun’s photos online, much less held it in my hands, I am reticent to sign my name to a document that says I believe something is true and correct without ensuring that it is in fact true and correct. There are dealers who will intentionally make paperwork errors to lock up a place in the processing queue and then once the approved forms on the inbound clear, they file a correction to their desired form and they get a Form 4 back relatively quickly using this concept. In aviation – there’s a term that’s used when people want to explain how a complicated system works. They call it PFM – pure fucking magic.

I think this, however, is PFB – pure fucking bullshit.

Webster’s dictionary does not have a definition for “dirty pool” but if it did, I think this would be the exemplar. I find it to be disingenuous at best and unethical at worst for dealers to create more work for ATF in the long run in order to create a desired short term effect. It slows down the process for everyone else. There is virtue in rejecting applications with errors as that is long term insurance that dealers do not fuck around and make sure that their forms are done right the first time.

My response to this request is not a regular ‘no,’ but rather a decisive and unambiguous HELL NO. We argue about this for 15 minutes with my blood pressure rising and my tolerance for bullshit dropping in an inverse relationship. The fellow acquiesces and refrains from pushing the issue further. This detente lasts about a week.

The next installment is where I get yelled at by the new owner because the seller/intermediary had not done things correctly and ATF did not get the right data on the forms, resulting in even further processing delays. This leads me to an old joke.

Q: What’s the difference between a psychiatrist and a gun dealer?

A: The psychiatrist only has to listen to one person complaining about the government at a time.

Finally, the forms are approved and the gun ships out. Mission accomplished?

Not exactly. One of my friends visited me the first week of August on his lunch break to pick up a new 9mm pistol and a week later, shot himself in the head , ending his life and our friendship. I’m still bitter about that, but at the time I was in an alcohol-fueled angsty rage. I took some time off work. After getting off the phone with the homicide investigator who needed me to give him a statement as to the departed’s state of mind and overall demeanor and the origin of the firearm, I decided some drastic measures were warranted.

I opened up the Delta app on my phone, cashed in some Skymiles and a few hours later I was on a flight to LaGuardia to spend some time with the family I don’t get to see very often. A certain song by Dierks Bentley came on my playlist and I sympathized with the artist as I too decided to get drunk on a plane.

 

The next morning, my alarm clock said I’d been out for 12 hours. It seemed like a New York minute, but I woke up with a slight headache and noticed that an email came in from Stoner 63 buyer.

I just checked usps tracking and it says they left a registered mail notice at your place for my package. I would like to get my transfers started. Please advise. Thanks

I crafted a short and succinct response as I sat on the toilet regretting my beverage choices of the previous evening. Take note, gentle readers: the cheapest liquor is the most expensive.

will let you know as soon as I can get it done

He replied.

Is it possible today or most likely tomorrow? I ask because I have a meeting in st louis early evening tonight. Thanks

I look down at my phone. It’s Saturday morning. I have the redeye home on Thursday. Friday will be the soonest I can do anything.

Friday at earliest

Another reply.

Usps said they tried to deliver my package Friday at 923 am. (Name of dealer that fucked it all up redacted) has already cost me an extra 2 1/2 months. Why am I waiting another week to start my final transfers? Not happy!

(He also leaves me an angry voicemail stating that the situation to him is “totally unacceptable” and is generally furious. He claims we have a contract and I am obligated to perform work. We don’t.)

Just to recap: I’ve been a punching bag during this transaction ever since the party in another state failed to file the forms properly. I’ve been asked to run paperwork and sign under penalty of perjury to transfer a gun that wasn’t in my possession. And now I’m being asked why it’s taking an extra week. I’m reminded of a line from ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ spoken by everyone’s favorite angry man, Samuel L Jackson, as I craft my response.

I really did not care to share this but in the interest of full disclosure..since you asked why you are waiting another week. Recently a very good friend of mine came in to buy a new gun. I showed him a few things and he liked one enough to write me a check on the spot. I found out that he puts a JHP in the pipe and a bullet through his head. Not that it matters but it was a right entry and left exit, bullet expanded and death was not immediate. He bled out. Unless you want to cover the DOZENS of hours of professional psychiatric care to get me back into the office – I’m taking some time off. I think that’s pretty fair. I told you I’ll let you know when I can get it handled – and I intend to stay true to that statement. However, since you have stated the situation is “totally unacceptable”… You need me a lot more than I need you. You don’t like the way I do things? Fine. I quit.

He then got mad and proceeded to blow up my phone and inbox. I left the phone in the hotel and walked to 53rd and 6th to get some food from the world famous Halal Guys. I begin wondering if there’s going to be any blowback from this and my thought process is interrupted when I realize that I am out of white sauce and head back to the cart for a refill.

After I got back home the next week, the local ATF supervisor called and she told me that she got a call asking about this incident and wanted to know what happened. I explained the situation in detail. She said that the government cannot compel a licensee to do anything and I was tired of being asked to do the illegal and unethical. We don’t serve combo platters here, unlike the fellas at 53rd and 6th. There’s no law that says I have to lift a finger – I knew it, she knew it and the guy that ticked me off didn’t. That was the source of the dispute.

She then asked me what she’s supposed to do with two Form 4s with tax stamps attached on items that have already been returned to sender. My response: ATF approved the transfer, ATF can un-approve the transfer. That’s the buyer’s problem.

I then went into detail about the process on the NFA side as that was not an area where she had a lot of training or experience and she relayed the info on to the buyer. That was the end of it. Or so I thought.

Flash to present.

Once I explained to Mr. Clutter the situation, he seemed less mad, but I still have a hunch that he was irritated that the ATF was doing twice the work for the same amount of tax dollars. He also expressed some concern that items that are on my books — according to ATF — never went on my books in person and that there were irregularities in the NFA registry. I explained to him the method to the madness.

On the transfer of NFA devices, the transfer tax is $200. The item was shipped to me, but they was returned to sender. I explained to Mr. Clutter that I and my company never seen, never touched and never took possession of that item. Had we done so, the tax liablity would have been incurred, the items would have gone into company inventory and they would have to Form 4 back to the originating party with another tax liablilty incurred.

Translation: If I had signed for the package, it would have cost me/my company $400 in tax and an 8-11 month wait for forms to clear and return the product in order to quit the job. By not signing for the package, I saved myself $400 and having to deal with an impatient jerk.

Question for the readers: If someone would get that mad over an extra week – should they be buying NFA stuff?

Ted needed an explanation for the files and asked me to write it up in an email so he could make notes. I wondered why he’s calling now of all times and the void requests had just now reached his desk. I told him to have a good week, sent him the requested info and called it an afternoon.

With the current churn rate on Form 4s – had a Form 4 been generated and submitted in early August, it would have been reviewed and approved late December or early January — he’d have had his gun for five months as of this writing. ATF is just now getting around to voiding the original stamps and I expect the Form 4 to turn final sometime late this year.

The moral of the story: Delivery delay due to an incompetent gun dealer’s paperwork errors: 75 days.

Delivery delay due to a competent gun dealer’s institutional knowledge: 375 days.

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79 Responses to Gun Deals Gone Bad: Patience is a Virtue

  1. Well, I think that all of us who work in customer facing positions have sometimes wanted to do exactly this.

    I’m actually more amazed that somebody is willing to be out of pocket the purchase price of a registered MG for that long.

  2. It’s an interesting story – as all the others you’ve shared before. Makes me think you should probably have a “The weekly FC” column here 🙂

    Having said that – the final “moral of the story” makes you look like a douche. It seems to imply you did it on purpose so the buyer would need to wait an extra 10 months to get his stuff. We all “get it” here that the buyer WAS a douche – but as said, the final two lines kind of put you on the same bag as him.

    Post would have been perfect without those last two lines 🙂

    • Sometimes the consequence has to be painful to learn from it. Let him do a service to others by being an example of how not to act.

      Play stupid games, win stupid prises….

    • I knew damn well that when I refused that gun it would take him nearly a year to sort it out.

      He should have thought about that before asking me to sign off on a transfer for a gun I didn’t have and then proceed to argue the legality of such a thing about it. I won’t engage in these backdoor shenanigans and this seemed like a way to get my point across.

      • I might have warned the customer of the potential delay if he continued to piss you off. Otherwise, well done. Life’s too short to waste time on such people.

      • I would agree that short tempered people are better off without NFA items. When I got mine, the dealer’s mistake cost me 2 months time. I accepted it as part of life. We both had a learning experience so all was good all the way around.

  3. You are not very professional in you handling of disgruntled customers and by writing this you lack discretion.

    I don’t think I would care to do business with you.

    • I prefer to think of it as how NOT to act.

      DON’T be incompetent persons to deal with very expensive, highly regulated, potentially dangerous items.

      DON’T ask people to fraudulently file out paperwork for such items that could ruin his life if prosecuted.

      DON’T continue to be a douche when it not only pointed out it’s ALL your fault and your dealer has other issues to deal with.

      Think of this post as a public service and reminder to be as honorable and responsible to others as you would want them to be with you.

    • William: I think the best thing he could have done was to tell the buyer to piss off the first time he called him, got mad and acted unreasonable on the phone. I ran a business for many years and some customers you are better of without. We called them 1 percenters. Point being that out of 100 people that contact you for service at least 1% will be someone you really don’t want to be your customer. I suspect that someone that thinks this dealer is a “douche” because of this article is another customer I would rather have go down the road to my competitor. But as far as this particular incident, hindsight is always 20-20 as they say. Hope he learned from this and will have his A-hole detector on and refuse service a bit quicker to the next one that gets rude with him. Life is just to short to put up with crap like this from anyone.

  4. I never could put my finger on why Mr. Concierge was so insufferable. Then this article gave it away.
    He is a New Yorker.

  5. Seems like it’s not working out very well for you, so you probably won’t be too offended by my opinion that your job shouldn’t exist. I should be able to go buy an M16 at wal mart. Based on this example, I probably wouldn’t bother trying to buy a class 3 item even if I could afford it. Sheesh.

    • That’s a bold strategy Cotton, lets see how it works out for him

      FYI.

      “probably wouldn’t bother trying to buy a class 3 item ”

      No such thing as a class 3 item. The premise of your statement is by nature, fictional. Try harder next time.

      • No such thing as a class 3 item. The premise of your statement is by nature, fictional. Try harder next time.

        This is why you’re an asshole.
        Even my LGS/range gave up (politely) correcting people and offers “class 3 rental”.

        • You can make a career out of being right or you can try to make one out of being wrong.

          I see no point to the latter.

        • I’ll be sure to tell a 5-star NSSF shooting facility how their “little” shop will fail because they’re not pedantic assholes.

    • “I should be able to go buy an M16 at wal mart.”

      You’re right, you should be able to. But why would you even want to? Big box stores are complete garbage when it comes to specialties like guns. If I want “Walmart” prices, I buy online. If I want an in-person inspection, I buy at an LGS so that when I ask to see a gun, the employee will actually know which one that is.

      • IDK, I’ve had a few problems with the IQ level of help at LGS lately. Yesterday I asked if the store had any hi power mags the employee disappeared in the back to find a manager and then asked me what a hi power was, then I asked to purchase some cheaply priced .44 mag ammunition from Hornady and she tried pulling .45 long colt off the shelf. A few weeks back I had a OFWG tell me his shop had been out of .44 mag for several months and they were unable to obtain new stock, thats when I asked how much they were asking for the Federal on the top shelf. So sick of lgs employees attempting to sell sig mosquito. 22 handguns to women for self defense, I understand a .22 is easy to handle but why sell them a jam-o-matic that is picky on hard to find ammo? Just because your store has an over stock of a shitty .22 pistol doesn’t mean you should encourage a probably unsuspecting newbie to buy said piece of shit to defend her or her family members lives with!

  6. “….but when ATF’s NFA branch calls – it’s because something went wrong or they came up with a response to a complicated question that I framed for them and they had to research it some more.”

    Or, maybe because Firearms Concilerge f’d up.

    The rest of the article proves the latter to be the case. One-you should have told the customer to buzz off the moment he tried to make you commit perjury.

    Two-Im sorry to see your friend had killed himself , but that’s got no relevance to treating your customers like crap in general, or why you took off on vacation while a disgruntled clients order was in transit. I’m glad I don’t live in your area, as the only explaination I have for your continued business is a localized monopoly.

    • So – I’m supposed to schedule all my time off around ATF’s approval of Form 3’s and Form 4’s so they don’t interrupt with customer pickup?

      I’ll get right on that.

      • No, no, no.

        Your friend was supposed to not commit suicide without consulting the ATF first.

        Put the blame where it belongs.

        /sarc, by the way.

      • You should get right on that. You are a glorified receiving agent, so you should be there to receive things or have proper arrangements to have packages held while you are gone. You might also consider advising customers proactively of your time away from the office.

  7. I like your writing. It’s very fun to read.

    But I don’t think I’d ever shop through you.

  8. Something I learned as I got older is NOT to sweat the small stuff. and anything that is not taking blood out of my body, food away from my family or threatening the lives of my loved ones is small stuff. I find it amazing and amusing that your customer got himself worked up into a frothing frenzy over something I would have contacted you about, and having you explain the dealer on the other end had messed things up a little, but it was still working thru the system, I would have thanked you for your patient explanation and waited for you to contact me when it arrived. Folks like your customer tend to drop over dead from a heart attack, stroke, or some other high stress induced disease.

    • +1

      That’s the way I am too. I would’ve understood the position to take time off considering the circumstances, and would’ve been hard pressed to keep dealing with that “customer” after all his rancor.

      He had already been waiting months for the firearm, another week wouldn’t have made a big difference, ya know?

    • Word.

      Seeing a post by F.C. puts a smile on my face and Schadenfreude in my cold black heart.

      Those who have had time behind a gun counter can appreciate most his pearls of wisdom and delightfully vicious sense of humor…

  9. I had to laugh at the question “What’s the difference between a psychiatrist and a gun dealer”

    Made me think of a similar question:

    What’s the difference between a Proctologist and a bartender?

    The Proctologist only has to deal with one asshole at a time!

  10. “Take note, gentle readers: the cheapest liquor is the most expensive.”

    — snip —

    “I left the phone in the hotel and walked to 53rd and 6th to get some food from the world famous Halal Guys.”

    You tame a hangover with a curry? You are a mutant! 🙂

      • Biggest mistake in this story by far is not getting enough white sauce the first time.

      • “Halal cart has NOTHING to do with curry.”

        OK, fine.

        Still, anyone who cures a fusel oil spiked cheap booze hangover with food bought on the street out of a cart is a mutant not of this earth…

        And that’s a Martha Stewart ‘Good Thing’…

  11. Very edgy, with the whole laying the death of a friend on the customer! I’m sure your the only person in the world who’s experienced the aftermath of a suicide.

    This has a heavy tone of a kiss up letter to the ATF in the hopes they don’t bend you over. You decided to do the deal in the first place, you could have refused from day one. Such is the service industry, find another job if you don’t like dealing with ignorant/belligerent customers.

    • He may not have been the only person who has had a loss to suicide, but how many who have have supplied the instrument to do so a day or two prior. BIG difference.

      EVERY industry has as hole customers, so he may as well stay with what he knows.

  12. Sorry, but there are three douches in your story. The original dealer who screwed up the paperwork, the needy customer, and you, the guy who lied to your customer. By telling him “Friday at the earliest” you absolutely were giving your word that you would process this transaction. By allowing the package to be returned, you broke your word. You’re a douche for that.

    Meanwhile the customer who was investing thousands of dollars took you at your word, and you screwed his transaction up, knowingly and happily according to your replies in this thread. You should print your story and post it on the front door of your business, so your customers know what kind of unreliable child they’re about to do business with.

    • The way I read it, FC told the customer Friday, the customer told FC that was totally unacceptable, then FC told the customer he quit.

  13. “I’m usually a pretty easy guy to get along with”

    Wait… FC is talking about himself here, right?

  14. In good business relationships there should be respect on both sides of the transaction. When that is not occurring it is time to break the relationship. Which is exactly what FC did, though a bit late in the game. I would have quit LONG before he did and told the buyer to go find someone else to process his purchase. There are way too many good customers out there to let a few bad ones spoil your day, your life or your business.

  15. i agree with FC’s handling, mostly. the point of departure is continuing to talk with the “customer” after the “customer” attempted to induce blatant fraud. i have worked “customer-facing” in three different industries. at any point, if a “customer” asked me to do something fraudulent i would have immediately informed the “customer” that i believe local and/or federal law has been violated, provided the details to management and ask that the episode be reported to authorities. when i was “the company”, i would have terminated the contact, then contacted law enforcement myself.

    except for this difference, i vote for FC. if refusing abuse from a “customer” means you (blog-posters), or anyone, would decline to do business with me….i would offer to recommend a different business that might suit you (the “customer”) better.

  16. FWIW I would definitely do business with FC. I have enjoyed reading all of his articles here on TTAG.

  17. I get FC, I think in light of his being un-friended 9mm style probably was at least a factor.

    I think the whole story, though, speaks to the big picture of NFA transfers (especially the expensive ones). Dealers barely do them enough to know all the ins & outs and FC makes it sound as if his ATF contact is one of a very few in a big bunch that have their head wrapped around it.

    Bottom line, people don’t know the process but the way the ATF (and many NFA dealers) operate you feel as though you’re getting hosed even after you paid the big bucks to strip naked, grab your ankles and do the hokey-pokey according to the process and the regulations AS THEY”VE BEEN EXPLAINED TO YOU by people who are holding out as the keepers of the keys.

    Poop to that. If Mr. MG from bestchester got his weapon and immediately called the ATF and FBI and told them he was going to use it in a malicious fashion, he would get it accomplished before they could stop him, or get far enough down the road to shed a negative light on anyone seeking such a transfer. MY POINT though is: the ATF and this stupid NFA process is not protecting anyone from being negatively impacted by these transfers any more than such transferees not having a piqued desire to do you harm with them moment by moment.

    As an aside, If the U.S. was being overrun by foreign nationals [at anything slightly higher than the current rate] they could not get such weapons into enough hands to counteract it AND AT THAT POINT the ATF would have effectively abolished the Constitution, because it will be anything goes (e.g. S. Manhattan 9/11 + 36 hours).

  18. Bravo, FC. I can understand the customer’s excitement about getting a machine gun, but that’s no reason to try to incite people to bend/break laws, and get indignant when things don’t go your way. I’d have wanted to treat him the same way and it would only have been through the grace of God that I’d have succeeded in treating him any better.

  19. “Question for the readers: If someone would get that mad over an extra week – should they be buying NFA stuff?”
    Just for funsies..
    Question for the author: If someone goes into an alcohol-fueled bender and skips town when things get rough – should they be working in the gun business?

    The answer is the same for both questions. Neither of those situations relate to guns at all, and both are quite silly to frame as such.

    • Not even close.

      One guy is having a breakdown because his dealer fucked up from the get go and then couldn’t convince the dealer who is following the law to commit fraud and can’t admit or reason why things are taking so long to get his weapon.

      The other guy inadvertently/uknowingly helped his friend end his life is a slow painful way and simply needed time alone to let things compute and cool down so he could cope with the loss that he was involuntarily drug into.

      Logic. Do you use it?

  20. Even if I didn’t account for my lack of sympathy for people who can afford machine-guns, I think you made the right call. The guy was a jerk who had no business letting it out on you. His ire should be directed at the law and institutions that requires all of this non-sense, and not the people who have bothered to educate themselves enough to service out needs, and navigating the labyrinthine laws imposed on those needs.

    Good job, and thanks for sharing.

  21. While the ATF may not be able to directly compel you to process the transfer, there is contract in place between the buyer and you to perform the transfer in a manner a reasonable person would act, which you did not. I believe this guy would’ve been well within his rights to ask the courts to compel to perform the transfer or be given compensation for his additional time spent in working out the transfer another way plus fees. Breach of contract. Very bad business.

    Moreover, it is completely and totally irrelevant that your friend committed suicide. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s your friend’s problem (and perhaps yours), but certainly not mine (the customer).

    1) You were involved in the “agreement”/”contract” to perform the transfer

    ” I got a call from a fellow who had just bought a machine gun from a dealer out of state and wanted me to run the transfer. No problem, I said. I’ll get right on it”

    2) You did not

    “You need me a lot more than I need you. You don’t like the way I do things? Fine. I quit.”

    3) It cost the buyer additional time and perhaps expense

    “ATF is just now getting around to voiding the original stamps and I expect the Form 4 to turn final sometime late this year.”

    * Buyer may have been unreasonable
    * Buyer may have been annoying
    * You breached the contract
    * I’d never want to deal with you

    • Wouldn’t the buyer asking him to commit fraud void any so called contract?

      By my reading he did get right on it and that consisted first of waiting for the firearm to be delivered. There is no indication it is his fault the firearm was delivered while he was away and the customer went stupid. What is FC supposed to do run back to his shop and end his vacation because he has business pending?

      • Yes, that is what he is supposed to do. His job is to sit at his business and receive things for people that only he is allowed to receive, if he can’t manage that, he is failing at his primary job function. The alternative is to set proper mail holding arrangements with USPS when he is out of the office and politely manage customer expectations.

        As far as the “perjury” or whatever, different dealers have different standards. He should be aware of this and politely advise his customer of his standards. Here in California, I know dealers that will let me just fill out a huge stack of 4473s at once and the submit them on the one gun a month plan as the guns arrive and the timing is right. Is this a grey area? Maybe. Do I expect this from every FFL I work with? No, I understand each dealer has different standards. They generally explain this to me politely and I then accept it or take my business elsewhere.

  22. Well, I’m sorry about your friend, but you are an adult who runs a business. You didn’t have a signed contract with this man to follow through on his transfer, but you should have the common decency to recognize the responsibility you entered into by agreeing to have it transferred to your possession.

    Why didn’t you man up and take care of your responsibilities before making a quick decision to go on a bender with no thought to what might be coming in the mail that only you could be present to accept?

    You can’t buy a Franklin Planner and make sure that your business associates and the potential transfers that might come in your absence are aware, allowing you to responsibly plan your time away? The customer was a huge jerk, but you strung him along way to late into the game. You should have hung up the moment he asked you to perjure yourself. Whine, whine, whine, ‘what a huge jerk, but I’ll take your money anyways and write anonymously about you on the internet’. You freakin’ allowed him to transfer the MG to your possession and then screwed him when the time came to actually do so, yet you claim to have no responsibility at all for him being delayed even more.

    Geez, if you had to be audited for your operational risk mitigation, it would be a disaster.

  23. I stopped reading when you laid the death of your friend on the customer. Why did you even write this? Who cares? This is a personal matter between you and a customer. It’s not even a business matter because no professional should ever act the way you did. You made it personal.

    I deal with customers for a living. I’m fully aware that some customers are not worth your commission, especially the ones who ask you to do something illegal. You can handle this in a professional manner without making it personal. I would have ended my relationship long before explaining the reason for my delay.

    You can be right and not be unreasonable at the same time. When the initial errors were made and you declared “NOT MY CIRCUS – NOT MY MONKEYS’ would have been a good time to end things. You certainly could have handled the disgruntled customer better than you did, loss of your close friend considered.

    Perhaps the most unprofessional thing you did was write about this experience. I’ll make sure I don’t read things from you in the future. I have no desire to read about someone’s self created drama, even if it does involve guns.

  24. I don’t think I’ve read an article by this guy yet that didn’t end with me thinking he’s a dick.

    • Please please please Concierge, tell us the real name of your business. I hope I never do business with such a misanthrope as you.

  25. Just a few thoughts…
    on FC: Seems like a straight shooter, no BS kind of guy- a don’t piss on me and I won’t piss on you type.
    on customer: Who the hell starts a transaction like this out of the blue over the phone? ..and then acts like you owe him the fucking world? Take the time and go in person to start this process, it’s not like you are mail ordering a gun cleaning kit.
    on the situation: In the world of small business, sometimes life events take precedence. Deaths, and illnesses, and vacations will shut down business. Shit happens Mr. Customer, get over it. You want 24/7/365, go to a large faceless company that really doesn’t give a shit about you or your wants and needs.
    From FC’s story above, this whole thing seemed doomed from the start- attitudes, incompetence, impatience, and suicides removed.
    BTW- dirty street food IS the best way to remove hangovers-poison is the cure.

  26. Holy shit. From most of these comments, am I the only one still wondering if the author is doing better over the loss of his friend? Y’all are some heartless motherfuckers. Most of you would call out from work with the sniffles and you think he should just rub some dirt in it and walk it off? You wouldn’t want to do business with him? I’m sure he doesn’t mind.

    I’d guess most folks here are against government entitlements…but somehow the asshole who chose the shitty broker, asked the author to risk his livelihood and his freedom, and was a dick about it, is entitled to whatever of the author he wanted? Bullshit.

    If you don’t own your own business and you work for someone else, you really have no frame of reference anyway.

    To the author: Stay strong, man. Hope you’re okay, or getting there soon. Get help from wherever you can if you can. Apologize to no one for your pain.

    • I know…just another case of group think. When someone is targeted, others feel they have to pile on to be in with the “cool kids”, logic, reason, and sense be dammed.

      You’d almost think this place was ARFCOM.

      • This is a true story.

        I was doing some instructor recurrency and out of the 12 people in the class, 10 were LE firearm instructors that were credentialed by the state.

        We were running a drill. Instructor would call “THREAT” and we were to draw, shout a command to stop/freeze as we wished and then wait for the response. Upon the buzzer from the PACT timer, we’d shoot a failure drill.

        Three times we ran the drill.

        Three times we all did it successfully.

        On the fourth run, the instructor makes the call, we all draw our guns and shout commands to stop. We’re waiting for that buzzer. It never came. The instructor began shouting instead of giving us a buzzer.

        “I GIVE UP! I GIVE UP! DON’T SHOOT! DON’T SHOOT!”

        It felt like an eternity but it really was more along the lines of about two Mississippi’s.

        *BANG*

        One Mississippi.

        *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG*

        Sympathetic fire is a thing.

  27. Wonder if the customer was ‘younger’ or a millennial. The customer has the arrogance, narcissism, possible affluence, and consumerism that I have seen in SOME of these students.

  28. Three service providers you should not piss off:

    1) your server at a restaurant

    2) your barber

    3) your gunsmith/gun dealer

  29. I’d put up with heaps and heaps of bullpucky for a silenced Stoner 63! That being said, as someone who works service oriented events for people who can afford machine guns (Pebble Beach tourneys), I’ve noticed that the super rich, are either highly impatient and cheap, or happy go lucky and loose with the wallet. I suspect the latter group all have corporate charge cards…

  30. I think fc screwed up by not setting expectations at the beginning of the transaction & by dumping his friend’s death in the customers lap.

    It would only take a couple of minutes to explain the nfa process to the customer & set the customer’s expectations where they belong.

    Something like this,…

    “I’d be glad to do your transfer, and my fee is $xx. You need to understand that these transfers are a time-consuming legal minefield for me to do, and there are much easier ways for me to make $xx. I will do my personal best for you, but I can’t control the other dealer or the government.”

    As to the death of his friend, it’s none of the customer’s business. “I’m out of town until xx day”. We all go on vacations, attend funerals, go to the doctor, etc – so no one expects you to work 24/7.

    FC’s account of the story reads like something on the “Judge Joe” show – “I didn’t pay the rent cause my car died”. Thats not the landlord’s problem.

    If you’re burned out & not enjoying what you do, then quit. Or in this case- fire yourself. You’ll never get rich doing transfers anyways.

  31. I read this article thinking what an insufferable, childish douche this writer is, then I remembered he was a New Yorker. There really is nothing redeemable about that state, is there, even their gun guys are petulant children.

    This is an unfortunate symptom of many gun stores run by gun owners who think being knowledgeable about guns makes them competent businessmen. I’ve never seen worse customer service than in small, local gun stores.

  32. Guy got what he deserved. Don’t mess with the FC.

    Still sorry about your friend. That is terrible.

  33. As someone who watches online tracking for every part and trinket I order online, let alone spending the equivalent to a compact car on a firearm, I sympathize with the customer. That doesn’t excuse his actions, we still need to act like civilized adults, but I think while some have said FC is “being a no nonsense type of guyguy,” I would call “being rude.”

    When things get rough, I value respectful communication above all. There are more than a few businesses that have never seen me again because they felt that being rude or condescending was the right move. I’m sure that most of them are still around and doing fine without me, it’s just not worth my peace of mind to deal with people who never learned to “play nice”.

  34. I’m sorry, but ultra D-move.
    You explain the delay, but then the explanation turns into “I quit.”

    This is like where the boss makes you come in early, chews you out for half an hour, then fires you anyhow.

    This reaffirms my decision to give up guns as a hobby. FC sounds like one of those dealers that hoards .22 ammo to be sold only with a firearm purchase or to close friends and family.

    I don’t get drunk and disappear when I have obligations, no matter how disagreeable the customer. If I can’t deal with my customers, I find a different line of work.

  35. I’m sorry, but you really come off like a dick here. Whether you like customers or not, customer service is your business. It also sounds like you kind of slow rolled your customer on the situation. Did you consider responding to his first message by being upfront and sharing the full truth of the situation so he would know what to expect? If your first response had been to the tune of “sorry, I had a personal emergency, I’m out of town, can we handle this next Friday?” It would have come off as honest and set the correct expectation for the customer. Your incomplete and piecemeal responses probably increased his frustration.

    Overall though, I think your problem is endemic in the FFL world. You just don’t have enough competition to really care about customer service and this problem is exacerbated by the fact you have an SOT, and thus less competition. Based this write up, I’m in favor of you going out of business due to competition with someone that actually knows what it means to run a business and provide customer service.

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