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A gathering of the clans today, northbound and down for Bass Pro Shops. This monument to retail-tainment lingers in the shadow of the Patriot’s palace (football, not Congress). I made the pilgrimage to watch my youngest fall into their pond and drop $3k-plus on a Browning gun safe. Not so fast, Mr. Bond. The salesman was about as interested in taking my money as a Franciscan monk. He opened the top o’ the line big ass metal box and told me that Bass doesn’t deliver or install its safes. Can you recommend a local company to get the safe safely into my home? “Nope. I don’t know of anyone.” I looked inside. It wouldn’t be long before bald patches appeared on the mouse fur. Shelves were stacked up willy nilly. Hang on; where are all those cool pockets, the lights and mirror? “They’re optional extras.” So why does this brochure say they’re included? “I guess they’re downstairs in the box. It’s like a romper room in here some days.” [crickets chirping] Can I order one with a biometric lock? “Biometrics are an unproven technology.” Could it get any worse?

Pause. How much money does Browning spend on designing, developing, marketing and transporting its products? How much money does Bass Pro Shops shell out per square foot to run their supergigantimegastore? And all of it—ALL OF IT—wasted because they couldn’t put someone on the showroom floor with a scintilla of salesmanship. I had more product knowledge than the Bass man just from reading the brochure. Watch the video and you, dear reader, will be better informed than the Bass Pro Shops salesman.

I won’t bore you with a full description of my salesman’s boredom. Let’s just say ennui rolled off him in waves, sending nearby babies to buh-byes and muffling the cash register’s ring until it was barely audible. Make that inaudible.

On to the gun counter . . .

I’m in the market for a Benelli M2 Tactical semi-automatic shotgun. For those of you unfamiliar with this ballistic beauty, it retails for $1329. Needless to say, Bass didn’t have one. Understandable, for many reasons. The salesman brought out an M2 field. Yum. Can I order me one? “Nope.”

Come again (although chances are I won’t)? “We can’t get them.” Huh? “Benelli makes us work though one lady in Minnesota. Pre-Obama, we could get one in two weeks. Now, forget about it.” Literally, I guess.

“There’s a $35 transfer fee to send it to an FFL down in Rhode Island,” the salesman informed me, presenting the information as one would the discovery of rust inside the barrel.

Whoa! A $35 surcharge to a $1329 gun, That’s, what, .02634 percent?You know what? I really value personal service and attention. When I buy a product I like to think I’m buying the company who sells it to me, as well. Its reputation. I don’t mind paying an extra .02634 percent. And because you’ve been so helpful, and Bass has taken such time and effort to keep its stock in such fine order, I’ll . . . buy the safe and gun somewhere else.

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  1. Off topic I know, however, I would never own a gun safe or any other kind of safe with exterior hinges. As for bass bro, the only contact I will ever have with them is through the internet. Just my 2 cents worth. 🙂

  2. Browning safes are top notch. Have two of ’em. Next time, though, recommend you go to Cabela’s over Bass Pro. No contest, especially when it comes to guns and gun stuff.

  3. Sadly, I can't say I'm surprised. We got a Bass Pro here in Denver after much fanfare and while it is a glitzy facility, I have been underwhelmed at the prices (which seem high on most things) and customer service (which is about as you described.)

    Both Cabelas and Gander Mountain seem much more hunting/shooting oriented than Bass Pro, where the hunting/shooting section is more or less an afterthought. Looking at the store locator I saw several locations in NY. Notice there is one "next door" to you in East Hartford, Connecticut.

  4. Almost all big box retailers leave it up to the customer to pick up and deliver their safe home.

    Look into Fort Knox. You order these top-notch, made-in-USA safes online with the exact features you want. They will deliver it to your front door, and even into your garage. From there, you will need to call a couple very strong friends to help you get it into the room of your choice.

    As to the knowledge displayed by most salespeople at big box retailers? Pffft. Within a half hour of my office, there's a Gander Mountain, Bass Pro and Cabelas. Gander finally got a decent gunsmith a year ago. The archery shops in each are staffed by employees who most recently stocked redneck t-shirts and hoodies. And fishing? Seriously, my wife knows more about the sport than 90% of these "experts."

    When it comes to firearms, I go to a gun store. I might use a big box retailer to price shop, but if I want real advice and expert gunsmithing, I go somewhere that doesn't rely on their fudge, popcorn and home furnishings departments to make a profit.

  5. BTW, as for the Benelli M2 Tactical…

    There are 21 listed for sale there right now.

  6. Wow! Too bad they have such poor service. I stay away from most big boxes, WalMart, Bass Pro, etc. but that’s just terrible. Hope you have better luck somewhere else. I have a Zanotti Armor safe in my basement. Comes in panel that you and a couple of strong guys can assemble. No firebrick but being mostly in basements they say the biggest problem is not the fire, but the water used to put out the fire. A niche within a niche.

  7. Robert Farago sounds like a real azz. You should know what you want when you go shopping for something. You are the kind of person who thinks everyone should drop what they are doing to help you. Were you the ONLY customer in the store? I think not.
    “I really value personal service and attention”-GET OVER IT!
    “Can you recommend a local company to get the safe safely into my home? ”

    • Really? If I knew what I wanted why would I go to a store? I’d just order it on the web a 1/3 the price and be done with it. Bass Pro sucks. Every single one I’ve ever been in. I spend at least $10,000 on guns, ammo, and accessories every year. I go to my local mom and pop because the big box stores suck, are overpriced, and the sales people there might as well be working at an ice cream counter for all they know about guns and ammo. I thought the whole idea of way overpaying at a big box was to get some “expert advice” about the items I came in to buy but couldn’t look at up close on the web to make an informed decision. EVERY Bass Pro I’ve ever been in had one salesman on the floor for every six or seven customers. Most stores keep their powders out on shelves where it is easy to get and take to the register. I had to wait 30 minutes to get a salesgeek’s attention just to hand me a bottle of powder that I would have taken off the shelf myself anywhere else, been to the register and been driving home already. If I don’t need any “service” I’ll order on line WAY CHEAPER.

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