About The Author


Kim Hiss, an associate editor at Field & Stream, has hunted ducks, antelope, turkeys, and deer throughout the country, enjoying a number of women's hunts along the way. She lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Click here to email Kim.

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August 21, 2007

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/fshuntress

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The FSHuntress at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/fshuntress.

Misadventures in Retail

I hear a lot of great stories from women about customer service at sporting goods stores. Some are funny, some make your blood boil, but they all tend to sound at least a little familiar to most of us.

Mine tend to be more amusing than frustrating. Two seasons ago, for example, I needed a small game license, and found myself at the sporting goods counter of a central Pennsylvania Wal-Mart. My boyfriend, who doesn’t hunt, was running his own errands elsewhere in the store. When I got to the counter, there were 2 employees behind it waiting on 2 customers, one was a shorter gentleman in a personalized Miss Saigon jacket; his friend was about 6’ 4”, with earrings, a goatee, a black fedora, and a black floor-length leather coat. I waited awhile before politely trying to get the attention of the employee who seemed less engaged in the sale. But both clerks were totally focused on this pair who looked to be buying a .22.

After what seemed like hours, my boyfriend Dan found me and asked how it was going. Once he showed up, I somehow finally materialized for the employees, one of whom came to our end of the counter to ask if he could help us—well, actually help my boyfriend. I explained what I needed and the employee courteously took out the necessary paper work and handed it to Dan, who smiled and reminded the clerk that the license was for me—and that, in fact, he didn’t hunt himself. As I was finally filling out the form, the employee asked my boyfriend where he’d be hunting, and what he thought conditions would be like.

That same season, I was buying shells for a goose hunt, and ended up at another Wal-Mart, where the young guy behind the counter insisted that what I really needed were two boxes of deer slugs. Then there was the owner of an independent sporting goods store in New York, who refused to take the Matthews bow that I was asking to see off the wall.

Of course, sprinkled in among these incidents have been a lot of positive customer service experiences as well, but of course it’s the misadventures that make for the better stories. So, what are your tales of retail woe? Good, bad or funny, they’re always interesting to hear. –K.H.

            

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Comments

Dana

Welcome back Kim!! I was worried they were just going to let the site go without you! I've been lucky with retail experiences, but mostly I've shopped at the Gander Mt. that I used to work at. (My manager there did give me some hassle at first - I mentioned it in a post on Gander Mt. as an Employer) But it must be more common around my area to see women buying hunting licenses because I've gotten those at a variety of places and the guys behind the counter never batted an eye. I'm not sure what my reaction would've been if they had acted strange - probably pretty irritated.

Wait! I should say "But nothing to get worked up over, not like a picture of Jessica Biel." (Did one of the writer's actually say that in the magazine this month or was that some other magazine? What an appropriate and relevant response. *smiling crookedly*

Sarah Rogstad

Welcome Back Kim. Glad your back we need you. I remember my first gun purchase and it was a great experience. I went to Sportsman warehouse due to the fact they and just opened a store in our area and I recieved(not my husband) coupon for $ off a purchase. That always good for me so I went in and had no problems with the men behind the counter helping me with the purchase of my 270 bolt action Rifle that I purchased for my Husband for Valintines day. (yes it is mine registered under my name not his, And I remind him of that often). I have had more trouble at car dealer ships than when I go in to a sports shop.

Katie

I had always rifle hunted with a 270, but was considering a change. I went with my boyfriend to our local hunting shop and we explained that I was looking for a new deer rifle. After the salesman looked at me for a moment, he preceeded to walk over to the kids section and said "We have some nice guns over here I think she might be able to handle". I simply replied by telling him I already shot a 270 and was just looking for something different. He seemed shocked by that reponse and didn't really reply, so we thanked him for his time and left. I also seem to get ignored when trying to purchase my yearly license. It does seem to be getting better though!

Laura Bell

A few years ago I went into Gander Mountain to buy my first compound bow. I wanted one that I could hunt with and they had a small selection to choose from and with Ohio's Law Restrictions, I needed one that was 40 Pounds or more. I had done my research and had an idea of what to get so since my dad was working, my mom and sister came with me. I picked a bow out that was set at 40, and it could give more and take less, just a nice little starter bow. took it up to the guy in the archery department and while I wasn't sure which arrows I would need I asked him what arrows would be best with the bow so I could go hunting? He just looked and said "Well the Legal limit is at least 40 pounds." I simply said yes I know. "This bow is just at 40 and can't go much higher." I didn't say anything and he got a little flustered and said "Whatever Ma'am." He did get me set up with arrows, but he wasn't happy about doing so.

Then while shopping at Wally World the one night I was up at the check out line, again shopping with my mom and sisters. I'm almost always wearing Camo or hunting shirts and hats and tonight was no different. I had on Camo jeans, Camo Jeans Jacket, Team RealTree Hat, and a Deer Shirt. I was the last of us to check out and pulled out my Camo wallet (which displays pictures of my bucks, turkeys, and hunting dogs) to pay for my stuff. Well the lady cashier asked me if I was in the army? I laughed and said "No I'm a Hunter." She thought that was neat. Well after we got out into the parking lot, my sister starts laughing and asked me if I seen the look on the two boys waiting in line behind me? The boys behind me (teenagers) had exchanged "Yeah right" looks when I had said I hunted. Wish I would have seen that, I would have pulled the pictures from my wallet and asked them if they've ever taken any nice bucks like the ones I have. LOL

Idgi Levine

I just started hunting and my worst experience so far has nothing to do with salespeople. Its the fact that I'm 5'2", weigh 100lbs., and don't live near anything that looks like MossyOak Breakup! It drives me NUTS to flip through Cabelas, finallly finding a jacket (not the one I really want) that is sold in women's sizes - oh wait, no, women's, MossyOak only. AAH! That's when there's even a women's size!
I was at a sporting goods store the other day that had all their hunting stuff out on display. All in huge sizes, I didn't even see a youth section. I finally just asked a clerk "do you sell anything here that would fit me? Anything?" Of course, they didn't.
Yes, I've found a few things from RedHead, a few from Cabelas, and sometimes I find youth sizes that fit. But, oh, to pick the pants I want, in the size I want, in the pattern I want! A girl can dream.

Wanda Hyleman

We have a nice store here in South Georgia where I live it's called Walls Factory Outlet, last year I found Browning pants for women, well, I have the opposite problem than some of the women , I can't wear the men's pants because the waist is too high, I have to roll them down, which I have done for the past 18 years, but woo hoo finally found some pants that fit... then I try on the shirt & the saleslady says " oh, I think you will need the mens shirt, you are busty & these won't fit you... I thought that was funny coming from a woman, surely the male clerk would not have said that, but I finally had to get the mens shirt cos the womens sleeves were too short, but they have a great selection on everything, I bought a great t- shirt that is made by buckwear, on the back it says " as a matter of fact I do hunt like girl & had a photo of a woman squatted beside a huge mounted buck.
they all know I hunt & they are great when I go in there.
and also at the little mom & pop sporting goods store , they are so helpful when I go in, the guy even had me bring in the shotgun I used for turkey season so he could make sure I got the right shells, was my first time Turkey hunting.
Now Wally world was awful before they got to know me, now the guys that work there will ask how many did you get this year.
I work for a group of doctors & during the fall they will always talk about hunting season with me, drives the nurses nuts.
I especially like that they tell the patients hey, she hunts stop by her desk & get her to show you her pics of thoses big bucks, one man wanted a copy of them so he could show his son, who has not gotten anything big.. which I gladly gave him. I am very proud to show them off, as I am proud to be a Hunter & I have out hunted most guys I know, they know how serious I am about hunting & they never tease me.I have had several of the patients invite me to come hunt on their property, which I feel is a very big compliment.
Good Hunting ladies....