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RETALES: Panties and Squib Loads

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At some point in their lives, everyone has darkened the door of a retail firearms establishment, whether it’s to buy the latest new thing, shoot at a range, or just pick up a firearm they bought off Grabagun for 10% less than wholesale; we’ve all been there.

After having every other job in the firearms industry including media, sponsored shooter, and a whole bunch of other things I’m now running one of the largest brick and mortar gun stores in South Florida. I didn’t believe a lot of the stories I’d heard from my friends who worked retail until I decided to do it myself, and as it turns out they’re all true.


Normally when I fire back a few shots of bourbon and sit down behind my iPad to write these columns, I have an agenda in mind. A central point that I want to push, like “please don’t put guns in your pants” or something along those lines. Today, I don’t, because it’s the week after Christmas, and I’m slowly decompressing in an airport bar after recovering from the weirdness that was the retail in the Christmas season. So instead of one central message, and in order to avoid having to talk to lawyers, today’s column will instead be RETALES: A Sequence of Calamitous Happenings.


That is not supposed to look like that

That is not supposed to look like that

“Caleb to the range, Caleb to the range” rang over the intercom as I looked up from my fourth Monster Recovery drink. With a dangerously high level of caffeine coursing through my blood, I arrived at the range to see a forlorn customer, Beretta barrel in hand. He was showing the barrel to our rangemaster, and when I examined it, I found a 9mm projectile lodged in the barrel. Of course, the first question out of my mouth was “Sir…uh…whose ammo were you shooting?” A fully loaded question of course, because I was hoping and praying that he wasn’t shooting ammo he’d bought from us. Fortunately, he wasn’t. I won’t say whose ammo he was shooting, but it rhymes with Binchester Height Clocks.

Because we are a full-service shop and care about our customers, I chucked the barrel up in a padded vice and beat three shades of hell (can I say that?) out of the squib load until it finally popped out the other end.

Shelf of violence


“Hey man, I need some ammo for my .25” said the customer. More than happy to oblige, I grabbed a box of .25 ACP off the shelf and prepared to ring him up. I’m a real chatty Kathy, so I idly asked the customer what kind of .25 he had.

“Oh it’s a Beretta,” beaming with pride. Now, here’s the thing – I have a sickness. I collect Berettas, and I know that the most common .25 ACP Beretta is the now discontinued Jetfire, which I used to carry as a pocket gun in a previous life. I was brimming with excitement to meet another Jetfire fan, and of course like a dummy I asked “oh, sweet, is it a Jetfire? I love those little guns!”

“I don’t know what it is, want to see it?” Before I could respond affirmative or negative, out comes his little pocket Beretta…Tomcat. Which is definitely a .32 ACP and not a .25. “Sir, uhhhhhhh……this gun isn’t a .25.”

He was incredulous! You see, he had bought the gun from a friend who “knows a lot about guns” and his friend had told him it was a .25.


Look guys, I’m not going to lie to you. There’s no picture for this next part because…well it’s just weird. I’m standing behind one of the registers after just ringing up a customer, and I see a piece of black…something laying on the carpet in front of the door. To give you a sense of perspective, the door is about 10 yards from me, and the lump of whatever is about 7. I can’t tell what it is, and I’m sort of worried that it might be a present from my dog, who comes to work with me. One of my employees is walking past and I call out “Hey, what is that down there?”

He stops and looks.

And looks.

And looks some more.

Then, bursting into peals of near hysterical laughter, he says “well uh…Caleb…it’s…uh…panties. Lacy black panties.”

I just can’t. Look, I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical explanation for how a pair of lacy black panties landed square in the middle of my showroom floor, but for the friggin’ life of me I can’t figure it out. And don’t tell me she did laundry and static cling had them stuck there, because to get to my store she had to ride in a car and do other things before they just magically fell off on the show floor. I can’t. I just don’t know what happened, and that’s why I’m drinking rye in an airport bar as I wing off to the frozen north for my once a month break from retail.

Please don’t leave your underwear in my store.

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