We just had to do it. There was no choice, really. This had been building for a long time and finally, we made the trip (I say pilgrimage) north to the new Cabela’s store in Post Falls, Idaho. Calling the new store a mere “store” would be like, well, like calling Cabela’s a mere store. It’s much more than that. It’s bigger and nicer than some whole shopping malls. There is a space as large as our warehouse dedicated to displaying stuffed big game animals, including a moose standing in water (with live fish). There is another fish tank as large as our two offices here combined, and the list goes on.
The parking lot is bigger than any of the several county fairgrounds lots I’ve seen, and they actually are building a freeway to the place (OK, it’s really just a four lane road with a center lane).
While most gun dealers keep all the guns behind the counter, cabled together, this place had racks of the less expensive ones out in the isles where we could handle them. They all have trigger locks, but are otherwise treated no different than hammers or screwdriver sets (except for the form 4473 requirement, et al). Yes, this is Idaho, where we’re not all afraid of our shadows, so this sort of thing works nicely. The ammo section alone is much like a small market in its own right– Row upon row of boxed ammo, out where you can open a box and actually see what you’re buying. They have several types of loading presses represented, assembled, where you can test the feel of them, and a whole isle of loading data books.
They were busy, but they had just the right amount of salespeople (available when you needed them, but they didn’t get in your face, though I have to tell you guys– you COULD have sold me the Blue Ridge flintlock I was fondling if you’d pushed it just a tad– I was teetering). There were signs posted in the covered entrance: Something like, “If you brought guns in for trade, check them in with a salesman. No loaded guns, but loaded concealed carry is OK.” These are my people.
What struck me over and over was that here is a business catering to what some might call “guy stuff” (guns, hunting, fishing, camo clothing and outdoor gear of every description) and they are not relegated to a shamed, forsaken corner of society. They are big and beautiful, they have their brand name on much of the merchandise, and they are doing very well. That sort of puts the lie to the whole “politically correct” set of policies adopted by lesser retailers, which really only amount to surrender of principle.
Cabela’s hasn’t surrendered. The camo clothing section alone (remember the anti camo clothing movement of the Clinton years?) was larger than most whole stores. There was the regular gun section, including hunting rifles, shotguns, eeeeevil black rifles, and the nicest selection of black powder firearms I’ve yet seen in one place. Then there was the “Firearms Museum”– a store within a store where you can purchase fine handmade shotguns, double rifles, rare and antique firearms. I witnessed some haggling over a nice double, going for well into the five figures range. There is an indoor audio-animatronics shooting gallery and a big-screen video shooting gallery. I wasn’t terribly impressed, but they were there, damn it, and that is good. The in-store restaurant served us ostrich and bison club sandwiches. Mine was good, not spectacular, but good, and it was ostrich!
There was for sure a disproportionately high percentage of beautiful women in the place. I don’t mean the help, though that could be said of some of them too, I mean the customers. You fellas who are being “chickified” by the NAGS out there (National Association of Gals); are you taking heed? You know who you are; you’re the pale, low-talking, fervently average, obstinately moderate men who smell like women and avoid controversy– the ones who clam up and won’t talk to me directly for fear or revealing yourselves as angry, irrational leftists. Most “Real Men” (even some of the gay ones I know) are attracted to “guy stuff” and so are most “Real Women”. That makes perfect sense, don’t you know.
Business people and politicians; take note also. Quality sells, and the experience sells. Where people stick to their principles (assuming they ever had any to which they might stick) they often succeed wonderfully, flying in the faces of the nay-sayers. Cabela’s isn’t going to be winning friends among PETA, or among the pants shitting anti gun movement, but those people never really mattered anyway.
And yes, we bought some stuff there, and I think I know where I’m getting my first, early-American style, flintlock rifle.
Now if only Cabela’s would put in a “Tires and Lingerie” section…