Yesterday, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it was suspending the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles. I spent my lunch hour on the phone with representatives from the Dick’s chain. First, I phoned the local outlet. “I’d like to buy an AR15 rifle,” I told the fellow at the firearms counter. “I was wondering if you have any in stock.”
“Uh, we do not sell AR, uh, MSRs anymore,” I was told. I asked if he could order me one, and the fellow told me, simply, “Nope. Can’t order them.” When I asked why this was, I was told, “Um, the corporate decision, they decided not to carry AR models or MSRs anymore.” I asked him what an MSR was and was told it was a Modern Sporting Rifle, or basically “an AR.”
“I completely understand why they would want to do that,” I said. “I wasn’t aware that I had failed a criminal background check. Can you let me know when that was so I can look into it? I probably should get that cleared up.”
“Uh … did you have a background check that did not work in our store, or …?” the clerk asked me. I assured him that, no, every background check I’ve ever had went very well. I figured, I informed him, that if they couldn’t sell me the rifle, it must mean I failed and no one told me. He offered to give me the phone number to their corporate office to see what they could do for me.
“So … if I call the corporate office, they might be able to sell me that rifle?” I asked. No, they in fact would not, I was told. “Were they made illegal?” I asked him.
“Would you like to talk to a manager?” he asked me back. I told him, yes, I would. The manager came on the line several minutes of interminable hold music later. I explained that I wanted to buy an MSR but had been told I could not be sold one.
“Unfortunately, our company has made a decision that we’re not going to be selling them going forward,” he said.
“When were they made illegal?” I asked.
“Oh, they’re not illegal.”
“Did I do something?” I asked. “Did I fail a criminal background check? I mean if it’s a legal product and you previously sold it …”
The manager put me on hold again. When he came back, he gave me the number for the corporate office (US +1.866.677.4771). I told him that I was disturbed that all of a sudden I couldn’t buy a popular and legal sporting product that, only a day before, I could have purchased from the same store. Why, I asked him, was Dick’s choosing to treat me as a criminal when I’m not one? He referred me politely to the number and told me that “it wasn’t our decision.”
I called the corporate office and eventually got through to a customer service representative named “April.”
“Hello, April,” I told her. “I had a bit of a problem this morning. I called my local Dick’s Sporting Goods, and I wanted to see if they had a Modern Sporting Rifle in stock, and they told me they wouldn’t sell it to me, and I’m not sure why.”
She took my name and my phone number and asked me if I had a “score card” with them. I told her I did not. When I told her I wanted a Modern Sporting Rifle, she said, “We have temporarily pulled those, um, from … from our shelves.”
“Temporarily,” I repeated. “Are they … are they out of stock?”
“Um … no, due to … um, the respect out of the victims of families, um, during, you know, with the tragedy that just happened with the young children, um, as a company we’ve decided, um, to remove the guns, for, um, sale, from the display.”
“I’m a bit confused by that,” I told her. “I mean, I’m not a criminal or a murderer, and I don’t understand –”
“That was a decision that we’ve made as a company,” she said, interrupting me, “to stop firearms sales, uh, on those weapons, sir.”
“Right, so, basically you’re saying that you won’t sell me a legal … wait,” I replied. “Maybe I’m wrong. Are the guns illegal?”
“We’re, we’re just not, um, not proceeding with sales at this time on those,” she said.
“OK, so, you won’t sell me a legal product because someone else committed a crime, but I am not a criminal. So you’re basically saying that all of your potential customers are criminals … who haven’t happened yet?”
“So … so … again, out of the respect, um, for the victims and their families,” April repeated. I tried to interrupt and she said something about “national mourning” before concluding, “We … we’ve removed all of the guns, those guns–”
“Right,” I told her, “But I’m not sure how it respects anyone by treating all the customers like criminals–”
“That’s the business decision we’ve made,” she said, interrupting me again, “is to remove those firearms. Outside of that I have nothing else to add to the call.”
“No, no, I understand. I get it. It’s a business decision. You’ve decided that you don’t want my money, or the money of anyone else who–” I started. She interrupted me, telling me that was “not the situation.”
“I definitely will filter this information up to our management team on your dissatisfaction of us pulling the firearm for sale, OK?” she said.
I could tell she didn’t understand why I called. She did not realize that Dick’s, in choosing political correctness and emotion over reason and the Constitution, was declaring all its customers criminals while attacking those customers’ Second Amendment rights. If the gun was legal yesterday and legal today, and a good seller (which it was), the only reason to pull it was to attack firearms ownership. I told her I was so “dissatisfied” that I would never spend a dime with Dick’s Sporting Goods again.
I hope you won’t, either.