Cabela’s – Nightmare Shopping Experience

For the past several days I have been out-of-state visiting friends and family. Hence, the shortage of blogging. It’s been nice seeing old friends, and showing off Jericho to my family.

One event this week I feel compelled to blog about. My mother recently received her CCW permit (a requirement for purchase of a handgun where she lives).  When I was very young we lived in San Diego, and at that time we owned a .22 rifle and .357 Ruger Security-Six. However, we ceased being a gun owning family when we moved to Connecticut.

About a year ago my mother had an incident in which she rented an apartment to a convicted Federal felon.  We dealt with three different law enforcement branches (local police, post master, and parole officer).  My mom decided it was time to once again become a firearm owner.  So having received her CCW permit, it was time to purchase a firearm (or two).  Knowing I was coming up she waited for me so that she’d have some guidance in purchasing.

We decided to go up to the brand new Cabela’s.  There are sadly a lot less firearm dealers in Connecticut than in Pennsylvania. A true shame as Connecticut’s firearm heritage is vastly rich. In fact, Connecticut could easily be called the “gun capital” of America from a historic perspective.

So after an hour drive we arrived at Cabela’s, with family in tow.  My mother and I went upstairs to the firearm racks while my wife took our two children through the store looking at all the fish, bears (“grrrrr” as my daughter would say), and other animals.

We grabbed a ticket from the counter and spent some time looking at the glass cases filled with handguns.  We made a mental list of a few prospective purchases. Finally, it was our turn with the service rep. We handled a variety of handguns (which I will be detailing in a follow up post).  We settled on two firearms we wanted to purchase.

We had decided to take advantage of a Cabela’s promotion to earn $25 in points. So we were instructed to go downstairs to sign-up for the credit card.  Upon going downstairs we were informed that they were have computer problems but they should be up shortly. 30 minutes later they were still down.  It was quickly beginning to be obvious that they were going to be down for a while.  They said we could fill out an application and they would process it later that evening.  We asked would we still receive the discount – and were told no. Not unless we came back and made another purchase.

My mother asked to speak to a manager.  He agreed to give us a $10 gift card in lieu of the loss of discount.  But it took nearly an hour before we finally received our gift card.  Okay, so we were now ready to purchase the firearms.  We went upstairs, only to be told that the computer system that was needed to conduct the firearm purchase was a part of the same system as the credit card processing system and was also down.

Now realize that during all of this time my wife is trying to manage a newborn and a two year old who is increasing getting more restless. We spent some time shopping for accessories in hope that the computer system would come back up.  No such luck…

So after an hour drive, and 3 hours at Cabela’s, we had an hour drive back home – empty handed. The feeble $10 gift certificate not even coming close to the cost of the gas wasted in traveling to Cabela’s.  We would have to take a second trip on Monday. An hour up, and an hour back down. This time we were able to get the credit card application processed and to purchase the firearms.  But we still ran into problems. Somehow my mom’s new Cabela’s credit card was issued with an expiration date of 2007.  Which delayed out purchase. Finally, we arrived home with all the goods in tow.

***

This is by far the worst shopping experience I have ever had in the firearm purchase realm.  While many of the employees were apologetic.  One employee seemed on the virge of tears, frustrated that I was so dissatisfied and planning to call corporate headquarters.  Frustrated because the means to resolve my frustration was out of his hands.

This is a clear case of over-computerizing. Computers facilitate processes. But the failure of a computer system should not eliminate a store’s means to operate and conduct sales. Cabela’s corporate office should have provided it’s employee’s with a means of conducting such sales and processing. Even if it was nothing more than calling a central office and processing via phone. Cabela’s very nearly lost a $1,000 sale. Frankly, Cabela’s owes my wife an apology.

Rest assured I will be contacting Cabela’s corporate office.

Published in: on July 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm  Comments (4)  
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