The decline and fall of American Customer Service
I saw a rant on Facebook from my friend Travis Gibson at MGM Targets today about the changing ethics and attitudes in the gun industry.
It’s not just the gun industry, its society as a whole. The Millennial generation is making its mark and it’s an ugly one. However, the gun industry is where we work and so it’s what we encounter most often. Yesterday I ran into one that astounded me.
Here is my rant.
I have a custom built precision rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor that I brought to a NRA’s Woman on Target event I was helping out with a couple of weeks ago. If you read this blog, or Shooting Illustrated Magazine, you know the gun. It’s the most accurate rifle I have ever owned and one of my prized possessions. But, as a mechanical device, sometimes it needs some attention.
While teaching the woman about long range shooting with a very heavy emphasis on safety, the gun started going off when the safety was released. Clearly that’s not a good thing when you are trying to teach new shooters about safety. It’s also clearly not a good thing period; it’s dangerous. Triggers are mechanical things and so can break and become defective. I understand that. This is far from the first time in my long career that I have had a trigger go bad.
It’s the response from the trigger maker that left me thinking that maybe we are living in end times.
I tried to call the guy who makes the triggers to explain the issue and of course was sent to voicemail. Big surprise. Nobody answers the phone anymore. The mail box was full and unable to take messages. Not a good sign for somebody running a business. It tells me they don’t care much about the customers who are trying to reach them. I much prefer to work on the phone, it prevents a lot of problems, but this guy didn’t leave that option on the table. So, without an alternative, I emailed.
Normally any contact about a defective trigger generates an immediate response from the manufacturer to please “not shoot the gun” and to send the defective part back while they ship a replacement as soon as humanly possible. Nobody wants a potential lawsuit, or the chance of bad publicity, or anybody to get hurt or killed. Besides, triggers are intricate, complicated tools and those people who design and build them are generally the type who take great pride in their products and see it as a personal failure when one goes bad.
This guy told me to read his brochure.
I was positive he did not understand what I wrote about his trigger being defective and causing the gun to go off on its own. He was probably busy and just skimmed the email and sent his canned response as so many are prone to do these days.
So, I wrote back trying again to explain the problem. He replied and condescendingly said I was probably not able to understand and correctly use his trigger as designed and that I should familiarize myself with it by again reading the brochure. He said it was a military trigger and I was probably not using enough force when applying the safety and that I was babying it.
If I understood him correctly he was telling me that this was a design in the trigger and if you do not apply the safety correctly, as detailed in the brochure, the gun can and will go off on its own. I may have misunderstood, as his writing is not clear, but that was my take. Surely, that’s not right. Nobody would have a product on the market that is designed to deliberately do the same thing that has caused deaths and triggered multi-million dollar lawsuits for other trigger makers. Nobody is that stupid, right? I must have misunderstood.
Now, at this point, I am in shock we are even having this conversation. I clearly have a defective and dangerous trigger. I don’t need a lecture on how I am too stupid to operate it or how it’s a “military” trigger which implies I am not worthy. I need a new, safe trigger for my rifle.
I write back and explained that I have been a gun writer for 30 years and I have written books on gunsmithing. I have installed hundreds of triggers and worked on hundreds more. I understand the issue. My gun is going off without anybody near the trigger so I am pretty damn sure it’s defective.
So, I did what I should have done a long time ago and ordered a Timney.
But, like Travis, I am truly shocked at the attitude and arrogance that has invaded our society and the gun culture.
It saddens me.