Pete's random thoughts

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Did you ever notice...

Did you ever notice that it is only people who do stupid things who feel the need to justify what they do?

My example is an ongoing conversation I'm having with a know-it-all Civil War reenactor.

(NOTE: before reading this, be aware that this is not about a gun that failed, it is about a gun that needs a new nipple because it's threaded portion is too long, not a safety problem, I can go over the details and teach you all you ever wanted to know about nipples in a future post if anyone is interested)

Here are some excerpts from his latest email "...we were testing the barrel in case a double load happens on the firing line, apparently you have never been a reenactor or had a new recruit overload a rifle. If the rifle wont take a double load then its a piece of unsafe junk. Dont get high and mighty about safety because we test all of our rifles like this before any new recruit even touches it. A double load can and does happen during battles. The rifle has to be tested before to insure it wont blow a hand off or take out an eye...But I see what kind of people you are, a powder charge does not hurt the bore..."

What we were discussing is the dumbassed habit of firing 130 grains (of unspecified powder type) in a gun whose regular load should be 60 grains of FFg.

Without even going into the fact that if a recruit can't control how much powder he puts in the gun, he shouldn't be on the field and maybe THAT is what the so-called "safety officers" should be concentrating on instead of making believe they know anything about guns or that firing an overload (I hesitate to use the term "proof test" here because the practice as described isn't really a proof test, it's just dumbassery) without taking barrel measurements before and after proves NOTHING, this conversation led me to another observation:

Did you ever notice that the people who manage to blow guns up are not all of the hunters and target shooters out there? You know: the folks who actually maintain their guns, carefully measure the powder, and ensure that it is the correct powder for the gun. is the reenactors who think they can dump as much powder in a muzzleloader because it is just a blank, and as this guy says "...a powder charge does not hurt the bore...".

It is the reenactors who believe this that think it is OK to dump 5, 6 7 or more cartridges in a gun because "it is just a blank". It is the reenactors who seem to think that you can put double loads in a brass barreled blunderbuss and then act shocked when the brass gets work hardened and brittle, then say stupid things like that it is a "historic load" (it isn't, there is a big difference between consistent double 150 grain blanks which are double loads all by themselves and the 70 grains of FFg that should be used in a .69 cal gun).

Like I said at the beginning of this post: Did you ever notice that the people who use common sense, follow the instructions, and actually think things through using known data never have to come up with dumb excuses to justify their unsafe behavior?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The customer is always right...unless he is wrong

I've just spent the last three hours on the phone with tech support, setting up a utility to access our credit card processing system.

Why? To dispute a "chargeback".

A chargeback is a function of a credit card company where the customer can make up any bullshit reason to cancel a payment that was made to a merchant.

Over the years, we have had to deal with 3 or 4 of them. I can tell you that we have never, ever had a legitimate chargeback claim and every time it has been some jackass trying to rip us off.

This particular one is a guy from Webster, Massachusetts who bought two Enfield muskets, received them, fired them, and then found out that they aren't the right muskets for his unit and wanted to return them for a full refund. We said no, once you fire them, you own them. He decided that since they weren't allowed in his Civil War unit, that meant they weren't suitable for the purpose for which they were sold so he was entitled to his money back. He was wrong...they are suitable for shooting, which is what they were sold for. His failure to check with his CO to find out what muskets he needed to have with that particular group is not our problem.

His next brilliant move was to file a claim with his credit card company, claiming that he had returned the muskets in person here on May 23rd....he didn't. He also claimed that he wasn't given our return policy or cancellation policy...another lie, because he purchased these two guns through our online store and to complete an order in the online store you need to check a box acknowledging that you read the terms and conditions which include both the return and cancellation policies.

In short, he is trying to scam us out of $1055.

What he is doing is considered credit card fraud in the state of NH. Credit card fraud over $1000 is a Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 7 years in prison and fines of up to $4000.

What baffles me about some people isn't so much that they try to rip us off, it is that they leave such a great paper trail of evidence when they do it.

By the way, folks...each time I have to deal with a chargeback, I need to invest 4 to 8 hours in preparing all of the chargeback reversal paperwork that is involved. I'm up to about 11 on this one so far and still have more to go. That is 11+ hours that WON'T be spent working on your guns and getting them out the door faster.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

A challenge to the Civil War blowhards

The past few days have been frustrating.

We busted ass to get a shipment of Enfields out to people in time to go to a big event in VA, and folks are getting a hassle from some blowhard "commanders" who are telling them that Indian made guns are not allowed at the event because they are "unsafe".

What a crock of bull!

Aside from the disturbing fact that people this stupid are allowed to command on the field, they are forcing working class people to buy the inflated price for Italian made muskets for no good reason. Something that costs $1200 MUST be better than something that costs $500, right?

Here is my challenge to any of the stuffed shirt so-called "commanders" out there that seem to think they know things about guns just because they wear uniforms and pretend they are officers on the weekend:

If Indian made guns are somehow unsafe....PROVE IT. Show me evidence that they are unsafe, show me a lab report saying that there is something unsafe about the steel, show me a design flaw, show me a tiny shred of proof that your claims of Indian made Enfields are in any way unsafe.

Guess what? You can't.

Don't let that stop you from running your mouths though, I wouldn't want your pathetic little egos to be neglected. Too bad you don't seek actual knowledge to back up your claims.

We went through this same nonsense with RevWar people over a decade ago. Know what? They were wrong too and Indian made guns have proven themselves to be just as safe as the Italian made guns that blowhards all tend to worship.

Maybe some day the Civil War era blowhards will grow up and accept that fact too.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Mother goose is a little confused

So we have this goose. She was part of a mating pair of Toulouse geese, but a bobcat killed the male. Now she just lays unfertilized eggs.

Because of various complicated food allregies that affect different household members, I'm pretty much the only person here eating chicken eggs at this point, so when the chickens started laying their eggs in a nest, I figured I'd let them pile up and see which hen sat on them so we could have some spring chickens. The chicken eggs ARE fertile since we have a rooster.

What I didn't count on was Momma Goose deciding to sit on the chicken eggs.

I have no idea how this scenario is going to end.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I wish people would just let me work

We offer a warranty on our locks. I'm not even going to get into the ways people abuse it, I'm mostly annoyed today with how people behave when they send something in for repair.

First they'll say something dumb, like "I need a new lock". Then I'll have to go through the whole dance with them, finding out that there is nothing wrong with the lock, it just needs the frizzen hardened. This uses up a lot of time as we have to go back and forth via email over it.

Eventually, they send the lock in...and tell me they sent it. Then the next phase starts where they write to me repeatedly asking "Did you get it yet? I see from the tracking number it was delivered yesterday, but I didn't hear anything yet".

Then it starts..."I sent it in on Friday but didn't hear anything yet".

I spend more than half of my day dealing with stupid emails like that. If people would just be grownups about it and let us do our jobs without feeling compelled to "check on" their locks, we could get them fixed and out the door a whole lot faster.

YOUR LOCK DOESN'T MISS YOU! You don't need to check in with it every day.

Please, just let us do our job.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Good bye old computer, hello Win8.1

It is time to say goodbye to an old friend, my 10 year old Compaq with Windows XP. It served me well and is still limping along, but it struggles to keep up with modern programs and downloads. It had reached a point where it could no longer play music or videos.

Sad, really, like watching your dog get old.

So now I went and bought myself a brand-spanking-new HP Envy with Win8.1 It'll take me some time to get used to it.

A further problem is that there is no telling which, if any, of my favorite programs will run on Win8.1.

On the bright side, it is a fresh start and the new machine is sooooo much faster than my old one. They are technologically worlds apart. Of course, I already had to go back to the computer store because the adapter that allows me to use my existing monitor was defective.

Setting up a new machine is a pause in the action that give me a chance to look over the previous era to see what happened, much like doing your taxes gives you a chance to look at a business's number for the year and to see how much money you spent on Chinese food.

For instance, since December of 2004 when my old machine went online, I have received 3732 Nigeria scam emails. I know this because they amuse me and I stuck them in an email folder. Without doing too much math, that is an average of more than one per day.

Now I'll delete that folder and start over to see how many the Win8.1 era brings. Let's hope the new Win8.1 machine lasts me as long as my XP machine did!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Just another day at the mill...

I'm just having another one of "those days".

It is Friday. The person whom I rely on to work in the shop has been out for a week. Which means that i not only have to handle all of the website stuff and (mostly) dumb questions that people ask (duh...are deese real gunz?), I am also supposed to handle all of the shop work, packing and shipping, walk-in customers, inspect and log in several crates of muskets AND listen to the bitching when people who are too dense to read the terms and conditions when ordering online while under the influence of alcohol at 2 AM (I call this OUI) can't grasp why the gun they ordered two days ago hasn't been faxed to them yet. Plus repairs.

Yesterday's mail brought me a USPS "Express Mail" package (cost the guy over $38 to mail it) containing a lock that is one of those "OhmyGodIneeditnowbecauseIhaveaneventcomingupOhMyGodOhMYGodOHMYGOD!!!" sorta deals. Supposedly, the lock suddenly stopped sparking.

I took it out of the package and using the flint they guy had installed in it, it sparked beautifully and I haven't been able to get it to NOT spark.

Last month I dealt with two large boxes of mostly perfectly good locks that units sent in for a "tuneup" or whatever. I don't know why people don't understand that warranties are for when things break due to part or workmanship issues, not periodic maintenance. The kicker is that we spent TWO FULL WORK DAYS going over these locks, and most of them were just fine...individual people in the units found out that the "armorer" (don't get me started on the people who call themselves "armorers" was sending in a few locks for frizzen hardening, so they figured they would send in their lock too, whether it needed it or not.

There is another guy who begged and name-dropped (a friend of a friend...that never works out well for me) who fancies himself a gunsmith and convinced me to sell him a barrel from a gun UPS smashed a decade ago. Of course, once he gets it, he can't actually work on it himself so he sends it back to me to work on it...then sends me constant questions asking when it will be done. All this for $75.

Today's mail brings me a lock from a Potzdam musket that includes the note about how the "hammer doesn't go back far enough to force frizzen forward". First of all, the part called a 'hammer" on a flintlock IS the frizzen. Second, the reason the COCK's geometry is messed up is because the sear is bent back upon itself from somebody forcing the trigger at half cock and bending it. In other words, this guy messed up his lock (or probably let some jackass "safety officer" at an event mess up his lock) then diagnoses it himself. This is the nonsense I have to deal with every day...people who don't know what they are doing telling ME what to do.

Also unfolding over this week is another scenario involving a bayonet where the guy asked me how to fit it to his musket. I replied with instructions in excruciating detail. He ignores them and goes at it his own way, ruining the bayonet and now wants ME to fit a bayonet for him.

All the while, some dumbass keeps calling several times a day to "check on" his order, despite the fact that he was already told that his gun isn't in yet and he will get a tracking number from UPS when it ships.

Did I mention all of this is going down right when I'm in the middle of rearranging the shop and things are in more disarray than usual?

Oh yeah, and I'm supposed to drop what I'm doing and go search in the garage for the lids to plastic storage boxes that Wendy wanted me to throw away about 5 years ago because she now wants to use them.

This would be a great day to go on a machete-slashing rampage at a mall. Too bad there aren't any malls around here. Oh well, I guess I'll go an an expedition into the garage in search of storage box covers...but I'm bringing my machete, just in case.