The Price of Free Coffee
By: Bren Brown, President
I’ve always wanted to blog at Christmas time using this Sears and Roebuck ad that shows the entire family holding firearms. I remember as a child sifting through the very thick catalog and dreaming of the toys Santa would bring if I indicated a “want” with my pen. I carefully flipped the thin pages and sat in wonder of the wide selection of goods that Santa had at his disposal. I don’t know that I was ever the kid who circled the gun. I never really thought about guns when I was little. But, apparently, Sears felt in some year (circa 1950ish) that a good gift idea would be firearms for the whole family. Alas, how times have changed….
You never got the Christmas blog and time marches on, but a few weeks ago I was in receiving working on a project and there it lay. A Sears and Roebuck pre-1968 non serialized long gun—like in the ad. I picked it up and asked where did this come from? That is when I got more than I wanted to hear….because it wasn’t a “feel good” story on where this firearm appeared from. You see there was an elderly gentleman who brought this gun and another handgun into our Missouri store and wanted to sell them. We do buy guns but these guns were of little to no retail value for resale. We only have so much room and so many dollars for such transactions and so our seasoned sales associate told the man, very gently, that we would be unable to purchase his firearms. Of course, he was surprised and asked the reason. We apparently explained that the firearms were not the type that people bought on a resale, and that we were very sorry.
Then, something really different happened. He said, “I’ll just give them to you.”
Give them to us? What? Why, sir, would you give them to us? And, you guys, this is when the story gets to the real hurt. He wanted to give us the firearms because he was headed to the nursing home in the coming week and his family did not want the firearms.
(I’ve just paused writing so you can let that sit on your head. His family told him they did not want his firearms that he had had for more than 50 years. He wanted to give them to us so they were taken care of when he entered the nursing home. My chest hurts just typing that.)
We cannot accept free firearms because of the way our point of sale system and A&D book (Acquisitions and Dispositions book required by the ATF) work together. Our sales person seeing his need and desire, asked him, “Sir, how about I trade you the guns for a free cup of coffee?” SOLD. The man was thrilled. He left his two firearms and was smiling ear to ear. He told the gal who works up front, “Greatest day ever—I got a free cup of coffee!”
Now you know what I’m going to tell you. That coffee wasn’t free, because nothing ever is, is it? That coffee was maybe the most expensive coffee to ever walk out our front door. It came with a cost to all of you. To an entire generation to come. It is what I have been ranting about in my office for the last year. It is what weighs on my heart when I see that AMC Theaters won’t let us show guns in ads. It is what chimes in my ear when regular television stations tell us we can’t show guns in commercials. It is what keeps me up at night when I hear our Google business account has been suspended for unknown reasons. When I want to boost a Facebook or Instagram ad, but can’t, the whisper of “guns are taboo” plays out over and over. It clenches my heart when I hear politicians drone on about how guns are killing people and ignoring all the societal reasons people are so broken.
This free coffee that we were glad to provide to this elderly gentleman was a pleasure to give. It was, however, a heartache to accept because the next generation does not see the value in the firearms that dad and grandpa are trying to pass on. They don’t know how to shoot. They have bought the media’s narrative that guns are bad and we shouldn’t have them. The history of our nation, the constitution that lays the framework for this great nation, is watered down every time this happens. We tear down statues; we forget. We forget that freedom was NOT free. The coffee was not free. I implore you—take grandpa’s guns. They may not be valuable for resale, but they are priceless to the fabric of our nation. I will display this firearm in my office with this blog, and I will hope that this man had 500 firearms and that these two he brought to us were the only ones left. His whole family knows how to shoot and respects the Second Amendment. It’s a happier ending. What will you do to help preserve our freedoms? Please don’t ask for the free coffee; because nothing comes without a price.