Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Trust but Verify.

From their webpage at the time of the turmoil

 During a recent post, I mentioned Cheaper Than Dirt. (CTD)  From time to time, I buy from them though usually only if they have something I can't get elsewhere, as their prices are high.

A fair number of people touched base to warn me that Cheaper than Dirt had not stood up too well during the attacks on gun rights launched  by the left after the rash of crazy people shootings over the past two years. Some where very vehement about it.

I asked a representative about this on their web page, using the chat function. This is what he said. While it's far from conclusive, it does present some more information on what actually transpired. I am not sure what their "review" consisted of, so this is not definitive by any means. However, it does seem to me that since Cheaper than Dirt relies almost exclusively on shooters and gun owners, it would have been suicidal for them to take any steps that would alienate their customer base. Unless anybody else has some information, like articles from reputable news sources that are damning, I'd be inclined to give Cheaper than Dirt the benefit of the doubt.  Walmart might do something stupid about guns (as they did with their decision to stop selling semi-auto's) but that's only a tiny fraction of their business. And not many are going  to boycott Walmart over political issues.

(Yes, I'm not doing business with Walmart, Amazon, Ebay and a number of others over political issues, but I'm a renowned eccentric and I've never portrayed myself as Joe Everyman.)

 But for a company that sells firearms, ammo, etc, it would be a very bad business decision, regardless of their own personal politics.


[XXXXX XXXX] I write a blog. Recently I posted about Cheaper than Dirt and recommended them. But I was pilloried because others said Cheaper than Dirt quit selling guns and took the position that citizens should not have semi-auto firearms after one of the crazy man shootings. Is this true?

[XXXX] Welcome to Cheaper Than Dirt! Tech Talk. My name is XXXX.


[XXXX] Hello Mr. XXXX.

[XXXX] That is categorically false.

[XXXX] At one point, during the unpleasantness of 2012 and the aftermath, CTD took a brief period of time to review our policies regarding firearms.  This mainly dealt with shipping regulations.  At no point in time did CTD, Inc. or any affiliate, state verbally or written, that civilians should not have semi automatic firearms.

[XXXXX XXXX] I think the review is what people are talking about. That probably did your company considerable harm, since it seems to be equated with Walmart's craven decision to stop selling semi-auto rifles. But this review was the only action taken by Cheaper than Dirt in this respect? There were no policy changes as a result of these incidents?

[XXXX] Given the high-profile events of recent years, as well as the politically-charged topic of firearms and gun control, our polices are subject to change.   We have a skilled team of compliance officers who work diligently to ensure that this company adheres to all Federal, State, and Municipal laws and regulations.  

[XXXXX XXXX] I understand. Well, thanks for the information.  I thought it would be a bit counterproductive for a company that essentially relies on gun owners, to do something so extreme.

[XXXX] You are correct,  XXXX.   We are staunch and unwavering supporters of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  We work tirelessly to allow all American citizens to exercise that right. 

[XXXXX XXXX] Hope so. Hate to think I was recommending a minion of the Brady Bunch. :-) Bye now.

 Link to an article on CTD sent by Matt.


  1. Harry, I'm glad you got some feedback from CTD but I think this individual was giving you some "revised" history.

    Here's a link to an article by the Blaze that came out as this was hitting the fan.

    The original statement was:

    “Cheaper Than Dirt! is suspending online sales of firearms effective immediately. We are reviewing our policy internally, and will continue to be the leader in the outdoor industry with our full line of gear and accessories.”

    It gave a sense of finality to their gun sales.

    They went from a total and complete suspension to something different after they realized they'd stepped all in it. Seems like it took their "skilled team" of "unwavering" PR folk several times to get it right.

    The fact that it happened immediately after the event took place to be even more suspect and inline with what "dick's" sporting goods did. (aptly named I might add).

    It stunk really bad and the old saying about "looking and walking like a duck, then it's a duck" comes to mind.

    I tend to believe they caved, but it's long past and I generally don't do boycotts to begin with.

  2. Let me go read that.

    The rep from Cheaper than Dirt said the temporary suspension was imposed to make sure they were in total compliance with all fed and state laws concerning shipping weapons . Given the witch hunt that was going on at the time, it seems to me that was a reasonable management decision. Nobody wants to be hung from the gibbet because they violated some obscure federal or state statute at a time when Obama and his lackeys were moving heaven and earth to make the purveyors and owners of guns into evil Nibelung.Let me go look at the article here real quick.

    I do boycotts. I only hurt myself in the financial sense, since I don't organize boycotts and I know Walmart could give a rats ass, although I spent a lot of money there before. But I can't stand to do business with my enemies, and anyone who tries to force their way of life on me is my enemy.

    1. Matt, I was looking for a Cheaper than Dirt cartoon, which I didn't find, but I did get some screen prints of the comments referenced in the article. I put a link on the post so people could go right to the article you sent. I don't know "The Blaze" (and I hate pages that have giant pop up adds you can't stop) but they seem to be pretty balanced. We had a Dick's Sporting Goods credit card account because my daughter opened it to buy an exercise machine. I wrote them, told them to pack sand, and cancelled the account. We didn't actually owe anything on it and we didn't use it but that one time, but I do what I can.

    2. probably not the one but this mentions both sales outfits

    3. I'm sure that's in reference to the event we are discussing, I thought there would be more of that kind of humor but couldn't find any.

  3. Hey Harry,


    I don't use CTD because of high prices and state sales tax. CTD is in Fort Worth so I gotta pay state sales tax. That's the number one turnoff. The second turnoff is that in 2012/2013 they greatly increased prices during peak demand. They as capitalists have a right to do that and I respect that. I also have the right to shop elsewhere.

    Taxes are the number one hang up for me. I find many products online at amazon, then I search for the product elsewhere and I usually pay less than amazon.

    As per being an eccentric. I may one day move out to Terlingua so I can be with the rest of the misfits and rejects from normal society.

    I hate football, women drivers, women drivers with cell phones, gang members, politicians and bureaucrats and anyone that tries to tell me do something or how to live.

    I like being an eccentric. One of my favorite lines from Socrates is, 'The unexamined life is not worth living" That pretty much nails it for me.

    1. CC, I don't buy a lot from them, but periodically they will have something I want that I get from them.

      Georgia just started wringing internet tax sales out of Georgia citizens, and I sympathize with your dislike of that. It's not like I don't pay Atlanta enough taxes , but the minority population keeps growing and I guess they have to wring enough tax money out of the rest of us to pay for the subsidized housing and EBT somehow.

      I saw part of that show you talked about, Texas Badlands. Watched about 10 minutes of it but because I hadn't seen any of the other episodes I couldn't figure out what was going on.

      There are more eccentrics in the world than you would think. Most of them are harmless.....

      As you say, companies will always charge whatever the market will bear in a capitalist society. There is no altruism in the hearts of businessmen. After 20 years in the oil and gas business, I am under no illusions about the depths of depravity plumbed by corporations.

  4. I can't imagine CTD would cut their nose of despite their face. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that someone in the current administration/justice department has approached them for some trumped up perceived I'll doing and their legal/compliance team is scrambling to cover the bases. How much you want to bet that the islamic murderers in San Bernardino got at least one of their "black tacti-cool accessories" from CDT and some sanctimonious blowhard GVT minion is trying to make an example out of them.

    1. Michael, that would certainly be a concern if I were a CTD management type. The furor that inspired this particular post happened back after the Sandy Hook incident in this instance. I think, from what I can see, that company management was concerned that the shooter in that case may have gotten the weapon from them via a retail gun store and was trying to clear themselves in case that were so, like having a squadron safety stand down to prevent accidents. But that's pure conjecture on my part.

  5. Thanks for doing follow up rather than just repeating rumors like 99% of the bloggers out there.

    1. I have learned to be very cautious about two things in particular on the internet. One is quotations. I have even posted some that on further inspection turned out to be bogus and I had to remove them. The other is facts concerning very emotional issues. I always try to check things I write. It used to be, that people would sometimes email me and request "linkage" on something I said. But I read on line a lot, and sometimes I couldn't remember. That's why I started the two columns on the right of the blog about news. If I quote something and I expect people to want verification, I put the article over there. I have to thin it out from time to time, but I've found overall that helps me with substantiating my posts, particularly when it comes to statistics. I usually state the source right in the post if I use statistics, because everybody computes those their own way and I need to be able to say exactly where I got them.

  6. It was interesting to read the transcript of your chat with CTD. Sure sounds like canned responses penned by their "skilled team" of obfuscators, er, PR folks. Me, I'm not buying a word of it just like I haven't bought so much as a round of .22 from them since they sided with the moonbats (and thank you for bringing that phrase into my vocabulary).
    - Unbreakable AZ

    1. Yes, particularly when I asked what, if any, policy had been changed as a result of their review. In terms of moral courage for a human being, they demonstrated none, running for cover and temporarily suspending sales. But business is not like a human being. It has no feelings, no pride, no integrity, no beliefs. It wants only to protect itself and make money. I learned the hard way, when I worked as an accountant for an oil and gas company, that a business in crisis is like a bulldozer rolling down hill. It will smash anything in it's way, and it will feel no remorse.

      I expect it really isn't much of a decision for me. I always buy from AIM or Southern Ohio Guns, Numerich, Sarco, or Samco anyway if I can for gun items. But if CDT had something I really needed, and could get no where else, I'd have to ponder it.