THE BLOG

Wal-Mart: Every Day Low Gun Prices

05/25/2011 11:45 am ET
  • Bob Cesca Host of The Bob & Chez Show, Writer for Salon.com

Wal-Mart recently made a corporate decision not to carry the morning-after pill in its pharmacies. Depending on who you speak with, the reasons vary. Wal-Mart corporate goons say it has to do with the short shelf life of the product. "Short" meaning "two years."

What else has a two-year shelf life? United States congressmen. Yet Wal-Mart has paid out $197,500 in political donations to Republican U.S. congressmen ($81,750 to Democrats) during the 2006 election cycle alone -- and we still have a year to go before the midterms. In the 2004 cycle, Wal-Mart contributed $1,099,000 to the campaigns of Republican congressmen. That's a lot of money for a product with a two-year shelf life.

So they won't sell the morning-after pill. But you know what? You can still buy a kick-ass Winchester Model 70 hunting rifle -- and for the lowest price around. EVERY day. This morning, I decided to do some price shopping for this popular hunting weapon. What I found... won't surprise you.

First, I called my local Wal-Mart store and asked about "their most expensive gun." The sporting goods department employee suggested the Winchester Model 70, then asked what I'd be hunting.

"Monkeys," I replied. He thought I said "turkeys" -- both end with "keys," so the mistake was honest. Plus, Thanksgiving is four days away.

WEAPON: 7mm bolt action Winchester Model 70 Classic Featherweight
FEATURES: Scope included
EVERY DAY LOW PRICE: $619.58
BONUS: Shocked by the low, low price, I asked if the Wal-Mart Winchester would backfire and blow my hands and face clean off. Thankfully, the employee said, "No sir." I had no reason to doubt him.

With the Wal-Mart price point locked, I set about finding another store in my area that could beat their everyday bargain. Fortunately for me -- the discriminating gun consumer -- there's quite a few locally-owned "Mom & Pop" gun shoppes in the area. And I called every single one to see if they could compete with Wal-Mart's every day low prices.

GUN GALLERY - Closed Mondays
DICK'S GUN SHOPPE - Closed Mondays
BANSNER'S ULTIMATE RIFLES - Closed Mondays
TROUT RUN SPORTS - Closed, no answering machine
KERPER'S GUN SHOP - Closed, no answering machine
PINE HILL GUNSMITHING - Closed, no answering machine
WOODY'S SPORTING GOODS - No guns for sale, just gunsmithing services

So even if they could match Wal-Mart's everyday low price on firearms, they aren't even open EVERY day. That begs a serious question: how can Mom and Pop gun retailers expect to compete with Wal-Mart when they can't even open their doors on Mondays OR successfully install an answering machine? Take note, Mom & Pop: Wal-Mart is open every day. And they have voicemail.

In addition to the voicemail gap, another threat to the various local gun merchants has been the grand opening of a Cabela's mega-store about 30 minutes from here. They specialize in outdoor sporting goods for hunters and gatherers, so why shouldn't they be able to totally out-cheap Wal-Mart?

STORE: CABELA'S
WEAPON: 7mm bolt action Winchester Model 70 Classic Featherweight
FEATURES: NO FREE SCOPE!
PRICE: $729.99
BONUS: The store is in Hamburg, PA which -- fingers crossed -- might be the home of the infamous Hamburglar.

For the record, I also called both K-Mart stores in the area. The first store I contacted lost their license and wasn't allowed to sell any rifles. The other location only sold air rifles. Have you ever tried to shoot a monkey with an air rifle? The pellets don't break the skin and the monkey gets real PISSED.

The bottom line... If cheating their employees; violating immigration laws; contributing millions to short-shelf-life Republican congressmen (who, ironically, hate illegal immigrants); and keeping emergency contraception out of the hands of slutty women means the offering the cheapest guns around, then a hearty huzzah for Wal-Mart!