Thursday, 19 June 2014

Where is the support?

I have a small business, and during the year I'm contacted by countless charities and organisations, all wishing me to support their organisation. What all of these groups have in common is that they are nothing what-so-ever to do with the trade I'm in; therefore, I make a decision to support, where possible, those that I have an affinity with.

Now given that shooting and shooters in general are given such a bad press by nearly all the main stream media, you would like to think that those in the industry would be only too pleased to be associated with a positive, youth shooter, using firearms in a responsible manner, in order to obtain a nationally and inter-nationally recognised award, story, to help promote their products and shooting. Well in a nutshell, no they wouldn't. In light of the responses from the major manufacturers, which were all very polite and courteous, it would appear that their interest is only engaged when the person in question becomes an inter-national or Olympic level shooter.

The young and youths of today are the shooters of tomorrow, and they need to be supported as much as we can to make sure that our sport survives. Many of the clubs that are in my locality are slowly dying, mainly at the rate of the membership, and they have no youngsters waiting in the wings to make up for the losses.

The shooting industry needs to try to support as much as possible shooting at the grass roots level, rather than just the small elite group at the top of the tree. Our club has worked very hard in securing the support of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme to accept that target shooting was not only a skill, but a sport also.

Our club helps and supports numerous youngsters take their first steps into the world of shooting. We purchase many, many thousands of rounds a year from these manufacturers, and every now and then, a little support put back into the system would be appreciated.

For anyone interested, the shooter in question is only just 17, has been shooting for just under two years, has attained bronze and silver awards, and used small-bore 25 yard target shooting as their sport for the silver award. Their attention is now on attaining their gold award, and for this they have elected to shoot 50 metres and 100 yards, again using a small-bore format. For those that have undertaken this discipline before know what a demanding area of the sport this can be, with numerous new skills to learn in a very short period of time. I have every confidence that this shooter will achieve their goal, and we will make sure that we let everyone know. It's just a shame that the shooting industry here in the UK doesn't support such commitment and enthusiasm in our younger shooters.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Saying "Knife" Not Family Friendly, M&Ms Rejects Order from 2A Group

You will hear that we live in a global society and that this is a good thing for everyone, but what if you have an opinion, belief or way of life that doesn't conform to the global ideal? You will be at the whim of the group or individual at the top of the heap. A good example of this is the recent Knife Rights group and the manufacturers of M&M's; In order, Knife Rights is a legal, civil liberties promotional organisation, doing what it can to address the legal possession and use of knives. M&M's are part of a multi-national, world-wide organisation, Mars, whose business is the manufacture of food stuffs to sell to us, the public. A list of some of the products that are made by Mars is available here.

M&M's made an offer that you could have special packets of M&M's made up with your name, group or organisation printed on the packet. So when Knife Rights heard about the offer they contacted M&M's to place an order in an effort to help promote their organisation. The following is a breakdown of the ensuing discussions between Knife Rights and M&M's eventual refusal of the deal, courtesy of our good friends at the "The Outdoor Wire".

Saying that the word "knife" in the Knife Rights logo "is not family friendly," M&M's rejected a Knife Rights order for promotional packages of M&M's candies with the Knife Rights logo on them. Then they lied in an effort to avoid taking responsibility for their absurd action. 

The candy was ordered for an upcoming promotion through M&Ms' customized Business to Business department. The customer service representative, Christian, was very helpful and the order was placed. Then four business days later we received a call from Christian to let us know that they would not fill the order since "the word knife is not family friendly." That certainly came as news to us. Christian apologized for the delay getting back to us, we had called twice seeking confirmation the order would arrive in time, saying he had argued hard for us, but that his bosses wouldn't budge.

We asked for a confirmation in writing of what he had told us, but when that was not forthcoming, we sent an email to him confirming the conversation we had and asking the company to correct anything that wasn't factually correct. Shortly thereafter, Christian's supervisor, Kathy, called. We had a similar conversation with her, to no avail, and again asked that they confirm that they were rejecting the order for the reasons both Christian and she provided, that "knife" was not "family friendly." Instead we received a totally disingenuous email:

"Thank you for your email and allowing us to respond to your concern. 

We would like to confirm that we have received and processed your request to cancel your order. We are sorry to hear that you are cancelling your order and hope to have an opportunity to make your next event more special with personalized MY M&M'S® Chocolate Candies".

To which we replied: 

Thanks for this, but your email falsely states that this order is being cancelled at my request. Please note that I do NOT wish for the order to be cancelled -- it was your company decision to cancel the order because you object to the name and mission of our civil rights organization. I have had several phone calls with representatives of your company trying to save this order. Your cancellation notice falsely stating that the order was cancelled at my request only adds insult to injury, and is outrageous.

With that email they went from simply making what we view as a poor business decision by irrationally discriminating against Knife Rights, America's knife owners and our many Second Amendment supporters, and moved on to falsely describing the entire transaction in a outrageous attempt to avoid responsibility for their actions. Knife Rights did not cancel the order; M&M's did.

We just thought you ought to know. For ourselves, we intend to wean ourselves from their products. Mars, Inc. is the parent company and one of the world's leading food manufacturers, that while perhaps best known for its chocolate and candy brands (M&M's, Milkey Way, Altoids and Life Savers to name but a few) is also in food, pet care and drink products with many brands you know, including Wrigley, Uncle Bens, Seeds of Change, Pedigree and Whiskas. You can find lists of their products at:

Come Halloween this year our family will carve our pumpkins using several different knives, but instead of giving the children who come to our front door M&M's, Snickers and Milky Ways, as we have for many years, they will be given a treat that will not bear the Mars, Inc. brand.

If you'd like to let them know how you feel about the word "knife" not being "family friendly," you can contact M&M's at: 1-908-852-1000 (only M-F 9:00-5:00) or via email using the form at: