Greed gone wild

September 2, 2008

Faith Outdoors

I was excited on Saturday morning as I prepared to make the trip to Rogers and the Cabela’s retail store located there. I had received a flier the week before and there was a spotting scope by a company named Barska that was going to be on sale for $39.99 for four hours only on Saturday. It normally sells for $99.99.

I called two days before the sale and talked to someone in the optics department. He said they had about 60 in stock, but I should try to come early if I could. Sometimes, he said, items on sale can sellout in half an hour. Originally, I was going to try to get there when the store opened at 8. Instead, I got there at 8:40.

I rushed back to the optics department and looked for the spotting scopes. They were gone. Long gone, said one of the men behind the counter. In fact, they sold out in five minutes. Needless to say, I was disappointed.

That disappointment turned to anger when I found out what had happened. Some guys showed up as early as 7:15 and there was a mad rush to the optics department when the doors opened at 8. Guys were loading up on the spotting scopes, with some filling shopping carts with them. A checkout clerk said she saw one guy with 10.

I speculated on what a person would do with 10 spotting scopes. Sell them in the parking lot for a higher price to those who didn’t get there fast enough? No, the clerk said. The buyers would go home and sell them on e-Bay.

To me, that is not only unethical, it’s downright disgusting. I call it a classic case of greed. Unfortunately, Cabela’s could have prevented such a thing from happening by following the warning it printed on the flier I received in the mail. On the last page was a note that said Cabela’s reserves the right to restrict quantities. In this case, that didn’t happen and lots of people, including me, walked away disappointed.

To make matters worse, Cabela’s was selling a spotting scope almost identical to the one on sale, but this one sold for $119.99. In fact, I picked one up and went to the optics counter, thinking I had found one of the scopes on sale. That’s when he informed me of the higher-priced near copy.

I want to think well of Cabela’s and not accuse the store of bait and switch. But, it wouldn’t be hard to have that suspicion, based on what I saw. I made complaints to several people in the store and was offered a $30 discount on another spotting scope of my choice. That’s only half of the discount offered on the sale item, but at least it was something.

What bothers me more is the greed. Sure, it’s legal to buy down the inventory of a sale item, but I think it violates the spirit of the sale. Cabela’s, I’m sure, intended for lots more folks to be able to take advantage of the sale price. And, I suspect store managers will be much more inclined to exercise their quantity limits in the future.

For now, I merely say to those who grabbed as many spotting scopes as they could on Saturday and then tried to resell them — lighten up on the greed.


About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek