Let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time there was a very nice, law abiding, outdoorsy man who wanted a new pair of binoculars for his 40th birthday trip to Colorado. So naturally, he made his way to the Bass Pro Shops website. He thoroughly researched a gazillion binoculars and cranked opened his wallet (which can be difficult for this nice fellow as he is also quite frugal) and chose a fancy-pants pair of Vortex binoculars. Lordy, Lordy look who’s 40…right through some brand new, crystal clear binoculars.
The binoculars, however, were on backorder. But “have no fear!” the Bass Pro Shops customer service agent said. “We will send them from a third party!” she said. The man was happy.
When the binoculars arrived, they did not appear new. There was tape on the box as though they had been previously gift wrapped. The packaging just didn’t look right. The disappointed man hardly even looked at the actual binoculars because he was too suspicious of the used appearance of the box. He paid for new binoculars, and dang it, he wanted new binoculars.
So he decided to return the binoculars to Bass Pro Shops and that’s exactly what he did.
He explained precisely why he was returning them. He didn’t have anything to hide. He had them in his possession for less than a day.
First, he asked to exchange them for another pair of the same binoculars. But they didn’t have another pair.
Then, he asked if they could ship him a pair that would arrive before his trip. They said no.
So he left the store with no binoculars, and his money refunded to his credit card.
Now apparently, after this nice man went home and reordered the exact same pair of binoculars from another store, someone in the Bass Pro Shops binoculars department decided to do a binoculars check.
Guess what. The binoculars the man returned were not the right binoculars. In fact, the binoculars he returned were only worth about 20% of the price of the ones he actually bought. There was a reason the packaging was suspect. The expensive binoculars he thought he was buying were switched for a low end pair of the same brand. But he was most definitely not the switcher.
So you know what Bass Pro did? Well, they called the law.
And about two weeks later, the law called the nice man on his way to pick up his daughter from gymnastics.
The fuzz told the man he was being investigated for felony grand theft. They thought HE was the binoculars swapper. The case was being referred to the state’s attorneys office. They would decide whether they would put out a warrant for his arrest.
The man was incredulous. He explained the story to the police investigator. He offered to show receipts and vehemently denied switching the binoculars. BECAUSE HE DID NOT.
**This is the part of the story where the narrator breaks in to give a little perspective a la the Burl Ives snowman in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer…
This man is not a scam artist or a criminal of any kind. Pretty much his only brush with the law involved a rolling stop off of I-680 in San Ramon, California circa 2009. He is a straight-laced, regular guy who, if we’re being frank here, can afford to buy his own binoculars without trying to scam Bass Pro Shops. He doesn’t have a dishonest bone in his giant body.
This man also has a serious love of the outdoors and some relatively expensive hobbies. The amount of money he has spent at @bassproshop in his adult life isn’t exactly chump change. He’s been a devoted customer for over 20 years. When they opened a store in his town, he was thrilled. He made almost weekly trips to the store during hunting season. He had a customer loyalty card for crying out loud. He had racked up beaucoup rewards dollars. Bottom line: he was an EXCELLENT, LOYAL customer for two decades. Now back to the story…**
After the worried man sought the advice of legal counsel, and a rather short investigation was carried out, police cleared him of any wrongdoing. There were no charges filed. No duh.
But Bass Pro Shops didn’t care that the police said there was no case. They did not care that there was ZERO evidence to show he was trying to pull off a binoculars scam. They would not let a suspected binoculars caper get off easy. Not even one who was a loyal, long time customer. No way, Jose.
So you know what they did?
THEY BANNED HIM FROM BASS PRO SHOPS FOR LIFE.
They told him that if he stepped foot into a Bass Pro Shops store, he would be trespassed and could be arrested. He would no longer be allowed to buy merchandise from Bass Pro Shops. NOT EVER.
They didn’t even have the decency to tell him he was banned until a gift card he purchased online didn’t show up for his dad’s birthday. When he called to investigate, they informed him of his lifetime banishment from Outdoor World.
So, this man, being the law abiding citizen he is, has not since shopped at Bass Pro Shops. Ain’t nobody got time to be thrown in the clink for buying deer corn.
His wife, however, was never accused of being a thief. She, too, has relatively expensive outdoor hobbies. So she sometimes placed orders in her name. A few times it worked.
Until it didn’t.
She ordered some hunting clothes and boots for her child who ASKED SANTA FOR THEM.
Why do they still patronize that store, you ask? Well, the nice man doesn’t because he’s not allowed. But the wife does because finding hunting clothes for girls isn’t all that easy, and when Santa is asked, Santa delivers.
Until he doesn’t.
The order never showed up. The man’s panicking wife called Bass Pro Shops to ask where her kid’s clothes went.
Wait for it…
She is banned too.
They connected Bonnie to Clyde. The jig is up.
Their money is no good in Sportsman’s Paradise.
So RIP Bass Pro Shops. You are dead to them. Hope it was worth it.
**And to the a-hole who actually DID swap those binoculars, I hope 100 mangy cats die under your house after they have soaked every surface of it with pungent kitty piss. Oh, and also I hope you miss every shot you take at an animal you look at through those fancy-pants binoculars you stole.**