SO A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BOW SHOP
3 Reasons I Won’t Use You As My Bow Dealer
My mother has always said, “The best thing about Allison, is everything rolls right off her back...the worst thing about Allison, is everything rolls off her back.” Although I don’t completely agree with her, I do try to let little things go, but sometimes, I just can't.
I recently went on the hunt for a new bow. After shooting the same bow for 11 years or so, it was time for an upgrade. I’ve gone to the same bow shop to shoot for about 3 years, solely because it was convenient and close. My initial impression, was great. Over the course of those 3 years, I shot behind the shop, shot their TechnoHUNT, and had them put some inserts into a few of my arrows. All other tweaks and maintenance, my dad usually helped me with. The last few times I had been there, however, were less than pleasant.
To begin my search for a new bow, I started there. I had a few ideas of what kind of bow I wanted, and I knew they were dealers for the bows I was looking to test shoot. Here are three things a dealer might say that will result in them not getting my business...
1. “Well, how long have you been shooting?”
I started by calling the shop to make sure they had the bows I was looking for on hand before driving there. The phone call began with me saying I was needing an upgrade. I told the owner my draw weight, the poundage I was shooting, and asked if they had the specific bows I wanted to try. His response was, “Well, how long have you been shooting?” I paused. I didn’t expect him to remember who I was, or that I had been to his shop numerous times. I sat there trying to decipher his reasoning for asking that question. I came up with nothing. In fact, I was almost speechless, but replied in my sassiest of tones, “I’ve been shooting since I was about 9 years old.” I was annoyed. Why would that matter? Why would he need to know how long I had been shooting for? I knew what I was looking for, and I knew what I was shooting, so whether I had been shooting 2 years or 10 years, it didn't matter. To this day, the only reason I can think of, was for him to see how much he would be able to manipulate me. He didn’t have my top choice bows, and with that, I cut the conversation short and decided I wasn't going to go out of my way.
2. “This is a cute little bow.”
Unfortunately, I found myself at that very bow shop several weeks later. This was mostly due to a time restriction, but there were a few other bows I wanted to try before making my final decision. I was less than enthused about being there, but I put on my fake happy face thinking, "Okay, maybe things will go better today. Maybe I'll be surprised." I walked in and we exchanged the usual introduction. I asked if I could shoot two specific bows that he had in stock, put my release on, and walked back to the shooting area where I waited for him to come back with the bows. He appeared with neither bow I had asked about. Instead, he hands me a different bow and says, "This is a cute little bow." I wasn't looking for cute or little. I wasn't looking for a bow that I would never take into the woods, something that I would only play with. I was looking for smooth, stealthy, and lethal. Now, mind you, it was a pretty slick bow, but it wasn't at all what I had asked for. I shot it several times to be polite. I kept waiting for him to give up, and get the original bows I wanted to shoot. After more shots than I cared to take with it, I finally confronted him. I looked at the owner, politely said I wasn't interested, and that I wanted to try the other two bows I initially mentioned.
3. “I can slap some pink on it for you.”
Finally, I shot the bows I came to shoot. They weren't women specific, and that was fine. The owner and I got to talking about what was available and what he could offer me. Suddenly, he adds, "I can slap some pink on it for you if you want?" His tone was condescending. It seemed like he could care less if he sold a bow to me that day, and honestly, I was offended. If you know me, you know I had pink arrows and pink bowstrings on my previous bow. However, that is not a selling factor for me. I don't buy something because it has pink on it. The factors for what I buy, as far as a bow or any other gear or equipment goes, have to do with the quality, my personal preferences, and their durability. It doesn't have to be pink or some other "girly color" for me to like it. Hearing him say that, made me cringe. It was at that point, I had enough and I made the decision to never step foot in there again.
The number of women in the hunting community is growing. There will be more women like myself, that shop for bows solo. I'm sure some of those women may even accept being spoken to in the way I was. I knew it was a possibility to be manipulated since I was shopping for a bow by myself, but I never pictured an experience as demeaning as this one. How someone treats me, is a huge factor in whether or not I will buy anything from them. My advice to women bowhunters everywhere, be confident in yourself and your knowledge of bowhunting. If you're not, by all means, bring someone with you that does, male or female. Do your research, and know what you want in a bow, and don't be afraid to be assertive.
I'd like to thank Whale Tales Archery in Dousman, Wisconsin, for answering all my questions, showing me the bows I asked about, and letting me try similar ones. Thank you for treating me like any other bowhunter, and thank you for your patience. It was the best experience I had, and I will absolutely be back.