Recently (following the 2008 rise of a person who’s name must not be spoken aloud lest one be branded a racist tea bagging jackoff)… the price and availability of ammo (and guns) went ape. I blissfully ignored the whole thing. Like any proper homesteading isolationist, I’ve got plenty of firepower to keep the freezer full, the chickens safe, and the zombies at bay. This period of madness and social decay (like the black plague or disco) will pass. Sanity tends to return with time. (One hopes.)
Recently, and against my better instincts, I ventured out of my cocoon. I “interfaced” with gunshops. Holy shit things are weird!
All the bitching about unavailable .22 ammo that I’ve been ignoring. It was real? No shit! “Hoarding” I was told. This is common opinion.
“Hoarding? Hoarding?!?” I ranted “I’ll have none of this Marxist claptrap. If there is a shortage, the price is too low. The solution is to rake us over the coals with high prices good and hard. Eventually all will be well.”
“I don’t buy it.” Quoth Joel. “‘Tis an explanation that stinks to high heaven if you ask me.” I see his point. Is not ‘hoarding’ the go to excuse for people who can’t get their act together and manufacture the stuff we consumers wish to buy? Also the whole “hoard” thing reminds me of people who go around screaming “I DON’T CARE IF EVERYTHING COSTS MORE THERE IS NO INFLATION” until they fall down speaking in tongues and are immediately awarded a Nobel prize.
Even so I wondered why prices were low for something that’s not physically available for purchase. A few days later economic theory panned out. I found .22 for sale. Not a story about sumdood who knows a guy. Not a sold out line item on a web page. It was there; in reality. I had the damn box in my hand! Also the price was friggin’ high (as it should be for the only box for sale in the county.) I’m cheap and not desperate. I chose not to buy anything. (But I was happy to know ammo existed.)
Fast forward several days: I was wandering around a gun show. There’s nothing so life affirming as a diverse American Citizenry milling about with things that’ll make an elite Boston liberal shit themselves. Freedom rocks! So many firearms and I want them all! (In a perfect world I’d buy pistols and long guns by the dozen. Also I’d have abs like rock and excellent hair.) Happy happy guns. I really should get out more.
Being a capitalist straight to the core of my being, I’d grabbed a brick of .22 (new in the box) on the way out of my house. I wandered around the show with it stuffed it in my pocket. (“No I’m not happy to see you but I’ve got five pounds of lead in my trousers. Care to buy it for $60?) Every third booth had .22 ammo; in dribs and drabs. All of it priced rather high and all priced totally uniformly. I could have sold my ammo by simply naming a price a buck lower than the global average for the room. I should have done so. After all how many squirrels can one guy shoot?
Alas, I didn’t sell any of my ammo. I decided I was happy I had it and I didn’t need the cash. Normally I’ll sell anything short of a kidney if the price is right. This time? Nope!
For a guy like me, the refusal to drop my stuff back into the open market for a good profit is as close to “hoarding” as you’ll get.
Wandering the aisles of glittering (and greasy) boomsticks I decided I needed to “adapt” to the current ammo market. Since .22 was a bitch to get I might as well indulge in something funky. I needed another .410. Yep, couldn’t live another day without adding to my collection of small little break open smoothbores. I had it in my hands, the deal was almost done. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw an ugly old air rifle.
The guy selling the .410 saw the look in my eyes. He sighed as I handed it back to him. The .410 is probably sad and lonely now. I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of folks dying to buy single shot shotguns in extremely small calibers. I have no idea why.
I know nothing about air rifles. But I do know that air is free (unless you happen to exhale CO2 near a hipppie working on climate regulation). Also .177 pellets are cheap. Every house should have every caliber of every firearm and I’m a bit light on air rifles. Time to fix that omission.
The negotiation went like this;
“What brand is it?”
“Got no idea.”
“How old it is?”
“Got no idea.”
“What’s the FPS rating?”
“Got no idea.”
“Does it work?”
“Got no idea.”
“I’ll give you half of what you’re asking.”
On the way home I decided to stop at a store I’ll call Goose Hill. I needed air rifle pellets. I asked the sales drone to help pick out .177 pellets. He handed me a pack of .22 pellets and went back to his busy life on Facebook. You should be able to tazer people like that.
I picked out a 1000 round sample pack (in the correct size). $20. That comes out to 0.02 a round. Cool. Assuming the thing worked I was happy.
I glanced up to the Facebook zombie. “Got any .22.”
He looked like a deer in the headlights. “The stuff on sale is all gone.”
“When did you get it?”
“No worries. Thanks anyway.”
“All I’ve got is this.” He held up a 100 round plastic box of CCI.”
What’s this? .22 ammo at Goose Hill? He named a price that’s twice what I’d have paid in the sane times before 2008 and 30% lower than the going rate at the gun show five miles away.
I picked up 5 boxes. Did I need it? Hell no. Did I want it? Hell yes.
Is this hoarding? I have no idea.
As a tangential detail I’d like to point out that the guy at the cash register had the most epic afro hairdo I’ve seen in years. If the 1970’s died and went to heaven, they’d have hair like that. I wanted to compliment him but feared I’d sound like a racist nitwit… so we talked about the weather. If you’re reading this afro dude; well done!
As to hoarding: The best I can say is that I regularly buy 500 rounds of .22 in randomly spaced unplanned events. So me buying 500 rounds of .22 isn’t weird. On the other hand , I won’t shoot enough paper and squirrels to use it all up any time soon. I could have gotten by on what I already had. So yeah, by that point of view I’m a dirty rotten hoarder.
Stay tuned for a photo of my “new” cheap old used air rifle which is either a fine purchase or a piece of shit I should have left on the table.