Market Forces

I once had a supermarket client whose marketing director had a confrontation with a local Black community organizer. Basically, the issue was this.

The chain had supermarkets in both the inner city and the suburbs — but had a different price structure for the two groups. The inner-city (majority Black customer base) stores’ prices were as much as 25% higher on various items than those same items were sold at the suburban (predominantly White customer base) stores.

Of course, “Barack Obama”* was furious because Black people were paying more for products in their local stores than White people were paying in the suburbs. When he demanded that the chain change their pricing policy, the marketing director (a flinty little Irish guy, “Danny O’Neill”, himself from Chicago’s South Side) flat-out told him that the chain wouldn’t budge. As for the racism charge, O’Neill pointed out to Obama that while most stores in the suburbs had a “shrink” (stock loss by theft) percentage of about 0.75%, the inner-city stores’ shrink ranged from 3-5%. (To make things worse, their sole store on the North Side — with a 90% White customer base — had a shrink factor of only 0.5%, a number I’d discovered while preparing the data for this meeting.)

Of course, the higher shrink factor meant that those stores were less profitable — and, as O’Neill reminded Obama, the chain was in business to make a profit: ergo, the profit margins had to be raised to overcome the shrink. The meeting ended thus:

“So you’re not going to lower your prices in your city stores?”
“No. If we do, we’ll have to close the stores because they won’t be profitable.”
“But what am I going to tell my people?”
O’Neill was merciless. “Tell ‘your people‘ to stop stealing from our stores.”

I’ve told you that story so I can tell you this one.

Apparently, some idiot is suing** Wal-Mart for keeping various “Black” beauty products locked up behind glass doors, while their “White” equivalents are stocked on open shelves. 

Would anyone care to guess why this is?

And if you answer “rayciss” or variant thereof then you have to go and stand in the corner wearing a DUNCE cap. And I don’t care if you find this punishment “hurtful”; you’re a dunce. As is the plaintiff, and as is the judge, if he doesn’t throw this silliness out of his court with a scornful laugh.

However, as Wal-Mart is no longer run by Sam Walton but by various lesser Waltons, the retail giant will probably cave lest they be accused of being Literally Worse Than Hitler or something.

And their profits will plunge, and I will utter a merry laugh because they’ll deserve it***.

*Yes it was in Chicago, but no, it wasn’t actually Future President Token.
**Note that “Shaniqua” has engaged the services of legal über-vulture Gloria Allred, whose presence is an infallible indicator that this lawsuit is a crock of shit.
***Irony Alert:  note what’s for sale at Wal-Mart. I can’t make this stuff up.

Not So Outlandish

That Hanson fella has done it again, pointing out in irrefutable detail how conspiracy theories turn into actual conspiracies.

“Everyone should be keen to distinguish conspiracies from conspiracy theories. The [details] are real events, not the tales told by the paranoid.”

And it should be read in tandem with this outstanding piece by Daniel Greenfield:

“Guns Are How A Civil War Ends… Politics Is How It Starts”

I wonder how many Lefties are truly aware of the consequences of their actions?


Best Of Show Part 1

So: over three days and countless examples of gunny goodness on display, what were my favorites?

The first may come as a surprise to you: the Llama Micromax mini-pistol in .380 ACP from Eagle Imports, seen below in black and stainless:

Llama? Indeed. My very first pistol ever was a Llama, and it was a beauty. They’re no longer made in Spain, but in the Phillipines using the original Spanish machining and specs — only now they’re made with harder 4140 steel (always a knock on the older Llamas).

But that’s not why I like this new Micromax. Why I like it is that unlike the plethora of striker-fired plastic teenies, this bad lil’ guy is all-steel AND it’s a scaled-down 1911 action. I had Royce Honeycutt of Colorado Gunworks, Eagle’s warranty gunsmith — of whom more later — walk me through the manufacturing process. Then he field-stripped it, and in fact it’s more like a High Power action than a 1911 (i.e. easier to reassemble).

Now, why not go with something like the Kimber mini-pistols (as covered here)? After all, they come in larger calibers as well as the .380 ACP, and they too are scaled-down 1911 actions, miniatures of existing Kimber 1911s, as it happens.

My answer is simple. A pocket pistol in .380 ACP is not going to be your primary carry piece, it’s going to be your backup — and as such, the Micromax’s price tag of about $400 is going to be a better deal than Kimber’s $900, and a much better deal than a Walther PPK/S’s $1,100.

And the Llama Micromax isn’t a poxy DA striker-fired piece of plastic; it’s a steel 1911, fer gawdsakes. Here’s a review of the thing.

If I have a spare few dollars floating around in a couple-three months’ time, I’m going to get one. In stainless steel. Because when I held it, the Micromax felt as though I’d been holding it since… oh good grief, I bought my first Llama in 1975.

I think I’ll go back to bed.

Parking The Smoke-Wagon

Here’s the first of my impressions of 2018’s SHOT Show.

I was heartened to see that amidst all the new plastic (Kydex etc.) holster manufacturers at the show (Tami Keel did a good write-up here), there were still a goodly number of old-fashioned leather wranglers in evidence (Galco, Old El Paso and the like).

I was heartened because (and this may came as a huge shock to many) I am completely old-fashioned about this topic in that my preferences for gun materials are steel (the gun) and leather (holsters). For my carry pieces, therefore, I use the following:

That’s a Don Hume H715-M Clip model, which I wear inside the waistband in the small of my back (for extra concealment — even though I’m right-handed, I need a LH model because of where I carry it).

When I’m wearing a long coat or driving long distances, I carry the Springfield inside a Simply Rugged 1911 pancake style on my hip:

Then there’s the S&W 637, which rides in a Mitch Rosen Express Line pancake:

Please note that none of my holsters has a retaining strap, because straps slow down the draw. I’m unlikely ever to run after someone (or, for that matter, run away from someone), and I’m certainly not going to get into a scuffle with a goblin wherein he may take my gun off me. The whole purpose of my carrying a gun is that I can do my scuffling at arm’s length, so to speak, so I don’t need to restrain my gun in the holster. Your opinion and needs may vary, and that’s fine, but this is what suits me.

Going back to the plastic holsters: I have no problem with them at all. They work, cops and tactical operators use them, and they are pretty much indestructible. Unlike leather, they don’t wear out or loosen — but I should also point out that I’ve been using the above holsters for well over a decade, and they’re almost as tight as the day I first got them. I’ll also grant that it’s easier to re-holster a gun in a plastic holster, but I don’t care about that either — I’m not going to have to put my gun away quickly while I slap cuffs on a goblin because, quite frankly, cuffs are somewhat redundant on a dead person and under those circumstances re-holstering can take a little extra time. Anyway, with quality leather such as what I have, the re-holstering time differential is pretty small anyway — and when it comes to holsters, whether plastic or leather, this is not an area for pinching pennies: get the very best you can afford because long after you’ve forgotten (as I have) what you paid for your holsters, you’ll still be using them with confidence.

One’s choice of holster is a “horses for courses” matter.  I find leather to be perfectly adequate for my needs, and I prefer the feel of leather to plastic anyway (which is also why I wear veldskoens on my feet and not Crocs ugh).

Clearly, quite a few people think as I do, which is why leatherware was proudly on display at SHOT.

The World’s Greatest Snack Food?

Some background: in German, the word “Imbiss” is loosely translated in to English as “snack bar”. One of the best examples was this one (apparently a temporary structure because a friend looking for it later couldn’t find it):

It was located at the beginning of the Graben, Vienna’s premier pedestrian mall in the Old City (Altstadt), just across from St. Stephan’s Cathedral (Stefansdom). (I’m translating so that future visitors can find them on a map or on signposts, because this is how they’re commonly listed.)

Anyway, what set this particular Imbiss apart from all the others was their bratwurst hot dog sandwich — not so much for the food, although it was delicious, but for its preparation. Allow me to explain.

The footlong (or whatever that is in metric) buns are kept warm in a steam oven, just as they are in the U.S. What’s different is that when it’s time to put the brats into the bread, they aren’t slit open lengthwise, oh no. That would make it a messy sandwich, which would be unerträglich to the neat ‘n tidy Austrians.

Instead, the bun is impaled on a very hot spike, which does two things: it makes an opening for the bratwurst to be inserted, and it toasts the bun on the inside.

Now for the bratwurst. It’s not just any old sausage, oh no; it has great hunks of cheese embedded in the meat, and the brats are heated on rollers similar to the one you see at 7-11 — only these rollers are really hot because the cheese melts inside the sausage, in some cases even bursting through the skin, making a crust of burned cheese around the sausage. (Are you drooling yet?)

The vendor will ask you if you want the burnt cheese scraped off (the answer of course should be “Nein, nein! Bitte lassen Sie die Käse!”), whereafter he will insert the sausage into the roll after first squirting some wondrous German mustard down inside the opening.

What you will have (as Daughter exclaimed loudly upon tasting her first one) is the world’s greatest hot dog, and quite possible the world’s greatest snack food, period. It also makes no mess when you eat it — unless you bite into the brat too quickly, which will make melted cheese and sausage fat run down your chin. Here’s the finished product (from the excellent Philosophy and Madeleines blog), but I’m afraid the pic just doesn’t do it justice:

(And of course, keine Coca-Cola, bitte; you have to eat it with a beer — sold at the same outlet.)

I have no idea whether this is a Viennese style of preparation or a common German one. I do know that I’ve never found its like anywhere I’ve looked, whether in southern Germany, the Rhineland or even in Salzburg.

I would hesitate to recommend visiting Vienna purely to experience this wonderfully-delicious snack, but then again there are about a thousand equally-good reasons to go to Vienna. Just add it to the list of things to experience in the Austrian capital, one of my top three favorite places in the whole world.

Next time: Gulaschsuppe and where to find it.