Possible Solution to Ammo Availability
This is a long one, even by my standards. Sorry. But it might be worth a read.
Current ammunition availability crisis prevents many shooters from getting the ammunition they need for practice. Scalpers employ buyers to stand in lines at retail outlets to buy up stock before most ordinary customers can get access. The buyers then deliver the ammo to a scalper for a fee. The scalper sells this ammo for an outrageous profit. Desperation on the part of the ordinary customers causes some (many?) of them to pay the scalpers outrageous prices.
Whining about the scalpers won't fix anything. Whining about the desperate buyers who pay the crazy prices won't fix anything either.
The cure to this issue is to eliminate the desperation that creates the market for outrageously priced ammunition in the first place.
If each retailer maintained a waiting list for each caliber of ammunition, customers could put their name and contact information on the waiting list. When that caliber ammunition becomes available at the retail outlet, the top name on the list is called (emailed, texted, smoke signaled...) and he can come get his ammunition. Several ground rules are probably appropriate:
1. No one can have their name appear more than once on any waiting list.
2. Limit on number of waiting lists that name can appear on simultaneously, perhaps limit to 3 calibers at a time.
3. Limit on number of boxes of ammunition per purchase.
4. Customer must show picture ID to get on list and same picture ID to pick up ammo.
5. Customer must pick up ammo within 24-48 hours of being advised of availability.
6. If a customer fails to pick up ammo, his name is put at the end of the list and the next name is called.
Rule 1 ensures that after a buyer gets some ammunition of a certain caliber, all the other customers for that caliber must have a chance to get theirs before he is again allowed to get that caliber. The immediate consequence of this is that all the other customers now have access to ammunition, which reduces their desperation. It may take a few weeks or a month for them to get some ammunition, but they know that they will get some.
Rule 2 ensures that the buyer canít get lots of different ammunition at one time for the scalper. It also limits the rate at which an individual can get ammunition at a given store. This reduces the supply of ammunition to the scalper.
Rule 3 maximizes the number of customers who can receive some ammunition within any given week. This reduces the general market sense of desperation.
Rule 4 ensures that the scalperís buyers canít just keep coming back to the store every few hours to get on the list again under false names.
Rule 5 ensures that the retailer will not be stuck holding product that he would be able to sell quickly. The current crop of desperate buyers won't be likely to miss their chance when called either.
Rule 6 allows a customer who canít make it for some reason to be able to stay on the list without having to return to the store.
If such a system was implemented at one or more retail stores, availability of ammo for the general public changes from unavailable to slow but available. Many people can wait a few weeks if necessary to get practice ammo. Their desperation is the result of never being able to get any due to scalpers cornering the market supply.
By enabling the general public to have some reliable access to ammunition (even if it is slow at first), the desperation that drives them to pay scalpers prices is reduced. As soon as the scalperís cycle of desperation is broken, their ability to demand outrageous prices is removed. Very few people would pay a scalper $100 for 500 rounds of 22LR if they knew that they could wait a little while (a week or two perhaps) and get the same 500 rounds for $15-20.
The retailers donít want to go to a lot of extra work to resolve this. But if a fairly simple computer program were created to manage these lists, interested retailers could run the program, offer the waiting list system to their ordinary customers, and break the cycle. Chances are good that within a few weeks or months of this process, the scalpers prices would come back in line and the retailers would not need to continue the process forever.
The benefit to the retailers is the potential to create a customer base of people who appreciate the retailerís efforts to resolve their ammo availability problem. Perhaps Iím old fashioned, but I believe in customer loyalty and I practice it. The retailer that adopts such a system to help break the cycle would earn my loyalty.
My lgs has started selling at normal prices again but are limiting one box per day per customer and its forced alotta people to relax
The problem here in Tulsa is that a scalper, who shall remain nameless (but I spit when I think the name...), can afford to pay people crazy amounts of money to bring in ammo from retailers. He employs a large group of people to be buyers and to be the first 3 to 5 people in line at each ammo source. They get first dibs on whatever limited ammo supply has appeared at that store and buy as much as they are allowed to get. Effectively a large fraction of the ammo supply in Tulsa gets hoarded for resale at ridiculous prices by one unscrupulous retailer.
Whining about him does nothing. But if a few retailers started doing the waiting list, the desperation that fuels the scalper's business would disappear rapidly.
BTW, the rumor is that couple has a couple of ATF agents crawling on their back. Apparently they have bought 40+ AR's in the last few months and they keep getting posted online for resale. Oh and they don't have an FFL. Yes I know it's not illegal to privately sell guns, but the rules start changing when you clearly make a business out of it. Anyways, that's all conjecture.
But I do think things are slowly coming back because fewer people are standing in line, stores are getting bigger shipments of ammo, and lots of the smaller shops are getting ammo and so are the commercial reloaders.
If things don't work out at Wanamacher's Gun Show this weekend, I may just take you up on that OKC suggestion.
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