Special offers, Montana style


KICK starting an economy in recession involves the need to stimulate demand, either by lowering interest rates or pumping money into the economy through Government projects. Special offers in shops are another good way to get people spending again. Normally this involves money off, or two for one offers and the like.

Not so in certain electronic stores in Idaho and Montana, where they have the whizz idea of offering a gift with every new television satellite system bought. Sounds a good idea, until you find that the gift is a single action shotgun. Actually it is a $130 voucher for one to be redeemed at the local gunshop. Only in America springs to mind, but then perhaps only in certain states. I can’t see Currys doing the same in Croydon.



“In Montana even grandma packs a gun.” said the manager of one of the participating Radio Shack stores in Bitterroot Montana. Marvellous –  remind me not to go there. And even if granny’s apple pie tastes like “bitterroot” , whatever you do don’t tell her… as she’s got a gun.

In the Norwegian polar outpost of Spitzbergen, where it is illegal to roam outside the environs of the town without a weapon (the local polar bears eat people), I puzzled over their mini version of the Spanish sports shop Sprinter, whose hoarding read “Sports Clothing and Rifle Rental”, and in India I came across the odd mix for a shop of “Sports Goods and Dried Fruit”, but I’ve never seen a “TV, Stereos and Shotgun” shop. But then I’ve never been to Montana, and somehow, I don’t think I ever will. Sorry granny.

In the same week in Maine a law has been passed allowing possession of flick knives but only by one armed people. The reasoning was given “to avoid them having to use their teeth to open a knife in case of emergency.” Which begs the question, exactly what kind of emergency involves a one armed person and a flick knife? What they should really do is offer a coupon for a magnum 45 pistol with every grand size Burger King. With a gun that size, who needs a flick knife.

Maybe they should encourage more shopping by allowing you to accumulate your vouchers. Something like nectar points at Sainsburys maybe? Why stop at a shotgun? Collect enough coupons and you qualify for a hand held rocket launcher. I find they always make the perfect accessory to any home cinema systems.

It is of course, though bizarrely, already legal for one armed persons to carry a flick a knife in all federal buildings in the USA, as long as the blade is three inches or less. True.

In a country where the blue smartie is banned as it is deemed a dangerous drugs colour, it seems odd that they have such lax gun ownership laws. What one might call a warped view of safety priorities. No one ever got massacred by a dangerous coloured smartie.

Which reminds me of another strange but true law that no doubt has been sitting on the statute books since the time of Davy Crocket. It’s from Kentucky and of course also concerns firearms, and says  “it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon that is more than six foot long”.

Kentuckians are surprisingly tall people who wore very long coats in the good old days.




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