- Good selection. I wanted a Ruger 10/22 compact (the 16" barrel/youth stock). They were the only store in town that carried it.
- Good price. The price was $236, which is on par with prices all over the country. No "Alaska Premium."
- Had the gun in stock. I had to wait for 10 minutes while they got it out of the back but they didn't have to special order.
- Terrible service. Nobody was working the counter and it took them 5 mins to show up. Then, it took literally 45 mins to process the sale. It was like it was the first time they'd ever done this before. I had to fill out three 4473s because they goofed up two. It eventually took three employees to figure out how to sell me a gun, and I had to give some helpful tips ("Have you done the NICS check yet? That will probably require you to make a phone call..."). The staff is also clueless about firearms; they cheerfully and seriously asked me if I was using the rifle for bear hunting because it looked like a "real big gun." I explained that a .22 LR is not really a good choice for a bear.
- Terrible policies. Their store policy requires an assistant manager to verify the paperwork, so that imposes another wait. Additionally, they tape the package shut (what if you don't want packing tape all over your original box?) and escort you out of the store. The assistant manager volunteered when I raised an eyebrow, "So that you don't shoot the place up!" I didn't tell her that I was CCWing a centerfire handgun that would probably be a better option for going postal than a 10/22, and I also didn't point out that nothing could stop someone from walking into the store with a rifle and shooting it up. Maybe this has been a problem in other Walmarts, but still, the whole "let's make our customers feel like shop lifters" vibe kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
- Digital 4473. They have you fill out the 4473 on a computer. Interestingly, it still has to get printed off hard copy and verified three times by hand before you sign it so it isn't like the computer really saves much time. They claim that the information is never merged with any databases but I have no trust that Wal-Mart will not abuse this information, given that their business model in part is based on databases. I am ok with being in their system for a .22 but I don't think I would ever buy any firearm that had any conceivable defensive use from them.
- Responsible Firearms Retail Partnership. Wal-Mart is a key enabler for the so-called "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" Bloomberg front organization (which Sen Begich was a member of until it was politically inconvenient, might I add). This probably merits a whole post on its own, but I think the bottom line is that I don't like MAIG, I don't like their RFRP program, and Wal-Mart is a sellout for signing on. Coupled with their digital 4473 and I think you have some potential for serious abuses of personal information.