"They seemed tight when I took them out of the box but after I adjusted them they fit fine."
"Doesn't feel very durable, wrong buckles, cheaply made but for the price A+"
Yes, make poop and they will come. Yes, "A+" until the first time you wear it and it unravels or your buddies point at you and laugh. In many cases the good stuff is the same price or only slightly more. WTF?
"GOOD VALYOU GOOD STUFF LOOKS LIKE IT WILL TAKE IT HARD"
He found a mannequin with an orifice? Sweet.
"I've never seen an original, but I know there was alot of varirty so im sure its ok"
Yes, special "late War" style.
"Wish it was USA made"
No, you don't. You'd never buy it because it'd cost 75 bucks instead of 30.
"The sleeves were too short and epaulets were on the back instead of my shoulders but the fabric was awesome. Looks good. 5 stars."
Trim a few inches off your arms and dis-locate your shoulders. It'll fit fine. WTF?
Only on rare occasion, does someone correctly describe what's wrong or right- and cry "foul" when something is jacked up. It's sad. Yes, I am more familiar with most of this junk since I deal with it all day every day- but I know that many customers "know their stuff" too. Why don't they write reviews? It's like having a lost tribe of the Amazon write a service manual for a snowblower.
Maybe not surprisingly, the reviews for G.I. stuff are more sane (and mundane). All of the German cap-busters I know are perfectly cool and normal, so this must be an anomaly. And yes, we could set the reviews up to where we must approve them before we let them post, but it's not worth it. We have enough to do already. If nothing else, this gives the conspiracy theory queers something to chew on. Enjoy.
The Texled conspiracy (Jan 2012)
German reenactors are the biggest bunch of hypersensitive, insecure, paranoid, and utterly loonie douchebags I've ever dealt with. WTF? How many of you ladies are hooked on "Paranormal Activity"? Think that Oswald was an alien? Believe that Snookie has a soul? And just know that those 6 million hebrews simply got lost in the woods?
The problem stems from us having trouble deciding how to distinguish certain items when they have a less expensive counterpart. I have stated this and even asked for customer input. I'm not hiding this fact. But we now have a conspiracy- at least according to the fruitcakes.
Here's the gospel. There is no bait-and-switch conspiracy with our German gear as far as items that had "Texled" in the name and those that did not. I explained that on the main fieldgear page, but apparently my subterfuge wasn't clever enough for Oberdouchenführer Alfonz Bumkinfuss and his gang. They just know that there is some sort of evil scheme afoot to defraud them of something or another..if it isn't stamped "Texled" it must be...a repro. Amazing aren't they?
Besides explaining all of this on the site, I also have made a concerted effort to post the largest and clearest photos of any vendor in this bizarre world of ours. I even went for extra credit with you insecure little pixies and put up pics of the factory and your Nazi shi*t being made- and we often have pics of the originals there just so you can double check us.
As for you Area 51 nazi-whackjobs, there's not much else we can do for you. Albert died a few years back and Adolf is hard to reach under the ice cap with all that electromagnetic interference so there's really no one left to report us to. So you'll just have to whine to your buddies in the hen house...I mean in panzerguy69 chat.
I am removing all "Texleds" from the titles of any fieldgear items. The only items I had added the name to were those which had a less expensive counterpart. (We couldn't use "ATF" because almost all items are exclusive to us- so they are all ATF.) Nothing about the gear was changed or switched. Pinky swear. The debate over just how to differentiate the two grades of items isn't over, so I may yet change this policy or do something else entirely. Just so you know- more dastardly deeds are likely in the future- so you guardians of aryanism need to stay frosty.
The solution for most semi-rational people is simple. READ THE ITEM DESCRIPTION. Checking the photos isn't a bad idea either. Then you may not feel like somebody is out to get you and you can quit annoying us with your insecurity issue. FYI: wearing an SS uniform to school or the block party will indeed get you noticed, but most people will not be impressed. They'll make fun of you for being a moron too.
My suggestion to you paranoid panzer princesses is to stop straining your pointed little heads and stick with what you do best. Go back to comparing pics of your stupid cats dressed up with Knight's Crosses and SS camo bandanas, playing Call of Duty in your underwear and waxing carrot.
G.I.'s will jump on anything
Since we started carrying "economy" items, we've noticed a stark line between the attitudes of the G.I.'s and the Germans. The Germans are concerned about their image, and if we call anything "economy" they eye it suspiciously, like a cat trying to decide whether or not the opossum is too big to tackle- or if it even wants to eat something like than anyway. It must be debated at length and they spend inordinate amounts of time trying to persuade themselves that it really is much like foi gras, albeit with a different aroma.
The G.I.'s? 'Possum? Been dead in the road for a week? Shee-it dog! Why the hell not! Bring 'er here! They'll throw down and hump it seven ways to Sunday- and eat it when they're done.
Yes, everyone nowadays is obsessed with cheap, but they approach it in different ways. With US stuff, if it's cheap, it'll sell irregardless of how it looks,smells or lasts. Nothing matters but CHEAP! I'm convinced we would do just as well making beige polyestor leisure suits as fooling with trying to make this stuff right. On the other hand, if we lowered the good German stuff by 50 or 70%, the Nazis would have to wait for a decision from the forum committees before they'd buy it. Hell, the G.I.s would probably clean us out just because it was cheap- even if they had no idea what to do with it.
The German gear that was "economy" has been improved to the point that we will no longer call it that- even though it's still cheap. It's honestly better than almost any other German fieldgear available. We sell it for less than gear of much lower quality offered elsewhere for two reasons: a tactical decision on my part, plus that fact that we buy it in large enough quantities to do so. The new, less expensive German gear is pretty good- it is no longer "farb". Cross my heart, strawberries on top...
My mistake was that when we initially stocked some of the cheap junk, much of it was farb- which I was clear about, but it poisoned the name "economy". However, I also used it for items of decent quality that simply happened to be less expensive for one reason or another. I've just had difficulty with the semantics of this whole affair lately and my apologies.
The improvements to the less expensive gear and the appearance of good quality reproduction bayonets and gas mask cans has allowed us to drop the Complete Heer and SS Impressions several hundred dollars. No other vendor even has complete impressions, and even if you piece one together, they would be substantially more expensive.
That said, any remaining stuff that is farb will be dumped on the closeout page or in the junk bins at shows. So, at the Gap, you bands of brothers might want to stock up on Astro and viagra because their will be several tables chocked full of roadkill for you to have your way with...
Many people have been inquiring as to when we’ll have more of the boots made by Corcoran. The answer is “unknown”.
The deal is exactly thus: We’ve been talking to them since January, and it’s been a bumpy road. We were told that it’s been so long since they made any WWII boots (service shoes, jump boots, two-buckles, etc) that they had purged the part numbers and specs from their computer system. Luckily, I still had the samples with their spec tags they had made for us in 1998.
As of last week, they were working on new samples of the Army boots (Boondockers are not being contemplated this year) and promised to get back to us by mid-November.
I’m not holding my breath. In the past, Corcoran made an excellent product, but they could be pokey. However, the people we dealt with there in the past have been promoted, left the company or are deceased and those there now are having to re-invent the wheel. So, “we don’t know” is the only honest answer. For those who have acted like baboons and gotten belligerent at us, just remember….it’s not like we’re taking deposits for something they don’t even know whether they can make. So, go eat a banana. And yes, we are working on more G.I. stuff...over 100K of stuff is inbound or will be shortly and should get here by the first of the year. We haven't abandoned you to the nazis..
Dipwits of the Month
It never ends...and you all love to hear about it. But Jesus H. Christ this gets old.
1. MP44 Pouches: "Yes, I'd like you to send me photos of all your pouches so that I may choose the ones with the most pleasing stripe locations. You do realize the pouches in your photos lack prominent lines which is quite inaccurate." Whine faster...I'm almost there...
2. Ebay: "I bought a jump jacket on ebay from some dude in Colorado. It has your label in it. The belt is missing and I think you all should give me one. Otherwise I'm going to file a grievance with ebay." Lucky for guys like you, T4 is no longer active.
3. Sloppy Nazis: "I got an original helmet from you last week. The roll on the rim isn't perfectly even. What can you do for me?" Um...look up Speer, Albert, and lodge a formal complaint. Duh.
4. Hogging: "You guys are going to go under because you insult your customers. If you had any sense you'd make size 62 tunics." Well, seeing that we don't make Zeppelin sizes, and never have, you couldn't be a customer so...no foul. Next!
5. Dain Bamage: "I see you are out of the items I want. I need them by Friday. I know you're gonna help me out." Hold on a minute, I gotta get some Crisco...Gina's butt is kinda small but I know the cap and boots you need are in there somewhere.
6. Hosers: "I need a shipping quote to Canada." What's your address? "Canada." Where in Canada? "My house." How do you keep your tongue from freezing to the bus windows in the winter up there? "Huh? What bus?"
7. Shipping: "I want 4 buttons. But I don't think I should have to pay $10 for shipping." Why you are in luck! UPS is being re-organized as a charitable organization next Friday! "But I need them overnite! I can't wait a week!" Can we mail them to your buddy in Canada?
Obvioulsy, inbreeding is not a sport exclusive to Kentucky and West Virginia. I should get a commission from Marlboro for all the cigarettes Gina goes through.
Why Shipping Ain't Free
I suspect there's been a new forum storm somewhere because we've suddenly had a deluge of people whining about having to pay any shipping at all. Normally, it's the $10-20 orders that generate the most flak. A couple of facts are in order for those who apparently have no grasp of the realities of running a mail order business.
1. UPS doesn't give a shi*t if we sell something for $2 or have it on sale for 90% off. They still have to pay their drivers, pilots, loaders and buy those trucks and planes that are required to get you your B-o-B uniform to your mommy's doorstep. Those people don't work for free and the planes and trucks don't fall from trees in the Garden of Eden. You might have heard some such drivel at the Creation Museum, but they also have a nekkid guy dragging a lamb into the bushes...but it is Kentucky so no surprise huh?
2. The least it costs us to ship something now is about $10. UPS isn't free. Boxes aren't free. Nick doesn't work for the love of Living History. We aren't "raking it in".
3. Want to cry about shipping costs? Fine. Our shipping bill for June was $14,377. Boxes were just over $1,000. Despite our "outrageous" shipping charges, we lost about $1,200. If you can whine, I can whine louder. Suck on that one.
4. "Why can't you drive my order to the post office to save me $3?" (Real call after I posted this rant.) Sure. That'll be $25. It'll take Gina an hour to go across town, through the gridlocked town square,wait in line while the trashy citizens of the trailer park try to convince the postmaster to let them pick up their neighbor's disability check, and then have to play catch up with the other orders (we do have more than one customer) she didn't get to work on while she was saving you $3....
5. Use the post office to save me $3? Hell no! You same chuckleheads with the $10 orders, who threaten "unit boycotts" when we won't pay $11 to ship your $5 East German boots, are the same yucks that demand tracking numbers 5 minutes after you place your order. The post is a few bucks cheaper but they lose a lot of packages- some permanently, others for 6-8 weeks. Either way, all the drama and squalling doesn't justify the little savings.
6. Just put it in an envelope and use a stamp. That's 44 cents. Been there, tried that, screw you weaselballs. For some reason, about 30% of such envelopes we sent out never arrived and we had to send replacements for the items that were "lost in the mail." I'm sure that no red-blooded guardians of history would dream of taking advantage of an envelope's lack of tracking numbers. The mail man must have eaten them!
Funnier still are the yucks who con their friends into driving two hundred miles or more to pick up their order at the shop- so they can save $12 shipping. (This happens at least once a month. Really.) What about your buddy's gas??? And time??? Yet another indictment of public school education...or inbreeding.
You guys all want your nazi crap and paratrooper junk right f--king now or even yesterday. UPS has proven to be the best choice. They cost a little more, and they screw up about 1 in 1,000 shipments. The others we have tried- the US post is often cheaper but about 10% of all packages get lost or "misplaced" for weeks or months and their tracking information is vague at best. We also tried Fedex; while reliable, they cost even more than UPS and they had a curious habit of billing us an extra $5-8 for every shipment weeks after the fact for "mystery charges".
So that's the deal. If you don't like it, the solution is simple. Order from someone else!
No Third Party Purchases
We have just had a new flurry of credit card and Paypal shenanigans. We're done with this bullshi*t. We've now been ripped-off for over 10K just this year by new and creative ways to take advantage of Visa and Paypal's policies. Thanks (as usual) to a few dishonest pricks, we're no longer willing to bend any rules- and we have to make a few of our own. Sorry, we know most people are honest, but we can't differentiate who's who via email.
From now on, the ONLY way we will allow anyone to "buy for their friend" or have us deliver it to their buddy at an event who will then tote their 75 pounds of nazi shi*t on a UAL flight to Europe so they can save shipping...is to pay us with a wire transfer or cash. If the crap keeps up, all internationals may eventually have to go this way. If the credit card companies would use some common sense, and listen to their vendors, most of this could be avoided. But, that seems to much to ask.
All internationals MUST be shipped to the billing address of the credit card. Any other address= wire transfer only. If you insist on using a credit card, we may require you to scan and fax or send us a copy of your passport, the credit card you wish to use, and one of your statements. This is to verify your identity, not to use your card to order pizza. Lastly, we now have a $500 limit on non-US credit card charges.
Once Strike Law: Also, pull a fast one on us once, you're banned for life. if we find out you are ordering for someone who's been banned, you will joining them on the page of thieves.
What's a strike? Use a stolen credit card, "borrow" someone else's card (like Mommy's or Daddy's) file an "item not received" dispute when you have indeed gotten your package, claim your 50 lb box was "empty", file a chargeback because you don't want to pay your customs duties, or rip us off in any way and you're done. None of these actions are the result of misunderstandings. Calling Gina names is still OK- the Constitution shall not be violated...
Basically, we are 110% on the up and up and there's never a reason to file a chargeback unless you just want free shi*t or you're too impatient to wait for your package to arrive.
Sorry, but the thieves are out of control and they love the paratrooper shi*t....
PS: If you want to whine about my vocabulary, you will have to come and deal with this for at least 3 days and have your paycheck delayed for a week due to stolen card chargebacks before you have any right to complain.
Shopping Cart Website & Window Lickers
"I just submitted my order. Can I have my tracking number?"
NEW FLASH! The shoppng cart is virtual. NOT LITERAL. What planet are you muttonheads from??? Since this is news to a disturbing number of you yo-yos, I have to break your little hearts.
The "shopping cart" is simply a computer program- there is no little cart mechanically tethered to your stickie-ass keyboard running around the warehouse on a track automatically filling boxes like a little dump truck. We still process and pack orders manually. It's not a vending machine. There are still humans involved and they can only move so fast. And Gina is older than the dinosaurs so don't push her.
Quit acting like you all are completely retarded.
Yes, we know there are some bugs and mistakes on the new site. There will probably be for some weeks to come. We reserve the right to correct prices or information. This should go without saying but there's always those few who make it necessary...and they called first thing this morning.
Imagine that! New hatemail too. Yay!
Mrs. Mullins already called me a "kunt" this morning (what is that anyway?) and I'm sure her ilk will continue to let us know how they feel. The new site is huge and it has several dozen typos (at least). Some of you may feel you got screwed since Nazi tooniks were listed at $115 instead of $125- but you darlings have got nothing on the guys who bought dummy Garands for $250 and now see they are $25. Brand has been working on this thing for 6 months but it's still a massive job to proofread. What do you expect from a Jarhead anyway?
So, in the purest spirit of customer service, to all the Mrs. Mullins out there, please know that we are human and make mistakes. However, I clearly posted the red text above when we uploaded the new site, advising everyone of this fact and if you still wish to cuss us out and announce our purported subterfuge and dishonest business practices, have at it. The Facebook page would be a great spot. Seriously. I'll look forward to some dirty laundry.
And from one kunt to another, have a great day.
The shopping cart site up. Yes, there are some bugs, typos, broken links, etc, etc.
On a more rational note, if you have time, email us which page is messed up and we will fix it. It's a big site, with something north of 5,000 products so there is alot of room for screw ups. But, now you'll have a shopping cart and we can get rid of that piece of crap online order form.
You will see two different styles of pages because some of this site will remain on www.atthefront.com. So, if it appears to hop back and forth between sites, it does. This is not an error. The reason being, is that the new site software is oriented for product pages. The home, new, links and historical reference pages will remain on this domain. A few items may remain only on this page for the time being. Also, packages, impressions, and custom stuff (if it happens) will not be available via shopping cart as there are simply too many options and variables. You'll need to call or email for those.
I intend to gradually build the reference pages into a fairly comprehensive database so you new guys can see what the real stuff looks like and quit getting suckered into buying the homesick abortions peddled by less candid dealers. Likewise, it'll help you judge the good stuff carried by us and a few of the more conscientious vendors.
On a side note, the Buyer's Guide is coming back: www.reenactor-rcg.com . It is not yet functioning, but should be shortly. No, we are not involved in running or editing the site. You can bitch about our flavor of khaki or Gina's nicotine breath all you wish.
Charges: We have set up the shopping cart so that we will review your order first and then we will manually charge your credit or debit card. It will not process automatically so don't freak out. This is so we can double check availability so we don't sell you something that's not in stock.
We are also setting dollar limits on credit card purchases for everyone and restricting payment methods for many foreign countries. Despite doing everything right, we've been burned for $11,000 so far this year. If we have the slightest suspicion about a purchase we will require wire transfer, money order or cash payment.
Not a clue.
Jesus H. Christ why is this starting up again? A new parade of chuckleheads has started hammering Gina for Grigsby's phone number, whereabouts, their order status, etc, etc. They all claim to have been told (by persons whose identity must remain confidential) that we are giving out Eric's new top secrect phone number. Next thing is some fool will tell me they expect me to drive down there and break into the shop (I don't even know if he still has the shop) and get your helmet back. Just keep licking that window...you missed a spot.
I know there are alot of unhappy people out there, but just because we know Eric does not mean we can get your stuff or money back. His shop phone is disconnected, his cell phone is no longer in service, his website is gone and he doesn't reply to emails. The last number I had (his wife's phone) is also off. I have no idea whatsoever where he is or how to reach him.
But, if I was a bettin' man, I'd wager he doesn't want to talk to you all. Maybe I'm crazy, but it sure looks that way...
Yes, he was one of my best friends and, years ago, we did alot of shows together. But I have only spoken to him three times in the past 9 months. We no longer hang out- he's into the "biker life" and I'm just not rebellious nor man enough for that. If you feel adventurous, his favorite watering hole is Scooters & Hooters. (Boobie Warning! The S & H site has some bare nekkid titty pics so no kiddies!)
You might have better luck calling the bar and asking if he's there. (Seriously) Maybe you all can work things out over a beer and some of Ma's body shots.
So, give it an f-ing rest. We can't help you. Sorry.
Not to digress, but the consumer guide or something similar really needs to be put back up. Somebody please grow a spine.
The Gaiety of Facebook
The only thing I find more nauseating than the pandemic of "like" buttons all over the internet and hearing how various dysfunctional types can't go anywhere without access to their Facebutt page, is hypocritical "rebel" mantra that Harley-Davidson has managed to develop...(See South Park Episode 12, 13th episode. I could have written that.) I'm a capitalist too, I can admire the simple genius of both, but God they both make me want to yak.
That said, FB has become an almost necessary evil, so I do have both a company page as well as my own- as do most of my employees, including that world famous crisco-sweating cat-lady, Gina.
Now everyone wants to friend us personally. Please, for customers, use the At the Front page on Facebook for all that friending and liking. People I actually know and hang out with is one thing, but everyone I've ever met once or has bought something from us now is demanding to be "friended". Several have gotten pissy and had tantrums when I didn't accept. I know, Justin Bieber and Obama like everybody, but I'm just not that social...
It's not that we don't like you, but this is work-related and we all need some time to think about things other than nazi shi*t and paratrooper junk. I rarely use the damned thing (FB) anyway. I don't want it to become a back door with people bombarding us for deals or brainstorms about making Japanese underwear (give it up Bill). We have email and toll free lines. That's enough don't you think?
As for Gina fans, she has already been stalked from around the world by one customer with love in his eyes and a bulge in his britches who appeared in her yard one afternoon. Obviously, some guys will go the distance for a big gal covered in cat dander. She's very cautious about who she gives personal info to nowadays. Many men seem to have trouble comprehending this, but girls have reason to worry about some of us. Respect that.
So, please understand why my employees and myself may not "friend" everyone in the universe. Our personal FB pages are for close friends and family. If I don't recognize you, I'll pass. Likewise if you're a jackass. I don't need the competition.
As for the At the Front one, go ahead and tear it up. That's what it's there for.
Discounts for all Living Historians
March 2011 This is mildly entertaining but it's getting old. It was funny for awhile, but it's time to flame it. First it was every reenactor who got a video camera for Xmas calling to brag that they were making a feature film and since they were now a "film company", a discount was definitely in order. Now it's "museums" and "educators" (anyone who works within 1,000 ft. of a school or hangs out at a museum). Most have wrapped themselves in the cloak of inviolate heroism with which the media has adorned police, firefighters and soldiers with since 9/11. To question such guardians of history and those who nurture our childrens' brains they consider heresy and they assume we will play along. Wrong.
These guys forget I'm Martin Luther. And we also have a bullshi*t detector named Gina. The first clue that things are not kosher in Tel Aviv is the most obvious. Why do museums need uniforms in "hungry man" sizes? I've never seen a John Candy mannequin in any display. And then there's that other nagging detail- the box is rarely to be shipped to the museum or school address- it's "insecure" so it shall be sent to a residential address. Could it be, that the denizens of history might be engaging in some sort of hanky-panky with the government or school system credit card? Scandalous!
Several times in recent years the actual museum or school officials contact us later to inquire about charges made on their credit cards by employees (sometimes former ones). And they do not seem to know anything about WWII displays, nor are they very pleased.
Lately there's been a running battle over sales tax and shipping. A museum curator and a high school teacher (separate from one another) are getting belligerent that their organization should not have to pay either. Neither will provide their tax i. d. number or Kentucky State tax exemption form. Both are for XXL uniforms for "displays". It'd suck to lose you job because you were caterwauling over $10 when someone else is already paying for your nazi shi*t.
In the majority of cases when we have been contacted by legitimate employees of schools or museums the requested information was gladly provided- no huffing and puffing that we're insulting their integrity, dishonoring veterans or interfering with a government operation....
And the order is always shipped to the organization in question- not to the employee's home.
So, from here on, we have a simple solution. When someone uses a government or state credit card for purchases, we will make a separate call to said organization to verify the charge. Fair?
We're tired of bullshi*tters and the subsequent chargebacks. Consider it our contribution to the national belt tightening. As for discounts for all living historians- our prices already factor that in...didn't you guys realize that?
Factory Page: I'm not ultimately sure where I'll link this, but for now it's here on the new page. If you're curious what it takes to make this junk, this will show some of the process. Click here for ATF Manufacturing
Changes at ATF
There are a couple of things going on in February that will be of interest to some of you all. The new generations of mostly German items should exceed any previous reproductions in quality. However, much will be made in the U.S.A. and/or consist of U.S., German or Belgian made materials so these won't be the bargain barn prices many of you have grown accustomed to with the "Hong Kong Harries".
Anyone can order the crappy gear from India or Pakistan and call it "authentic". To actually accomplish this is another ballgame entirely. My goal is to make everything scary- meaning even guys who know their business will have to stop and ponder whether it's real or fake. I knew the new MP40 pouches were a success when the Dutch locusts (a pack of guys who buy real stuff) kept coming back to my table at the Max Show, turning them over and over saying "holy shi*t!". Their only complaint was that I had not marked them "clg", the real maker code. From them, it was the ultimate compliment.
I'll gradually be posting many more photos of original stuff. Both to help educate the many people who have seen little or none of the "real things" as well as comparison shots to help confirm the accuracy of what we make. It's become a trend in the past few years for many vendors to bleat that their poly-fuzz uniforms and piss green gear from New Delhi are made "authentically" and "copied directly from originals". Most of the time, it's obvious that they copied a really bad fake, they're legally blind, or they're full of shi*t. I mistakenly assumed that anyone making claims that absurd would be laughed out of business, but only lately have I come to realize just how utterly lost many customers are as to what the original actually looks like. Likewise, no amount of bullshi*t is too rank for some merchants to sling...
Example of why we say "No"
to Allgaymeine SS Stuff
Besides that fact that my mom is jewish and she already frowns upon my career, when we have had a few ASS items (like Visor Caps) a high proportion of the people ordering such wares were f*ckin' weirdoes. Far more so that your average reenactor which is indeed an accomplishment. (Blue ribbons for all of you!) As an example, we just found out that Eric T., a guy who ordered 3 ASS visor caps and 2 pairs of officer jackboots from us last year is in the news. Example of an ASS Customer
If any vendors with fewer scruples read this and you have sold him an ASS uniform, you might want to check for rodent bits or feces should he return it. Especially the trousers.
Buffing & Fluffing
For years, people fussed and moaned for us to carry the US made boots again. Just as I predicted (based on experience, not clairvoyance) things went like this:
"I see you have the corcoran boots again. Great! I want a pair, but I why do they cost more than the other boots? I don't understand. I've also read on the esteemed G.I. Joe forum and chat ring that they have a wax sprayed on them that makes them impossible to spit shine..."
This lets me know several things:
1. You have been living in a hole for the past several decades.
2. There's a reason I make fun of forum follies.
3. The American empire is definitely in decline.
As for the first bit of confusion, it works likes this. In China, workers earn about $200 per month. Here, most non-union factory workers start at $1600 ($10 per hour). I suspect Corcoran might be union, so double that number. In China, most don't have health insurance, or retirement, vacation days, etc, etc. Many of the factories don't even have heat or air conditioning. Many plants are owned or subsidized by the government. So, labor is roughly ten times more expensive in the USA- and boots are not exactly spit out of a machine like a turd from Kirstie Alley's voluptuous backside. They take several hours to make. Therefore Mr. Beavis, it costs a hell of a lot more to manufacture in the USA than in China. Short buses really do make you guys nostalgic for your childhood don't they?
The forums do contain some good information, but often have a healthy dose of gibberish too. All internet chat/forum/message board gizmos are rumor monger mills...and frequently fan the flames of ignorance. If it sounds silly or too good to be true, it probably is. These concepts have been true since the dawn of time and will remain so- despite the best efforts of various salesman and witch doctors.
If someone has been in the real military (as opposed to a fantasy one) you'd know that spit shining boots takes more than 10 minutes. For some reason, (probably from some knucklehead forum bullshi*t) we've had about 10 calls per day the past week sniveling that despite 5 whole minutes of hard work, a mirrored finish has yet to appear on their jumpboots. In other words- "what the hell is wrong with your (our) stuff?"
Nothing. You're just an incompetent. In typical American "I want instant gratification" style, it's apparently too much trouble and too complicated to ask someone in your unit or google "how to spit shine" and realize that it takes hours to get a pair of new boots shined to the point that you can see your mug in them clearly enough to pluck your eyebrows. Yes, hours.
Oh- but I forgot- some "forum god" has probably posted that a spit shine should only take 4 minutes or the boots must be bad. Despite ignorance being blissful, it must suck to be that stupid.
For those of you who do have some patience, here's a decent primer on how to spit shine boots.
black boots- if you are doing US WWII boots, then you will need to amend this essay and use brown dye and polish. Yes, that should seem obvious, but common sense is a much rarer commodity these days than one might think. And, of course, if you screw up your boots trying this (you shouldn't, but there's always a genius or two lurking somewhere), we aren't responsible.
How to spit shine boots
Apples and Oranges Part II
I meant to add this before, but spaced it. Now, I could blather all over the internet that our gear is the "aunthentic-est" in the whole wide world or post glowing customer testimonials from people who may have no clue whatsoever what they are looking at, but that's too much damned work. Instead, I'm taking the lazy route. Picture proof. The thing that the clergy only dreams of...
A couple of notes. First, the A-frame bag is from our newest (late January) generation of stuff made with the new linen canvas. They'll make it onto the site later in February. Also, I cheated and aged the MP40 pouch slightly to make it look closer to the real one. The secret aging component? 3 minutes in Gina's bath water. That's it.
Apples and Oranges
Explaining the difference between fruits and vegetables, white and black and awful and awesome is a constant chore in this and many other businesses. At times it's simple and others it's a real sumbitch to deal with.
Most of you are not stupid, (not that there's anything wrong with that) and many that are fooled by inaccurate descriptions of various vendors are often new to this odd world of ours- and do learn eventually. But enough are ever hopeful of getting something for nothing, and you get seduced into buying things that you probably know aren't going to be as promised- chiefly due to their ultra low price.
The crux of the problem, currently, is that anything on the internet is assumed to be gospel by a disturbing number of people. (President Palin here we come...) So, if a vendor chooses to describe their products as "just like the original", dozens of suckers consider this to be true, no matter how clearly the photos of said item make it obviously a false statement. Those of us who do have excellent products then have to explain ourselves to the myopic proletariat which is apparently just one step away from complete illiteracy.
For example, we have had several snivel boogers rant and rave about my original material MP44 pouches. Highway robbery, rape, incest, you put roofies in my drink- blah, blah, blah. Putting comparison pics with originals up does no good. Apparently, the Wehrmacht Despot in Das Vaterland (Germany) has "ein perfktes Kopie" for 39 Euros. I checked out the despots website and yep, they sure do have them for 39 euros. The same Indian made things that everybody else sells for $39. Tip: DHL and UPS ship around the world. So, European dealers buy stuff from Asia just like US and Canadian dealers. What a revelation! Just because it comes from Germany doesn't mean it's made in Germany. Go buy the kelly-green canvas abortions. The vinyl straps will accent your polyester "wool" tunic nicely.
Then there's G. I. cartridge belts. Ours and WW2 Impressions US Made belts are $85 to $100- both are far superior to the various Asian made abominations from Sturm, IMA, Cheaper than yo Momma, etc, etc.. But Goofy McDoogle gets huffy 'cause they are all "10 pockets" so they must all be the same. Especially when some of the bargain barns claim the homesick abortion belts to be "sold elsewhere for $80-$100". OK, we and WWII Imp aren't named, and some jerk off somewhere may try to sell the Indian belts for a hundred bucks, but get real. The implication is clear. But you're ultimately making an ass of yourself, not us.
Then there's the "SS Smocks" made by Deepeeka in India that are pimped in Shotgun News and by some dimestore nazi dealers. "Made from an original, exact in every detail." Holy shi*t, have you seen those things??? They are f--kin' crime scenes. I've never seen a repro that looks even close to that bad. Not even the old Krupper hunter orange oak things can rival these. The pattern isn't even remotely similar to anything in the universe. It's like some fool decided that oakleaf camo looks like baby puke, so they went home and punched their kid in the stomach until they yacked- and then took a picture of the goo pile and made a pattern of it. But they are usually about $65 so they sell.
Forrest Gump lives!
If vendors would describe their stuff accurately- they don't even have to be insanely honest- leave out the part about the officer uniforms being 70% polyester- just quit claiming things are 110% stitch for stitch perfect, when they are not even close. Yes, it gives Gina and sometimes me a headache or two, but most customers are not so stupid as believe it- especially after they've seen the item in person. I do check the forum gossip rags occasionally, and it's obvious that the dealers who do this habitually are doing themselves no favors. I may come across as a jackass sometimes, (true) but I don't fluff things up beyond what they deserve. And, when I screw up I usually post a retraction. It's simple to do. And it's easier to live with.
I blame a bit of this on the forum fuhrers who panicked for some reason and removed the vendor product review sections. You do know, that a vendor cannot sue you for those things. Especially if it's the truth. I myself found them handy, both to see what people didn't like about our junk as well as to see what else was cooking- and what was tasty and what tasted like ass.
I don't have the time nor am I in a neutral enough position to run such a site, board or forum, but it's definitely needed. Or just put it back up and leave it alone...
Why Gina Drinks
Here's a few of the latest tidbits of sheer genius calls and emails that we get. Life is grand isn't it?
-"The runes on your SS collar tabs are too slim. You obviously copied collar tabs from women's uniforms. You need to make new ones for me with fatter runes."
Um, SS Helferin uniforms didn't use collar tabs. You sound like a woman selecting a dildo.
-"You told me GYZ Militaria might have what I'm looking for. He took my money and won't return calls. You all owe me a refund or my merchandise. Or both."
-"There's a thread on the Einsteins of Living Historically Forum on which members compared pics of everyone's repro camo uniforms. And yours doesn't match any of the other repros. How can you claim them to be authentic? How do you explain yourself? Horrido! SS-Brigadefuhrer Nadelschwanz. "
Wow. I suppose my originals must be defective. Do you happen to have the address for the customer service desk at the SS-WVHA?
And some people actually wonder why I poke fun at the forum nazis.
-"The color of your US gear is wrong according to your picture. I'm holding my pack up to the screen and it's defintely different."
Try wiping the drool off of your monitor. It still won't match perfectly-but at least your screen will be clean. Riddle: If you take a picture of your face, and then the picture looks different than your face, is your face wrong?
-"I've polished my boots over and over and over. And they are still too big."
Waxing and rubbing things is supposed to make them bigger, not smaller. Holy cow.
-"My son just got his paratrooper helmet and it's not khaki. It's Christmas Eve and he's soooo upset. I've already initiated a chargeback and my next call is to the BBB if you don't rectify this immediately."
We'll send our fixer right over. His name's Charlie and he's got a little cross tattoo on his forehead- just let him in and he'll handle the matter. He likes to paint things. How far are you from San Quentin?
Thankfully, I don't take calls. Gina does. And she keeps enough vodka in her system to maintain her composure and handle such folks in an appropriate fashion. Most of the time at least.
Rants are Good for Business
Surprised? It seems some people are. Honestly, the first time I went off on the website I was rather shocked at all the positive feedback we got. And it's gone downhill from there.
Why does this work? Why aren't we boycotted? Simple. The choir and I agree. The majority of people who troll this site have similar opinions to mine. Those who do get pissed off, never to return, are often doing exactly as I had hoped. Not all customers are valuable- just as not all kids are cute.
And it's fun. Especially in 2006 when I sent the forum into orbit...
I simply think most Americans are sick and tired of smarmy and patronizing sales pitches. The fact that the majority of consumers actually have something known as a "bullshi*t detector" is ignored by nearly all advertising firms. Americans know that any ad or communication from a company that begins with moldy cheese such as "friends", "valued customer", or God forbid , "heroes" is simply a poorly veiled pitch for money. I don't know you so you can't be my friend yet, I know my value ends as soon as I go broke and real heroes hate being called that. It's annoying fluff. Ads that get to the point, especially in an entertaining way, get my attention. And I don't think I'm particularily unique in this.
I suppose we could tell you all that putting our uniforms on will make you swell with airborne pride to the point that it'll ooze from every hole in your body as you march off to guard history and honor our heroes- but that's a deeply personal thing and I am uncomfortable going there. So we won't.
We strive to be the least BS oriented company in this odd little world of ours, and in return, we simply ask for a minimum of said feces in return. I don't advertise things we don't have, we don't run off with your money, don't demand deposits which we keep for months or years on never-to-exist items, our shipping and refunds are prompt, and I try to describe things in the most honest manner I can, even if it hurts us. Few other vendors can claim all of this. So I figure that I've earned the right to lose the goodwill of a few sensitive types for amusement of myself and the masses.
Just remember, every morning I awake to find myself swollen with indescribable joy at the thought of graciously servicing all our cherished and heroic customers! (Visa/MC, AMEX and money orders only. )
Living History Nazis
cannot run for office
No insult to Mr. Iott, but what the hell were you thinking? Running for office when there exist photos of you in an SS uniform? That's suicide. Unless you live in rural Louisiana or eastern Kentucky, you cannot run for political office once you have done SS. It's a rule.
FACT: The public at large thinks anyone wearing an SS uniform is...
A: A nazi.
B: Going to a halloween party as a nazi.
C: A fag who likes to ride baloney ponies while dressed like a nazi.
The "living historian" bullshi*t doesn't fly. It's too complicated and blatant nonsense. Admiring the military accomplishments of a relatively small country because they kicked everyone's ass for a few years does not explain to Joe the Plumber or Marge the Shrink why you're dressed as a f--kin' nazi baby killer. Camp guards and Panzergrenadiers wore the same uniform. Joe average doesn't notice cuff titles. Bleating that you don't believe in nazism (the term "national socialism" stumps most folks), and you really do love Jews and people who are "other than white" does no good once the photos surface.
Granted, getting caught in a group hug with Ballow in a skirt probably inspires most voters to think you're a queer rather than skinhead- but either way it's not a plus for any campaign.
Look at it this way. If you caught a guy covered in Wesson oil, wearing rubber pants and carrying a sack of gerbils...how likely would you be to believe him when he claimed to be on his way to a PETA meeting?
Fred Poddig, who has more years of experience in this than almost anyone, once told me the only way to explain this whole SS thing to the uninitiated, public at large.
"We play World War II.
And, in order to have a war, somebody has to be the bad guys."
End of story.
Simple. And it works...
Rollin hates reenactors again...
Here we go again. Apparently I'm abusing the cow that provides me cash- kicking it around the barn, pinching her teats with vice-grips, and not giving enough of a damn about her sense of self esteem. Just milking her dry without so much as a kind word or pat on the head.
Jesus H. Christ. Quit being a bunch of pansies and get a life.
First and foremost, I'm not a the sensitive type. I'm more cat than dog. I don't give a shi*t whether anyone strokes my fur, pats my head, plays fetch or tells me how good I am several times each day. Such things I actually find rather annoying. Therefore, it's hard for me to put myself in the shoes of you guys who do need such attentions to keep your sense of self-worth on an even keel.
Secondly, I probably have what parents with poorly performing children refer to as A.D.D.. I like to think that I'm simply good at multi-tasking and just too intelligent to be able to concentrate on one thing at a time, much less prioritize or schedule my day efficiently. I constantly battle with myself trying not to get side-tracked.
Consequently, I'm lucky to get the most pressing things done. By "pressing" I mean the most critical or important tasks relevant to running this company. Examples include payroll, developing new junk, paying for said junk, dealing with employee shenanigans, trying to find affordable health insurance, packing and unpacking from shows, trying to persuade Gina to dye her hair, and up-dating the website. The latter task is what causes the majority of injured sensibilities among the K-9's of Living History....
I rarely handle orders or reply to emails regarding them at all. On the occasion I do handle an order, Gina cusses for months afterwards as that person instantly becomes my new best friend and wishes to deal exclusively with "the owner" and talk "living history" 8 days per week. That's another reason I'm scarce at the tables during shows. It may seem rude, but that's the way it has to be.
Events and links. I have already ceased handling unit links due to English being incomprehensible to many reenactors. Now, due to this year's snivels and shi*t-fits, I will only bother to list those events which we will attend. Should this make your diaper turn gold, there are links to six other calendars on our events page...it's not like I don't offer a solution right there. If I fail to post your shin-dig, it doesn't mean I think poorly of you, or that I'm trying to ruin your event, I'm belittling your heritage, or I hate you because your Mom is fat or any other nonsense. Maybe I just didn't get to it yet or I just plain forgot.
So, please try to comprehend this:
I have a lot of crap to do on a daily basis. I rarely get it all done. It makes my heart bleed to know that you slipped through the cracks and that you're going to tell everyone in Reenactingville that I'm an asshole and your entire unit will now boycott ATF. In case you hadn't heard, threats are the way to go around here if you want special attention and instant customer service...delete!
FYI: If you've been a punk about this crap in the past, nothing you send will ever get listed.
Who else can I abuse today....?
So Smooth and Tasty
Cigarettes suck. What is the attraction? There is no upside. Besides killing you in extraordinarily slow and agonizing ways, it stinks, it makes you and everything around you stink, turns your teeth and fingernails yellow, you end up burning up your clothes (or house), messes up the interior of your car, it makes your skin sag, annoys everyone around you and the wrinkles created by the constant sucking makes your mouth look like a rectum. Yes, REALLY.
I don't get it. Most other drugs have at least some short term benefit- you get stoned, get a rush, become a sexual dynamo (even if it's only in your own mind)...and most of them accomplish this without making you smell like ass. Even if you're a lard-ass at least food tastes good.
They don't make you look cool or suave- just like an idiot. The only place they might still be considered sexy is in a Kentucky trailer park- but there they are a necessity to stop the shakes until your momma gets her vicodin prescription refilled...
It's been known that these nasty things kill you since the 1920's. Even the Fuhrer tried to eliminate them in the 30's. If anyone says "there's no proof they kill you" this person is either a complete retard or in denial because they're too weak to put them down.
Why do I care? This filth has killed half a dozen of my family members, several friends and acquaintances over the years and it's in the process of killing one of my best friends. And did I mention that it smells like shi*t?
I realize addictions are hard for many people to break, but how this is attractive in the first place, even to dumb kids, still escapes me. I've tried smoking- and the problem cures itself before it starts. I'd rather lick the bottom of a vagrant's shoe. Assuming he has shoes at all.
What to do? It's obvious that the anti-smoking ads have had limited effect. But they are weak and spineless. They respect "smokers' rights". Screw that. They've been polluting my air and stinking up my clothes for years. I prefer the proactive approach.
People may be stupid, fail to listen or accept future consequences, but, like all animals, they can be trained .
How so? Simple. Take someone's smokes, like Gina, and pack "lady fingers" (fire crackers) in one or two fece-rods in each pack. Once she begins to associate lighting up with the pain and shock of having the tip of her nose blown off and her eyebrows melted...
So, this is perhaps pointless as a rant, but I'm just sick of watching people die from something with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
We are NOT Grigsby Militaria
We are NOT Grigsby Militaria. It's obvious that cutting 3rd grade English did not yield the benefits you expected. Over the past few years, I have repeatedly addressed this issue- one that I thought should go without saying. We cannot help you with your orders from other companies. We never did offer such a service and never will...nor does any other company that I have ever encountered. For some reason, there has been a new deluge of this nonsense- now people are demanding that we fill or refund orders they have place with Grigsby Militaria. This is bullshi*t.
I have named the company involved because this nonsense is exclusively concerned with them and no other vendor. I suspect some window licker drivel posted on Chad's Time Warp Warrior Forum is to blame. No one has mistaken us for WPG, WW2 Impressions, or the Grenadier Depot. Not lately anyway. So, please, tell your friends not to cuss out Gina because she won't let you speak to Eric...if you do, you're risking a zesty cat pee coating on your next order.
Here's the deal: Yes, Eric and I used to go to shows together, set up next to or across from one another but we have ALWAYS been separate companies.
We aren't even in the same STATE. Likewise, we have NEVER filled orders for them. NEVER. We are not responsible for nor do we have any control over anything he does or says regarding an order. Moreover, I haven't spoken to him in months and can hardly offer you an update on your tent pole order- even if I wanted to. Their number is 931-537-9165.
Yes, if we do not have an item, we sometimes mention other companies who we think may have that item. But our suggesting other people to call does not come with a money-back guarantee of satisfaction for any future order you may place with the other company. Ask your Mommy to explain this if you're still stupefied.
Ordering Tips & Tidbits:
1. When dealing with any mail order business, you do assume some amount of risk. The amount depends upon who you are dealing with. Some companies are perfectly reliable and others are not. How to know?
2. In the case of Reenacting/Living History land, you have several options to investigate a vendor's reputation: The WW2 Reenacting Forum, The Axis History Forum, The Better Business Bureau, and Google. Google may be the best actually. I checked several of the main vendors and quite a few comments and information is available on each. The ones with issues are easily identified.
3. We do not have any outstanding deliveries for any other vendors in the entire universe. So, if one tells you that we have failed to ship the product to them and we are, therefore, the reason for the delay or cock-up, that person is a lying.
4. If you have any reason to be concerned with any company's reputation- never, EVER, used a check or money order. God forbid cash. Use a credit card or Paypal. If they don't take credit cards, there's a reason and it's probably not a good one. If the vendor clowns around, all you have to do is contact the credit company and do a chargeback to get a refund. However, there is sometimes a time limit or statute of limitations. If you wait a year and a half to complain, you may be S.O.L...check with your credit card company first.
5. If all else fails, and you keep getting lies and the run-around from whatever vendor ails you, a letter from an attorney will often work miracles.
Once and for all, we do not know what ANY other vendor has done (or not done) with your order. You need to speak to them yourself. If you think this is unfair, I guess it sucks to be you.
Why we have no ASS
Many people ask why we don't make Allgemeine SS junk. Well, it's rant-worthy, so here's the answer. It's not exactly for the reason one might expect- that of political sensitivity, (I have none) nor out of respect for the victims of Nazi Germany, fear of offending this or that group of yahoo, or because I'm Jewish.
It's far simpler- Allgemeine SS stuff (ASS) is one big dweeb magnet- and nothing but a nuisance.
We've had Allgemeine SS Visor Caps and some insignia off and on over the years. So we do have some experience in this field- and it was so annoying that I can't believe I failed to make it into a rant in the past. The dime store nazis tried to claim almost every order was lost (until we mentioned their signature in the UPS tracking record), they were very distressed that we couldn't provide a complete Reichsfuhrer outfit for under $29 and several were stoned and most were just plain creepy.
First off, I've played SS since I was 15. There's not a politically correct bone in my body. Second, the majority of the atrocities committed by the Germans were perpetrated by men wearing field gray or police green- not black. Once the War got started, the Waffen SS was no longer issued the black uniform. They intended to re-introduce it once the War was over. Those who did wear it during the conflict were mostly occupied with administrative and political tasks. Despite this fact, the uniform epitomizes the Nazi regime and its worst actions to the most people on the planet.
If we had a reenactment of downtown Berlin and the Reichstag, then fine. Go for it. But since reenactments are almost exclusively concerned with the combat theaters of the War, ASS serves no purpose at events...other than to excite those two flamers that troll the Lowell event for some carrot to wax. Why one unit has chosen to wear it at the Gap for the catered dinner escapes me.
The vast majority of people we have encountered who want ASS are total fruitcakes. On the phone, they sound either like serious doll collectors, serial killers or someone Chris Hansen would interview in the kitchen. The only reason most of them seem to want to wear ASS is to get attention- they think that daring to wear that really naughty uniform will make them stand out in ways they can't in real life- maybe their avatar doesn't have an ASS option- or their Mom wouldn't let them wear her stilettos- it's some sort of pseudo-erotic cry for attention. They know the misconception (or perhaps partake of it) and assume that dressing up as the ultimate bad guy will somehow be cool. It's the same way with guys fishing for SD, Gestapo and KZ (Camp guard) crap. You won't look like a badass. You'll just look like the village idiot.
And, not that there's anything wrong with being a turd burglar, but the times I have encountered guys wearing ASS at events, there's a palpable homoerotic air about the whole thing. They genuinely get excited..."Ooooo they're really gonna freak out when they see us in these!". I mean, they get totally worked up about it. You'd think they had a date with Angelina Jolie...or Ted Haggard.
So you're going to impress some living historians...turn heads...really make those forums light up. Oooo. Ahhhh. The idea of it makes me pop a stiffy.
FYI: The real men in black drove tanks.
So, we will leave this cash cow of national socialist foreplay to other vendors.
Sieg Heil ya'll!
This and That
Ok, just random stuff again.
Overseas shipping rates are based on weight. Not the cost of the item. (That dictates duties). Just because you bought some cheap East German jackboots does not mean the shipping is going to be cheap too. And thanks for sending us the trojan program. We weren't dumb enough to open it. Tell UPS about the poo in your panties- it's not our fault. You Brits are catching up to the Belgians in the king jerk-off tournament.
World's Dumbest: Just a tip for you wannabe thieves- when you sign for your package, and then call us up to claim you never got it and demand free shi*t, it might not work out the way you expect. Go back to stealing pop and condoms from 7-11.
We have a tape measure. Several of them. When you return a uniform, accompanied by an indignant letter ranting and raving that we don't have the right size...you might want to be sure that you actually know your own size. Makes you look kind of silly. And fat. It's not like we're going to hack your ad on adultfriendfinder and post that you really wear 44 pants instead of 32. But if you piss with us, I might put it up on my website. Hmm.
What Nazi Stuff are we gonna make?
Instead of badgering Gina, and since she doesn't know anyway, here's the answer to this one. However, I refuse to put any sort of estimated time up for reasons you should all know by now. If you're new, there are a lot of obnoxious, mildly retarded sorts out there who will call up and scream "it's the first day of Fall and I want my shi*t" if I do so.
I'll simply break this into two parts. The first is items which are actually in progress to some degree. It may be only guinea pigs, but they are full-term guinea pigs rather than mere fetuses which are still subject to possible abortion if I don't like the looks of their DNA markers. The second part are things with genuine intent, but where one or more components do not yet exist- they are only an itch in their Daddies fur sack.
Part 1: Most likely these will exist by the end of 2010. No further info available at this time. PERIOD.
-A-frame Bags (Tropical and "Regular")
-MP40 Pouches (Several patterns and price ranges, but no blue ones this year.)
-MP44 Pouches (Several patterns and price ranges.)
-6 cell MP40 pouches (Olive green only. No shoulder strap- unless someone can provide me with one of the snap hooks to copy. Hint, hint...)
-Mkb42 Pouches (Several patterns and price ranges.)
-Breadbag Straps, both regular and tropical. No blue.
-Parade Belts: As in smooth side out, not the brocade things. We may also try some white gear for the LSSAH to wear on parade at the Gap. But I have to experiment with leather paint. (Yes, there is such a thing.)
-Food can Straps, leather (These will cost more than the East German food can.)
-Tropical belt keepers (Wow)
Part 2: Probably nothing until next year. Some things are awaiting hardware to be made. As for the tropical stuff, I'm waiting for prices from the webbing company. The cost may be prohibitive (for the tropical webbing), but the funky stuff (tapered widths, woven buttonholes, etc) can be done...by a US company. But everything is contingent on the price so they may be stillborn. I'll know in a week or two about that.
-Improved combat Y-straps. Probably 2-3 varieties.
-FJ Y-straps. Might happen this year if I can get some of the rear hooks.
-Press Stoff (or imitation Press Stoff made from leather- what a contradiction) E-Tool Carriers and MG Gunner's pouches.
-M31 clothing bags. Wow.
- Rucksacks: M31, Gebirgs, Artillery, and maybe tornister. The latter depends on any issues with shipping fur back and forth.
-Tan MP44 & Mkb42 pouches.
-Tropical mess tin & tornister straps
-Tropical MP40 pouches (contingent on the webbing as well)
By range of prices I mean this: I have a limited amount of original fabrics, hardware and threads. Items made to look like the "real thing" down to the last detail will be high or insanely high. The regular, all new materials stuff will be reasonable. Not cheap like economy gear, but not batshi*t crazy.
Luftwaffe? Once we get the main items rolling along, then I'll see about getting some field blue canvas. But at the rate I go, that may be 2012.
Ideas? Please don't bomb us with suggestions and dreamgear ideas- I'm very familiar with German gear and we can only go so fast. Moreover, many of the odd items (range finder lense caps, lineman's pouches, etc) are not cost effective to mess with. We still do not have the ability or motivation to do one-off odd or custom jobs. They're almost always nothing but trouble...
Stitches aren't the Problem
(July 2010) I made the mistake of checking out the forums the other day. Several threads/topics/henpecking-fests were devoted to stitch picking and how well or how awful various vendors uniforms fit peoples' bodies. Photos were included. How the hell do these people get anything to fit their figures? When you have a gut that dwarfs a king size pillow...you should be grateful when you can actually button a tunic. German tunics and M42 paratrooper uniforms were not designed for "today's male". Page after page is devoted to stitch counting and fretting over the twist of thread, and the angles of waist bands and curves of trouser flys...on the cheap ass felt and polyester wonders from HK Harry and Duplicators. Try the mirror first. Avoiding the drive-thru and the chip & soda aisle at the store will help your impression (not to mention your life span) more than the correct left twist, field gray shade 69 thread on your keilhosen.
The fact is this. If you take the best of all reproductions- or even all original gear, and custom make a uniform with original fabric, buttons and thread...no matter how perfect the uniform...you'll never be content with your impression if you can't see your feet when you look down or piddle without hoisting your tummy to reach your fly. It's a fact and an observation, not a judgment. It's that forest for the trees sort of situation.
The other aspect is dirt. In 95% of the photos submitted for critique, the immediate thing that caught my notice (but apparently no one else's) was the farb-o-licious condition of everyone's uniforms and gear. What do you yucks do? Buy a new outfit for every event??? Even on a guy fully kitted out with cheap-ass gear, if he's reasonably proportioned, and his gear and clothing are broken-in, and preferably filthy- he can look pretty good despite the polyester tunic. Dirt and wear can make some of the worst poly-wool duds look pretty realistic. All combat troops with even a few hours in the lines, (especially the Germans) should have well-worn boots, repairs on their uniforms and well-adjusted gear. Empty packs, crispy uniforms with creases and fold lines, squeaky-stiff leather gear, and the smell of Downey mixed with Febreeze do not a good impression make. It's like a gay halloween fest.
Breaking things in is excruciatingly simple...the fastest way is to get everything wet and tromp around until it dries. Then oil your boots and air out your clothes. Put your gear on and jump up and down. If it rattles, adjust it until it's quiet. Give your helmet (and the rest of you) a mud bath. Let it dry and brush it off- or hang it over the clothes line and beat it with a broom. For the photo shoot, everyone basically jumped in the creek and got muddy. I had also washed all the uniforms beforehand. How should one look? Open any reference book and look. Tens of thousands of pictures and hours of film are readily available for study. Hell, look and your BOB DVD's for the umpteenth time. It's beyond simple. Basically, many of you guys look like shi*t...because you don't look like shi*t.
If you're a unpleasantly plump, quit drinking soda and eating junk food, and start moving around. Hell, go hiking with your gear and kill two birds with one stone. You don't have to be Lance Armstrong or Arnold. Despite the claims of the diet mafia, it's no big secret. Just common sense and a little planning. (with apologies to the .037% of people who have genuine pituitary or pancreatic conditions and such) Ask around at events. Many guys in the hobby have set some "biggest loser" weight loss records in recent years. There is no downside- unless you enjoy diabetes and mind living longer.
I'm actually not picking on fat people. Just on stitch nazis. Blind ones.
Making new stuff, especially from scratch, is like turning an aircraft carrier into the wind- with a 50hp Evinrude. It takes for f--king ever. Even when 80% of the materials are on hand.
Since the beginning of the year, I've been hammering away (often literally) dialing in new German (Nazi) gear. I started out with it in 1993- but now I'm being more anal and I've got the funding and sources to actually make the materials instead of cannibalizing Austrian Y-straps and Czech backpacks. But damn MP44 pouches completely suck ass to make.
Just sending a sample to Pakistan, India or China entails little or no work. Find one, send it, and keep bitching about the quality or price until it gets no better and then decide whether to make do or give up. Doing it here insures total control- but it's not easy.
Thus far, the outlay is about $25,000. It may go over $200K by Fall. That's for tools, cutting dies, thread (linen cord is $55 per spool), hardware, leather and custom-made canvas & webbing. We found a US company (!) that can make DAK webbing- tapered straps and woven buttonholes for Y-straps and all manner of freaky German webbing hitherto impossible to do 100% spot-on. I just got the quotes for linen canvas to make all manner of packs and bags as well as the tan stuff with the red stripes for MP44 pouches and varfious late War junk. But it ain't cheap. Holy crap it's worse than wool- apparently linen is now the caviar of fabrics.
Due both to labor and material costs these itmes will range from reasonable to insane price-wise. However, most if not all of the new gear will pass for original with some wear and tear. No one really makes killer German gear anymore, but that's about to change.
A few items are already out- like breadbags and MG slings. Here's some of the final samples of other stuff in the works.
Olive MP40 Pouches. September.
Est. price $150
Tan MP40 Pouches. Original material. Sept.
Est. Price $200
MP44 Pouches. Original material. Mkb42 pouches also in the works. September.
Est. Price $400
Tropical hardware used on new gear. Yes, it's repro. No, we will not sell hardware.
Sticker shock? Me too. However, these mag pouches entail 3-6 hours of hand stitching alone which sends the costs through the roof. The original fabric was $125 per meter (about $60 per pair for the cloth + 6 hours of hand work) but are basically unissued originals. The weapons cost $5,000-$20,000 so you have no right to snivel over a couple hundred for pouches. But if you did spend your entire allowance on an SSR MP40, we also have the cheap shi*t for $30. Real MP44 pouches cost almost as much as the rifle...so if you don't have $10K for a mint original pair, ours are the closest thing. They blow the aged Czech made ones away. And, yes, all have been test driven and the mags do fit perfectly.
When? Most of these will start to get finished in late summer. Perhaps sooner. I'll post them the moment some get done.
What's the rant? Mainly, I know many people are going to piss and moan about the price, but this is one tough titty. For those who call us ever day and bluster "I only buy AMERICAN made...", here's your chance.
Update: Well, we had cut several breadbags and sent them to India to see if they could assemble them for us- the hand work on even breadbags is onerous and expensive. Much to my shock, they did them perfectly- normally they try to "improve" any sample I sent. So, to keep costs down, some of the new gear will eventually be sent overseas for assembly, but with our components. So, for those of you crying "ripoff", we'll be able to lay two people off now and meet your price points.
Score Two for the Nitwits
New Sewing Policy
As feared, the special customers have made our sewing service untenable in its current form. It lasted longer than I expected, but we will have to make a major change. The problem is a dramatic increase in helpless types who have no idea whatsoever as to what size they wear. Despite verbal and written warnings (on the website and on our return forms included with each order) they proceed to go spastic and crap themselves when told that there is a 30% restocking fee on any returns which have been altered or had insignia sewn on. Then the wild stories start- "Gina pushed the sewing on me" (You wish), "I was never informed of this" (deaf and illiterate), "The uniform has a blemish" (They stick chewing gum on the chest), "I'm going to sue" (Go ahead. That'll be funny.), "This is mis-labeled..it's NOT a 44R." (Then they exchange for a 52).
A few problems were to be expected, but this has become an avalanche of returns and huffy phone calls. And the now "defective" uniforms are piling up. (The 30% restocking fee is NOT a money-maker. Uniforms with junk on them are much harder to sell. And it seems most of the size-tards get them with inordinate amounts of bling on them so they are "extra-unique".) We hear every crazy nitwit excuse in the universe in an attempt to avoid the fee. Usually Gina or the wife "made" them do it.
So, henceforth, in order to save everyone concerned lots of heartache and aggravation:
No uniform will be sewn until the customer has physically tried it on, examined it (as well as the insignia) and signed the sewing form.
Yes, this means you must ship it back to us. No, we will not pay the shipping either way. The sewing is still free, but you MUST receive the uniform first, and check the insignia. Once you're SURE everything is what you want, then we'll sew it on. For those who are confuddled, here's how it works:
1. We ship you the uniform and the insignia.
Examine all of it, (be sure it fits) and sign the sewing form if everything is acceptable. If not, write down the changes you wish.
3. Ship it all back to us. Yes, you will need to pay a few dollars for return shipping to us as well as back to you after it's sewn. We will not charge you to sew the uniform, but we will NOT pay to send it back and forth.
4. We will then sew your insignia and ship it back. Again, you must pay for this shipping.
5. The 30% restock fee will still apply if for some reason you still change your mind after it's sewn.
Yes, this is for real. No, there will be NO EXCEPTIONS. Yes, I know this will cause a delay of a week to 10 days until you get your patches sewn on. I know, paying shipping twice amounts to a fee, but it goes to put gas in the UPS trucks or pay for bankrupcty filings for the US Post- not into our pocket. We are not going to pay for the pleasure of sewing your uniform. Only two other vendors sew insignia at all that I know of (one of whom is AWOL) and neither do US stuff. Mad? Think this is unfair and we're really mean bastards?
Thank the chuckleheads. As usual.
The Camel's Back is Broken
No more links. I quit.
For the past several months, people have been getting more and more belligerent over how quickly I post the link for their unit or list their event. For 10 years, most people were understanding that this was a FREE favor I do. I get to it when I get to and not a moment sooner. The fact that I am often slow to post this stuff is stated on the pages concerned, usually in RED. I don't know how much more CRYSTAL f*ckING CLEAR I could have made it. And, I have NEVER made any promises otherwise. This is what happens when you do favors.
It is obvioulsy a major news flash to many that this is not some sort of military DUTY that I have sworn to uphold and protect. Conversely, getting products made, filling orders and handling the activities of the business ARE duties. I really doubt your event will fail because I didn't get it listed in time. Yes, I do "try to post events in a timely manner"- but the operative word here is "TRY". Where does it say "swear", "guarantee" or "promise"? Plus I left myself a parachute by failing to define "timely". My timely may not be your timely. Yes, I have responsibilities to you guys, but this is NOT the primary one. Not by a long shot.
So, I will no longer update the links pages. It causes too much heartburn, injured sensibilities, ulcers, temper tantrums- and apparently $800 per day. I can't afford this.
Mr. Goodall is the grand prize winner. This is the 4th shi*t-fit in the past 2 weeks (the others were for unit links)...but he just hit the nail on the head better than the others.
The Scenario: One email was sent on 26 April, the second on 3 May and this one today, the 12th. (That's 16 days- not a month, but who's counting?) I last updated the "Events" page on 20 April. I never replied in any manner (until now) to touch base, update or promise anything. Which is normal.
This is the unedited communication:
12 MAY 10 / 1203hrs
SIR : I sent you letter over a month ago requesting you place our
D-day WW II reenactment battle on your events website. I then sent
thee e-mails requesting you please place our D-day renactment on
your evenyts website. The info request was correct by your events
information format. To date it has not been placed in your events
website? I know your people are busy, but its not good buiness to
snub customers in the reenactment community. You can forget about
my $800.00 unifrom order I was going to make with your company. Have
a grea day.
Msg / James E. Goodall (ret) firstname.lastname@example.org
LST-325 D-day Coordinator.
Yes, I am a lazy, customer snubbing-dick. And, according to the Reenactor's forum, also a megalomaniac who hates reenactors. So, in order to take a proactive approach to this unacceptable dilemma, I am firing myself from any further links or events page activities and updates. Since it's obvious that I'm not up to this task, I quit. I just can't keep up.
No commitment= no disappointment.
Website Opportunity? If someone our there has the time to maintain these listings, I will gladly send you over the html files and link to your pages. Typically, there are 10-20 events and 50 unit (mostly changes as they move their site from google to tripod to gmail.whatever) per month: about 30% of submitted entires have bad or non-functioning links. It's fun. Figure 1-3 hours depending on how much effort you are willing to invest trying to fix what is sent.
As for events, I have half a dozen other calendars linked right at the top of the page. They are all good and better kept than mine.
True, in the time it took to write this rant, I could have updated the pages. But I'm a mercurial bastard and threats are the last way to make me behave. Honestly, I've been hard pressed to keep up with these damned pages for some time and this one just set me off. It's a very typical illustration as to what's been going on with these links for the past few months. My way is the highway- so I hope you impatient types are satisfied. Have a nice day. Thanks for the rant material too.
The Problem with...
Racial profiling for terrorists: There is none.
Targeted Killings of terrorists: Use bigger warheads.
Gitmo: Why are we taking prisoners? Saw their heads off and bury them face-down in pigshi*t. It worked in the Philippines.
Toyota accelerator pedals: I suspect the problem is with the window lickers' feet. Not the car.
Everyone who wears (or wore) a uniform is a hero: It's not true. There are plenty of jackasses in uniform. I was one of them. Getting money for college is a far more likely motivator than "fighting for freedom".
Personally, I was just bored and wanted some free BDU's.
Glory: It's not real. It's just a concept used by older, wiser men, to persuade younger, more naive ones to willingly suffer in order to help the old dudes achieve their goals. Think how fast wars would end if the politicians had to take point.
Living History: It's just an overtly pretentious term for playing war. Anything that is history is past tense. Over. Finished. DEAD. Duh.
Reenacting: The term upsets Living Historians and diminishes their sense of self worth.
Tiger Woods: Thinks Las Vegas cocktail waitresses care about his security. Get a hooker you twit.
Tattoos on girls: They aren't as "slimming" as you think. Sane eating habits and a bit of exercise is more likely to be productive in this regard.
Harleys and being an individual: It's a lie. Talk about lemmings...
Meth: It doesn't kill the user instantly.
Gun Shows: Brain dead morons fondling firearms. "Hey Skeeter! Watch 'dis!"
Sean Penn: He never got to have a sit down with al-Zarqawi.
Wannabe Car Bomber: Black Cats? You don't know how to use the internet do you? Idiot.
The Nazis were Assholes
Nowhere other than in this odd little world of ours would this be a politically incorrect topic, but it is what it is. Despite the protests to the contrary, there are quite a few "holocaust-naysayers" amongst the Germanophiles and Living Historians who portray the Huns. Before proceeding to incite a torchlight parade in my yard, let me emphasize two things. First, I have been running around in an SS uniform since I was 13. Second, it's a free country and people are entitled to their own opinions, no matter how daffy they may be.
This topic has been flogged about in the media, in academic circles, and various "enthusiast" gatherings for a decade or more. But all of the squabbling misses one key point. And it's so obvious it boggles my twisted little mind.
Just for argument's sake, let's say the revisionists are right:
Nothing like 6 million Jews died. They weren't murdered or killed. They died of natural causes while under the care of the German government while visiting Germany and helping the war effort by volunteering their labor skills. The SS was purely military organization. All charges of atrocities were fabricated by the allies after the War as they were jealous of the military prowess of the Waffen SS. The WVHA was akin to the FTC, the IKL ran correctional institutions and RSHA and Gestapo were law enforcement agencies fighting to build a new and united Europe and protect it from the red menace and the liberal influences of the western powers. And, even if a few civilians were shot by a hand full of rouge SS men, the leaders of the German Government (especially uncle Adi) and the entire population of the Reich were wholly unaware. Lastly, should a few military units have capped a couple of folks and dumped them into pits, these personnel were definitely not members of the Heer, Luftwaffe, Polizei or Kreigsmarine. In most cases, if there really were any such incidents, these acts would have been committed by members of local, non-German militias, in spontaneous and entirely uncontrollable outbursts of patriotic fervor against the jewish bankers. There was no policy of extermination whatsoever. Right? Happy now? Sounds great Siegfried.
My point is this: So what.
Even supposing the above to be absolutely true, the policies and action of the German Government, resulted in the premature deaths of many thousands of people, both civilian and military, foreigners as well as Germans, jewish and gentile. Regardless of whether these deaths were caused by typhus, pneumonia, e-coli, drought, mesothelioma, train derailments, poor hygenic conditions at the dormitories, gas fumes, or gunshot, these people were guests of the government and it, therefore, bears full responsibility.
Just to show where I stand- I do not believe 100% of the information in every history book much less on every website- on either side of this or any other subject. That said, I cannot believe that most Germans didn't know that some very evil things were afoot- there were thousands of subcamps putting work details of poor souls in stripped suits trudging about in nearly every city and town of the Reich. There were far more transfers between the camps (and subcamps) and combat units of military personnel than most Germanophiles want to admit. Many injured or aged members of all branches of the Wehrmacht, Polizei, Reichsbahn and other services were routinely used to staff the camp system. Even if 99% didn't know about Sobibor or Treblinka, it was obvious to anyone with at least one working eyeball that something dirty and criminal was going on. Until a few years ago, I had no idea just how large and pervasive the camp system was in the Reich. Germans are usually the last people to buck the rules or protest authority, so I don't fault them for failing to rebel, but to say "Ich hab' nichts gesehen" seems disingenuous.
I've read extensively for years on the Camp system, WVHA, Einsatzgruppen, the slave labor system, as well as Leuchter's report and similar publications. I've also been to Dachau. I've read the documents there and saw some of the same "cracks" in the evidence touted by the dime-store nazis. Yes, far more prisoners died at Dachau from disease than from direct actions of the SS. The train cars full of bodies appear to have been strafed- most likely by allied aircraft since the Luftwaffe was mostly absent by April 1945. However, this does not change the fact that the poor buggers wouldn't have been in the camp to catch typhus nor in the train cars to get shot up if some Assholes hadn't put them there. Check mate.
Also boggling my mind, is the hypocrisy of the revisionist line of reasoning. Given that the majority of you guys hate hebrews, brown people, and untermensch in general, why try to deny something which should give you so much joy? From a purely pragmatic perspective, the sheer waste of resources, human and material, makes my head hurt.
I am well versed on this subject and am already familiar with the "it never happened evidence". Don't bother sending me links to try to persuade me I'm wrong.
Go drink some Warsteiners and watch Triumph of the Will a few more times. Sieg Heil ya'll.
NEW: Just for one more bit of clarification. Despite the above rant, I am a proponent of using the correct salute and flying the real battle flag at events. "De-nazification" is bullshi*t. It was what it was and hiding the swastikas isn't going to bring Ann Frank back.
Q: Why aren't the photos on naziheadgear.com working today?
A: They failed to donate an appropriate amount of money to the Haitian Relief Fund and a witch doctor from Port au Prince put a hex on their site. Duh.
Q: How do you tell original stuff from reproduction?
A: Easy, just get a black light. Since 1947, when congress passed the Faith in Marketing Act, all WWII reproductions are required to have "Crappy Fake" prominently stamped on them with invisible ink. Everyone knows that.
Q: You charged me $55 for shipping! It's supposed to be free.
A: 1. You live in France. 2. UPS trucks can't drive across the Atlantic and you haven't finished the tunnel yet. 3. And...you live in France.
Posting as opposed to freighting
This is the sort of thing that makes international orders soooo much fun. Add retard and it gets pretty entertaining. The reason we don't send orders without tracking numbers is called "numbnuts". 50% of the time that we have caved in and used an envelope with a stamp, or sent a package via cheap, non-trackable post, the customer calls within a couple of days to scream that he didn't get his stuff and demand we send out a freebie. For small international orders (like buttons or in this case, heel irons) it really sucks ass. But this challenged individual from down under really gave us a lesson.
Since he has "blocked" us from his email, he will never get my reply. It's probably a good thing as his ego might not be able to handle the pain...
Hi…just wondering if you sell hobnails separately?? And heel and toe irons?? If you do then how much for a set posted to Australia?? Thanks.
Hi we are sold out of hob nails and toe plates and only have one size left in the flanged heel irons.
Shipping is high, to mail any package overseas up to one pound in weight is $35.00.
It is best to order more than one small item.
Rates are based on weight and start at the one pound rate.
Quotes for shipping are only estimates; your order may be more or less depending on final weight and destination.
We only send packages EMS through the post or UPS. Please do not ask me to send a different way.
At the Front
EMS is not “post” and neither is UPS…..USPS is POST but I see its all a bit too hard for you guys..
Peanut Gallery: If EMS isn't post, then why is it when one uses EMS the boxes and labels say "United States Postal Service", it gets picked up by the Postman and the guy at the Post office (Postmaster) is the one who takes the money? I'm so confused.
So you are what, correcting my way of saying this?
I don't understand what you are trying to tell me?
sales for ATF
I asked you about POSTING….NOT FREIGHTING………….most businesses that understand customer care actually send things the way the customer requests not dictate HOW. Don’t worry about it…..I don’t much like your attitude towards it all so you hardly generate trust.
Peanut Gallery: Post, freight, whatever. Trucks don't drive across the Pacific.
News flash…… USPS has a tracking service….Peanut Gallery: Right. It's called "EMS".
Ive everything from swords to firearm parts to guitars shipped over…….and in over 40 years I have had no drama at all,. UPS is a FREIGHT COMPANY……and EMS is a PRIVATE company that charges way over the top for anything. You are a “poster” NOT a buyer…..so it matters little to you what you charge obviously. About time you got down from your high horse and saw things form the buyers perspective.
Im done with being ripped off with delivery costs…..like you say…. WHATS THE POINT IN BEING IN BUSINESS if its going to cost me more than its worth for delivery?? I MAY AS WELL SHOP AT Taco Bell and ask for home delivery.
Your sentence was DON’T ASK ME TO SEND IT ANOTHER WAY……..not much else I can read into that. Im done with it, not interested and IM not wasting my time and money with the likes of you guys.
Peanut Gallery: Sorry, no matter how many sticks & stones you throw, heel irons won't fit in an envelope. For you doubters and conspiracy nuts, here's the deal from the USPS website. Maybe it's been hacked by the Masons or Skull & Bones. Or ACORN.
Shrink the Elbe
This evening I've got two aggravations- completely unrelated. So here goes...
1. "East Meets West" events are the most idiotic things since Teletubbies. WW2 lasted 6 1/2 years. The Russians and G.I.'s collided a handful of times over the last week or two of the War. This may be news to those new to hosting events, but (sadly) opening the doors to the handful of Russian reenactors scattered about will only increase your attendance by about 5 people. However, the net gain will likely end up as a loss, since every reenactor I have discussed this with has similar feelings to mine and usually writes such events off as farb fairs. This is due not only to the silliness of such events from a historical perspective, but (with serious apologies to those who take the impression seriously) to the fact many of those who claim to portray the Red Army are utterly disgraceful farbs- the lack of structure to the soviet units giving them the leeway to wear cocked-up uniforms and carry home-made SKS/HK/MP47 pop guns. And beards. And worse. It's as though someone cleaned out the homeless shelter, gave the bums green uniforms with gold buttons and got them together for chucklefest. Perhaps they are sponsoring the events...
So, in the spirit of East meets West, we're going to sponsor a battle this summer- it's going to be a hypothetical scenario. The 506th (Easy Company) defends Panama City beach from seaborne landings by Japanese Marines and simultaneously fends off an overland assault by the 17th and 4th SS Panzergrenadier divisions. The Japs will be defeated at sea by the Soviet Navy. We're trying to work in the Italians too...
Years ago, Dan Knight and a couple dozen guys did Red Army RIGHT and it was totally cool and very impressive. Personally, I'd love to have serious eastern front events- but we need a Red Army- not the Harlan county militia.
2. New Flash! Cotton Shrinks! Rollin discovered this decades ago and was kind enough to math this fact into his uniforms. Now people are caterwauling that the khakis are "too big". Wait until you wash them. You'll feel fat again. Several rocket scientists have gotten nasty with Gina, crowing that this or that vendor's uniforms fit correctly "right out of the box" and are furious that ours are "wrong". Dearest Messr. Beavis and Butthead, that's all well and good that brand X and Y uniforms fit nicely right out of the box. But guess what...after you get it stinky and wash the garment- it'll be too tight. Yes, really. This is very logical to me, and to most folks, but there are always some special ones who need their hands held. Would you rather it fit once (or until you wash it) or it's loose once and then fits forever after? Take all the time you need for the answer. I know it's very, very complicated.
By the way, this regards cotton uniforms. Wool uniforms are not happy being washed in machines so don't do it. Although we do not accept washed items for return, it's easy to tell if this will work out. When new, the uniform should be slightly loose, not ridiculously big. Most of the shrinkage is in length. Sleeves and trouser legs will lose 1.5 to 2 inches. Necks about 1/2 inch. Waists and chests about 1 inch. Trouser legs can be hemmed. Maybe I should take a cue from the "other guys"...make the stuff fit right when new, then when it gets washed, we won't take it back and you're forced to buy a new, bigger one. What a great marketing ploy!
Some of these special individuals are the same ones who cuss us for refusing to take "pre-orders". Then, when the item is delayed, even for a few days, these same sweethearts start babbling about "those sumbitches took my money and I still ain't got no A-frame, boots, helmet, condom, map case insert, etc etc.." Also forever heartwarming are the little darlings who annoy the piss out of me over the estimated restock dates. I post "April 2010" and they start calling at 6:00 am on April 1st- and crap all over themselves and start screaming "fraud" when told that April has 30 days in it and the stuff isn't here yet. But I have largely fixed those little monkeys....
So, think before you wet yourself about our stuff or my comments. Most of our products are made by us or for us specifically and I have total control over the design and materials. I am reasonably intelligent, have a few years experience both with the real and pretend militaries and do my best not to repeat other peoples' mistakes or my own. You can squeal over stupid stuff if you want to, but I love to pull chains- so you might not get the result you think your temper tantrum deserves.
3. If people continue to get snotty about the free sewing (namely threatening us with bad things if we don't sew their shi*t immediately) we will discontinue the service altogether and the jackass who sends me over the top will be publicly flamed on the website. This may offend those of you who fall into the jerkoff category, but you might take a moment to remember that very few other vendors sew insignia at all and nobody else does it for free. So, if you demand service, then I feel totally justified in demanding patience in return. If this is too much to bear, please, go f--- yourself and have a lovely day.
Everyone is indeed an individual, and boy are there a lot of really special individuals at Ft. Indiantown Gap. Here are some of the more interesting ones.
-Am I Heer or SS? You're a reenactor. (He didn't think it was funny. We did.)
-Your HBT coveralls are wrong. Slanted pockets are "WAC pattern". Well, since all the original manly-man coveralls have slanted pockets too, I suppose you'd better lodge a complaint with the War Department...but I'm not sure which retirement home to call.
-Your SS camo caps aren't Oak pattern. This is woodland pattern. Yes, we are that stupid. Thanks for catching that. Holy crap. Every year this wanker wins the the "A number one retard award" as well as the "King of the Assholes" crown. Then he steals a handfull of stuff out of the "junk bin". I wonder if the T4 program has any slots left....
-"I came here expecting deals. These vendors are jackasses."We packup all of our junk, drive 10-12 hours, spend thousands on building rental, food, fuel, and hotels. You get to try everything on, stroke it, fondle it, cherry pick the "bestest" buttons, and snivel for 2 hours that the shade of khaki on an original $10 Haversack failed to make you happy. You didn't have to pay any shipping and Joe didn't gut your silly ass and leave you in the snow. So you DID get a deal.
-"Gina sounds so hot. Even if she sweats Crisco like you say on the website I'd bang her". Classy. You should write a book on how to score. It'd be a hit.
-"I lost a glove. If you find it, please mail it to Grigsby so he can hold it for me." (we 're talking about $5 East German gloves) Shall I overnite it?
-"My friend told me that your German helmets are fake and therefore will not fit my head." Just try the damned thing on. "But it won't fit he said it won't so I won't." (Refuses to try it on.) Holy shi*t. You have friends??? By the way, is your tongue moist? The windows are filthy...is your name by chance "Timmy"?
Show us how stupid we are and
keep ordering the wrong size...
This isn't a new development, but it comes in flurries. Why is it that so many adults are incapable of following simple directions in plain English...in text that I have dumbed-down as far as I can? I know, I know, despite us having been around 15+ years, we have no clue how our uniforms fit...we are shocked to discover that people wear more than a T-shirt under overcoats, that field jackets must compensate for liners and how to use a tape measure is a complete mystery. This is what I get for flunking 7th grade.
Helpful Tip: When you see bold, red text, that says thing like "Do NOT upsize", "Order your normal size", or "DO NOT order a size larger than you normally wear"....there's probably a REASON it's there. It's not a joke. It's not just a page decoration. It's akin to SHOUTING at a bunch of brain dead privates in basic training. What is wrong with you guys? Hooked on Phonics failed again?
Here's the deal. Again. With very rare exception, all of our uniforms are sized accurately. If any of them do skew a bit, it is toward the large end of the scale. So, if you know you wear a 44R, why in the hell do you monkeys keep ordering 48R's??? Mental retardation is alive and well in the USA.
Not only does this cost you geniuses time, but money as well. Since most of you insist on 10 pounds of bling being sewn onto your new duds, the ones you're sure we have sized incorrectly, you're then liable for a 30% restock fee due to the stitch holes left in the 48R when we have to rip the patches and ribbons off and transplant them on to a 44R.
And this isn't like 2 people. It's 3-4 per day. And the majority have called, quizzed Gina 17 different ways, been told repeatedly to order their normal size, then promptly ordered two sizes larger. I don't know what more to say other than...Tiiimmmaaayyyy!
(If you don't know who Timmy is, watch South Park.)
Creepy Chicken Chokers
(Dec 2009) We tease alot around here, and much of it does involve Gina. However, there are a few apparently lonely, desperate types who seem to misinterpret our jokes as an opportunity for some phallic gratification. Since a competent father figure was apparently lacking in some of your lives, here's a few tips on how to deal with women- especially those you only know from the phone or email.
1. Waxing your carrot is a very personal thing. Until a girl is comfortable with you and your vegetable, she is not interested in hearing about it or listening to you polishing it over the phone. Or seeing pictures of the whole affair that you took with your i-Phone.
2. "Comfortable with you" does not equate to a few phone conversations while you order your Hitler stuff. The girl is chatting with you because it's her job- not because she's into you or your British Freikorps impression. Yes, I'm serious. You may have determined that a guy in jackboots and a Pickelhaube may be better than viagra, but it takes more than hairy legs thrust into the shafts of leather boots for a girl to be intrigued.
3. If you want to pant and slobber to a girl on the phone, there are services made just for people like you. Their phone numbers begin with "1-900". We are not one of them.
4. If you prefer sticking to girls on the phone, thank you for staying away from the playgrounds. You are doing your community, and our overburdened court system a favor. If you wish to venture out, and want to be in show business, look up a guy by the name of Chris Hansen.
5. Stalking is not the way to find a girlfriend. If you're thinking about tracking down Gina's address and surprising her by showing up in her yard, you can look forward to a romantic, all expense paid weekend courtesy of the Kentucky State Police.
6. In short, being creepy is the last way you will ever manage to hook up with a real live female. It's amazing to how many people this is a mystery...
Well, some of this was a surprise, some was not and one thing made no sense. But this survey was informative. Here's the poop and what it'll mean.
1. About 75% of respondents prefer quality and accuracy over price. 25% want decent quality, but cheap is more important. No big shock.
2. However, as for us carrying a cheaper line of uniforms and gear, only 7% wanted that while the other 90 some percent said no. Perhaps this was misunderstood.
3. Pinks and Greens are a dead duck. Under half would be willing to pay the price for perfect stuff. The rest want 50% polyester leisure suits. I inquired about a lower wool content and it didn't lower the price by enough to warrant the sacrifice in quality- I wouldn't do that anyway. The minimum order requirements of coats, trousers and shirts amounts to nearly $100,000. After inventorying the EM Service Coats, I'm guessing it would take 6 years to sell the Officer Coats. If we were lucky. That amount of money would pay to make better German wool (all of the uniforms), every camo imaginable, pay for half a Sherman tank, or a boob job and several face lifts for Gina. All of which are more practical that $600 officer uniforms. It sucks- I have samples of the elastique wools and they were perfect- like beyond spot on. But too much loot.
4. Out with the Sturm uniforms. 75% want new ones. Their shortcomings are actually fewer than the forum weenies admit. Mainly, the tunics are 2" too long and the waists are 2" too big. However, there is NO estimated time of arrival yet. All that has happened is that the original wool (I have a 7 meters roll of real stuff) has been analyzed and I'm awaiting a test sample and price estimate. I can definitely cure the pattern issues of the Sturm uniforms, but it will take some time to get all the models introduced. My best guess is 2011. So don't start calling up demanding a delivery date. We'll just send you a "Hooked on Phonics" CD for being a retard.
5. Free insignia sewing will probably continue. I've debated it for years- when I was in the army, US Cavalry used to do that for our BDU's and it was handy. However, this will only apply to our uniforms and insignia. Send us other companies' stuff and it won't be free. Also, we will no longer sew anything on international orders. Too many miscommunications and demands for free shipping back and forth across the globe to move a breast eagle 2mm. Sorry, but no more.
21st Century Genius
Thanks Mr. Browning
Just a bit of this and that. More of the same. Special customers, intelligent questions and random things that annoy and amaze me.
What size do I wear? Most of the consternation regards the new paratrooper uniforms. "I wear a 42 so I need a 40 right? Or maybe a 48? According to your size chart I need a 36, 38 or 40 trouser. My chest is 39 inches and my waist is 42 inches. That means I need medium everything. Please overnight that so I can be Eisenhower and impress the heroes on veteran's day." Jesus H. Christ. How do you people dress yourselves?
And who decided that late night comedians had the medical expertise to determine that vaccines cause autism? I've had every vaccine made since 1967 and I'm still not autistic, in want of a sex change nor licking windows. I shot a few with my Crossman 766, but I didn't slobber on them. So, yes, it's better to let your kids get polio so they can build up a "natural" immunity to tuberculosis...What a dick. Maybe your kids are messed up because of your high carb diet. Or second-hand smoke...or your parenting skills just suck.
Major Hasan should have been locked up in Gitmo 8 years ago. Sorry, but if you're a muslim, extra attention should be automatic. Is profiling racist? No. It's common sense. How many Al Qaida members are Buddhists? Or Jehovah's witnesses? Or Mormons? We should handle him just like we did the Philippine insurrection- bury the bastard face down in a porkskin shroud in a pit of pigshi*t.
Don't jerk off when you talk to Gina. Telling her to "talk faster" is as much a give-away as the smacking noises. And, she can hear your fly being zipped up when you finish. (No joke. This happened.)
My estimated restock dates are not gospel. The next imbecile who goes berserk that an item didn't arrive when the chart estimated will get his name and email put on this page in a new "Special Customer" section.
When I clearly describe and picture a flaw, then you threaten hell and high water over it, you might look like a jackass. Or just a garden variety idiot.
When you return an item to us for refund or exchange, and include no name or info in or on the box, you are a generous person. We like free stuff.
When you order a uniform 5 sizes bigger than you wear because it's on sale, it's still not gonna fit.
"I want to order paratrooper boots."
"Which ones, US or German?"
"What's the difference?"
If you place the exact same order, with the same company three times in two days...over the phone...why are you bitching when you get 3 boxes of stuff? In the famous words of someone- perhaps Eddie Murphy- WTF? Why should we pay your shipping all over hell and back when you can't recall talking up Gina 3 times in two days for a bunch of paratrooper junk- and she has to explain to you each time that Patton wasn't a paratrooper?
Just like masturbating, using the potty while you're placing an order really turns Gina on. Especially the grunt-grunt-splash-splash. Were you raised in a barn? By pigs?
"Baby on Board" signs. Are making a comeback. Yes, yes, but for that Muffy, I was about to ram the ass end of your lousy mini-van because soccer ball stickers send me into an uncontrollable rage...but now that I know there's a baby in the back, I'll refrain from snapping your neck with the bumper of my truck. Imbecile.
"I Love Kids" logos on Kentucky licence plates. (They have stick figures and little multicolored hand prints too. How cuuuttttee!) Madam, if my kids, or anyone else's, got their hands covered in paint and left cutsie little paw prints all over my car, I'd take their miserable hands off with a hatchet.
New one: OK, I'm so sick of these damned "Prayer Cross" ads for the $40 crystal costume jewelry crucifixes with a mini Lord's prayer inside...I'm gonna call the 800 number and piss with them...
If I buy a couple hundred will you quit running those moronic ads???
How do I know the "certificate of authenticity" isn't a repro?
I've got myopia from trying to see the prayer. You need to pay my optometry bill.
Is that how you spell "trespass"? Are you sure? How do I know you're not lying?
Shouldn't this thing be wood?
I'm blind. How do you expect me to enjoy this thing?
How long until I get a miracle like your ad promises? Can this thing make my wife lose weight and a few chins?
It's like crib notes for lazy Christians who can't even memorize one of the most basic prayers. A lightening bolt would be nice about now...
The Original Dot Rant
About my "supposedly" original uniforms and samples, you geniuses found me out. Can't get nothing by you window lickers....
I admit it, I made it all up. I really copied a Hong Kong Harry outfit made from polyester houndstooth and we copied the colors from Heinz the Panzer Pilot (Dragon doll #88). Then I took some pics and photoshopped the f--k out of them and now I'm pimping it as original on the website.
News Flash: Just because you struggle to put your underwear on right side-out does not mean everyone else is equally challenged.
As for those claiming and hoping that this dot will soon be available for half price from All Angles Antiques (in other words, I'm lying about us developing it), keep dreaming. Now, I know it's just a "distraction" on my part, but for some reason I feel inclined to post pictures of our stuff next to original, bona fide, they-where-there-in-the-real war samples. Bleating about how our stuff compares to Spearhead, Sturm or Pirschen dot uniforms is a waste of time- if we put those treasures next to the real thing, you'll see how bad they really are and you'd cry. For $49 they may be a deal, but they don't look real by any means. Of course, we already know, if it's cheap enough, authenticity becomes an afterthought. We did have 12,000 sets of 44 dot BDU's for $19.99 but they sold out so fast I never got a chance to list them on the website...sorry.
Our tunic compared to an originaluniform. Why mess with anything else?
Our uniform compared tooriginal cloth*. I know, I know it's not quite perfect. This is the leg of one of our trousers in case you're stumped.
Yes, I really own a scrap pile. These are small parts for Panzer trousers.
A few minutes and how many shades are there? Each piece has all 5 colors and yes, I positioned them all with the V's running vertically.
Backsides. About as much variation as the front. All are HBT, even if it's hard to see it on some of them.
|Notice, all the close ups are 300 dpi, 1,200-1,500 pixels wide so you nosey types can examine them closely to be sure I didn't slip some Bud O'toole fabric in there...
*I used an oddly shaped scrap rather than a nice rectangular one, left the ragged edges showing, and placed it on top of the trousers rather than beside it, which would be more difficult to alter and layer in photo shop, in order to calm the area 51paranoid types. In case I'm speaking Chinese, it would be very hard to edit this photo to make the pieces match one another when they are in the same photo, one on top of the other.
As for our 44 dot colors- I did not send my original tunic to copy. I used original cloth samples. Therefore, our colors match the cutting, not the original uniform. Dot comes in a wide range of shades (see pic for proof) and our colors are totally within the bounds (see other pics for more proof). Just in case you are unaware of current 44 dot prices, at the MAX show last month, the asking price for mint condition 44 dot uniforms was $5-7,000...each piece. Meaning, $10-14,000 for a jacket and trouser set. Understand why I was so happy to find the cuttings? And, by the way, please know that words cannot possibly express my intense pain and burning remorse that our colors don't match those on Franz the gay action doll's 44 dot parka. I really feel terrible about that...
Anal types will still be able to detect a bit of color difference in the comparisons between our stuff and the real thing. It's about a 95% match, which is pretty good since the printer only promised 85% on the first run. Also, the original cloth is rougher due to the poor yarn quality and the various "fillers" and recycled fibers used late in the war which also alters the appearance a bit. Last but not least, the screen printing done in the SS "work facilities" wasn't the best quality- so misses and poor printing is common- thus the base color of the fabric often shows through- kind of like painting a wall without enough paint on the brush. That's why the dark green (almost black) color looks lighter- a bad print.
FYI, our uniforms do look "older" after a couple of hand washings- they soften a bit and develop that "spitball" look of original drillich fabric.
As for the other dot out there. Not that you'll believe a lying fink like me, but I have seen and fondled most of the other dot reproductions. The only one in the same league as ours is Janke. But it costs about $500. SM would be in the running as well, but his material streaks badly as soon as you wash it, his tunic pattern is that of a Heer Reed Green jacket and most of the uniforms don't fit properly. Stevie and I talk several times per week and he knows I rag on them and why. There are also some nameless eastern European creations, but they are sold as originals, never as repros so they're hard to qualify. Lastly, I have not seen the "Panther" repros in person, but they do look good in photos. (Panther is a Czech company and their dot costs about the same as ours, not $49. I didn't mean to get you all excited.)
Otherwise, none of the other 44 dot uniforms compare worth a crap to originals. Period.
So, my reply to the numbnuts who think I'm comparing our stuff to God-knows-what repro, here's my answer. Go back to the where the action is and stick to sucking on your damned dolls.
(Oct 09) I just got this great deal on ebay on a uniform that was advertised as one of your old ones and I'd like a detailed history on everything you've ever made so I can be sure I got as good a deal as I thought I did and by the way do you have some material to match it so I can have my tailor make the chest and the sleeves and the belly bigger so it'll fit me cause it was such a great deal I bought it even though it was a 40 and I usually wear a 48 but since I can get my arm in one sleeve I know it can be fixed and I really appreciate you taking the entire day to write me back and answer all of my questions it really means so much to me and could you be sure to send your reply by 6 tonight in case something you say makes me want to send the jacket back to the seller cause he only has a 3 day inspection and it's already been 2 1/2 but did I tell you it was a really great deal and if it doesn't work out could you sell me one of your new ones for the same price?
Um sure. I'll get right on it. Just as soon as I get done at the vet. I mistook Gina's husky for a deer and shot it. They're trying to sew her head back on at the moment and the surgery might take an hour or two. My heartfelt apologizes if I don't make it by the 6 o'clock deadline. Would 6:15 be acceptable?
More Window Licking (Sept 09)
The state of this country's education system continues to decline. The dumbing down of our society has affected even our website. For years, I have posted estimated arrival times for new items and restocks. We always had the occasional meathead or little Freddie ants-in-his-pants who thought we were holding out, but lately this has gotten ridiculous. I post "Late September" and on the 1st, we are deluged with panic stricken calls demanding overnite shipping on 44 dot uniforms. When we explain the meaning of "late", we are informed that we are deceptive scoundrels who should be prosecuted for false advertising. It seems that "estimated" has 5 too many letters in it for the special folks to comprehend.
So, in an effort to protect ourselves from litigation, I'm now pulling random dates out of my ass and slapping them on the availability charts. And you strokers thought I was screwing with your heads before.
For you window-lickers, remember this:
1. The estimates were as accurate as I could make them. There are many factors involved in making or having these wonderful things made and I don't have a crystal ball. But no more. Now I'm going to rattle your cages intentionally over all this.
2. If I were as dishonest as you goat-ropers claim, then I'd be collecting deposits for the incoming items. Any moron knows that.
3. For those of you who are really pissed that I don't take paid reservations, I can name half a dozen vendors who will accept them and then keep your money for weeks, months or even years as their arrival dates change.
4. If my candor about all of this makes your weenie shrivel with rage, please know how my heart bleeds with the most indescribable pity...the pain it gives me is beyond words.
5. We now have an automated database which flags the retards who threaten us over these estimated dates. Whenever you call, those on the watch list will be told that said item is not yet in stock, even if it actually is. We will then sell them to everyone but you, and once they are all gone, say "oops". So, pat yourselves on the back for ruining the 44 dot clock. And all the others.
John Q. Public (Aug 2009)
I'm so glad I no longer handle orders directly. Then again, I don't get to enjoy the fun in person anymore. I just hear Gina scream or when I see that smirk on Nick's face I know what's happened. We've had another "interesting" call or email. Occasionally we use less flattering adjectives to describe these events, but "interesting" kind of covers them all in a politically correct sort of way...
Now, don't get me wrong, most queries we receive are pretty reasonable or at least borderline rational. A few are a bit odd, but you can see why they might have connected the dots in the way they did. But then, there are those that simply stand out from the crowd and others that defy imagination. Like wtf are you smoking..?
Here's some zingers of late.
1. I bought a tunic from a vendor in Europe. I need you to send me a note, on your company letter head, explaining how this uniform is unauthentic so I can get my money back from the credit card company. And keep it too??? Ballsy.
2. I can wear a 10, 11, 12 or a 13 shoe depending on the maker. Not a 14? Too bad, that's all we have in stock.
3. I placed an order and never received it. You ordered an item we do not have and moreover, one which we do not have listed anywhere on our website.
Oh, I figured you probably had one around there somewhere or would find me one if I ordered it. Yes, that is how it works.
4. I ordered size 44 pants. The ones you sent me measure 46. They're too big. Congrats- you're not as fat as you thought! Too bad these shrink when you wash them.
5. I'd like you to make me a jump uniform, but I want you to use padded material so I don't get hurt when I go on my first jump. Would you like the bubble wrap on the inside or the outside? Clear or khaki?
6. I need enough Oak A camo fabric to make two sheets. Blurred edge hides spunk stains better.
7. I read on the forum that your daisey duke hats are thinner than Juan's. Will they hold up? We don't copy repros. Ours are the same as WWII cloth. OMG! His are too thick??? I've gotta tell the forum asap!!!
8. Fieldgearfan69 says that your Y-straps have the wrong number of stitches on the backstrap. He recommends brand x. But they are out of stock. What do you have to say for yourself? Brand X's are made from the wrong leather- it's chrome tanned. Tell Fingerfan I said he's a genius who should write forum articles.
9. I need an extra-large M-1 helmet. The one you sent me is a small. Sorry, that's all we have left. Maybe you can find some way to make it adjustable.
10. Snuffy's Militaria says that he paid you for my uniform 6 months ago but you just won't send it to him. I want my stuff! If you'd ordered it from us you'd likely have had it in 3 days. Tell Snuffy he needs to pay us for it first- sounds like he's spent your money on more important things. Be careful when other vendors claim that they get get our stuff for you at a great price. The funny thing about this case was that the item in question we hadn't had in 3+ years.
11. Can ya tell me what all stuff ya'll have? Army stuff. This is still the best one.
Bye Bye Big Sizes (Aug 2009)
As a few people have noticed, the sizes at the large end of spectrum are disappearing from the availability charts. The sizes concerned are 3X and 4X coat/jacket, size 22 neck shirts and 46, 48 and 50 waist trousers. Why?
There are several factors when dealing with the "Hungry-man" sizes which have led us to this decision. Firstly, we do not sell enough of them. I only order a handful of them anyway, no more than a dozen of each size. Yet, when we come to the end of a batch, most of them are still there. The only time these sizes do sell is when we put them on sale. Quite often, even when they are 50-70% off, the customers still huff that they aren't sure whether they want to pay $50 for size 50 paratrooper pants. Yes sir, those sure are mighty easy to find...In reality, we should charge 50-100% more for the damned things. They require double the amount of materials, and triple the amount of pattern making time since the sizing grades skew oddly when you go that big. Sizes in this range really require custom tailoring and fitting which makes trying to make stock sizes that fit properly almost impossible. Although this is 95% a business decision, there is that other 800 pound gorilla in the room. Namely, how realistic is an 800 pound paratrooper? The most negative reactions from the public and especially veterans regard the 4X airborne troopers and pizzagrenadiers. Many vets we've talked to were not nearly as diplomatic as I'm being here. A few of you will go apeshi*t on me for stating this, but you ALL know it to be true. It's simply rarely said. I'll go first.
For those customers who need industrial sizes, there are a few other options. The most obvious I need not go into- it'll save you money and maybe even your life. Barring that, WPG usually carries a range of huge sizes in US uniforms. Lost Battalions will do custom German uniforms. And SM Wholesale will do both US & German- his reputation has been erratic but he seems to have improved alot in the last couple of years.
So, that's why the "Bigguns" are disappearing from our pages. They won't be back. Which means the restock date is "never".
Dear Mr. Terrenzi,
Over the years, you have repeatedly advised me and urged me to take advantage of the untapped market for various models of men's undergarments. First it was Japanese paratrooper panties, then Gebirgsjager mesh-boxers and now it's Swiss Army bvd's. I really appreciate your fixation and apparent excitement over scrotum covers. Yes, Gina has indeed passed on all of your messages concerning said product opportunities, but I must inform you that I will never be interested in delving into the this arena of menswear. I am a deeply committed to the Lord and thus have very personal religious reasons for refusing to deal in men's lingerie. I recommend that you contact another vendor who may be more market savvy and who will be willing to make you a pair.
Arrest the Parents
Damn I'm sick of all these reality shows trumpeting the triumphs of the obesity clinics- the last one with that poor kid in Texas who can only waddle to the bathroom and back to his bed. All of these morbidly obese people have one thing in common- enablers. This is always brushed over. When you're too fat to get out of bed, then somebody else is bringing you the vittles to maintian your girlish figure. More often than not, it's momma. Well, momma should be locked up for killing her kid. End of story.
It's one thing to pork yourself out. Adults have the right to live on pizza, Big Macs, ice cream and doritos, smoke cigarettes and end their lives prematurely. But this business of 300 pound 8th graders and half-ton teens is bullshi*t. They don't get with diabetes and arteriosclerosis from toilet seats or viruses. It's their worthless ass parents who feed them crap. Porking out your kid with Little Debbies is no different from beating them, locking them in a hot car, or giving them methamphetamine. It makes their lives miserable- physically and psychologically- and ultimately kills them. Munchausen syndrome- with munchies instead of mercury.
I think the solution is disturbingly simple. Charge the parents with child abuse and assault, throw them in the slammer for a night or two...then, as a condition of their probation, require nutrition classes. It'd be a bit like the way one handles parents who don't pay child support. Pork out your poor kid, you gotta pay the price.
I know this will cause some squalling and accusations of discrimination, but get over it. Obesity is a matter of bad choices, not genetics, "bad glands", nasty little stress hormones or any other alien forces. Taking in more calories than you use is the only cause.
Don't bother caterwauling to me that your kid has a medical excuse to be too fat to fit in an F350. More than likely, their health problems are a result of (rather than the cause) their girth. Yes, a minute percentage of humans have genuine medical conditions- but addiction drivethrus and eating till you pop don't count. 99% of obesity is self-inflicted. But kids don't usually do the grocery shopping, cook breakfast or buy dinner. Teaching your kids basic health is one of the responsibilities you accept when you decide to start bumping uglies without rubbers.
People in general are prone to blaming anyone but themselves for what ails them. That's why this whole hogging epidemic sends me into orbit. The cause as well as the solution is right there looking at you. In the mirror.
Anybody want an ice cream...?
Dawn of the Dead
Just when we thought we were finally through with the self-anointed "King of Pop"- he croaks. Has anyone's death been more annoying than Wacko-Jacko's? Los Angeles is grid locked, every fruitcake-washed-up-coke-head entertainer lines up to pay homage to his highness. I don't know whether I've every heard so many nonsensical, overblown statements in all my life.
A few of the better ones:
"He was ours and we were his". Um. WTF? If this refers to young boys, it's only true until they sprout whiskers. More wisdom from Queen Latifah.
"I do know that as much as we may feel-and we do-that we need Michael here with us, God must have needed him more." What? God could find no one else, in the entire universe, to give Bubbles a hummer? Hmmm.
"Those young kids grew up from being teenage, comfortable fans of Michael's to being 40 years old and being comfortable to vote for a person of color to the the president".Sharpton is pretty funny sometimes, but this is as nonsensical as it gets. How did he miss the bit about MJ spending millions trying to go white?
"He's going to live forever and ever and ever and ever." f*ckin' iTunes. Smokey is, unfortunately, correct.
Who will miss this um...organism? He's been described as both a nice looking black man and an ugly white woman so I'm not sure how to classify him. Or it. Well, financially strapped parents of attractive pre-pubescent boys who aren't afraid to use their kids as money makers. Voodoo priests with extra cattle to sacrifice. His hangers-on, accountants, aromatherapists, physicians and the rest of his life-support armada. His fans at NAMBLA. And Bubbles the chimp. Apparently the Fuhrer too.
Who won't miss Mr. Freakshow? Besides myself, Paul McCartney and three quarters of Americans of non-ethnic background? That sounds like a majority, albeit a slim one, so let's end the parade already. He's gone, he ain't coming back (sniff) and the poor yuck is perhaps happier for it. Didn't I see somewhere that Satan is gay? I'm sure the Prince of Darkness will prefer to bed fellow royalty, the King of Pop, than the likes of Saddam...
44 Dot Rumor
Once again, the forums and chat circles are churning rumors faster than a gaggle of old biddies at a Baptist bingo parlor. The current mongering started as a result of a random vendor on Ebay who claimed to be using some of our fabric to make custom uniforms. That was a bit difficult since only 180 meters of our fabric existed and it was all in our warehouse. (I contacted him and it turned out that he was "mistaken".)
Now the forum professors are speculating that our dot has "gotten out" and it is the same thing being sold by the Hong Kong Willie and the bargain basement vendors for $79. One genius insists our stuff looks suspiciously like what one of those guys is showing on his site. Look again. You're blind. The cheap stuff in question looks even more "suspiciously" like the Pirschen/ ANTZ's stuff. Sorry to disappoint, but you are all smoking crack.
Why am I so sure? (Conspiracy theorists want to know...) Although the fabric itself has existed for almost 2 years - no camo was printed on it until January. And then only a test run was done. ("Test" meaning I paid for a sample run to be sure the colors were right. There were only 90 meters of each shade.) And we have not sold one scrap of it to anyone else. The only uniforms that exist up to today, made from our fabric, were those produced in our shop from that 180 meters of test fabric. Lastly, we made 2 shades of dot- and we co-mingle them on all uniforms. If it's all one shade, it ain't ours.
Unless another vendor is capable of pre-paying for 1,000 sets of these uniforms, the manufacturer isn't going to talk to them. Several smaller vendors have occasional delusions of grandeur and a tendency to make minor exaggerations as to the size and scope of their operations. If anyone claims to be getting or to have "our" uniforms they are lying or confused. Period.
And yes, "we already know the deal with the FJ boots". There was no "deal". We both use the same manufacturer and Mr. Sturm saw my originals in the guy's office and said "gimme some". But Sturm's boots and ours are slightly different- ours do not come from Sturm. I have heard that one vendor is claiming otherwise- if that's so, why don't our boots have Sturm tags in them (or stitch holes where I removed them) and how is it that I'm the one with the original boots they were copied from for comparison- and he does not? Anyway, if you think I'm lying, go f--k yourself.
With regard to 44 dot, Sturm already has his own. He knows our manufacturer, and they told us that he liked it, asked about it, then declined when they told him the price. It's 3 times as expensive as what he pays for his. He is in the wholesale business and low price is king for him. So, sorry, the other guys won't have it. If they did, it would be as much or more than ours- since I would be paying what Sturm pays- not what he charges.
For those who are getting pissed off with the delays, that's the way the cookie crumbles. I'm trying to make sure these are 110% right- no last minute boo-boos like a few other projects. Please appreciate it. The delays are all my fault- trying to ensure these are as good as they can be. I'm striving for new dot uniforms that are very difficult to distinguish from the real ones. Instead of a unit debate about whether or not they are "acceptable", I want "holy shi*t? Why are you wearing an original...?" With a little wear, on a small guy, I think these will make it. (Sorry, I have yet to see original trousers in a 44 waist...)
Last Fall I switched to dye instead of ink (as used by the majority of camo printers now) so the colors bleed through the back like originals. As these wear, the colors will gradually fade rather than scrape off and show white underneath. Then I have spent the last 3 months niggling the patterns- my originals are 36 shorts and the other repros are of little help. After quite a bit of trial and error, these fit well and they have the right details- they are not copies of reed green tunics like most other copies.
As for where things stand- where's the damned dot? As stated above, the camo cloth is finally done. (See pic at top.) I have samples of the final fabric and it looks better than the test fabric- which itself got great reviews from those who saw it in person. It is the same cloth used on the early production uniforms we've had this Spring, except that the back of the cloth is now a dirty khaki or oatmeal color instead of white. We also had them use a different colorfasting so the cloth is a little softer when new. I just finished test washing these samples as I type this. Although we still urge you to hand wash, they stood up to Tide and the Roper just fine. It is a linen/ cotton blend like originals- not cotton or polycotton as used on the cheap copies.
I'm now awaiting the final pre-production samples- a uniform in every size to double check my pattern making skills- which have been imperfect in the past. The main run should be produced sometime in June and shipping to us will take 3-5 weeks so they should ("should" indicates a bit of uncertainty and wiggle room for Mr. Murphy) be here by early August. Or late August. Or September if something goes awry. If these being a few weeks later than estimated really burns you up, go ahead and organize (another) boycott to show your indignance at having been screwed once again by alwaysoutofstock.com. Since we do not accept deposits or pre-orders, and therefore have taken exactly NONE of your money, I really don't feel compelled to offer compensation for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Some people are crapping their pants that I ruined their plans for a Panzer Meyer display at the Hooters for Heroes show in June. I suspect that there will be another chance to impress the school kids and their milfs in the future. (FYI- once the public sees a swastika, dot or no dot, you're just another nazi. If you want to pick up chicks- join the band. Go airborne. If you gotta be a rebel, do 82nd.)
So, these are the facts. Any other gibberish is inaccurate babble. Your time would be better spent starting a discussion on the farb forum about what a reenactor hating egomaniac I am because I won't make size XXXXXL dot trousers or matching farb caps. At least that one has a kernel or two of truth to it.
Running a business isn't easy. I'm repeatedly amazed at the mistakes that other people make in operating theirs- they do the damndest things- and create extra work for themselves in the process.
Yes, I should rejoice when the competition makes incompetent decisions- but I don't. I'm friends with several of them and others are pretty amusing. But it continually boggles my mind to watch them make the same stupid mistakes over and over and over....
The A number one screw up I have seen over 29 years of reenacting (or living like a historian) is breaking promises.
If you tell the customer that you'll have their helmet or uniform finished in a week, do it. Better yet, tell them 3 weeks, deliver in one and they'll love you and get a boner. (Deal with the latter consequence however you choose to.)
Don't tell people you've shipped their order when you haven't. Yes, it'll get them off the phone for a few days, but when they realize that you're lying, (post office labels have this damning little detail- called a "date") it does far more damage than telling the truth- that you haven't shipped their shi*t. A pleasant surprise is far better than a disappointment. Many dealers make a career out of dodging calls and making up creative excuses as to where the order is. When the bullet holes in your foot start to hurt, remember that the gun is in your own hand.
Don't take money for something you don't have on hand. Several dealers have cultivated a mystique with the mantra of "worth the wait". In nearly all cases it's not true. Save yourself a lot of headaches and simply wait to advertise it until you actually have it.
If you encourage people to post feedback about your business on the consumer guide or forums, be prepared for the consequences.
If you have a website, update it once in awhile. If you rarely attend to it, make sure you don't have the "last updated" counters on your pages. Poor photos hurt. Save scripture for passion plays. It annoys some of the pagans- and they have more loot than many of God's children- at least 10% extra to burn on your stuff.
Don't waste your time making stupid crap nobody wants. Don't mistake 25 phone calls requesting Japanese army underwear as a gold mine- the same 3 fruitcakes (and the 2 guys with 60 inch waists) call 3 times each day which makes their numbers seem deceptively large. If it was used on D-Day it's likely to be a winner- otherwise, be cautious. Sad, but true. I like the smell of asian taint but there's no money in it.
Don't bring hot chicks to dress up your display at shows. Reenactors are fascinated by any sort of female primate- cute is not necessary. And yes, reenactors are in need of female attention more than most any other group of white protestant males, but it still won't help your sales. They'll just hover around your table spewing cheesy pick-up lines ("did you ever date a Sturmbannfuhrer?") and drool all over your stuff. Leave the chicks at Hooters or White Castle.
Yes, I make plenty of mistakes- I don't know it all. I myself made many of the same mistakes above- but I tried to learn from them- not reinforce them. I can't prove it, but our predominance is largely thanks to making those corrections. Just my 2 cents.
Not to worry- I still have never taken any sort of business or marketing class. I will continue to work to eliminate historical ignorance (khaki), discuss inappropriate topics and be generally obnoxious.
Why can I get away with this? Because your order was already shipped.
Just FYI, no one inspired this by whining about us. Two things prompted it- watching one dealer doing the "Curly Shuffle" on a forum and the constant calls we get from other vendors' customers beseeching us to somehow persuade them (the other vendor) to send them their stuff. Which, by the way, we don't do. You're on your own. Don't worry. Just be patient. It's sure to be worth the wait!
First and foremost, let me thank Mr. Sprague for this link, which makes this entire rant possible. When I first posted my rant, daring to take on the action doll community, I did receive some pretty hateful replies. For a time I was afraid that I would be taken out by hit teams made up of dragon action doll commandoes. But I guess they were too preoccupied with more serious matters- like attending plushie conventions, tolerance marches, and proctology seminars. Now, please don't jump to conclusions- I don't think that everyone who collects action dolls is gay. (I myself have several hundred I got in a trade at Iola for MG42 targets- but most are naked so I don't know their names.) Nor do I think that all the dolls themselves are homoerotic- just the German ones. And lastly, perish the thought that I might consider living on the queer side to be in any way distasteful. But gender re-assignment does creep me out a bit. Ouch.
That said, my beef has been with those who take their action dolls way too seriously- those who think they have souls or something. They are simply little poseable plastic man-dolls, many of whom are dressed in nazi uniforms. That's it. Little dildos at worst, historically educational models at best.
This posting simply bears out my suspicions. This poor guy is simply trying to share his enjoyment of the man-doll collecting hobby and he's being ostracized for standing up for what he believes in. Just like Martin Luther King, Gandhi or Ernst Rohm. Why can't the doll fans realize that they all have common ground with this poor soul and just get along? Sad, so sad.
Hey, am I crazy or does the Allgemeine SS guy in the first 2 pics look like Lance Varga or what? And I swear the Fritz the panzer cadet is Chalupa.
Have you ever noticed that German re-enacting brings out some rather peculiar characters? I'd say "freakshows" but since buttslamming your buddy and having your wanker turned into a twitter have gone mainstream- I'll have to stick with "peculiar".
Here we have Mr. K playing hard to get. The Field Marshal and and his soulmate have been trying to convince Scott to join their polyamourous unit for some months, but he's not ready to go to the pink side just yet. So, after striking out yet again, we see Field Marshal Capote contemplating the possibility of getting a chihuahua into his colon via the gun tube...
Since we are evidently the ultimate scum sucking kings of false advertising and poor customer service, we have been advised by numerous disgruntled types that we are soon to be boycotted by themselves, their units, clans, relatives and anyone else in the universe who looks up to them for advice. Well, due to a moment of non-pagan humility, I thought I'd help you folks out and air things out right here where everyone can see them. We'll save you the work of contacting everyone within a 3,000 mile radius to let them know what scoundrels we are.
What the hell have we done now? Well, it seems the most recent rash of complaints stem from our habit of selling defective or pre-production sample goods at shows in our "junk pile" or on the closeout page for 40-80% off- then refusing to exchange them for first quality or new generation items after months or years of use. Either the defect exercises itself, they neglect to try it on until 2 years later or they simply wear it out. The fact that we advertise and clearly mark these items as "defects" and usually give a detailed description of the defect is apparently of no consequence. Apparently I really screwed up in having the credit a few years ago on the streaky HBT's- with that high quality "Made in USA" fabric finishing. We've had little or no trouble until the last 10 days- I suspect this sudden interest is the result of some sort of chat circle or "forum" posting. Do all the nitwits get together and decide how to push the envelope all at once?
In the future, I suppose we should emulate most other WWII vendors who won't take returns or exchanges under any circumstances, or make you pay the shipping even when they send you what you did not order. Or how about instead of shipping your order in the first place, we just swear we already shipped it or that we will gladly do so next Tuesday?
Try calling up any of the others companies and pitch a bitch because the boots you bought 6 years ago wore out.
Other transgressions include- our failure to persuade the US Post to deliver packages to France for $4 and our unwillingness to alter the angles of the heels on our German boots with a grinder so they are eaiser to click when one salutes the Fuhrer.
So, I wholeheartedly agree with this movement. We are genuine filth, we care about nothing aside from your credit card number. A boycott is the best idea since Snuggies. Let us know how we can help.
Oh- and on an unrelated note- who gives a rat's ass WHAT Oprah's "number 1 superfood" is? She's a hog- about as shining an example of weight loss as Kirstie Alley. Rattle, rattle here comes the cattle...
Since the beginning of the year, we have had a sudden increase in the number of requests for dealer prices. Many of the demands are for our new generations of US uniforms. Our negative or mostly negative replies have been met with some rather rude and snotty feedback. So, as nicely as I can explain it, here are the reasons for our lack of interest in wholesaling.
This world is too small: In the past, we have wholesaled to some other dealers in the US. However, it did not amount to more than a few thousand dollars per year, and then we had to compete with our own products at every event or show. Invariably, several of the dealers undercut our prices often dramatically- some in a less than brilliant effort to outsell us and others simply because they needed gas money to get home. The only way to make this practical would be to stay away from shows and stick to wholesaling- which would lose far more than it would gain.
Price Control: Each time we went to close out an item, and lowered the price, or even simply put things on sale, dealers called up and screamed bloody murder. (Apparently it's OK for them to discount stuff at shows, but not for us to do it at all.)
Sturm: I know most dealers are tired of Sturm stuff. He's flooded the market- and everyone and their mother sells his products. When we found two if his manufacturers a few years ago, he had a fit. Mr. Sturm was my first supplier and we buy over a hundred thousand dollars a year from him. Pissing in his wheaties might be a a bad thing. A few years ago, I made a verbal promise to stay out of the wholesale business.
Cost & Limitations: When we debated a more extensive wholesale effort several years ago, Rex Reddick warned me that unless we offered "dealer" prices on every item we sell, there would be a shi*t-fit. He was right. Many items we simply do not have enough margin or supply of to offer discounts. I have tried to keep our retail prices in the reasonable range which also limits any discount we can offer. US made gear is a tad more expensive to produce than that made in Pakistan. I know, Sturm sells 10 pocket belts for $17. But those are made in Cambodia and they're polyester with plastic buckles. Sorry Pierre, there is a difference...
Who's a dealer? This is the last and most annoying problems with the wholesale idea. It's amazing how angry some guys get when you ask for their state tax ID number. But they really do have a business....sure. The most common requests are free samples (in their size), bill me in 90 days (sure, we'll get it right out...) or how much for 10? OK, send me 2 (for the same price). And just a little tip- if you want us to even begin to believe you, never, EVER, start the conversation with "I'm making a movie..." We are not impressed. Gina simply goes into her "re-enactors just stole their mom's camcorder" mode.
Quantity Prices: If you need a quantity of something, like 10 or 20 uniforms or packs, (not 2 buttons) just ask. This is easier. We'll work with you in most caes, but on some items there is no discount and that's that.
So, in short, dealer sales amount to a pain in the uterus and we have no trouble selling this junk on our own accord. What items we can comfortably wholesale, we will, unless I get too annoyed and then we'll change policies according to my mood & whim. As for those dealers who are pissed off about our prices on the few things we will, then why don't you do something about it? Take hundreds of thousands of dollars, spend years developing this stuff and then sell it for $5 and show me who's boss.
Enough is enough. I'm declaring all out war on "khaki". We waste more time reassuring B.O.B. and SPR fan club members that our US uniforms are the right color than the next 10 stupid questions combined. The new angle is to call up and claim that we mistakenly sent them a "green uniform" -not a khaki one like what we have pictured on the site or in the catalog. Some of these calls are truly based on ignorance while a few figure that if they whine we'll send them free stuff.
I am going to purge the word "khaki" from the website. I HATE that word. Unless we make the summer service shirt and pants (khakis) there is no longer any reason to mention that abominable term, except on the khaki page where I strive to cure the ignorance of the masses. We were remarkably successful in eradicating the "field-gray is only one color" stupidity, but granted, this khaki bullshi*t is much more pervasive and the task that much more daunting. It tries one's patience more than watching the special olympics spelling bee.
There is no more "khaki". It is "od3". That's a fact and no amount of ignorance can change that. The mere existence of that word on the site encourages mental retardation.
From here out, if someone snivels that we sent them a "green" uniform, the answer is, "No, it's olive. Same color as originals."
Don't like the real color, send it back. I have hundreds of original samples to verify our colors. Do you?"
Nation of Meatheads
I have been itching to express my disgust at the things that enthrall our people and things that they are dumb enough to buy or watch. Granted, parapooper gear and nazi stuff is odd, but at least you can wear it or use it for camping gear.
But this stuff...
1. Twittering at twitter.com: "Twitter" around these here parts is slang for "poontang". Need I elaborate?
2. Who the hell is Billy Mayes? Why should I be excited about some product that fat turd endorses? He's annoying as hell, won't shave and apparently has only one blue shirt and one pair of khaki pants. Loser. I just want him off of my TV.
3. "Media aflutter over Obama beefcake": If that man were to smear Mr Hanky on a piece of canvas, CNN would run 5 days of stories touting it as the new Mona Lisa. He can't tie his shoe or cook an egg without some zipperhead reporter calling it "brilliant".
4. Commemorative Coins: If they were such collector's items, why in God's name are they legal tender nowhere but Liberia? Obviously, people buy this crap.
5. Magic gyms: If getting fit and developing a "beefcake" body only required $19.99 and 8 minutes per day of fast and easy effort, why is everybody so damned fat?
6. Shamwows: First of all, who in their right mind buys anything from a guy named Vince , who looks like a pedophile, with a lollypop microphone stuck to his head? Second, $20 for a rag? With no Waffenamt? Please.
7. Video Professor: No kidding that fat broad's 3 year old knows more about computers than she does. The kid can probably drive better too. Find a less dimwitted customer for your ad John.
8. "Where is Caylee?": Dead. We've know the poor kid was toast since day one. No one "loses" their tike and let's it slip their mind for 3 weeks before looking for it. Unless they snuffed it. Nancy Grace has got to be the most annoying woman in the universe and seeing her milk the death of that poor girl for 6 months makes me hurl. Perhaps I should bag it up and send it to her. But that would probably be declared a WMD.
9. "Paranormal Investigators". Jesus H. Christ. Talk about reinforcing ignorance. "I heard a squeak! Oh my God! Proof of Blackbeard's ghost!!!!" Professional wrestling is more intellectually stimulating.
10. The Whale Woman on that "Repo" show...with the fish hook in her lip. And pigtails. Get her off of my TV. WTF? We don't want to see that thing nor do we care what it has to say. Thank God it's not nekkid. Unless she's on top of Billy Mayes. Now THAT would be damned funny...
This is more of a service announcement, yet still a bit of a rant. As some of you may have noticed, we have been in turmoil over the years about sewing insignia on uniforms. On the face of it, the choice is clear. We have lots of uniforms, thousands of patches and 55 sewing machines. And, many customers can't sew and their local tailor/ alteration shop might frown on applying swastikas. Tel Aviv Custom Tailors might be less sympathetic to fixing up your Theodor Eicke outfit...
However, as we have learned (over and over again) to our chagrin, sewing insignia is a major hassle. It amounts to custom orders. Lots of them.
This time we have changed our approach. There is now one employee dedicated to doing only insignia sewing and alterations. Machine sewing of "basic" insignia is now included in almost all uniforms shirts, jackets and coats. We are gradually applying the most universal insignia combinations to most German tunics. In many cases, this will allow us to avoid any shipping delays. US uniforms will have to be done singly since there's no way to predict which SSI will be requested. (OK, we could sew 101st patches on 87% of all jackets, but that's somehow racist..)
For the near term (November) we am going to concentrate on getting the the basics pre-sewn. Orders for Oberpoopenfuhrer Tunics with 12 TD badges, Tresse and a Krim Shield may be delayed for several weeks until the we get this taken care of.
The single biggest problem in the past was size exchanges. It is forever amazing how many people have absolutely no clue what size they wear. I don't mean trying to decide between a 42 and a 44. I mean ordering a 48L and returning it for a 40R. Some of these antics are due to MENSA members who assume we're retarded and have no idea that an overcoat is meant to be worn over other stuff and needs to be made to compensate. But most are simply people who can't read the labels in their own clothes. I can't believe there are enough nudist colonies to explain the screwball sizing problems we get.
We will allow returns this time. Now you size-challenged types can quit burning our uniforms with cigarettes so you can claim they are defective. However, there is a 30% restocking fee on any uniforms with insignia or alterations that get returned. Why am I such a Capo about this? Because when you send back that M41 with double SSI's and 1st SGT chevrons, the jacket and Chevrons are now "defective". When we remove the insignia, both it and the jacket will have stitch holes. Removing insignia will leave traces which will require us to sell it on the defect/ seconds rack at the next show. So, it would be pretty cool for all concerned if you determined your size by some means aside from us sending your uniforms back and forth with UPS for 3 weeks. (It happens more than you think.)
Here's the basics. For Kraut uniforms, the price of the tunic will include sewing for a set of EM collar tabs and a breast or sleeve eagle. For the G.I.'s, we'll put a unit patch on. Extra stuff, like tresse, chevrons, IC ribbons, cuff titles etc, etc will cost....extra. For details go to the sewing page.
"I only buy Made in USA"
At the Gap last week, we had about a dozen indignant types chastise us for our lack of patriotism. These guys were quite offended that we could not provide 100% US Made products for their Himmler impression. They proudly boasted that they only buy US or European-made products. My answer to that is two fold:
1. That's what you think.
2. Good luck.
There are three problems. Cost, availability and quality. In most cases, the flag waving and chest thumping come to a screeching halt when they see the price tag on a US made tunic or pair of boots. In our experience, these customers expect a US made product for the same price as the imported counterpart. Why do you think Lost Battalions has had such a hard time?
For a variety of reasons, (patriotism being honestly low on the list) I try to make as much as we can in this country. However, we are stymied by more than cost. Firstly, finding US made materials is nearly impossible. HBT, cotton twill and wool serge all come from India, China or Mexico now. What we can acquire in this country generally sucks ass when it comes to quality. I don't know whether the remaining companies are hiring crack-heads or they simply don't give a rat's ass, but in the last 2 years, everything bought from US companies was inferior to that of the foreigners- except for Scovil snaps & the wool knit we use for jeep caps.
We make about 20% of our products (seat of the pants guesstimate) here in our own shop. That percentage will fluctuate up and down depending on our ability to find materials.
So, we sympathize, but unless this country gets it's head out of its ass, 100% Made in USA is a pipe dream. As for Made in Europe, sure. Most of that stuff is made in China, then repackaged and stamped "Made in das Vaterland" and sent to the unsuspecting living historian.
The companies we deal with are cool. The owners have visited us, hung out, consumed a bit of liquor and swapped sick jokes. They are good people and they give a damn about what they make. They even speak good english- better than some of my neighbors...
Light me up
Although I've ranted and raved about fat, I've neglected to get around to the other all-American nasty past time- smoking. If ever there was an activity with so many disadvantages and no demonstrable benefits, smoking has got to be it. I realize that, especially older Americans, grew up in an era when all "cool" people smoked. Despite the obvious drawbacks, it was openly encouraged. My generation was the beginning of the end of that, but the rebels felt it was a worthwhile way to show their "free will". What's that expression about being bitten in the butt...?
Living in Kentucky, one of the last real pro-smoking holdouts, is telling. Smoking bans are somehow seen as an attack on one's freedom and liberty. The fact that the smoke drifts over to everyone else in the room is of no concern to the dedicated addicts.
Moreover, those who can least afford the cigarettes and the ensuing health costs are the primary "freedom fighters". Go to the store and if you see a grungy broad with 3 unkept, screaming kids, paying for her groceries with food stamps, odds are there's a carton of "smokes" in her basket. Naw, I have no problem with paying for their chemotherapy and quadruple bypass. It's my patriotic duty. I wouldn't dream of infringing on their rights to enjoy two packs a day! Not that all smokers are on welfare, but it appears that a larger percentage of those on the dole are smokers than the rest of us.
How in the hell can anyone enjoy that filth? Let's see:
Gives you something to do with your hands.
Makes you look like James Dean.
It makes you and your stuff stink.
Yellow fingernails and teeth.
Premature aging. Pucker lines, smoker's voice...
Makes your car smell like dirty underwear.
Have you nicotine lovers seen someone dying of congestive heart failure or lung cancer? I have. Two in the last month. It looks like a lot of fun. Being tethered to oxygen bottles. Being too weak to walk further than the kitchen. Having to have help to get off the toilet. Having your chest drained of fluid every week. Chemotherapy.
Where do I sign up?
I am not unaware of how deeply addiction sinks its claws into smokers. I sit next to Gina almost every day. I've offered her $5,000 cash to quit. Forget it. Didn't faze her. For the last week I've been packing her smokes with earwax from my dog (who has ear mites) but Gina hasn't seemed to notice. I guess it just adds "flavor". I'm thinking next I'll try those little things that blow up. Aren't they called "lady fingers"? Quitting is tough, but if there was one time instance that behooves you to take action, as drastic as necessary, this might be it.
Now, if there's something besides tobacco in the paper, I have a bit more sympathy. Getting high is about like getting drunk. It has a few benefits, so long as one exercises control and moderates it. But frying your lungs and skanking out everything within 20 feet of your person just for the hell of it is downright retarded. How many special olympians smoke? Even they know better.
SS Spam Alert
It has been brought to our attention that there are some spam emails going around stating that our SS Oak camo is "too bright" and is unusable. It purports to be from a knowledgable source which is obviously not the case. Just in case you are foolish enough to open, much less believe spam of any sort...here's the usual body slam. Originals vs. our stuff-
See? The originals are too bright to be camo too.
Maybe that's why they lost the War! What a bunch of tards they were.
If this still does not give you satisfaction, please know that I feel your pain. Really. I wouldn't kid about such a thing.
I urge you to lodge a formal compalint with the SS Wirtschafts-Vervaltungshauptamt (attn: Herr Pohl) at the earliest opportunity. The address is somewhere in Berlin.
Ever have one of those frustrating moments, like when your buddy has a booger hanging from his nose, some random chick has a pad peeking out of her bikini bottom or your teacher has their barn door open? Sometimes the choice is clear. In these cases, I'd vote yes, no and yes respectively to making the individuals aware of things.
But then there's those borderline cases. Let's say there's this guy at this event. And, just for argument's sake, let's say he's tried to mess with you, your family or perhaps your job in the past. Maybe he's even another dealer. You notice that he has apparently fallen on hard times. They are in fact so hard that he apparently has no access running water and soap and toothpaste and obviously beyond his financial means. What are the rules parameters of ones duty to society? At what stage is one compelled to inform Mr. Polecat that he's skanky?
I thought it was commonly considered bad form to greet anyone, especially customers, with boogers glued to your teeth and enough grease in your hair to service the gearbox on a bush-hog. Not to mention a never ending case of halitosis , the likes of which is enough to strip paint off any surface at 20 meters. (Tip: those bits of fossilized food on your teeth and the stink created as they decay will require more than a piece of gum.)
Compound this with a habit of leaning in really close to chat...
It's like watching bumfights or a fat broad on a skateboard rolling down a mountain. You can't stop looking, but you really don't want to get involved. Do you tell him? Watch him assault the olfactory senses of everyone in the area? Or send him an anonymous care package with soap, detergent and toothpaste?
It's the Economy- Stupid
More boring business blather. Sorry, but explanations are in order. Some of you may have noticed that the Sale Page is getting rather thin. The few dealers we wholesale to have definitely noticed that the number of items which we offer "dealer prices" on has shrunk substantially. Why? Oil is down, the dollar is up...but our replacement costs have gone batshi*t. I cringe every time I get a new invoice. For years, prices on all this wonderful army junk was fairly stable. Or at least predictable. Things changed about as much as Mr. Polecat changes his underwear. But over the last few months, that's changed. In some cases dramatically. One item that last year cost $20, is now $38. Another item that was $18 is now $33. Nearly double. And this stuff is made overseas. US materials and hardware, what few are still obtainable, have gone up about 25% across the board. Unfortunately, quality and service have plummeted inversely...
This leads to some obvious problems. Many people are tight on money so this is not the best time for price increases. There will be some, typically $5-10 but I'm trying to keep them to a minimum. Instead, we are curtailing our discounting, namely sale items and what little dealer sales we do. Some "deals" and packages will be altered or eliminated.
On the upside, due to the price increases from our suppliers, the top quality stuff is only slightly more expensive than the merely decent items. For example, increasing wool content and being more exacting in such exciting things as the weight and weave of some fabrics doesn't present the same dilemma as before. When a minor improvement in a uniform, one which only a handful of hard-core stitch nazis would appreciate (or even notice), increased the cost of the garment by $20, the decisoon was not so simple. But when it's only $4 or $5, that choice is easier.
A few patriotic types pontificate about NAFTA and the evils of exporting jobs, etc, etc. "Make it in the USA", they say. That's a nice idea, but most items we used to make here (such as HBT's, German uniforms and Tanker Jackets) would now be more expensive than they used to be. When the a Tanker Jacket made overseas costs $80 and one made here is $180...most of the "Go USA" cheerleaders suddenly lose their enthusiasm and buy the commie-made model. The sad truth is that most fabrics now have to come from China or India anyway. Sadder still, is that, especially Chinese fabrics, are generally superior to what we used to get here anyway. (No turning orange in sunlight and such...) When we have to use imported fabrics and components just to make an item here, it becomes rather silly. You end up with an inordinately expensive item with no appreciable increase in quality.
So, for the time being, a few things will go up. One or two will actually go down, but our flexibility to discount many things will be reduced. I may tweak our UPS Ground shipping rates, probably lowering them overall.
If somebody had warned me how much fun all this business crap was, I would have stayed in the Army. Chasing Taliban through the hills is bound to be more exciting.
It's amazing how many people are flabbergasted that we need their address. I'm not sure how some individuals assume we can send their stuff without it but...why be so secretive?
Oh yeah, we're that ATF and we're coming to break your door down, take your guns, shoot your wife and rape your dog. If you order a Thompson SMG pouch you must be hiding all sorts of illegal weapons in your compound.
Then there's the mystery packages. Returns with no name, no note, no paperwork, no phone number and no return address. Hundreds of dollars of free stuff, just for us. I thought it was common sense to at least toss a note in the box to explain whether one wanted an exchange, a refund or for Gina to send you some of her shoes instead. WTF?
I'm certain that the reenacting/living historically/busting-caps-while-wearing-nazi-uniforms community doesn't have a higher percentage of mentally challenged individuals than the general population. That couldn't be. But why is it that we seem to deal with so many people who apparently can't dress themselves, spell their own names, or wash their own clothes? And the kicker? Somebody gave these people credit cards. No wonder the economy is in the tank. I'm going to fill out applications for my dogs. And the cat.
How much worse could it get?
Oh yeah. They have guns too...
At serious risk of inflicting migraines on Gina, here's some poop on upcoming stuff.
Please, let this info suffice.
Gina (or Steve or Nick) knows little or nothing about my schemes. So I'm asking nicely for you guys to refrain from bombarding them with questions (even sane ones), demands for preorders, photos or fabric samples for things that don't yet exist.
After months or years of development, about 40 new items are finally ready to be produced. Much of the time was spent convincing the suppliers to duplicate rather than imitate the originals. Their other customers are primarily concerned with price. After much hemming and hawing, I found that explaining to them that I wanted perfect copies, even if the cost doubled, swung the doors open and then things started to roll. All of these items are completely new generations; they are not from Sturm or SM. Some items are in production now, some are in sample form but ready to commence and a few do not exist in sample form yet, but that will change shortly. No preorders! This absolves us of having to wrestle with Mr. Murphy and his law. And, I have no desire to have a fantasy website. Being "Alwaysoutofstock.com" is enough trouble. Someday maybe we'll make size 60 waist paratrooper pants for those losers whiners. But not today...
I've spent a fortune on original samples to copy this year. I about messed my pants when I added up how much it was the other day. I just love cutting up original dot helmet covers!
Anyway...this stuff should start showing up in November. Maybe. No promises, but that's a reasonably educated guesstimate.
On that note, I'm still struggling to find one thing: A sample of the "marled" fabric used on Fallschirmjager smocks. I have 2 original smocks, but, for obvious reasons, I don't want to cut them or send them overseas. Does anyone have a grenade bag, tailored/ butchered smock or some other thing made with this stuff? Please don't waste our time with East German or Bundeswehr police garbage. I need a sample oforiginal "marled" Splinter fabric in reasonably good condition. Just email pics and price if you have something.
German Stuff: I've repeatedly promised new duds for the Master Race. For years and years. Well, they are finally happening. I have the production samples for 44 dot and Reed green. The 100% linen fabric and colors are as good or better than anything else ever made. Better than SM, better than the Czech Peepa-Kings and sure as hell better than the crap from Hong Kong Willie. The dot will most likely pass for original. Unlike most of the other repros, our patterns are correct. Our dot tunics will use the correct SS patterns, not those for Heer Drillich tunics. The collars are wider, the pockets aren't slanted, they are placed higher on the chest and the belt hook hangars are loops, not straps. Likewise, the Army HBT tunics are patterned from real ones. I confirmed the orders last week. These should be in around November. 44 dot on Cotton twill may happen as well, but not sure. Sorry, no obscure stuff like Luftwaffe coveralls, reed-green panzer outfits or farby-ass 44 dot caps or helmet covers. Just 44 dot tunics and trousers (infantry and Panzer) and M43 pattern reed green tunics and trousers.
Also in production are V-neck sweaters and knit gloves. Both are as good as the German or Estonian-made copies of a few years ago. Other stuff includes knit shirts, belt hooks, internal suspenders and collar binds.
Further out, hopefully before the Gap panic, are Splinter helmet covers, smocks and Zeltbahns. The smocks will be from the same linen HBT as the 44 dot and reed green. If sales hold up, I hope to put Parkas (Oak, Tan & Water and Splinter) as well as Tan & Water smocks into the works shortly thereafter.
Not making the cut are other SS camo patterns and officer stuff. I have done other SS patterns before and always neglected the Heer so it's time to be fair. Hopefully in 2009. Allgemeine & SA Nazi-wear ain't happening. Ever. Likewise the Xyklon-B cans and brown-piped shoulderboards. That stuff brings out the fruitcakes. I'd hate to be responsible for someone getting singed when their cross burning goes awry.
New, improved M41 Jackets, M1942 Paratroopers and Tankers should be in before Christmas.
New stuff: HBT coveralls, tank tops (repro WWII, not surplus), trouser suspenders, 5 button sweaters, and US Made scarves. Also 100% wool M37 Trousers, Service Coats, and Garrison caps. We are finalizing the wool gloves with leather palms. They will be about $30 due to the wool. It's a stretch knit which forms to your hand. But the stuff is expensive. I had to buy 1500 pairs to make them happen. So I don't want to hear it...
On the "maybe" list are Mackinaws, Parson's jackets and 1st Pattern HBTs. These will depend on our sales (loot). Things that didn't make the cut are officer uniforms, overcoats and P44 USMC stuff. Maybe in 2009.
Update: Well, I got my wish. "Perfect" M41's will cost two and a half times what the current ones cost, mainly due to the 100% wool lining. The shell fabric is about 10% heavier. We're getting another quote for a 70/30 wool blend to see if that will drop them a bit. Either way that puts them at $100 or more. And, wonders never cease, Talon (Tagit-Pacific) has suddenly decided they can indeed make a pull and slide that is almost the same as WWII. I'll have to mull the idea of $100-120 M41's around for awhile. I'd buy one, but I don't know about the reat of you...
Hopefully by October we'll have a fairly complete catalog. This is a guess, not a promise.
Ants in the pants:
PLEASE DON'T PESTER GINA (or anyone else) for more info on this stuff. I really won't forget to post this junk on the website when it comes in. I promise. With sugar and Gina's shoes on top. Also, the smallest quantity of any of these items will be 500 pieces. We won't run out in 3 days or anything. There's no panic. No need for reservations or preorders.
New Junk II
The little gas price thing has finally started sinking its teeth into shipping charges. Although UPS Ground rates remain, for the moment, largely unchanged, I had to raise rates for expedited service (Next Day, 2nd Day and 3 day Select) $10-20 today. A 10 pound package to Arizona now costs just over $80 to ship with Next Day Air. An envelope is about $40. US Post has raised their International rates about $10 across the board in the past week. UPS international rates are out of this world...
This may also cause some price increases in our products, mainly the next shipments of boots. I have eliminated the 2 pairs of US boots for $199 deal as our next boots will probably cost us $20 a pair for freight. Plus duties, taxes, etc. Leather and wool have also gone up, but I may be able to keep the price of most things stable. At this point, the main damage is in our ability to discount.
On the upside, this will hurt the El cheapo products more than it will good stuff. When it costs $4 to ship a $10 backpack from China (or cheap toys for Walmart) that is rough. Conversely, $4 more on a $50 high-end item is not so much to worry about. (I'm talking about shipping in freight containers, not airmail.)
On the new junk front:
I'm leaning toward the King Cat Daddy M41's. They'll probably be between $110 and $125. But, there is no Eastman or Buzz Rickson quality M41 on the market. There is one expensive M41 out there, but it's pea green and uses the wrong lining. Ours should be "all tits". We'll make less money overall on the expensive ones, and I suspect sell fewer, but this tickles my fancy...and my fancy is ultimately the deciding factor. Kind of like being left alone in the house with the dog and a jar of peanut butter. But anyway..
44 Dot would have been here already, but I'm being a pain about it. The last change is trying to use reactive dyes instead of ink so these will bleed through and fade like an original. I'm seriously considering making two slightly different shades and having the parts co-mingled like originals. That will really make the farbs and bug humpers cry, but that also tickles my elmo. The main problem with this scheme would be convincing the contractor that I really, really want them to do that and I'm not drunk.
US Tank tops, Wool gloves, wool trousers, Service coats, Garrison caps, trouser suspenders and HBT Coveralls are in production now. Likewise with German V-neck sweaters, wool gloves (with the pretty little rings too), belt hooks and internal suspenders.
Lastly, about the only things we will continue to manufacture here are US field gear items and some helmet liner components. We are working to improve the import Paratrooper Uniforms to the point which they are superior to our US Made models. It's not simply a matter of money anymore. The quality of the US made materials is suffering. I'm not sure if it's due to apathy, depression, drug abuse, poor public school education, or global warming...whatever the case, with exception to some hardware (namely snaps) the foreign companies now make superior products and have better service. I'm not going to get into all of those comparisons to social rot and the decline of the Roman Empire today. Let's just cross our fingers and hope President Obumba is able to set things straight...
We have enough US Paratrooper Uniforms and USMC utilities to carry us through 2008. After that, they are probably dinosaurs. However, as prices overseas keep increasing, as does the cost of freight, we may be able to resurrect them in a few years. We're keeping all of our machines and equipment just in case.
Why Can't You Ship
My Hat for Free?
Here we go.
The smaller the item, the more insistent people are that we should ship it for free. The pest factor grows exponentially as the distance from our location increases. At the point which we are finally able to communicate "no" they switch to "put it in an envelope and use a stamp" mode. Once the item arrives, and they are required to pay duties, then the item invariably becomes "blemished" and they deserve a freebie. The Euro is like 1.5. Quit acting like Hillary.
The funny part is, we now require EMS shipping because of these thrifty types. Although the post offers cheaper options (but they are rapidly approaching price parity with EMS), they lack tracking numbers. Guido and Pepe discovered a few years ago that Paypal and some credit card providers will automatically refund a customer's payment if the shipper cannot provide a tracking number. (A postal receipt is meaningless to them.) They had a field day for about 6 weeks until we woke up and shut that one down. Even when the complaints were honest, the cheaper options ("Airmail" or "Surface") can take up to 8 weeks to materialize at their destination. These customers are usually as impatient as they are thrifty. It doesn't work.
Moreover, have you characters failed to notice fuel prices? Do you think UPS or the Post is giving discounts? It really does cost $30 or more to send any package abroad nowadays. Yes, it sucks when you only need a button, a patch or a hat. That's why it behooves you to wait until you need more things or pool together with with a friend and do a joint order. This is not our fault. (Just like diet failure.) We do not set the postal rates and we have no one in Congress or the hierarchy at UPS to shmooze or send hookers to for a special deal on shipping your hat.
If you simply cannot bear to pay shipping, then there is one very easy solution. Just come by the shop and pick up your stuff. We're open Monday through Friday...And Gina might come in on Sunday if you make nice and send her pictures of your housecat in a seductive pose.
Why Mister, why?
Not much of a rant this time. I'm bored with Obuma, Billary and low-fat/ high-carb diet rants. So, here's some answers to common questions about how and why we do some of the things we do.
Why don't you have a shopping cart on the website?
I have considered it over the years, but there are several reasons. First and foremost, I have not been able to figure out how to do it myself. However, I do know that it results in every last item having a drop down box, which would take forever and a day to retrofit to every page. Perhaps more importantly, these fields (drop down boxes) would not update themselves when we sold out of an item or a size of an item. Then we'd have to contend with the "I put it in my shopping cart so I KNOW you have one you liars" syndrome. This same lack of technology is also the reason that we don't have automatic email confirmations. So for the near future, we'll stay low tech and mildly inconvenient.
Why aren't you all computerized?
I started to do so 10 years ago. I lost my ass on a "survey" from a design company. In a nutshell, none of the out-of-the-box systems will work with the way we do orders. Specifically, making packages: 10 or more items grouped together to make another inventory item. Such activities are soooo complicated that it is beyond the capabilities of technological wonders like Peachtree and Quickbooks. So, this means we need a "custom made" system, which is many thousands of dollars, plus $25,000+ per year for "maintenance". That would pay for an awful lot of booby bar tabs, or boobies and dentures for Gina. Instead, we do what everyone did back in the stone-age. Duplicate copies and a file cabinet. Usually, we can track an order down within 15 minutes. That's cheaper than 25K annually.
On the upside, if our computer goes down, we can still operate and, best of all, there is no database of names and credit card numbers to have hacked and stolen. This makes Sergei and Pasha very unhappy....
Why don't we attend more/ every reenactment?
Costs too much and takes too long. We usually need to take the trailer to have a good selection. That cuts our already dismal fuel mileage in half. And diesel is now a rip-off. We need a day to pack, a day to unpack plus I have to pay the guys and feed them. Unless there are at least 300 people at an event, we lose money. The Gap, Reading Air Show and the SOS are about the only events that are actually profitable to attend. I do try to do half a dozen random events per year just to bust caps in a historical fashion, but it doesn't always work out.
Why don't we sell all that neat (and cheap) stuff that Hong Kong Harry and the other commies offer?
We have been offered the same products repeatedly. However, most all of them have one or more shortcomings that put me off. A practical person might work with the manufacturers to correct the errors, but then everyone and their mother would have them and it'd be shooting ourselves in the foot. So, we trudge along, gradually developing things with our own sources.
Why don't we sell Allgemeine SS, SD, Sonderkommado or Hitler costumes?
The owner is Jewish.
Why don't we sew insignia or do alterations?
Too many people have no idea what size they are. If we remove insignia it leaves stitch holes, which creates a "used" uniform. It is more trouble than it's worth. It's worth noting that few if any other vendors are willing to do this any longer.
Why don't we sell firearms?
Too much hassle with different state laws, shipping issues and there's no steady source for Garands and K98's. And the Belgians would have a fit when we refused to ship them a Carbine.
Why does the owner (me) sound so mean? Why does he insult the honor of action figure collectors?
Simply put, it entertains me and it apparently entertains a lot of other people. Dirt sells. This I discovered by accident a few years ago when I got fed up with the Feldgrau-weenies (who I later learned are tame compared to the Khakinazis) and I went off on the website. Poor Phil (who did the site at that time) was biting his nails fearing the wrath of the customers. Much to our surprise, the opposite occurred. I seemed to strike a chord. Thus, the flames were fanned and off I went. So here we are, with one of the more peculiar owner/customer relationships on the internet. Bill Maher eat your heart out. As for action figures, I just think they're gay. No matter what anyone says, they're dolls. Plain and simple.
Is the owner gay?
A lot of people have their suspicions. I was stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco for a year and I learned to talk the talk pretty well. Add to that a sick sense of humor and a penchant for buying nekkid man magazines (and the occasional blow-up homie) and stashing it in the cars, houses, packages and pockets of my friends, other dealers, and customers and you will certainly raise some eyebrows. But, no, I don't play or mate with action dolls. I just shoot them. So were does that leave us...?
When will you have a catalog?
As soon as my lazy butt can finish it. It's not as easy or simple as it may seem. It's my fault and I apologize. Someday we will have one.
Why won't you take preorders or do custom orders?
Both seem to inspire people to get belligerent. The patience required appears to be a nonexistent commodity these days, so we opted out. They aren't worth the hassles they inspire.
Note to the easily offended: If you are having trouble reading between the lines on this one, the only people I'm picking on are idiots and those who take advantage of them for personal gain. I don't give a damn what shade they are. Clear enough?
I don't often discuss politics on the website. But this business with Obama and his Minister got me thinking. The more I thought about Reverend Wright's rants, the more I began to see his logic. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks outside the box.
Defense: Complicity in 9/11? Busted. Yes, the rich crackers who rule this nation did it to themselves. If you aren't internet saavy, perhaps you're unaware that the KKK invented Islam as a party prank in 1871. While beating up a young African American behind a bar in Cookeville, TN, three klan members told their victim that they were angels with a message from God: from now on, boys were for fun and women were for babies. The klansmen thought little of their deed and forgot about it. However, their unfortunate victim was actually Mr. Farrakan's great grandfather's friend's cousin's neighbor. When he recovered, his only memories of the attack were of being visited by "angels". He became convinced that their story was real and committed himself to spreading the message. During a family holiday in Arabia the next year, he shared this message with some camel breeders and it went from there. It just got out of control. So, I can readily see how it's our fault that American men have Tara Conner and Playboy and the Arabs are stuck with the Koran and young boys. Their bitterness and frustration is understandable. It's as though Robert E. Lee himself was at the controls of Flight 175. I'll be glad when President Obama gets to the bottom of this one.
The Economy: If we did break down and pay the reparations we owe anyone who has a slave in their family tree, it would be the single biggest boost to the economy in U.S. History! Do you realize the economic stimulus that giving a million dollars to every afflicted family would be? The increase in Escalade sales alone would put General Motors back on its feet in no time! And the Federal reserve can secure these payments with securities backed by Orange County mortgages. Pure genius.
Race Relations: Hillary is white? Did someone fail to tell the good reverend that the business about Bill being "the first black president" was only used metaphorically? As for her having never been called "a n*****", I beg to differ. I know of at least two guys in Texas and one in Tennessee who have referred to her as such.
Religion: If Barack really is Jesus, cool. Then he can ask his Dad where OBL is hiding and we can have a big cookout to watch the Pay-per-view stoning of that lunatic. And he really will be able to end world poverty, probably with a wave of his hand. And global warming, and Britney's bipolar problems...the possibilities are endless. But...I thought David Koresh was Jesus? Is there more than one? I thought Jesus was a Jew, not a Muslim? I'm all confused.
Health Care: But most of all, I've always been insanely curious as to just how the CIA was able to persuade an AIDS infected Tanzanian spider monkey to lay pipe to a gay airline steward in the first place. Did they tie the guy to a tree nekkid and put bananas in his ears? Or was twinkle-toes-the-monkey-f*cker already prone to zoophilia? Was there foreplay? How does one ply a monkey for his milk? Is there a specific etiquette? How does that work? People want to know. Regardless, it's obvious that their plan went awry when Mr. Monkeynuts got distracted by the bathhouses in the Castro district and failed to infiltrate the Black Panther Party...so much for our sleuths. We should have subbed that job out to the KGB.
This is a first. So many people have asked about the "Kentucky Rant", that I'm putting her back up. Enhanced.
So, without further ado...back by popular demand...
We live in the armpit of the nation. The only place worse I've seen was an Indian reservation...but that's probably changed since the casino was built. The central Kentucky countryside would be beautiful...if one could bulldoze the single-wides, pick up the trash and haul away all the appliances and old cars from peoples' yards.
Despite having one of the biggest lakes (and several marinas) in the region, the county is dry. Since moving here, I have learned that all the wine mentioned in the Bible was really nonalcoholic. Apparently, one of those guys hired by King James made a boo-boo and incorrectly translated "grape juice" as "wine". Despite the prohibition on selling wine (and other devilish beverages), there are more drunks here per capita than anywhere in I've ever been.
Those Kentucky "jokes" aren't necessarily jokes. There seems to be a never ending parade of preachers and teachers getting caught "diddling" their kids (or somebody else's). Why wait for the family reunion when your sister is right there lookin' hot on the sofa? Hey Baby...
Daisy Dukes? Well, other than Tara Conner, most of the local honeys sweat Crisco, chain smoke Marlboros, sport mullets and exceed the maximum load limit of the Brooklyn Bridge. But don't think for a minute that such trivialities will stop them from wearing short-shorts and tube-tops when the weather heats up. Big is beautiful and everyone has a God-given right to display the ink that their hard-earned welfare checks pay for....
Larry the Cable Guy would have so much material he'd have an aneurysm.
The other day at the diner, I watched a hogger of the first magnitude (she needed a bra for the rolls on her back) ash on her baby's head every time she reached across the table to take a bite of her equally well-proportioned hubbie's food. Apparently, singeing junior's scalp was an acceptable alternative to working up a sweat by waddling back to the buffet for another dump truck load. Sadly, such shining examples of humanity are not difficult to find around here. By the way, would using your baby's stroller for an ashtray count as secondhand smoke? Why shouldn't health care be free?
The local pastimes include scamming social security with bogus disabilities, shopping doctors for pain-pills (which are ground up and snorted) or, for those industrious types, bootlegging. (After church of course.) Some clever parents actually coach their kids how to appear disabled or retarded in order to "draw a check" on them. Did you know, if your child becomes morbidly obese, you can get a disability check for them? Sick but true. Each time a black bear is sighted, it is reported on the radio...which is immediately followed by an announcement from the game warden not to shoot it.
Paying for cigarettes, new tattoos, beer (from the bootlegger...after church of course), new sweat pants, and ringtones takes precedence over food and clothes for the kids. And these same citizens spend quite a bit of time ranting about the "worthless" Mexicans and other minorities here and around the country. White males are referred to as "pick-up artists". They take the wife or girlfriend to work, then pick her up later so they can have the car to tool around town and meet other chicks, shop at the bootlegger's, and go back home for a nap.
Yes, I know that all of these activities occur in just about any other place in the country. However, these antics are endemic in this area and the rampant hypocrisy that goes along with it makes this a very special place.
What better place for a new reality show? All the laundry here is dirty. It'd be a ratings magnet for whatever network decided to take the plunge. Yeehaw.
Too many events?
Where does all this junk go?
While updating the events page I've noticed several organizations that are hosting reenactments as often as once every six weeks on the same site. Is this not counterproductive? It's honestly a question rather than an opinion. Over the last 25 years, I've seen a decrease in the number of large events (attendance-wise) with a dramatic rise in the number of events overall. However, the mid-sized events appear to draw about the same number of participants as they always did.
Why do I care? I'm nosey. Our sales have been increasing about 15% every year since 2000. Our mailing list (even though we haven't used it in awhile) now has about 5 times as many names as it did in 2000. About 25,000. Taking into account the number of people who think I'm an insulting obnoxious pig and won't talk to us, that means that there should be at least 60,000 re-enactors (and living historicallies) around. So, logically, one would assume that you'd see more people out on the playground. Where are they?
Yes, I realize that there are a number of good reasons for the increase in the number of events. "Band of Brothers" reruns...the price of gas makes local or regional events far more attractive. When I was younger, many guys made the yearly Haj to the "National", the Gap and Ft. Story no matter how far away they lived. I'm not going to blame the quick-easy-convenience craze, but it's a factor.
Bigger isn't always better I know. However, the larger events tended to draw more armor, vehicles in general, good vending and usually were a good time. Now the Gap is about the only one left.
So what gives? We're sending out a helluva lot more stuff than in the past. What are you guys doing with it? Eating it? Selling it to the Taliban? Just like to hear Gina's voice? Using it for wrapping paper? Tossing it down a well? Where is it all going? It doesn't make sense.
Yes, I know there are quite a few airsofters (not sure if that's the proper term), alot (about 15%) goes overseas, some stuff goes to museums...but I'm not too sure about the preparations for a race war. Somehow paratrooper outfits don't fit that bill as well as Real-tree coveralls and MAK90's. However, I don't think these would be enough to absorb the amount of stuff going out. If you think I'm complaining, I'm not. I shouldn't care where it goes so long as it goes and we make loot, right? But curiosity killed the cat...and according to Mr./Mrs. "Zarzoff" below, we're a bunch of felines so it stands to reason.
What inspired the "Rants"?
This makes two grand prize winners in a week. We haven't had any juicy hate mail in a very long time, despite my best efforts to aggravate everyone imaginable. I feel like crap today and Gina's mad because I licked her keyboard and gave her my cold. And then I saw this! This one made my morning. It gave me a smile. (Really).
But it defies explanation. Since he (or she, Terry being a unisex name) apparently won't reply, I guess the meaning (if there is one) will remain a mystery. Can anyone shed any light on this? Especially naughty words have been disguised by me to prevent our patrons' virgin eyes from being burned. Otherwise this is verbatim, spelling errors included.
"Hey you c*nts are THE FU**ING RUDEST people.......what sort of chip is on your shoulder??? ANYONE whop reads your webpage would just AVOID your business............
You have lied your asses off listign sh*t anyway.......so it goes with the attitude huh?
Exapmles??? JAP ARMY APS DIOD NOT ALL HAVE A REAR OPENING NOR STITCHING FOR THE REAR FLAPS. YOU JAP HELMETS ARE NOT SO FLASH AND $80 DEARER THAN ANY OF YOUR OPPOSITION....MOVIE PROPS???? what fu**ing props???? piss poor effort........and where did you get it all??? 2 truck loads and all you have is 21 sh*t guns and a dummy water bottl??? give me a break......
Why not close your doors and light a bomb??? do us all a favour...........and and save your time replying to ME........I wont get your sad story to read.......it will be delted before I get it.......lol"
And this person wonders why we have a "rant". I can't explain it either.
Rollin; the megalomaniac who hates reenactors
Yes, Mr. Mean and nasty, hater of living historians, Action Figure collectors, khakinazis, skinheads, and white people. People are damned funny sometimes. I got this title from a post on one of my favorite sources of information...an internet forum. I doubt this person even knows me. They may well have been the target (or cause) of a rant in which case I'm smiling. If not, chalk it up to collateral damage. Just for fun, I'll tell those of you who this sociopath is and how this all came to be.
I started reenacting in 1981 when I was 13. I feel no need to define myself as still among the living and I don't have a history degree so I prefer the more proletarian term "reenactor". Initially with the Art Obermeyer's 38 Jagers, then GD based at Ft. Knox. Finally, Fred Poddig relented and let me join the LAH at 15. We actually humped to the field, sometimes several miles each way. No minivans or slurpee cups. Pyro was pyro. Artillery simulators are awesome. Panzerschrecks and Bazookas fired styrofoam projectiles powered by model rocket engines. We fought/ played in the rain and snow. Dirt was cool. It made you look "real". We heard horror stories from Civil War reenactors about the political squabbles, fragile egos and rampant insanity that paralyzed many of their events and gave thanks that our hobby was still fun.
ATF got going in 1993. Originally as CNS (Nevermind what that stands for). Then "Anderfront" was chosen during a 20 minute brainstorming session when we were trying to do our first catalog. Too many people knew what CNS meant, and it was deemed unprofessional, even by my standards. A few years later, it was again changed to the English form as I grew weary of having to spell "Anderfront" to each and every person we dealt with. My meanness began around 2000, when I offended some over sensitive types with a rant about German field gray. Abusing customers gave me such a rush that I can't stop. It's like an addiction.
I don't actually hate anyone that I can think of. I do regard some re-enactors as blithering idiots, but this holds true for much of humankind, so I think I'm pretty reasonable to hold that opinion. On the whole, you guys are on par with the general public, even if the male republican crackers are a bit overrepresented. I do listen to opinions that run counter to my own, and am open to changing or modifying them. However, I despise the political correctness or today's society. I prefer the bare naked truth, without a lot of negligée. Hence, my beef about people attempting to draw a line between "reenacting" and "living history". It's like calling a "retard", a "special person". Yes, all of us are special, but some are still retards. It's a fact, not a judgment or a criticism. If being confronted with inconvenient truths offends you, then you have problems that aren't mine to solve.
As for my megalomania, that's not quite the right word. I don't have delusions of grandeur. I'm not an extrovert nor a type A personality. When I get fed up with something or someone, I have the tendency to show it, which in this case means posting it on my website. Most businesses operate with the principle that "the customer is always right". I may be a maverick or a sadist, and I have been called the "Antichrist." (My MP44's serial number is 666 (no shi*t), but I haven't set the Rottweilers on any priests recently so that's probably just a lucky coincidence.) In any case, dishonesty, pretentiousness and insincerity annoy the hell out of me, so for me to operate that way would run counter to what few principles a monster like myself has. Americans like dirty laundry, so perhaps it's just marketing savvy, but I don't think I'm that clever. Just dumb luck. The result of all this is that I often air opinions or say things in ways that would give many other business owners heart failure. Fortunately for me and this company, my tirades have generally been well received, perhaps because I am simply stating obvious and generally held opinions, but ones which many people are afraid to voice. The only megalomaniacal part here is that I know my company is strong enough to get away with it. Were we smaller and less secure, I might not have taken such chances. But I would have felt better if I did.
In short, the world of late has run on bullshi*t. And I do not like bullshi*t. Ask my friends. I'll mail them dead animals, feed them catfood on crackers, put gay porn in their cars, and dead fish in the toilet. But I draw the line with when it comes to poo.
The America of the 21st Century is really pathetic. We've become a nation of fat, rude, unappreciative, spoiled whiners who are so accustomed to having our every whim and urge catered to that any denial of our desires can inspire epic shi*t-fits the likes of which Bobby Knight can't touch. It'd be funny were it not so prevalent and indicative of larger problems with our empire...
I'm tickled pinker than Dr. Ruth's birth canal to have been informed by a few scholars of the militaria business, that we are now unofficially known as "Outofstock.com". I'm flattered. What a catchy name! Sadly, that URL is already taken. Anyway, it seems that my decision some years ago, to post availability tables for many of our products has caused intense emotional distress as well as irreparable and permanent damage to the self-esteem of legions of re-enactors. (Most seem to be "paratroopers" but I shall avoid flogging any one group lest I be labeled a racist too.) These tortured souls have failed to understand two important facts:
1. I put the availability information on the site in an effort to keep everyone up to date, not to torment. Imagine the agony of assuming that your hat size was actually in stock, only to be informed hours or even days later that it is not! Sounds like a lawsuit to me. With us, one can simply go to the respective page and see what we have without even having to risk a toll free call. Unlike other companies, I try not to advertise things we don't actually have. I do not want to have a fantasy website.
2. The lack of availability charts (and hence those traumatizing "sold out"s) on most other militaria websites does not mean that they have all items in all sizes in stock all the time. Those companies choose, for one reason or another, not to offer any such information. Not that it makes us better (or worse) because we do, but some guys don't have the time while others have their sites edited and updated by third parties making it expensive to change their site every day. I assumed the charts would be a customer friendly tool.
Yes, it is true that I am a mean and hateful jackass who derives immense pleasure from tormenting my fellow primates, but this was not one of those instances. That I did so inadvertantly does give me a tickle.
Were I truly crafty and more in tune with the tactics of customer manipulation, I would eliminate all mention of stocking status and strive to cultivate an aura of exclusivity by starting a campaign titled "worth the wait". We could even charge more for the same (or lesser quality) products and toot our horn with gushing customer testimonials. Then, having money on long-term loan to us for months (or worse) while you awaited your treasure could become a status symbol. A topic of titillating conversation over a dinner of Chefboy ardee and diet green tea... The longer we kept you waiting, the more envious your friends would be...
The whiners are impossible. They pee their panties if I list an item as "sold out", if I don't update the pages daily, and even if I fail to list items that they want but we have never had in the first place. Please know that my limited command of the English language precludes me from being able to express the depths of my pain that we cannot fulfill your particular flavor of militaria fantasy today...
Go dry your taint and put on a new diaper. It's really refreshing and you'll feel better in a jiffy...works for me.
So, I'll wager the whiners. It won't be easy to figure out, but I'll bet that we here at Outofstock.com have a better "in stock" percentage of inventory than anyone else. You geniuses determine a practical way to inventory the other dealers and we'll compare. I'll give you a free case of Boones if I'm wrong.
As for the nasty ones who have taken to calling Gina a liar and cussing her out because their boots* aren't in yet, be aware of a few things:
-If Gina is in a bad mood, then I'm in a bad mood.
-To cheer myself up I like to send roadkill to people. And gay porn. And NAACP memberships.
-It's amazing how easily orders can get lost.
-Gina has been known to accidentally send your invoice to the house rather than to work where your wife won't know about it.
Were it not for jackasses, we wouldn't have rants now would we?
*I changed the boot restock estimates from November to December because I forgot that a disturbing percentage of you don't understand that November has 30 days in it. On the 1st, they call and scream "you lying sons of bitches" when informed that they aren't in yet. The boots are enroute, but it may be the 20th, or the 30th or even December depending on myriad factors. Due to the squalling, I have forbidden ALL future preorders.
This first rant was and is a joke!
It's not true.
OK? Don't pee your pants.
Due to an unexpected and completely unwarranted federal investigation by the department of agriculture and the TBI, Eric Grigsby will be temporarily unavailable and unable to access his email or inventory in the near future. His attorney's hope to have the matter resolved quickly. Hopefully within 4-6 weeks he will be able to operate again. Please refer all questions concerning your orders with him to Charlie at 931-537-9165
The number is Eric's normal shop number.
Charlie is a story unto himself which we can't share.
The necessary follow-up/ antidote....
is still in business
1. Yes, he's still in business! He's having issues with the morons who host his website. He and his business are very much alive and not in jail. You panicked goat ropers need to take a valium and stop squalling "thief" and "out of business" all over the internet when a vendor's website goes down.
2. Do NOT call us looking for your order with Eric. We don't have any information about your damned helmet! We couldn't help you even if we wanted to. Please refer all questions concerning your orders to
Warning! They are going on vacation from 12-20 March.
No one will be in the shop so don't stroke out again.
No, this is not a joke.
3. Grigsby Militaria consists of Eric and his wife. He doesn't have a full time dedicated phone slave. It is sometimes difficult to reach him. He frequently goes to shows, runs to the store for paint, has to eat lunch and of course, paint helmets. He can't hear the phone when he's in the paint booth! If he doesn't answer the phone, or reply to your email faster than greased lightening, then he's just busy or out of the shop.
The guy is honest. Slow sometimes, but very much legit.
If you just can't wait, this may help. You all have finally nagged enough that we'll give it up. We can't take all the pressure. Just don't tell him that we told you. It's our little secrect. Here's his private "dealer's only" 24/7 helmet service phone number.
4. Why on earth would you call another dealer to check on your order anyway?? Who raised these people?
"Duh..hello, LL Bean, yes, umm I placed an order da Sportsman's guide a few weeks ago and I don't have it yet. Could you get it for me. "
Over the last several years, a large selection of reproduction US field gear has been produced in China, India and Pakistan. Some is available on ebay directly from Asia and other items are offered via online catalogs and Shotgun News. The prices are tempting, but the rest of their attributes are about as attractive as the 50 year hookers working the truckstops on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Yes, from a business perspective, I have good reason to bash my cheaper competition. Not infrequently, we get the wise-ass calls informing us that Rocco was able to find a reproduction cartridge belt for $19 from Meathead Outfitters. Almost as often, Rocco's wife calls back to order one of our belts (or whatever) while he meekly gives her instructions in the background after the $19 wonder-belt blows apart. Many people fail to realize that there are at least half a dozen different manufacturers of this stuff and the quality varies wildly.
If I so desired, I could offer those same products myself but choose not to. Why? Because they suck. It's a convenient truth for us, but it is indeed the truth.
All of the US made US WWII field gear is superior to the cheap crap from Asia. So far as I know, there are three main manufacturers in the USA. ATF (us), AP Co.(usually sold by other dealers but marked "AP Co."), and WWII Impressions. I have not seen the gear offered by the latter, but he is not known for making junk so I suspect it's good. I mentioned the other manufacturers to be fair and try to convey an air of objectivity. Maybe it'll work, maybe not. I'm satisfied with the concept.
What's my beef with the cheap stuff? Can't stand the competition? Hardly.
What makes it so bad?
Although a handful of items are acceptable (we carry 3), nearly every piece I have examined (yes, I buy some of the competition's junk just to verify that it's still junk) has suffered from the same problem. Poor materials. The workmanship is usually good to excellent. Meaning their sewing machine operators can sew straight. However, they do get rather careless when placing and setting eyelets and rivets...
Webbing and Canvas: One manufacturer (Mil-Tec/ Sturm) has a number of items made from nylon webbing, most notably their pistol belts and 10 pockets. That sends them packing without further analysis. The others that do use cotton, or canvas and webbing with some cotton in it, suffer from loosely woven cloth that is usually too thin. This saves money, but results in frequent, often catastrophic failures. It's the primary reason that the eyelets rip out and the straps rip loose from their bindings. Lastly, one smaller manufacturer actually uses hand dyed (dipped?) fabrics which exhibit wild shade variations and it does a good chameleon impression when exposed to sunlight. It's really cool.
Hardware: Even more abominable than the cloth materials is the hardware. The Chinese in particular have an intense desire to conserve metal. Most of their hardware that should be steel or brass is actually copper or tin. To make matters worse, nearly every last piece of hardware, whether it is snaps, grommets, hooks or ball tips is 30-50% thinner than the US made equivalent. (Yes, I checked them with a caliper.) Combined with the softer metals, their performance is abominable. Lastly, namely in regard to eyelets, the imported gear uses almost exclusively the wrong size grommets. Who cares? You should. The narrow flanges and oversized center holes result in them ripping out after even moderate use.
Cartridge Belt Comparison
100% cotton, shuttle loomed
Original spec, all US made. Scovil, Anchor and Stimpson products.
Nylon. No more need be said.
Cheapest possible. Plastic(?) front hooks and wrong size, poorly and incorrectly set eyelets.
Appears to be cotton. Loose, wrong weave, too thin.
Bizarre pattern pot metal front hook, no inner straps whatsoever, poor quality press studs and sloppily set, wrong size eyelets.
|What's my hang-up on eyelets? The eyelets on cartridge and pistol belts must be the correct size, type and be set properly in the right location(s). Why? Because suspenders, shovel carriers, canteen covers, etc, etc, must be able to fit and the eyelets must be able to support the weight and survive the rigors of running about the forest. Buy one and you'll likely find out what I'm talking about the first time you use it.
The cheap belts usually retail for $35-45 depending on the vendor. Both are offered from multiple companies. There are several other, even more awful, repros available, some as low as $20. Ours are $100 but considering the lot-lizard belts will last about one event, you can do some quick math and see what sort of savings they really are.
Yes, we have some stuff made in China too. We are currently working on Leggings and Haversacks with our Chinese contractor. Both items require so much labor time that they are excessively expensive to produce in the USA. We are going to purchase the hardware from Scovil and Stimpson, and have it shipped to the factory overseas. The canvas is being contracted here by a canvas company that knows their stuff, and made in China (the US plants are KIA), and made to the correct specifications. Some of the foreign companies can produce damned good products, but it's a lot of work and oversight to get it done right.
The Garbage Gear is acceptable in some circumstances. Garbage Gear should hold up for static displays where it won't be disturbed. Undead Historians who like to reenact with empty ammunition pouches and canteens and backpacks filled with nothing heavier than Twinkies and styrofoam blocks should be OK. So long as you don't move suddenly (like run or fall down) or attempt to do anything strenuous (like low crawling) it will probably last for awhile.
Go ahead, prove me wrong: If you think I'm simply spewing propaganda in an attempt improve our flagging sales, then I urge you to prove me a liar and waste some loot on the garbage gear. 90% of the time, an item that is priced 50% less than another is cheaper for good reason. In this case, the savings will end up costing you in the end...
Smokin' in the Boys Room
Wouldn't it be a nice change, albeit a shock, if a public figure simply fessed up and admitted their responsibility when they screwed up? Lying poorly has become standard procedure. Repercussions are minimal, unless you happen to lie to a grand jury. And these weasels wonder why nobody believes a damned thing they say anymore.
Politicians have always been suspect. Granted, to varying degrees, bullshi*tting goes with the territory. However, during the last 20 years, the quality of the bullshi*tting has dropped dramatically. In the past, most public figures at least made an attempt to make up a semi-believable cock and bull tale to cover their arse. There was a tacit admission on their part that they were not smarter than everyone else in the nation. Nowadays, they don't even do the public that courtesy. There's no plausible deniability. We are expected to believe whatever they tell us, simply because they say so.
What do you suppose would have happened if Clinton had simply stood up and said, "yea, I took her for a desk ride", instead of all that parsing of the word "sex". It would have blown over far more quickly. I might have voted for the dude just because he acknowledged that I'm not that stupid. He’d still lose points for his poor choice in women, but being honest would have been brownie points. Had Bush or Rumsfeld admitted in '05 or '06, that they "screwed the pooch", and then proceeded to lay out their plan on how to remove their wieners from Fido the Iraqi wonder dog, their jobs would have been so much easier. And more troops might be alive. But no, they simply took Goebbel's motto. "A lie told often enough eventually becomes the truth." Too bad for Ted Haggard, nobody bought the part about just delivering meth to his man-friend.
Where did this trend of poor quality lying originate? I think it started with the church leaders. Denying the obvious sure did a lot of good for Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and Cardinal Law. Admit the obvious? No. Deny, deny, deny. Then the "me generation" (read: “anyone's fault but mine generation“) decided to try their luck with the routine. Despite its abysmal track record, politicians, entertainers and athletes persist in trying to utilize this tactic. Why is a mystery to me. Has it ever worked? Besides O.J.?
There are exceptions to this. If you're Senator Craig, it's OK to lie. Any guy caught cruising to smoke pony in a men’s room should lie their ass off and pray God gives you a hall pass and makes the entire population of planet Earth momentarily brain dead. Even if you aren't a "family values" kinda guy, having the public discover that you get your rocks off slithering around on the floor of public toilets to milk chicken is downright embarrassing...
Why doesn't just one public figure tell their pollsters and media consultants to go to hell and play the honesty card. The shock value alone would guarantee weeks of free air time. Instead of "I don't recall", try "yes I did." Instead of "what do you mean by "relationship"?" try "what would you have done if you were married to Hillary?”
And, when things go to hell in a handbasket, and it’s painfully clear to even the dumbest of hillbillies, just admit that you were wrong, take responsibility for a bad decision, and get on with trying to solve it. Denying that an obvious problem exists will only make things worse. And you probably won't get reelected anyway.
If the concept of honesty is good enough to teach our kids, why isn't it good enough for the leaders of the our country?
All Inclusive Reenacting
I finally remembered to get around to this beef. The "East meets West" fad in reenacting scenarios. I understand, some promoters feel this is a good way to maximize their attendance, but this is not the way to do it. From a historical point of view, it's accurate only to a point as it occurred in the last few weeks of the War. Granted, it is more notable than portraying the British Freekorps, but it was a minimal event. From a practical point, there are so few Russian reenactors as to make the whole exercise pointless. Furthermore, it may actually hurt the few Eastern Front events that actually do occur. If you want everyone to come, take inspiration from Las Vegas. Toss out the mafia, and make it a family affair. Open the gates to the Civil and Rev War reenactors, Trekkies, the Society for Creative Antagonism, and Gulf War reenactors. And don't forget the buffet.
We seriously need more Russians. It's a cool (and cheap) impression. Dan Welch tried for many years to breathe life into the starving horse, but Russian reenacting still struggles to do more than lift it's head and fart. And the Red Army did have paratroopers....
Apparently this topic is in need of a rehash. Periodically we get beseeched, lambasted or cursed by collectors who insist that we need to stamp "reproduction" prominently on all of our products because "one of their buddies" got burned. I put "one of their buddies" in parentheses because I suspect it was they themselves who got singed but they're too embarrassed to admit it. Anyway, the answer is "no". Was, is, and always will be "no". Why? Although this may seem nonsensical to the novice enthusiast, there two simple reasons for this.
One, money. The word "reproduction" or "fake", even on a small label would ruffle the feathers of many undead historians. It would impugn their sense reality and cause their time-warp to malfunction. Just knowing that the label in your jump trousers said "reproduction" would be like having a case of crabs. Many of our items are essentially marked as "fakes". The names ATF, Kirkman or Crawford are not original WWII manufacturers. Markings are like icing on cakes. Many people adore them. A mediocre reproduction with beautiful markings will outsell a perfect copy which is devoid of them.
The second reason is that it would promote ignorance. Although many of our products are of excellent quality and accuracy, most are readily distinguished from originals...if you have spent some time to learn about and examine originals. I know, educating oneself is an anathema to today's Americans because it involves effort (AKA work) and no one can do it for you. If you want to collect anything, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with whatever it is you want to sink your money into.
Most of our customers prefer realistic markings for reasons of aesthetics rather than as an aid to perpetrate fraud. Those who are intent on screwing others will not be stopped by a label. Conversely, if the neophytes got it in their heads that all reproductions are marked as such, think how much easier they'd be to screw...should we stamp originals..."original"?
Fluffy the Farb
Occasionally I become bored or inebriated enough to browse some of the living history (AKA Reenacting) forums and message boards. What I have gleaned from the blather is it's obvious that this nation is in trouble. In the same way that the "news media" is too enthralled with Paris Hilton's stint in the can or the paternity of a dead gold-digger's kid to report on world events of actual importance. The as yet undead historian's have not failed to be infected by such priority-dyslexia.
One that best illustrates my point, was a well written and amusing critique about one of the repro German helmets made in India. The majority of the focus concerned all that was irrelevant...at least to old school jerks like myself. The packaging was discussed in great detail...the fact that the paint had a good finish and didn't appear to have any blemishes or imperfections...but there was a loose rivet (split pin) that the guy was able to avoid chipping the paint on when he tightened it. How about more prescient concerns? Such as, did it fit? Does it compare well with the real thing? Is it made properly?
Earth to the undead historians; WTF do you think will happen to the paint the first time you take this into "combat"? Many people now expect military uniforms and gear to meet the same standards that the Rolls Royce restorer uses to inspect the new dash insert he received for his Corniche Convertible. Then these same brandy and caviar connoisseurs pay the helmet restorers hundred of dollars to "age" their Rolls Royce skull caps. We can actually charge extra to beat on Fluffy's precious helmet..to make it look used. But if there's a chip in the paint when he first receives the thing...watch out. I used to regard myself as nuts... but I've been outclassed.
The quest to "look real" is a constant one in this weird little world of undead history. But like the Walrus epidemic sweeping the nation, the solution is maddeningly simple. In the rare instance when I still dress up to bust caps and "relive history", I still get pestered about why it is that I look so "real". They shake their heads when I simply tell them to strive to look like shi*t. I was a soldier at one time. In the field, you don't care about the shine on your boots, the creases in your trousers or whether or not the paint on your helmet has a damned chip in it. The only thing I wash is my undershirt (I don't wear underwear...freeballing in wool pants is invigorating). My pants are torn and patched, my MP40 has hardly any bluing, my helmet cover is frayed, my cap is mashed from being stored in my helmet liner, my boots are comfortable but have seen better days, my canteen cup is still somewhere in the woods at Pioneer OH, and my E-tool is caked in mud. But my bayonet is sharper than a Gerber, I have spare socks, plenty of water, a cleaning kit, and extra ammo. I don't smell as bad as I look. The guys who do the Marine impressions at the Reading airshow have what basically amounts to groupies. Other reenactors fawning over how real they look. Tip: You can look filthy too. Soot + olive oil makes great sweat stains.
You can't "be there", the War is long over (yes, I'm sure) and most of you aren't German. However, one can at least try his best to play the roll decently. Keep yourself in shape, wear and learn your uniform, and get dirty. Yourself. It won't take long, if you actually go out and play. If you just want to stand by the display and impress the chicks sipping Gatorade...well, get out the rocks and the cold blue...or your wallet.
I found a nice recipe on the Columbia, Ky Forum. I thought it appropriate to share this regional culinary treasure with our customers. Irrelevant but informative.
Deep Fried Cat
First, decide whether you want to fry a dead cat or a live one. Each approach requires a drastically different approach, however, the ingredients are pretty much the same.
1 clove garlic
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 twig from a dogwood tree
2 twigs from a pussy willow
A dash of paprika
A splash of grain alcohol
1 box of Altoids
A pinch of salt
5 gallons olive oil
I, for one, favor using very few spices. After all, if you are going to cook cat, why mask the delicate flavor? For the true cat afficianado, I recommend cat sushi or pussy sashimi. Yummm! But if your heart is set on deep fried cat, read on.
The list of ingredients is very simple, as you can see, but the appartaus required can be daunting!
1 three foot by three roll galvanized wire
1 pair elbow length heavy duty rubber gloves
ear plugs or ear muffs
Clear acrylic face shield
large rubber mallet
stainless steel cable
Whether you are preparing a live cat or a dead one, the first step is the same: removing the naughty bits. Use the apple corer to do this. Hold the cat upside down by the tail and carefully remove all the naughty bits. Set aside in a bowl.
Before proceeding with the next step, read Hebrews.
Bring the olive oil to a boil. Rat the box of Altoids and take a deep breath because if your cat is alive, the kitchen is going to be a very noisy place!
Wrap the cat in the wire and trim off the excess wire with the tin snips. Form into a round ball by beating with the rubber mallet. Tie the steel cable to wire ball containing the cat and slowly lower into the vat of boiling olive oil.
It's been said for a long time that honesty is the best policy. Nobody's perfect, but when it's the best one to follow when it comes to ordering from us. Almost every day, we have some sort of peculiarity crop up where the customer lies their ass off hoping that we'll correct the problem of their own making. Tip: Even if it goes against our stated return and exchange policies, we will often make exceptions. But this depends on the honesty and the jerk-off factors. If you tick off Gina or Rollin, it's over. How to do this? The A number one way you can accomplish this task is to claim that we "told you to". Categorically, if you have done one or more of the following and are considering blaming us for personally recommending that you do so, think again:
1.Ordered the wrong size. We are adamant that you do NOT try to second guess us and order a coat that 3 sizes larger than what you normally wear. If you wear a 36R, but think we're too dumb to make it oversized...and you order a 48L...your brain malfunction is not our fault.
2. Washed your uniform and want to return it because it didn't shrink enough. After my first nasty experience with cotton in 2000, we oversize everything about 10%. But if the pants you ordered fit like overalls, then you need to exchange them for a smaller size. The shrinkage is slight. About 1". Not 6.
3. Bleached anything. Go ahead. Just try telling Gina that she told you to bleach your stuff. And keep licking the windows while you're at it.
4. Claim that "Rollin" told you anything. Rollin doesn't do orders. He rarely hangs around the table at shows. He is the worst salesman in the world, as when he does happen to be around, he'll send you off to someone else's table who has a better deal. And he does not dye boots, tell a 140 pound guy that he looks great in that XXL, promise that MP40 blank adapters work great on Garands, or urge you to invoke his name when calling the shop for great deals.
5. Make shi*t up. If you are too embarrassed to tell us that your wife sat on your helmet and crushed it, at least make up a believable scenario. It didn't "just collapse" like a cake with no yeast. We can see the cellulite dimples in the thing! Tell us that it was your Mother-in-law.
I have been wrong. One guy returned some German boots with shriveled and fossilized soles claiming that they "just did this" when they dried out after getting wet in grass. I was wrong when I said it was obvious that he had dried them out next to a fire. In reality, he had put them in a dryer. Just when you think you've seen it all...
If it's obvious that you are telling us tall tales about what really happened, more than likely we aren't going to give you a freebie. If the truth is really funny, or extremely sad, and I am entertained, I may meet you in the middle on the deal. If it's so twisted or insane as to make good rant material, it may make you famous. Everybody has their "Special" days. Those days when you do things that you knew were stupid, but the little voices in your head persuaded you to do anyway.
It's OK. I understand. But I don't ask people to pay me when I do something retarded.
I ordered it and you didn't send it to me.
This game has gone on since we started this business in 1993, but lately it's being taken to new highs (or lows depending on your perspective.) It goes like this. Oberfuhrer McFly wants an Oberbumsenfuhrer Cap in size 62 with brown piping, or perhaps a BOB outfit in a 49 extra short. (The majority of McFly demands are for U-Boat commander outfits. Is there a meaning to this?) He checks the website or calls, and is informed that said item is sold out or that we do not have it or we have never had said item in the first place. He is told that "sold out" means that no, we really, honestly, do not have any of said item: Not anywhere in the building, not at home, not buried with the dead coeds in my Mom's backyard nor in the trunk of Gina's '78 Berlinetta. Not to be deterred, McFly places an online order for said item anyway. If we don't have said item listed, McFly makes up a price for us and types it in. Just to be helpful...
The new twist for 2007 is this: In previous times, McFly might submit the order every day for a month, hoping I would rub my thigh and make said item magically appear. In McFly's world, "I ordered it" equals "it will come." Sounds like some cheesy line from a Kevin Costner movie. In 2007, the McFly's of the universe are taking the proactive approach and have resorted to verbal abuse. Yelling. Calling the staff here bad names. Threatening Better Business Bureau action if we fail to deliver their U-Boat uniform.
Now, you retards may not know me, but I love this sort of thing. It gives me inspiration to write rants, which makes you mad, which makes me very happy. I like happy. Happy is good.
After all, all work and no play does makes Jack a dull boy....
Why is Gina locking herself in the bathroom?
Anyway, I want to thank these window lickers for providing me with new material. Keep it coming. I still have no plans to make U-Boat or SA uniforms, but you guys are so absurd as to be entertaining.
Note: This is not to knock people who call and ask about items they can't find on the site or even those who don't comprehend "sold out" very well. It's for those who, despite being told the honest truth (i.e.: "we don't have any of those" or "they are ALL gone") proceed to break down and have a hissy fit and act like spoiled brats who need their Ritalin or an encounter with the Daddies belt. Yes, adult men do such things more than we ever expected.
I know Rollin!
Every year after the Gap or Reading, Gina gets harassed by my new buddies. Tip: the fastest way to send her into orbit is to call her up and explain to her that since you met/spoke with/looked at Rollin at "the event" you are now entitled to special deals, free stuff or simply have no use for her and need to deal with me directly. I'm not sure who she loves more; "friends of Rollin" or the guys who feel compelled to spell "Smith", "street" and "lane" for her. Yes, in some cases I do tell certain customers to specifically call and tell Gina they spoke to me and ask her for/ about such and such. But I usually tell her this ahead of time and it is once or twice per event and 9 times out of 10 it involves an exchange. So, try the "I know Rollin" angle at your own peril.
Second, we have had three recent incidents with visitors to the shop. It never fails, each time we permit people to dig around, they invariably make a beeline for the corner office or my office. The items in those offices are samples: both originals and reproductions. When told that those items are not for sale, instead of simply accepting the fact, they become enraged and have a fit. Sorry, but some things I am not selling. They behave as though we've just screwed them over and raped their cat. Having a tantrum won't change things. And it's embarrassing. When I am done with such items, they are listed on the website or taken to a show. Then they will be clearly listed as "for sale" with price tags. I'm not sure how else I'm supposed to handle this one. Just another case of my megalomaniac self, hating reenactors....
Lastly, I don't take orders or do customer service. Yes, Gina does screen my calls. It's just another aspect of my megalomania but there is a practical reason behind my inaccessibility. Every time I have agreed to speak to someone, that person demands to deal with me directly, always and forever. It quickly translates into my work day being extended by several hours with people who want to talk shop.
Or the decline of reenacting in Ohio.
Or where's Grigsby?
Or gay porn.
I simply can't do it.
Naturally, the best way to reach me is to harangue Gina about how important you are and tell us that me not taking your call will be one of the great regrets of my life. If you explain to her what it is that you want, I might do it. Maybe not. But your chances increase from zilch to a snowball's chance in hell. If you have something that honestly needs my attention and no one else can help you with it there are two ways to have me deal with it.
1. Call and explain it to Gina and she will ask me.
2. Send an email to my attention.
I've tried being more accessible in the past and it took up so much time that I couldn't get anything done. Plus, remaining aloof and mysterious fluffs my self esteem..
When the going gets tough, the whiners run for cover. And blame everyone but themselves. How in the hell did McCain pick that dingy broad? Are the people who make up the Republican party really the backward, ignorant hillbillys that the liberals make them out to be? Why does anyone pay attention to anything the moose mom says. She's an imbecile. "Going Rogue" is a bit pretentious and overblown. "Anybody's Fault But Mine" would be more like it.
When they announced her as the VP choice, like everyone else, I said "who the hell is she?" Within a week, when it was obvious they had a short leash and a tight muzzle on her, I knew McCain was toast. Sure enough, as soon as they let wonder woman speak, she sank the boat. But, like herpes, she keeps popping back up every few months to aggravate everything again. In case it has escaped the rant fans, one of my biggest pet peeves is failure to own up to your screw ups. She spends the majority of her time pointing fingers to excused her lame performance. Apparently her twitter was so grievously injured by the naughty things posted about her that she could no longer govern. "Pitbull" my ass. A sniveling cocker spaniel is more like it.
Spouting folksy common sense and being in the church choir do not make you presidential material in themselves. According to throngs of female Republicans last Fall, her repeated encounters with her hubby's baby-gravy were the most amazing thing since sliced bread and this common ground led them to the apparently logical conclusion that she was an obvious choice to lead the free world. My dilemma is this- McCain, Obama and I all have similar reproductive organs so how does this help me to choose? Life is so complicated...
So, the moms thought she was Jesus in heels because she had been knocked up, and the rednecks thought she had great tits- and she likes guns so this made her "compelling". It's like impressing UT football fans- paint it orange and add a white "T" and they start hollering and piss all over themselves with excitement. Not that they have bladder control issues- they just get too drunk to find the bathroom.
Her presence on the ticket caused more people I've encountered to vote for Obama (as a protest) than I ever imagined possible. Including at least a dozen gun dealers- and that's an accomplishment. It's approaching half of the people I know who I thought surely would have voted Republican. All agreed that she is so ignorant as to be dangerous- literally. McCain isn't the healthiest guy and I would be not in the least bit surprised if that chick were to wake up to announce that Moses came to her in a dream and told her to nuke Brazil- as payback for them bombing a place in Nebraska called Pearl Harbor. There was no conspiracy to discredit her, despite hers and Rush Limbaugh's claims to the contrary. All the other side had to do was sit back let her babble. I don't know whether any VP candidate could have resulted in a Republican victory last Fall, but she was a gift to the Obama campaign.
The lack of any vestige of common sense of our people is appalling. Fat, lazy...desire has become an occupation. Ignorance and boorish behavior is rewarded. The Springer show becomes the norm, thugs demand respect, and soldiers are prosecuted for killing the enemy. And now a twit who thinks Jesus rode a T.Rex to work and who probably can't find Russia on a map is pushed as presidential material. What the hell were they thinking???
The current choice is bad enough, but at least he is intelligent and has a slick operation- it's somewhat understandable why people bought his spiel. But electing Ms. Deer-in-the-headlights to any office higher than the town softball council is...well....a sign of the times. We are getting what we deserve.
People are already upset with me because I'm down on hot-pants Palin. Sorry, but I'm stumped at how anyone can find her to be even remotely qualified for national office. Watch an interview with her- it's obvious that she has no depth of knowledge- she struggles with the script she's memorized and as soon as the topic strays from what she's been tutored on the night before, she's totally lost. Paris Hilton is more coherent in conversation. Palin may be a total sweetheart and a great person, but she's not presidential material. If she would just admit she was too inexperienced last Fall I'd give her some credit. But it's blame game 101. Whoever vetted her should be banned from political consulting and Rush needs to see a shrink. Moreover, her brand of politics is going to split the opposition to Obamanomics just when that's the last thing we need right now. That's why I'm really ticked. Please get somebody capable up front before it's too late. She's not it.
And lastly, I'm no fan of the current leadership. Breaking the treasury for no apparent gain baffles me, so it must be good for some of his buddies. Perhaps Pelosi will get a free face lift. Who the hell knows. Hopefully, he's over reaching and this crap won't get passed. But I'm not holding my breath.
Inappropriate for a rant? Naw. I like stirring the pot...
Answers to recent questions, comments and meathead requests.
Yes, hats do come in different sizes.
When ordering an impression, we do kind of need to know which one. (US or German would be a start...)
No, your waist size does not help us with your shoe size. Likewise, shoe size doesn't help us determine your hat size.
Yes, we carry more than one kind of "army jacket".
No, shipping isn't free.
No, we can't call you back before 8 am to take your order for a scarf.
If you place an online order on Friday night, and your package doesn't arrive on Saturday, so you place the same order again, on Saturday, and when it isn't there at 9 am Sunday, and you place the order again, and when still no luck Monday at sunrise you place it yet again...yes indeed, your ass will indeed be getting four boxes. Hint: ATF and UPS don't work on Saturdays and Sundays.
No, we won't be open for shoppers on Christmas Day.
No, we won't search the internet and every other vendor for you to tell you where you find everything on your militaria wish list.
It's wonderful that your Grandpa was in WWII. But in order to re-create his uniform we need a little more info than..."my Grandpa was in the War." If he's still alive, ask him. Not us!
This isn't a rant. It's a post I ran across on a forum. The author just goes by "Poo". It's just damned funny and I felt like sharing.
Today in the Stall in the Mall
All in all, it hadn't been a good day. Bad traffic, a malfunctioning computer, incompetent coworkers and a sore back all made me a seething cauldron of rage. But more importantly for this story, it had been over forty-eight hours since I'd last taken a dump.
I'd tried to jumpstart the process, beginning my day with a bowl of fiber cereal, following it with six cups of coffee at work, and adding a bean-laden lunch at Taco Bell.
As I was returning home from work, my insides let me know with subtle rumbles and the emission of the occasional tiny squeek that Big Things would be happening soon.
Alas, I had to stop at the mall to pick up an order for the wife.
I completed this task, and as I was walking past the stores on my way back to the car, I noticed a large sale sign proclaiming,"Everything Must Go!"
This was prophetic, for my back side informed me with a sudden violent cramp that everything was indeed about to go.
I hurried to the mall bathrooms. I surveyed the six stalls, which I have numbered 1 through 6 for your convenience:
2. Clean, but Bathroom Protocol forbids its use, as it's next to the occupied one.
3. Poo smeared on seat.
4. Poo and toilet paper in bowl, unidentifiable liquid splattered on seat.
5. No toilet paper, no stall door.
As usual for a cell phone conversation, the voice was exactly 8 dB's louder than it needed to be.
Out of Shy, Shameful habit, my sphincter slammed shut. The insane conversation went on and on. Mr. Sh@#ter was blathering to Mrs. Sh!@ter about the crappy day he had. I sat there, cramping and miserable, waiting for him to finish.
As the loud conversation dragged on, I became angrier and angrier,thinking that I, too, had a crappy day, but I was too polite to yak about it in public.
Finally my anger reached a point that overcame Shamefulness. I no longer cared. I gripped the toilet paper holder with one hand, braced my other hand against the side of the stall, and pushed with all my might. I was rewarded with a baratone burst of colossal magnitude -- a cross between the sound of someone ripping a very wet bed sheet in half and of plywood being torn off a wall.
The sound gradually transitioned into a heavily modulated low-RPM tone, not unlike someone firing up a Harley. I managed to hit the resonance frequency of the stall, and it shook gently. All in the pentatonic scale of D#.
Once my my anthem was mute, three things became apparent:
1) The next-door conversation had ceased;
2) my colon's continued seizing indicated that there was more to come;and
3) the bathroom was now beset by a horrible, putrid stench.
It was as if a gateway to Hell had been opened.
The foul miasma quickly made its way under the stall and began choking my chatty poop-mate.
This initial blast had ended his conversation in mid-sentence."Oh my God," I heard him utter, following it with suppressed sounds of choking, and then,"No, baby, that wasn't me (cough, gag), you could hear that (gag)??"
Now there was no stopping me. I pushed for all I was worth.
I could swear that in the resulting cacophony of rips, splashes, poots, and blasts, I was actually lifted slightly off the pot.
All I could do was hang on for the ride.
Next door I could hear him fumbling with the paper dispenser as he desperately tried to finish his task. Little snatches of conversation made themselves heard over my symphony:"Gotta go... horrible... throw up... in my mouth... not... make it...tell the kids... love them... oh God..."followed by more sounds of suppressed gagging and retching.
Alas, it is evidently difficult to hold one's phone and wipe one's bum at the same time. Just as my high-pressure abuse of the toilet was winding down, I heard a plop and splash from next door, followed by a string of swear words and gags. My poop-mate had dropped his phone into the toilet.
There was a lull in my production, and the restroom became deathly quiet. I could envision him standing there, wondering what to do.
A final drum roll announcement came trumpeting from my behind, that must have been the last straw.
I heard a flush, a fumbling with the lock, and then the stall door was thrown open. I heard him running out of the bathroom, slamming the stall door behind him.
After a considerable amount of paperwork, I exited my stall.
As I left, I glanced into the next-door stall. Nothing remained in the bowl. Had he flushed his phone, or had he plucked it out and left the bathroom with nasty unwashed hands? The world will never know.
I exited the bathroom, momentarily proud and Shameless, looking around for a face glaring at me. But I saw no one. I suspect that somehow my supernatural elimination has managed to transfer my Shamefulness to my anonymous poop-mate. I think it'll be a long time before he can bring himself to crap in public -- and I doubt he'll ever again answer his cell phone in the loo.
And this, my friends, is why you should never talk on your phone in the bathroom.
FYI: When you guys call us to order while you're sitting on the toilet...Gina can tell.
And she likes to talk about it...
ATF's Hours and the Phone Panic
Every morning and every evening, before 10 and after 7, there is a panic. Despite clearly posted hours and years of consistently not deviating from them, dozens of people call...and call and call and call and call. We have counted up to 55 rings on for one stubborn individual. I still love the ones at 2 am (once in awhile we're here making porn or reading Taro cards). I have answered a couple, just for fun, and without fail, it's "Oh, did I wake anybody up? I didn't mean to. But I wanted to check on my belt buckle order." These nuts obviously assume that the phone number is for a house...and the hell they didn't "mean to wake anybody up." Then what the f*ck were you doing calling somebody at 2 am??? Were you people raised in a barn or the Hilton residence?
We are open nine hours every day. That's plenty. We are here at other times, but we have to have some down time to finish paper work, pack orders, clean out the coffee pot, put the Chinamen to bed, post on the Goth Girl blog and molest small animals. Gina thinks we're disgusting but she just doesn't realize what she's missing. Anyway, we keep our hours pretty well. If these hours are simply too inconvenient for you, you don't have email, and you wish to place or inquire about an order at 3:30 am, on holidays or weekends, here's my personal cell phone number 888-843-4564. I really don't mind being woken up to discuss the finer points of what LT. Spears was wearing in Band of Brothers. Call me anytime...
Some people have suggested an answering machine. We've tried that one but despite a crystal clear message that we do not return calls, every knucklehead leaves a 20 minute dissertation about how great their uniform looks on their dog and could we make Cujo a pistol belt. Finally the infernal machine started transferring calls to other numbers in Adair County. We never have been able to corner those gremlins, so we usually don't have an answering machine. Why don't we return calls? Because 98% of the morons demanded that we call them back...after hours. We have a toll free number, answered 9 hours per day (Friday only 6 hours), five days per week. Then we do shows and reenactments as well. That's enough. If you want to chat after hours or on Christmas Day, send us an email. Easy.