On September 15th, I went with a buddy of mine to Cabela’s, a well-known hunting, fishing and camping store. While my friend is a frequent customer of Cabela’s and known among our friend group for always asking if anybody wants to come with him in our group chat, I had decided to join him despite my lack of familiarity with the store. One day after class, he texted me asking if I wanted to go to the Cabelas’s located approximately forty-five minutes away in Hamburg, PA.
When we had arrived at Cabelas’s, I was surprised by the vast size of the parking lot — I had later learned that the store offers spots for traveling RVs to park and stay overnight, which I thought was interesting and never had seen before. After taking a quick picture of the front of the Cabela’s, detailed with a nice roundabout for vehicles to drop off customers (which reminded me of a very similar drop-off location at a movie theater near my home), we walked inside and were greeted by an employee with a coupon that gives customers ten percent off certain brands of ammunition. While the coupon meant virtually nothing to me having not owned a gun, I noticed my buddy light up immediately as he is a rather passionate gun and hunting enthusiast. Walking towards the back of the store, I noticed many residents of the local, rural town close to the Cabela’s — dads taking their sons to look at hunting rifles, wives picking up new accessories for their husbands’ guns, children looking at the pellet gun modifiers, etc. We first stopped at the used hunting rifle section, filled with mostly .22-caliber bullets which I learned is known as the weakest type of gun and bullet one can purchase other than pellet and BB guns. We spent the majority of our time around the new guns and accessories, which was a very popular section considering the upcoming hunting season — I must admit that I felt clueless while asking my friend about the various gun brands both familiar and foreign to me. My friend had taken a number to talk to a representative about the various handguns available as he is pursuing his gun license in his home state of Connecticut. Listening to the two of them talk about guns was mundane for me at first, but after hearing about slight differences in the guns depending on the company that made it or where it was made was interesting from an outsider’s standpoint.
After my buddy had talked about his future purchase, he bought some ammo and other accessories for his hunting equipment and we were on our way. On out way out, I looked around and noticed a bunch of taxidermy from various donations from former customers all over the walls and in various installations on the floor. We even walked past a Koi pond, which was one of my favorite parts of the store. Cabela’s is a place very unfamiliar to me with people I don’t tend to be around very often. Originally, this was just a trip I decided to take to kill some time after getting out of class one day, but I had much more fun than I imagined and learned from the crash course. Being exposed to a place where I wouldn’t usually frequent as a customer allowed me to gain perspective on an interest or hobby to some that I made premature judgments on. I’m not sure if one will ever find me actually hunting for game, but I gotta admit I felt kind of cool holding a gun or two.