L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 217, March 31, 2003
CHANGE THE CODE!
Me and Century International Arms:
Exclusive to TLE
I have decided to destroy a company. It's not a decision which I have made lightly, nor do I believe it will be easy. I may not succeed, but I will try, and at the very least I will do them major damage. I do this not simply because they sold me a defective weapon. I do this not because they made me mad, which they have. No, I do this because I feel that it is my duty as a capitalist. I know that sounds funny, but I will explain that in a moment.
This story starts back around Christmas of the year 2000. I got a rifle, not just any rifle, but a Spanish CETME rifle, the kind of evil black implement of destruction which haunt the nightmares of the statist vermin who currently infest the halls of power in America (and with a damn pretty set of wood stocks, ta boot). Unfortunately, living in the People's Democratic Republic of Michigan, just spitting distance (I ought know, I do it a lot) from that den of Socialist inequity known as Detroit. There is almost no place where one can shoot a rifle. Most of the ranges in this area have been shut down by the EPA.
Yes, that's right, the Environmental Protection Agency, for those of you who don't know the scam, I'll explain. The EPA goes to the owner of the range and informs them that their property is contaminated with lead (gasp!). The owner is then informed that they can continue to operate but that they need to tear down everything on the range, dig up the ground to a depth of six feet and have it hauled off to a toxic-waste dump, all at a cost of several million dollars. However, if the owner agrees to close down, then they only need to dig up the backstops and it can go to a low-grade waste dump which only costs a few hundred- thousand. Guess which option the owners take? I happen to know one indoor range which, despite having been completely rebuilt mere weeks before, with not one round having been fired, was ordered to gut the whole place and rebuild it again.
But I digress. Between the lack of available ranges and available time and money on my part, it was almost a year and a half before I managed to fire my weapon. Now, shortly after I got the rifle, I had to send it back for repair as the magazine release was defective, but the company, Century International Arms, fixed it and returned it. Then came my day on the range, and a cold rainy day it was, typical of a Michigan summer, just before it gets hot and muggy. I paid my eleven bucks for an hour of shooting and proceeded to hit absolutely nothing. Now lest you think that I just can't shoot, I fired 40 rounds at a pistol target (that's a fairly large target for you less informed readers) 50 meters away from a shooting rest. I could have thrown the bullets and hit the damn thing.
I got home and checked my rifle. That was when I noticed that the rear sight was not as it should be. For those who have never seen the CETME, the rear sight is referred to as a 'Paddle Wheel', it has a 4-position wheel like this +, each position has a range from one to four hundred meters. My sight however did not stand up straight like it was supposed to, so I decided that this was the problem. I further decided that, instead of having Century Arms replace this unit, I would just have it replaced with a better sight. So there it sat, waiting for me to scrape up the money to fix it. Until last week, when I received my new copy of "Boston's Gun Bible". Where I discovered that this sighting problem is by no means unique. According to the author, the front sights of these weapons are very often canted to one side, rendering the sights totally useless. So I snatch up my weapon and find, surprise! My front sight is canted. Well, this put a whole new gloss on the situation.
I went to the Century Arms website and discovered that they only have a 2-year warranty! Well that shouldn't matter, I thought, after all this is a manufacturing defect and one that is apparently not uncommon, they should fix it anyway. So I called them the following Monday, and after the usual runaround (which seems to effect every customer service center in America) they told me;
"Sorry sir, you are out of warranty."
"But it's a manufacturing defect." I said.
"Well, what do you want us to do?"
"Fix it," I replied.
Well, I'll spare you the repetitious details, the bottom line is it's all my fault. I didn't find it soon enough. I'm an idiot for not identifying the problem correctly, and Century International Arms could care less whether or not this rifle works because they only fix their screw-ups if you catch them inside of their two-year limit. Well, that's fine, let them hide behind their warranty instead of standing behind their products.
Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware you say? True, but what does that truly mean. Should I hire a gunsmith to inspect a weapon before I buy it? Should I hire Wolfgang Puck to go grocery shopping with me? Do I need to e-mail Martha Stewart before I buy new drapes? Of course not. Reputation is the key. Good reputation follows the superior product, the better producer. It is reputation, and it's offshoots, trademarks and Brand-Names which are our guideposts to quality. Century International Arms had a decent reputation, as far as I knew. Hell they sell to governments (which should have been a tip-off, now that I think about it), surely they would not sell junk, right? Only recently have I learned that CIA has had more than its share of defective products. My CETME is just the latest in a long line of shoddy goods, pawned off on the firearms buying public.
And that is how I intend to destroy Century International Arms. Not with letters to the mass-media, or my congress-critter. Not by demanding that the government step in with senseless regulation. But simply by informing my fellow consumers. The process has already begun. Right now on a dozen pro-gun forums, people, gun-owners, are reading my little tale of woe and more will follow. This article is only the first of many that will appear on the Internet in the coming weeks, and months, and years. I have only just begun my campaign to educate the gun buying public about Century Arms. Soon I will be found at gun-shows handing out fliers and talking to my fellow firearms enthusiasts. I won't forget the gun magazines either, most of then have e-mail now so it will be easier to send them letters and articles about CIA.
Hell I cost Colt firearms 280,000 dollars by just hanging out at gun- shows and convincing people to by their AR-15's and .45's from better companies, and Colt just irritated me (another long story I won't go into), CIA, on the other hand, has flat pissed me off! And I don't think I'm the only one. How many others are out there? How many people have lost money on the junk this company sells? How many of them will join me in protecting our fellow consumers from this company? Well, we shall see.
Do you hear me out there? Do you hear me Century International Arms? Well, you will! You have pissed off a man with a computer, bad move.