fanboys… what to do, what to do…

I recently had a discussion, on facebook of all places, that turned south quickly, but came back around in the end.  Short version?  I happened across a post from a friend that expressed unhappiness with the lack of professionalism as well as the “me, me, me” attitude at SHOT show this year.

I posted a response basically backing his play, and mentioned that the ‘fan boy’ craze wasn’t helpful to the industry nor was it wise to cater to it.  I was met with resistance.  A gentleman I’d never met reminded me that while some of the guns, gear, and practices some of these folks choose are silly, they represent a large portion of the market and will continue to grow.

Now…  I’m not sure I agree with him on how much market share the fanboys occupy, and I believe that it probably won’t push out the common sense firearm enthusiast, but it gave me pause just the same.  A blog post like this isn’t helpful if you don’t define what a fanboy is.  There are some who would call it a loyal follower of a product.  There are some who would define them as net rangers or keyboard commandos.  There actually may be some of both.  But I’d rather relegate this moniker to the folks that push their gear because they own it.  Therefor, it’s the best and only way to get the job done.  Just ask them.  They’ll tell you.

I have no problem with loyalty.  I seek it in my customers.  However, of two virtues that are both good things, there is often an order in which you place them.  I’d take truth over loyalty seven days a week and twice on Sunday.  While it is flattering to hear the “CCA” name tossed about, I’m hoping that along with that name comes quantifiable expressions as to why the advocate is voicing their statement.  Does that make sense?

I’m much more interested in the “how and why” something has gained your favor than just about anything else.  If you roll up in a thread to tell me how a Ford pick up is the ONLY truck worth buying, I’ll probably giggle a bit and quit reading.  Why?  Because you are simply justifying your purchase or choice as an owner.  If you haven’t owned a Ram 1500, a Chevy Silverado, a Toyota Tundra, or some of the others, you don’t have much honest comparison you can make.  Granted, not everyone can own everything.  I understand that.  So at a minimum you should be able to extrapolate how many miles you put on it, what repairs it has needed, the handling characteristics, the climates in which the truck is operated, etc.  If you don’t provide some personal background and also don’t offer some specifics, you haven’t actually contributed jack shit.

It is this ethic that has permeated the firearms and outdoor industry I’m not enjoying.  Do I think it’ll be present for nearly ever?  Yup.  Do we have to encourage it?  Nope.  Can we discourage it while turning those fanboys into positive catalysts for change in our favorite industry?  You betcha.  So let’s do that…