Saturday, January 3, 2009

get it while the gettin's good!

just a few miles up i-575 from our north georgia place is the little town of jasper is a nice small town with some good history...civil war stuff, the nelson rifle was made nearby, and the marble quarries produce the bulk of marble used in the country...including almost all of the monuments at arlington. but jasper still doesn't have a wal-mart, thank goodness, there are still a few bastions of innocence left (of course there is one within twenty miles both north and south). and there has been growth...especially new neighborhoods full of commuters that work in atl, and commercial growth along 575 (actually it's 515 since 575 ends right about at our place and becomes sr 515 aka sonny perdue parkway...).

and included in that growth is a place called the bargain barn. now the bargain barn has a long history here, but they took the leap and built a new place on the highway after a big fire wiped out the old one. and this place is big as a football field on the ground floor and another football field on the second floor. if you want outdoor sports stuff, forget dick's or bass pro or gander or anyplace else, because the bargain barn has 'em beat. every outdoor garment there is, every boot and shoe, an archery department that includes the most bows i've ever seen in one place, along with all the accessories and guys and gals who know their shit selling them. fishing stuff? aisles and aisles of it. the biggest case knife department you can imagine, like a self contained case store...and other top blades as well. ah, then we work our way upstairs to the hunting and gun departments. a whole area of tree stands fully assembled for tryout, gun safes of every brand, size, and weight. an "optics" department second to none including every leupold made, and dummy guns to try them out on.

and then the guns...ah, yes. five full time guys working the counters. every browning rifle and shotgun is in stock. racks of remingtons, berettas, rugers, and stacks of backstock in view in the back room. ten cases of handguns, though the counter guy told me their inventory level is the lowest he's seen it in the ten years he's worked there, they're still loaded with glocks, springfields, kimber, naa, taurus, charter, and the best stock i've recently seen of smith and wesson, including most of the j's. and they haven't inflated their prices to take advantage of the obama sales boom. standard glock models for 499, naa's for 200, charters for 200, even the smiths were low compared to anywhere i've seen recently. and they were running a sale, 5% off on all guns, 10% on ammo and gear.
and busy? if there's a recession it ain't here...the parking lot holds 200 and i had a hard time finding a spot. let's hope these guys can keep getting inventory because they do as good a job as any place i've seen of stocking it, displaying it, demo'ing it, with personable, knowledgable people selling it. bravo, bargain barn!

i didn't buy anything but i sure had a fun hour there. then when i left i pulled into the waffle house for a bite of lunch; it's next door to a race trac c-store that usually has the cheapest gas around here...and i couldn't believe the sign...1.259 for regular, haven't seen that in a long damn time. reg. was 1.65 when i left sebring, fl yesterday, and i saw it for 1.49 on the highway inside ga. where the tax is lower, but a buck and a quarter? lady at the waffle house counter said they had a real old-fashioned gas war going in town; a new chain store opened up the road and they're fighting it out on gas and 12-packs of cokes...two for four fifty...that's less than nineteens cents apiece.

i wonder what the law is about loading up a truck with barrels full of gasoline and taking it back to fla? no, i wouldn't do it but it's tempting, 'cause you know that shit ain't gonna last. now if this would've happened in the summer, i could have pulled the motorhome out of mothballs and took that alaska trip i've been putting off. it holds 65 gallons and gets about 8 mpg...a little oppressive at four bucks a gallon and you're spending $250 every 500 miles for gas alone. but of course that was the plan, wasn't it? just wait for june, cheap gas will just be a memory, but it's fun while it lasts.


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