he story: A Radio Shack Super Store in Montana has come up with a novel way to sell Dish Network satellite service: It's offering new customers a free gun. Once buyers sign a contract and set up an installation date, they get a certificate good for a Hi Point 380 pistol or a 20-gauge shotgun at the nearby Frontier Guns & Ammo store. Steve Strand, owner of the Radio Shack in question, says that, although Dish Network was "a little nervous" about the promotion, business has tripled since it began and he's only fielded one customer complaint. He's not giving guns to felons — background checks prevent that — and customers can opt for a $50 Pizza Hut gift certificate instead.
The reaction: Forgive me, but this seems just a tad irresponsible, says Dish Network is supposed to "family-friendly," and enticing customers with free guns seems odd "in an era in which people tend to misuse guns with such unfamily-friendly regularity." Bizarre as it may seem, "rewarding people for watching more TV with a free gun is about as American as it gets," says Carmel Lobello at Death and Taxes. Personally, "I tend to think that pizza goes with TV better than a 20-gauge," but people on the gun-loving frontier probably feel differently.
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