Stupid Adventures in Knife Acquisition

Feb 22, 1999
I thought this was amusing enough for general consumption:

I ordered, by personal check, a Fairbairn-Sykes commando dagger from The Sportsman's Guide's mail order catalog. Today I received a package that contained everything else I ordered, but no knife. A message on the packing slip reads:

Sorry, this item may not be purchased legally in your area. You will receive a refund in 10-14 days.

I called Customer Service and told them of the problem with the order. "This statement is false," I said. "There is no such law where I live."

"It's because of the length of the blade," the phone operator told me.

"No," I said, "There is no length limit in New York State -- at least not yet."

"No, uh, it's because we're based in Minnesota," the operator said. "We can't mail it to you because of the length."

"You have the knife in your state, but you can't mail it to me?" I asked.


"This is a mail order catalog."

"Well," the operator said, obviously programmed with only one response, "You see, Minnesota says we can't mail the knife. You could come into our store and buy it--"

"I don't think you understand. This is a MAIL ORDER CATALOG."

"Well," the operator said AGAIN, "You see, Minnesota says we can't mail the knife. You could come into our store and buy it--"

"Look," I said, "Why on earth would you include an item in your mail order catalog that you can't mail to anyone?

" see, Minnesota--"

"Listen very carefully," I said. "Nowhere in your catalog did it say, 'This knife is for sale, but we can't actually send it to you.'"

"Well, no," she admitted, "we haven't actually updated our catalog yet.

"Therein lies the source of my displeasure," I informed her, "and I would like very much for you to register that as a complaint."


Some days it doesn't pay to pursue your knife collecting hobby.
Can you imagine how many of the knives and bayonets they sell that are over that length? What can they ship, nailclippers? I think what happened is they confused themselves with that incredible list of what can't be shipped where.
That is one of the funniest things I have ever heard!

Selling something in a mail order catalog that you can't mail!

I've had a very irritating experience at a store.

When I was at Ft Benning, Georgia, there was a U.S. Cavalry shop with the most incompetent "creatures" I had ever seen.

I was looking at some of the knives and was horrified at they way they charged well above MSRP. For instance, they sold a bead blasted EDI Genesis I for $179.99 when the MSRP was around $130.00. Also, a Benchmade Ascent for $99.99 which they indicated was the AFCK

I asked why they priced them so high and the girl at the counter suggested I speak to the manager.

The manager actually tried to prove to me that the knife was the AFCK!! Apparently, he could not tell the differance between a lockback and a linerlock, let alone Zytel and G-10.

When I asked about the EDI Genesis and told them what the MSRP was, the manager said that it was a discontinued knife, therefore collectable.

I said he was crazy and left the store. :mad:

Eventually the U.S.Cavalry closed their Georgia store. So I guess they had it coming.
Minessota is an odd place. It has the potential to be a wonderful place to live, great economy, excellent schools, and pleasant people.

But the government in MN is oppressive! It is as one of my friends describes it "the most commiest of states"

They have some interesting rules and regulations there, and the gove seems to give little notice to personal liberties.

I get a real kick out of that story though, it seems laughable that MN can allow a knife to be sold within its borders but restricts the shipment to other states.

Could that fall under the part of the constituition that prohibits states from restricting trade within the USA ?
Why is everyone miss spelling Minnesota :confused: as far as being commiest state thats what you get for letting the Democats be in charge for 40+ years - Plus our Governor can beat up your Governor :D ;)
I don't know, but if we're going to be nit-picky, you misspelled "misspelling".;)

Originally posted by william8
Why is everyone miss spelling Minnesota :confused: as far as being commiest state thats what you get for letting the Democats be in charge for 40+ years - Plus our Governor can beat up your Governor :D ;)
Yes mgeoffiau I know, just thought I would have a little fun!The Governor thing is kind of a local joke!I guess I have kind of a dry sense of humor.
That's ok, our governor just got divorced (that's three divorced governors in a row for MS). Good ol' Southern family values, I guess.
Gee, sounds like that mail order catalog found an interesting way to increase the revolving funds available to them...someone might want to look into them a little more.....
Actually Razoredj I'm looking at my SG catalog right now. On the page following the order form they have a list of 31 different shipping restrictions. If you look to the left at the bottom of the item description underneath the price, it will indicate the restrictions that apply. Number 1 for instance is no sale to minors, convicted felons or misdemeanor convictions for domestic abuse or chemical dependency. Number two is similar but instead of 18, the age limit is 21. The other 29 are different combinations of states and cities where the item cannot be shipped. I'm fairly sure the restriction is from N.Y. law and not Minnesota. I would be willing to bet that it is not the blade length but the fact that is doubled edged. My catalog has a "Kitchen Travel Set" consisting of 5 knives, a steel and a cutting board in a plastic travel case. It has a large chef's knife with a 7.75" blade. Restriction #13 indicates it cannot be shipped to the following places: DE, Puerto Rico, Canada or the Virgin Islands. Nothing about N.Y. Restrictions 17, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29 and 30 mention N.Y. state. Number 22 is specific to N.Y. city. Some of the things just don't make sense to me. An air pistol has four restrictions. A black powder .44 right next does have any listed. I'm sure it was an oversight.

You're right; the fine print does indeed state that the item can't be shipped to New York (among many, many other states). I failed to read the shipping restrictions, which were printed on a different page and keyed to tiny, tiny numbers.

Still, the restriction does NOT originate in New York. The penal code for NYS is viewable online. (Section 265 covers prohibited weapons.) There is no length limit, and there is no restriction on double-edged knives (provided one has no "criminal intent").

It's my own fault for not, as they say, reading the fine print -- but it's still pretty ridiculous that this company can't ship me a knife that THEY have and which I may LEGALLY own where I live.

Wacky stuff, bureaucracy.
I think the limitation on blade length or double edged is for carrying, not owning or shipping.

That's the downside of long distance buying. Well you knew there had to be a downside right! :)

Ivan Campos and I recently had a similar experience with Western Union. Brazil is a tricky place to do business, and their controls on foreign exchange is always sure to make any transaction memorable. I was purchasing a couple of knives from Ivan and we had decided that Western Union would be the best way to make payment.

It seemed like a reasonable way to go, so I simply logged onto their website, registered, charged the amount to my charge card, and received a transaction confirmation. Then I forwarded the confirmation number to Ivan so he could go and pick up his payment.

So Ivan writes back to tell me the payment never made it in. I immediately called Western Union to get an update and they tell me the transaction is on hold. ON HOLD - WHY IS IT ON HOLD! Oh, they say, we usually call new accounts to verify their information before we process their transaction and your line was busy when we called. But I was in the process of registering when you called, and there was no notice that you would call. "Yes we know" , "we have been trying to update the website." Now that we have talked can we get this thing going? Sure, no problem, I'll release the transaction and you will have it within ten minutes.

Foolish me, I believed them, and sent a note to Ivan with the latest update. So the next day I get another note from Ivan and the funds aren't there yet.

I call Western Union once again. This time they tell me that the clerk that had worked on my transaction previously was new and had been unaware of how complicated it was to work a transaction with with Brazil. When she originally placed the transaction on hold she had effectively cancelled it, so releasing the now cancelled transaction did not work. (I was getting facinated at this point). So what can we do I suggested. "No problem" they said, "I'll just force the transaction through and give you a new transfer number".

I should have known better by now, but off i went to send yet another email to poor Ivan, and sure enough I soon get another one back - they don't recognise the new transfer number.

During my third phone call to WU they tell me that they were having a "systems problem" with their Brazil office and that it was hard for them to confirm the "forced payment." No problem I said (I didn't really mean it), when do you expect to have the "systems problem" resolved. Oh, "we don't know they tell me". Well can you find out? "No" they say.

You know I can be a patient and reasonable person, but at some point you really have to act. So I told them to cancel the transaction and credit my account. " No problem" they said (I was starting to get concerned everytime they said this), "you should see the frist credit within three days and the second cred..." Wait a minute, what second credit? Oh, she didn't tell you. When the first transaction failed they credited your account, then they charged you for the second "forced transaction." So you have charged my account for twice the amount and are unable to process the transaction. "Yes, but would you like to try it again?" NO I WOULD NOT, THANK YOU.

I eventually had to walk into a Western Union office and work the transaction a third time. This time I paid them in cash to avoid any further complications. "Oh yes", they said at the local office, "we still haven't worked out all the bugs on those on line Brazil transfers."

So, I had to pull three times the transaction amount out of pocket before the transfer went through. But, fortunately it finally did, and the credits did come in on schedule. You should NEVER use the on-line Western Union service to effect transfers to Brazil, but do check out Ivan Campos site - he has some good stuff there.

That's a classic :D :D

I got into a similar argument with the drive through employee at a McDonalds over a milk shake.

I asked what sizes they had and she said Medium and Large.

I said, how is it you have a medium if you don't have a small? the definition of the word medium would assume a small is in there before it.

No sir, just a medium and small.

She totally missed the irony.

I read another thread recently about the crazy practices engaged in by Sportsman's Guide.

I don't know what part of NY you are in, but it may be that the New York City Administrative Code might prohibit double-edged blades. The City also restricts blade length to 4". As you pointed out, these things are no problem under NYS Penal Law.