Can you tell us where we are?

A favorite part of selling cool outdoor gear on the floor , is selling products I know and love by owning them myself . I also enjoy sending people to interesting places ( usually off trail ) that I also know and love ...often I can combine the two.

A favorite part of selling cool outdoor gear on the floor, is selling products I know and love by owning them myself. I also enjoy sending people to interesting places ( usually off trail ) that I also know and love ...often I can combine the two.

I had sold a Magellan GPS to a customer the previous week and taken him out into the parking lot to show him most of the features of the unit and give him a quick course in using the key functions . I also mentioned a fantastic trailess open summit area in a nearby wilderness area , and pointed out it's location on the USGS map ,then drew in with highlighter the best route there, once off trail . He made his purchase and went on his way . I had given him the highlighted USGS map he needed, as a a way of saying "thanks" for buying a GPS from us.

I even mentioned the need, in my GPS crash course, to put in constant waypoints .....sort of like multiple bread crumbs, so there is a best route out readily available.

He had heard my story from a couple of years before ,when after the OR show, I had learned a big lesson in the Uintas. After using my GPS constantly on a difficult off-trail dayhike, I almost spent an un-planned night out the next day on an another but "easy" dayhike. I had only put in the Trailhead as a waypoint. The trail I could not find out of the meadow was a far better route than the 3000' elevation gain off-trail route through small cliffs and deadfalls back to my rental car!

So a Saturday later, I was fetched out of footwear by an employee saying a customer "had to talk to me and it was URGENT "!

It was the customer that I had sold the GPS to, on his cell phone asking me for help in getting back to the trail from the trailess summit. After getting his UTM position from him (he had left the map in the car) I then gave him the correct compass headings off the USGS map, so he could find the best route back. I talked to him several times , kept the headings correct and out of the rhodo thickets and from descending and ascending small valleys that could be avoided . I only asked for homemade chocolate chip cookies for the staff for my "participation" in his outdoor "experience" that day .

John Holden – Blue Ridge Mountain Sports – Charlottesville, VA

Through July 1, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. The story titles with summaries that made the first round of qualifications are listed below, and each is now in the hands of our judges to decide on the top 10. You can read each story in its entirety by going to the contest landing page -- click here.

Ten lucky story writers will each win over $1,000 in product prizes based on the contest judges' votes. Here is where you come in! Of those 10, one will be named the grand prizewinner, cashing in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Three others will be named official "honorable mentions," and in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous. The grand prize winner will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006. We will determine the grand prize winner and the three runner up winners based on popular vote (sorry judges) -- those among the top ten receiving the most votes win, it's that simple. This is for store pride, for knowing you have a winner amongst you, so vote as often as you like. Tell your friends. Tell your friends friends. Tell your dog -- but only if he can work a computer keyboard.

Deadline for voting is August 1, 2006.Click here to register your vote now!

Did you miss out on this year's contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven't already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.



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