Tales from a Fireworks Tent
July 4, 2014 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Reddit user FredFltStn runs a fireworks tent. He has some stories:

The Madness Begins
Shopper told me this story about something she had gotten her kids from my store
It was just her and the kids, and they had had a great Christmas. She thought her younger son would be excited by the fireworks, so she’d let him open it, but after he had ripped off the wrapping paper and seen what it was, he didn’t really say anything about it. She was sitting across the room from him, and asked him what the present was that Santa had gotten him. He mumbled something and set the box aside. She was a little disappointed that he wasn’t more excited, but she didn’t say anything and they continued ripping open gifts.
Be Careful What You Demand, Because We Might Give It To You
A guy came in to pick up some fireworks. He was having a party and wanted to put on an impressive show for his friends. I spent about 20 minutes walking him through the store, explaining the different items to him, and showing him videos of the stuff to help him pick out exactly what he wanted. He mentioned a couple of times how he usually goes to and how their prices were cheaper. Each time, I’d apologized, but I let him know that our prices were usually less than theirs, and that I thought that we had beat them on each of the items in question.
The third time it happened, I walked to our counter and grabbed the new catalog from . I found the stuff he had mentioned, and showed him how we were in fact cheaper on every item that he had selected (and that’s why I keep catalogs from my competitors on the counter). In fact, on a couple of items, we were about half of price. Amazingly, he didn’t seem happy about it, but he kept shopping.
Please read the fine print before you try and scam me
She would have gotten away with it if she wasn't so greedy
I know the owner!
If you're going to be an idiot, don't let them get it on video
The Barter System Is Alive And Well
Closing Time Is A Relative Term When You Own The Place
Three Card Monte
I want the BOOM!
One evening, a guy literally runs into the tent and shoves $300 into my hands.
GUY: “I need $300 of the best stuff you got, fast.”
ME: “Okay”
GUY: “I need to be back at my house in less than five minutes. They’re watching me.”
ME: (Oookayyyy?!?) “Do you want smaller stuff that lasts longer, or do you want larger stuff that's more impressive?”
GUY: “I want the boom!”
posted by the man of twists and turns (18 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
This guy is an AWESOME shop owner and I wish I could make use of his services! It must be.."fun"..dealing with the crazies at a Fireworks shop.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:56 AM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

The first story about the present had be laughing and clapping. Lovely.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:18 AM on July 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yea though THE GORD be no longer engaged in commerce, verily shall thy know when he walks again among you by his words and by his deeds.

Which is to say that this guy reminds me of The Gord in all the best ways.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:27 AM on July 4, 2014 [8 favorites]

I love stories like this, probably because it's so far from my daily experience. Though after reading about some of his customers I started to wonder where exactly his business is located. Read a bit more and it turns out it's Florida. Of course it's Florida.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:25 AM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

From The Madness Begins:
I own and operate my own retail store. It's actually a seasonal fireworks tent, but not like any fireworks tent you've seen before. It’s 3200 square feet of fireworks heaven
Other posts:
I own and operate my own retail store. It's actually a seasonal fireworks tent, but not like any fireworks tent you've seen before. It's 2400 square foot of fireworks heaven.
I'm eagerly awaiting the missing post where he explains how someone managed to set off a whole aisle of fireworks and destroy 800 square feet of his store. (actually, it looks like he could have just expanded this season.)
posted by zachlipton at 11:35 AM on July 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

In the UK they let you sell fireworks from high street storefronts with apartments above them. I think of this every time I read a conservative tabloid winging about health and safety.
posted by srboisvert at 11:40 AM on July 4, 2014

The guy's a good writer. Nothing pyrotechnic but there's enough sparkle to his prose and he knows how to build to the finale.
posted by Nelson at 11:47 AM on July 4, 2014 [5 favorites]

So... where in Orlando?
posted by Splunge at 11:50 AM on July 4, 2014

I LOLed. But I am not surprised. His customers are not rocket scientists.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:53 AM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

According to one of his other posts, he's in Longwood, on highway 17.
posted by KGMoney at 11:58 AM on July 4, 2014

Splunge: looks like the corner of 434 and 17-92 (I assume that means something to Orlando folks).
posted by sbutler at 11:59 AM on July 4, 2014

Thanks! Gonna drop by there if it stops raining here.
posted by Splunge at 12:05 PM on July 4, 2014

Fireworks larger than sparklers and bush league firecrackers have been banned in my home state of Michigan as long as I can remember. Dad used to take the family for a weekend vacation in Canada (usually Niagara Falls) sometime in June so we could buy a sack of sky rockets, Roman candles, and other such illicit booty. We never had any trouble crossing the border except for one time when we in our 1970-something Chevy Impala station wagon that Dad had bought from my uncle. The backward-facing seat had a broken hinge so we never used it; he wanted the wagon for the cargo space. So, anyway, this one time we were going through Customs on the US side of the Ambassador Bridge, and the Official asked Dad to lift up that back seat. "I can't, the hinge is broken," Dad explained. We were ordered to pull aside to the "special" area, and after a long wait some other Official used some tool or other to partially pry the seat open, while another Official looked underneath the dashboard with a flashlight. Nothing to be found in either place. They totally ignored all of our baggage in the passenger area of the car, where our illicit fireworks were stowed.

That was some 30 years ago, but my one brother has never lost his love of fireworks, so whenever Mr. Adams and I venture down to Georgia to visit my father-in-law, we always stop at the fireworks Superstore in South Carolina to pick up a nice selection of sparkly bang-bangs for my sibling. And every July 4th, we gather at his house with beer in hand and an eagle-eye out for patrolling cop cars while he delightedly ignites all of his explosives.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:25 PM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Which is to say that this guy reminds me of The Gord in all the best ways

I immediately thought of (a less cranky) Gord myself.
posted by TedW at 3:41 PM on July 4, 2014

Great find, thanks for sharing MOTAT.
posted by smoke at 6:40 PM on July 4, 2014

How can you maintain any faith in humanity dealing with people like this every day?
posted by gottabefunky at 8:13 AM on July 6, 2014

gottabefunky: “How can you maintain any faith in humanity dealing with people like this every day?”
If you like these, you can read Not Always Right and know despair.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:38 PM on July 6, 2014

GUY: “I need $300 of the best stuff you got, fast.”

I wonder how close you get to this 900 mm ground shell with $300.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:08 PM on July 8, 2014

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