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Ammo Can Availability?


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I found ammo cans at a store called UFS (Unclaimed Freight "something"). I consider it kind of a "Big Lots" on steroids. I guess it's a surplus store for everything (not specifically army surplus) but I was in there for something else and there was a pallet sitting in the middle of the aisle full of ammo cans. I only bought a couple as I'm not really into hiding yet. I think they were less than $5 each.

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Not too far from what I expected, actually, but it drives me nuts not to be taken seriously.

Here's a secret: bullying or condecending types can smell fear and uncertanty in someone's body language from a mile away, and it's like the scent of blood to a hungry jungle cat.


You come in all "hi, I'm uncertain, be nice to me" and you'll inevitably GET that treatment IF the other person is one of those. Or in the least, not be taken seriously if they are just run-of-the-mill cluelessly disrespectful.


Do what I do: put on a black jacket (preferably leather), re-format your energy as assertive take-charge female, and be like you were raised by a polite but standing-your-ground family in the Bronx. Cordial, but TOUGH.


Now walk in to a place like that and at the same time, carry the unspoken attitude in your body language: "You WILL answer my question directly and with respect, you understand?" and go from there.


Amazing how changing your energy and body language can get you respect and taken seriously. Try it. I'm not kidding. :P

Edited by Sparrowhawk
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People in army surplus stores are pretty weird. Last time I went into one I picked up some decons. The guy working was an old chinese guy, he reminded me of Mr. Miagi (sp?) from the karate kid. When he asked what they were for I told him they were for geocaching. He responded: "oh! you play too?" "Go tell your friends I have lots in stock!" "They buy here! Buy Youngs!" (Youngs was the name of the store.) I left chuckling a little a little at that.


The next store I went to the guy just basically grunted all his responses: "ehhh, $15" lol


I'm sorry, I can just picture the guy in the OP and I think it's funny lol

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The other thing to remember is that not all ammo cans actually come, used, from the military. Some come from the ammo LAP facilities (primers and such are shipped in them and the cans can still only be used once and then have to be disposed of.) So, there ARE quite a few around that are almost brand spanking new and in HUGE quantities (most LAP facilities wind up with warehouses of them until they can either sell them off or have them carted away as scrap.)



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Just recently, I decided to walk into a paint ball store just to see if this small store had containers that could be used for caches. To ny surprise there were e ammo cans of different sizes right inside the door..


If you have paint ball stores around try them or give them a call


Dave from Team_Talisman

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To offer a different perspective, the repsonse of the grumpy old man may not have been gender-based at all. It may be that he really believed (incorrectly) that ammo cans were in short supply, perhaps due to misinformation he received from his distributor. And, some clerks and store managers just get stuck in a rut and get kind of depressed, and, when in that state, they are not in the mood to hear requests for products which may be out of stock for any of a dozen reasons. I will give you a really funny example of this:


I was gearing up last year for tackling a Terrain 5 cache that would require some climbing gear, and needed to beef up my inventory of sewn slings, aka sewn runners (they are loops made of webbing material.) I ordered a bunch of them in different lengths via two different climbing gear vendors on the web. Two days later, while in town shopping, I realized that I could really use even more slings/runners than I had ordered on the web, and so decided to buy more. And, I decided, while I was in town, why not stop into my local outdoor gear store, which specializes in rock climbing gear, and buy some slings directly from them? This way, I could handle the slings before purchasing, and could feel good about buying locally rather than from a vendor in Montana via the web. So, I walked into the climbing gear store, and, after picking out a few carabiners, asked to see the display of slings; I had already noticed that there were none in the place on the wall where they were normally displayed.


The clerk, who happened to be the store manager (he has been with them for ages, if I recall correctly, and is a rock climber himself) told me rather triumphantly that they were out of slings and runners and would not have any in stock for a long time. Further, he advised me -- with some degree of triumph over having access to secret knowledge -- not to even bother trying to order any slings on the web, since "everyone" in the climbing world knew that slings were in horribly short supply right now. He went on to offer me a rather incredible explanation, which he had obviously been told by his distributor. He told me that he had been out of slings for over two months, and that the acute shortage of slings and runners would likely last at least another year, and that it was due to the war in Iraq. You see, he told me, the webbing ribbon fabric used to make slings is also used for military purposes, and unfortunately, the government needed tons of the stuff for the war effort in Iraq, and thus there was none left "anywhere in the world" for manufacture of slings for civilian climbing purposes. I had to almost bite my tongue to keep from telling him that I had just bought piles of slings from two vendors on the web, and that I had found dozens of other vendors on the web with slings in stock. Rather, instead of getting into an argument, I simply said "Gee, that is too bad! I usually order such things on the web, but since I was in town today I figured I would like to give your shop the business! Too bad! Are you totally sure that you don't have a few slings lying around? Even a few? I would love to buy them from you rather than from a web vendor who is in another state!"


He immediately launced into his bizarre story again, this time with a bizarre glow in his eyes, and even more crazy details of why there are no slings available anymore from any manufacturers or distributors for civiliian climbing use. As the manager retold his bizarre tale of shortage and scarcity, the young clerk -- also a rock climber -- standing next to him was nodding assent like a robotic sheep. I shrugged, and paid for my carabiners. I started to leave the shop.


As I started to head for the door, it opened and the store owner walked in. He kinda recognized me, as we have vaguely known each other for many years, and he said that it was nice seeing me again. He asked if I had found everything I that was looking for. I replied that more and more nowadays I had been ordering climbing supplies on the web, but that since I was in town today I figured I would to give his shop my business, because I needed a bunch of slings for a special climbing job. However, I told him, it turned out that they were out of stock entirely on slings and runners, and that his manager had unfortunately advised me that there were no slings to be ordered from any distributors anywhere, nor would any slings be in stock soon. The owner's eyes bugged out upon hearing this, and he asked the manager if they were indeed totally out of slings. The manager nodded assent, and immediately launched into his tale of woe for a third time. The owner interrupted him, and asked "who told you this story?" The manager replied that he had heard the story from their "regular" supplier of slings, a distributor located on the East Coast, and that he had been unable to order any slings for over three months. The owner, now rather incredulous, said to him "Well, we also deal with five other distributors, and we are even allowed to order from some of the manufacturers directly, if need be. What did they tell you when you called them, after your "primary" distributor said "no" to you?"


The manager looked at him loftily, as if he posessed superior information, and said with an arrogant tone, "But I never called the other distributors and suppliers! Our primary distributor assured me that what they had told me about the shortage was true and told me not to even bother trying to order slings from other distributors, as the shortage is worldwide! You see, sewn slings and runners are simply not aavailable due to the war!"


The owner said to him "You mean to tell me that we have been totally out of slings for over two months, and you never even bothered to call our other distributors and supppliers? Is that correct?" The manager, now looking a bit worried, replied that this was indeed correct. The owner instructed him to immediately go into on the back office and start calling suppliers, and not to stop until he had successfully ordered hundreds of slings and runners, and to have them delivered to the shop ASAP. As the manager shuffled away, the owner explained to me that the manager occasionally got "stuck" and started to believe all kinds of urban myths floating around the climbing world, such as the one which he had just related to me. And, he said, this was just such a case: the manager got so stuck in believing this dramatic piece of folklore that he neglected to do his job, which would have been to continue calling suppliers until he found one with slings in stock. I told him that when I was a psychotherapist, we referred to such stuckness as "paradigm paralysis"!


The owner apologized to me for the problem, and asked me if there were anything else I had been eyeing in his store that day. I admitted that I was considering purchasing a new climbing harness, as my current harness was over 15 years old. He offered me a 25% discount on any of their climbing harnesses, as a small recompense for the fact that they had not had any slings in stock, and for the bizarre runaround that I had gotten from his staffers, and five minutes later, I walked out of the store with a new climbing harness at a 25% discount. As I left, the owner was still apologizing profusely for the bizarrre lack of slings in his store.


And, as I left, the manager emerged from the back room, and sheepishly admitted to us that each of the three alternate distributors whom he had called each had tens of thousands of slings of all sizes in stock, and that a new shipment of slings of all sizes would arrive at the store late the next day. He looked befuddled and confused. I went home, got online, and within five minutes I had successfully ordered the ten extra slings I had decided to purchase.

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I haven't had much luck at surplus stores either... but Cabela's has a pallet of them stocked at every store... They are about $5 a piece individually and you can sort through them to find the good ones. If you don't have a Cabela's near you (I feel sorry for you if you don't), then you can order them from their website at www.cabelas.com... they're $20 for 6 of them plus shipping. Here's the link...

Edited by we3girlsnaguy™
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CTKayak, I hope you're still reading this thread:


I mean what I'm about to say in the nicest most "sisterly" way, ok? And, yes, it's unsolicited:


Grow some spine, girl!


The only place you don't belong is the place you think you don't belong. The more nervous about it you are - the less you need to show it! I know Vinny ThePsychoShrink will back me on this...


Take a deep breath and ask yourself what the worst possible outcome could be from this event. I bet the answer is that he could heckle you. Have you seen that before? Sure. It's called rejection. Prepare for it. It's not new... Then let it go.


Just know what you're getting in to, and then play it. It's all just a game! You're not going to get hurt, even!


Anyway - unsolicted advice...

Edited by Adrenalynn
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I've seen ammo cans in plastic lately. Not military. I got one from Bass Pro Shops, here in Canada, and I saw other ones at Canadian Tire. They're about the same size, maybe a bit bigger, than the standard ammo can, they're made of olive green plastic, and they open the same way. They have a rubber gasket in them as well, just like the military ones. The ones I've seen are made by Plano, and by Flambeau. The one I picked up had a Plano catalogue inside. It looks like they have them in several different sizes. They call them either Ammo Boxes or Field Boxes, depending on the model. I put the one I picked up out as a cache the other day so how it performs is still to be seen. I don't see why it wouldn't work as well as or better than the metal military ones.




Edited by fm2f90x
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Yeah, army surplus store people are weird. They probably grow to be that way from all the paintballers, though -- I can imagine they get their fair share of punks and hotshot kids rifling through their stuff.


I've bought some nice ammo boxes from, of all places, the local farm and auto parts place (Princess Auto), though I've occasionally picked some up from the army stores.


The last army surplus shop I went to was AAA Army Surplus in the Kensington Market in Toronto. One of their guys was an aging man who shuffled around the store and speaking in mumbles. He reminded me of Senor Cardgage from the Strong Bad universe...


I did buy a pair of "digital" camo shorts which look pretty cool :tired:

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If anyone is ever in a pinch and needs an ammo box quickly, they should stop by their nearest Northern Tool and Equipment (44 stores located in ten states, apparently). Last time I went to one, they had oodles in various sizes. Of course, you'll pay a premium (~$10 ea.), but you'll have one immediately!


For what it's worth, they price match. I know that the local Fleet Farm had 50cal ammo cans on sale for $4 a pop -- unfortunately, they were out of stock. I brought the Sunday sales sheet in to Northern Tool and walked out with 6 ammo cans at the $4 rate -- regular Northern Tool price around here is $9/each. Not too shabby.



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Went to the HUGE flea market/ gun show in Hillsville, VA labor day weekend. Check it out next year if your in the area. At first I thought maybe I was wrong about finding ammo cans there. But then I found one booth with cans and suddenly they were everywhere! Going price was $4-$5 for a can but I talked one guy into giving me two for $5. Also saw some giant ammo cans that I had no way to carry out of there (yes they were that big, they must have had rockets in them or something) I thought they would make a cool geocache. Saw several other people buying or carrying around ammo cans, coulnd't help wondering how many would become geocaches!

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