Beretta Gallery, Manhattan

I visited the Beretta Gallery in NYC today and apparently there are two stores in the same building. One that is welcoming and one that is not. The gallery itself is a gorgeous storefront in a great location just off Central Park East. I was impressed with the clothing section but went immediately upstairs because that is where they have the guns.

Upstairs is a fantastic selection of Beretta shotguns, unusual to find in anti-gun Manhattan. The salesman and the resident gunsmith were soon laughing at my jokes and making some back. I told them that some of my online friends would be surprised that such a store existed in the heart of Manhattan and I asked if I could take a picture or two. The gunsmith said “sure man” so I took a couple of shots. I made my way slowly back downstairs admiring the high-quality guns and accessories along the way.

Once I made it downstairs I moved to the front of the store to get a nice wide shot of the showroom but before I could get the shot a security guard stopped me and sternly said “no photos!” I politely asked him why not and he was clearly unprepared for that question because he stammered out some disjointed b.s. about company policy. So I changed the question to; “why is it company policy to not allow photos of the clothing section?” He had no answer to that so I continued; “I have some online friends who would be interested in the shop and it is a real shame that Beretta company policy prevents that. He replied “It is Beretta Corp. company policy.” “Okay” I said and turned my camera off and put it in my camera bag and snapped the clasp.

I then went back upstairs and looked around the hunting supplies and after a few minutes looking at the books I turned around and the security guard was at the bottom of the stairs watching me. I moved over to the jackets and he moved to the front of the store so he could watch me through the railing. Feeling distinctly uncomfortable I then moved to the knives and the security guard changed his vantage point to see me better. After a moment I moved back to where the boots are and the security guard moved away from the front of the store and I felt a little better. I picked out a book on Beretta history and a really cool Beretta multi-tool (you can’t have too many multi-tools) and went back downstairs to the register. To my surprise the guard and the saleswoman at the register were watching me on the security monitor.

Trying not to be angry I paid for my book and multi-tool and left. Now I understand that Manhattan has its problems and the people there aren’t always hospitable but, in a store that is supposed to be a “rendevous for people who enjoy hunting, life outdoors and good living, and a place where special events can be celebrated—Ugo Gussalli Beretta,” I felt particularly unwelcome. What happens when the people “celebrating a special event” want to take photos?

I was even wearing a pair of Beretta brush pants and a linen shirt at the time, it isn’t as if I looked like a hoodlum.

Dear Beretta: I wish I could have spent more time and money at your gallery, but I didn’t feel welcome.

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~ by Cram on October 9, 2007.

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