Holiday shopping this past weekend for the women in my life proved once again to be an eye opening experience. As a caring husband, a devoted son, and the loving father of two daughters, my Christmas shopping is centered on what to get for the four women in my life. So this past week I experienced my one designated shopping day of the year, which has the goal of finding four unique gifts. I grabbed my idea list and got in the car. At the first traffic light I quickly checked the list only to be painfully reminded that the list was blank. Searching for inspiration, I drove aimlessly before finally being attracted to make a stop – at the Stoddard Gun Range.
Located in a hip Atlanta district, the gun range occupies a converted warehouse space. I often pass by the range as part of one of my favorite short cuts. The main parking lot was packed. As I walked to the front entrance I heard the muffled sound of gun fire. Just like the parking lot outside, the range itself was full. On one side of the loft-like building was every type of rifle and pistol you could imagine (note to self: this is my first stop when the zombie apocalypse strikes). Here a young smartly dressed group of sales people were all in heavy discussion with potential gun buyers. On the other side of the building was an even larger crowd of people all checking in to use the gun lanes for target practice. After about ten seconds of scanning the crowd I suddenly realized that 80% of the people were women, mainly under the age of 35! This was quite contrary to my in-built prejudices that had led me to expect a potentially deadly extension of the “the Man Cave”. It was obvious that most of the women had come with a friend or two to practice shooting their handguns. This demographic, and its interest in being equipped and trained in firearms, is not generally part of our nation’s debates on gun control.
With this many women at the range I knew there must be some female friendly gifts. I turned myself over to the sales staff for advice on some “non-lethal” gift ideas. The helpful sales woman asked me one question, “Do they have tactical flashlights?” I thought, what is this young woman talking about? Over the next 45 minutes I learned more about flashlights than I thought anyone could know. Small and perfect for a purse, these flashlights produce an incredibly bright source of light that if shined in someone’s eyes can render the person disoriented. Moreover the tactical flashlight can light up a room like no regular flash light ever made. I had found my first holiday gift – and it didn’t even violate the number one rule of shopping, “No Plug in Cord”.