The natural skeptic arrises….

At least a couple of the bloggers I read have linked and commented on the hoopla regarding Chiappa Firearms deciding to add RFID chips to their inventory methodology.  Or rather, the press release apparently put out on the subject by MKS (Chiappa’s US distributor).

Now, first off, I’ll be surprised if this is the first firearm manufacturer who’s decided to put RFIDs on their guns, and I’m betting that after this whole mess that Kahr got themselves into a bunch more may just decide that RFIDs are the way to go.  As long as I can remove the chip at my leisure without voiding the warranty I really don’t care if thats the chosen method for inventory control.  And from reading the comments it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks so.

The problem comes in with the wording of the alleged press release:

Others may prefer to wrap the revolver and their head in aluminum foil, curl in a ball and watch reruns of Mel Gibson’s 1997 film, Conspiracy Theory. Well, that’s a plan too!

Sounds pretty bad huh?  and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that someone with more money than brains put their foot in their mouth that badly and killed their business.  But there’s a reason why I say “alleged” press release.

First off, what halfway skilled PR person is going to let a press release with those words out into the public?  But ok, so the PR person needs to eat too and would rather keep his or her job than censor a VIP in the company….right?  But there are other problems with this press release.  Almost all the bloggers and forums having snits over this are doing one of two things:  a huge number aren’t linking to ANYTHING, simply quoting the press release from somewhere, the large percentage of the rest are linking to each other in a circular pattern.  So I hit Google.  I wanted to see the original press release.  But there’s a problem.  At least 3 different places are saying that THEY received the press release:

http://trochronicles.blogspot.com/2011/07/chiappa-firearm-tracking-chip-rfid.html
http://www.ammoland.com/2011/07/28/rfid-chip-in-chiappa-firearms/
http://www.gunreports.com/news/news/Chiappa-to-put-Radio-Frequency-ID-Chips-in-Firearms_3209-1.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

now I can believe that the press release was sent out to several places in an attempt to get it out publicly, but there are some subtle differences between them.  And that combined with the rest of this is making me wonder a bit.

The one from AmmoLand appears to be the earliest of the 3 to post the PR (though one doesn’t give the time actually posted so I can’t be sure), and in that particular version there are several italicized and () comments, which is usually a mark of a comment from the publishing author rather than part of the actual press release, and those italicized comments INCLUDE the damning lines that are the actual problem.  There are also some factual errors in the statement as well.

Now, its entirely possible that this is an actual press release from MKS and they really don’t care that this is going to annoy their customers, and the factual errors are the result of that same “don’t care” attitude, BUT its enough to make me wonder a bit.

Now I know absolutely nothing about any of the above companies so, either way it should be interesting to watch and see what happens!

5 Comments

  1. Comment by Tam:

    Michael Bane?

  2. Comment by Ruth:

    I have a vague understanding of who Michael Bane is, if only thanks to Google, but I'm not catching the reference?

  3. Comment by Tam:

    I was just wondering where he fit in the chronology. He's about as reputable a source as their is.

    Incidentally, I've been forwarded multiple copies of the original presser from various sources, both dead-tree and “new media”, with the original Shults email headers intact. The uncut version is the one with all the snide parenthetical asides, like the one at firearmblog.com. Major PR gaffe, there.

    One of the commenters at my blog emailed the CEO of MKS Supply and copied his response to the comment section at my thread, if you'd like to read it.

    It's more “hurt and confused” than “contrite”, but it looks like he realizes that l'affair RFID could have been handled better.

  4. Comment by Tam:

    “…as there is…” darnit.

  5. Comment by Ruth:

    Ah, see downside to being new to the community is not knowing who people are.

    Have too add that I was more questioning the source of the press release than the folks who posted it though in retrospect I wasn't very clear on that was I.