FOLLOW ME - You know you want to. If Baca can get 100 I know I can get 200!

Dec 20, 2005

Freaks of nature...

After ranting a couple of posts back about how I only sell the best paintballs here at T-Square my daughter found this little gem in a factory sealed bag of 500 this past weekend.

To be fair, it was not found in our field paint but rather in a box of "backyard" paint that I sell the economy minded player.

It's actually two paintballs that were found stuck together. The bottom one is fairly intact and round while the top one is flattened and shaped into a perfect little hat! (The black marker features were added by one of our artistic field workers.)

Not necessarily something that made me mean and grumpy. In fact, I almost smiled when I saw it!


Dec 19, 2005


"Good Afternoon, T-Square Paintball."

"Hi. Do you sell those air ball field packages? You know, those cheap ones for around $300! My son wants to set up a paintball field in the backyard so he and his friends have a place to play."

"No, ma'am. I don't."

"Why not?"

There it is. They can't let it go. They have to ask THE question - "WHY NOT?"

"Well, Ma'am. A proper air ball field, one that won't be shot full of holes by the end of the day, will cost around $2500."

"Oh, I don't want to spend that much. I'll find the cheap one some where else."


She didn't give me a chance to ask if she was going to buy her back yard players a chronograph. I didn't get a chance to ask if she was going to safety check all her backyard player's guns and tanks and masks. I wondered if there would be someone to insure players kept their masks on.

I assume her property doesn't border a neighbor who might get upset if a stray ball bangs off the roof of his car but I have to wonder who is going to keep little sister from wandering out into the middle of a game to see what's going on. And I doubt she has a clue what a mess and handful of kids can leave in a backyard after a day of play.

How selfish of me. Never thinking of anyone but myself!


Dec 15, 2005

Just because...

Customer: "I don't know what happened. The gun was shooting straight and now it doesn't. Balls sling to the left and then to the right and then they cork screw."

Me: While cleaning a big gob of goo from the breach I asked, "When was the last time you cleaned your gun?"

Customer: "All the time. Maybe I need a different barrel. Do you think I need a different barrel?"

Me: Forty three seconds after I picked up his gun I had it cleaned, lubed and ready to shoot. "Maybe. What paint were you shooting?"

Customer: "I dunno. Something I picked up at Wallyworld - some good orange stuff, on sale for eight bucks a box."

Me: "Ummm, yeah. Sausage and eggs, I bet," I said under my breath.

Customer: "Say what...? Hey, and then I shot some of your yellow paint I had left over from about six months ago. Maybe it's your paint. Did you get a bad batch of paint?"

HOLD THE DAMN TRAIN. Now, see, I usually just blow off these types of conversations. But I get real sensitive when it comes to my paint. I study paint. I research paint. I shop for just the right brand. I carefully calculate just how much I need so I never have more than enough sitting and going stale. I watch the weather all along the delivery route. I stand waiting for it when it's due for delivery. I delicately off load each box and tuck them safely in their air conditioned and heated storage room. I test and sample random bags checking for bounce and fill stability. I check on it in the middle of the night when the temperature drops and set up more fans when the mid-day heat threatens. If there is even a hint that a box of paint may have to wait on the shelf for more than a weekend the boxes are flipped to avoid flat spots or settling.

Those guys checking hops for Sam Adams beer have nothing over me when it comes to picking and choosing paint.

So, yeah, I get a bit fired up when someone questions my paint. Again I usually just blow it off. Only this time I did something else I don't usually do.

It's an arrogant thing to do. A show-off, kinda in-your-face thing that is very much not my nature.

I loaded the customer's clean gun with a hundred rounds of T-Square paint and took him outside where I made him watch me drill the center of a coke can wide sapling, setting about 50 feet away, with 75 out of 80 shots. I then handed him the gun and let him plink the remaining 20 rounds while I went back inside to clean up.

Customer: "It's shooting better now. Thanks."

Me: "Your welcome. No charge."


Dec 4, 2005

Version three (the last, I promise)...

There is a word being whispered in the quiet corners of paintball's corporate world, behind closed, guarded doors, by small groups of fretful executives.

The word is, 'recession'!

Corporate paintball took a hit this year. And in typical fashion corporate paintball stood around wondering who farted while standing knee deep in their own poo.

I confess. I'm the reason for paintball's recession and here's why.

I've been driving away customers. Cash carrying, credit card not quite maxed out, check bouncing, who cares about the 25 dollar service charge, want to buy it now, customers.

I talk customers out of buying 21 inch sniper barrels. I refuse to make my shop look like a military arsenal. I don't stock or sell mil-sim gear. I refuse to ask anyone if they want a Stiffi (a barrel) or suggest they "Smoke the Pipe" (a barrel kit)!

When someone comes in wanting a cheap paintball gun I tell them I don't sell cheap stuff. When they ask for an electronic marker (hoping to see something they saw advertised for around a hundred bucks) I show them a $2000 (don't forget the air and feed system and plumbing) tournament gun and tell them any other electronic gun is a cheap, unreliable knock-off.

I don't stock delrin bolts for blow backs, dog leg stocks, CO2 regulators, paint named Bite, Tear or Rip, $79 jerseys, DVD's featuring four letter words I'VE never heard or packs that carry 1200 paintballs.

I don't sell anything from a company that calls itself Evil or from a company that claims its competition's paint has the runs! I don't stock paintball video games that have cheater modes or cheater boards for guns.

You might wonder how I stay in business. I admit to having a few questionable, high profit doodads and frou-frous on the display counter (frou-frous - that's a fancy Bulgarian word for knick knacks)! I'll never understand the fanatical attraction players have for barrels that apply a floating backspin to a paintball or why shaking a gravity feed hopper is such a revolting anachronism. And stocks? They seem a bit redundant (and heavy and awkward and expensive) considering the tank fits most shoulders like a stock. But, hey. I got bills to pay so I sell a few bent barrels and agitating hoppers and awkward fitting stocks.

But I can't seem to make myself sell a $100 mask when I know a $29 one works fine. Just as I can't sell a rec ball player a $299 high end marker that needs another $450 worth of Bulgarian knick knacks before it will work right. Especially when I know a complete $150 package is available that will shoot as straight and as fast and reliable as anything out there.

And for that I apologize to the industry...

with no apologies to my customers.


Dec 2, 2005

Version two...

Friday, December 02, 2005

There is a word being whispered in the quiet corners of paintball's corporate world, behind closed, guarded doors, by small groups of fretful executives.

The word is, recession!

Corporate paintball took a hit this year. And in typical fashion corporate paintball is standing around wondering who farted while knee deep in their own poo.

Have you thumbed through a paintball magazine lately? They are all beginning to look like copies of Soldier of Fortune Magazine. Arm yourself today with the new RAP4 T68 pistol complete with "rubber grips for a firm grip in intense situations"!

There's an ad for S.W.A.T. boots squeezed in between the SR25 Sniper Kit and the �very first magazine-fed pistol. And have you seen the guy on page 55 of the January 2006 issue of APG? He looks like he just crawled out of a spyder hole with what looks like (forgive me, I'm not up my assault rifle identification) an AK-47!

Later there's the SIM-4. For $569 you get a paintball gun that looks like a version of the military M-4, complete with scope, laser sight and mounted tactical flashlight (all cleverly wrapped around a standard Spyder/Piranha blow back body). "Equip yourself with this and you are ready to rule the battlefield!" (How funny that a basic $70 Spyder/Piranha will shoot just as far and as hard and as accurate and is easier to break down and clean.)

On the same page is a paintball gun that looks like an assault shotgun.

In the same magazine a company called MILTEC offers the MT-65 M-16, the MT-65 M-16 A1, the MT-65 M-16 A2, the MT-65 M-16 Elite, the MT-65 M16 RIS, the MT-66 ASP, the MT-66 A1, the MT-66 A2, the MT-66 Elite, the MT-66 CQB, and the MT-66 RIS! Oh, and don�t forget the MT-75 MP5. I especially like the fake banana clip version.

In the same APG there is a tear out 2006 calendar. Nine of the twelve months look like recruiter ads for military special operations units. There's a ad in the calendar for a company that will, for a small $200 fee, paint your A5 paintball gun with tigerstripe, woodland, urban tigerstripe or desert digital camo paint.

And this is how we want to present paintball to the mainstream?

Just a short 11 years ago the paintball world joined together to discourage field owners from giving their fields names like Blood and Guts Paintball or Kill and Carnage Paintball Field or In The Crosshairs Paintball Battlefield (no kidding, cross my heart and hope to die, names of paintball fields at the time) and even went so far as to discourage playing in BDUs (military battle dress uniforms).

And today, just when we had Mom convinced that paintball was a neat little activity for her 12 year old's birthday party we bring in the Delta Force. Just when Dad finds a cool game he can share with his son he finds himself face to face with an assault rifled, side arm carrying Westmoreland in camo paint! And just when church youth groups are coming someone in the congregation decides they don't want to be associated with paramilitary training camps!

Awww, but who am I kidding. I have a tank at the field. And I use to play military with my brothers when I was growing up. 'Course, it was with sticks for guns and pine cones for grenades. And then again I stopped playing military and joined for real when I was nineteen. Maybe the 22 real years served (four in special operations) took all the military fun out of me.

Hell, yeah... let's grab a bag of bullets (paintballs) and go kill (mark) some commies (fellow players)!

(to be continued...)


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