Metal Detecting Necessities…How Far We’ve Come!

Used to be I and most other tekkies spent our time looking for and finding places to detect.  Today?  We spend it buying after market coils, expensive headphones, pinpointers, diggers, shovels, knee pads and of course GoPro cameras so that everybody can watch us doing our thing. 

Welcome to Marketing 101 and the 21st century!

When I went to work for Garrett Electronics back in 1988 I was assigned the task of selling a small, down-home hobby to the masses and getting every household in America to believe that a metal detector was more important than a toilet plunger. And the big push? Getting our detectors listed in the big mass market catalogs, (something that I knew would piss off every small dealer in America).  I understood the reasoning for the push….just wasn’t sure it was good for the whole of the pastime. 

The L. L. Bean Adventure…

Shortly after starting work I flew to Freeport Maine, to meet with a buyer for L.L. Bean, but unbeknownst to me I was just one of maybe 100 reps that day who had a ten minute window to sell their goods and get out.  I remember sitting there watching the others come out of the buyer’s office and signaling how things went.  I saw a few thumbs up, (this was before high fives), looks of dejection, frustration and I even learned a few new curse words.  How I wish I could have captured it all on film….

Anyway I was feeling up to the task.  I had on my good suit (okay it was my only suit), had three detectors assembled and ready to go, my written proposal ready, my sales pitch memorized and I walked in to see the buyer eating lunch at his desk and talking on the phone.  As if that weren’t enough he then hit a timer and nodded for me to start my presentation all the while continuing to eat and talk.  I started babbling away, feeling rather stupid, and when I was done (and extremely pissed off) he briefly put the phone down, asked me to leave the detectors so he could “look them over” and said he would get back to me.

As I was driving back to the airport it suddenly dawned on me that I should have beaten him over the head with a Master Hunter and left through a window.

I followed up my visit to L.L. Bean with phone calls, and of course the guy I left the detectors with was always busy or out of the office.  I left message after message and never heard back from him or anyone else at the company.  My guess is those detectors wound up as gifts for someone in his family.  So much for L.L. Bean…

 Sears & Roebuck

Then when I was at the Sport Show in Atlanta, I had a casual chat with a buyer from Sears & Roebuck that ultimately resulted in a couple of Garrett detectors being featured in their humongous catalog.  I was feeling pretty good about that but a couple days later I was fired, or as they call it today, downsized (long, long story).   Anyway maybe it was karma but a couple months later Sears decided to stop killing trees, wasting paper and did away with their catalog.  The joys of working in the industry were not what I had envisioned…

I bring all this up because today we have finally sold our product to the masses and in my opinion, our soul with it.  We’re no longer that small fraternity of TH’ers who knew each other via the mail or phone.  We’re now big time and ready for prime time as in and on TV, YouTube, a zillion websites, blogs, Facebook pages and various publications.  We are also seeing more and more new people enter the hobby and no shortage of companies willing to take their money.  And yes I know it’s the way of the world and how businesses work.  I just miss the way it was….

Am I being sarcastic? Yes and no… Admittedly I am old and old school, but I just don’t get it anymore.  We seem enamored and captivated by today’s technology and there is never enough to satisfy our wants.  Let me ask you?  Does that imported searchcoil you just bought from Timbuktu really make that much difference in what you’re finding?  Have you noticed a “significant” improvement or are you just using it to justify the expense? Will the returns warrant the investment or will the investment warrant a few past due notices from your credit card company?

I know I have beaten this horse a few times before but I can’t help thinking that all this extra gear has to take away from your in the field time and concentration.  Me? I like the premise of “turn that sucker on and go” or as Nike likes to say “Just Do It!”  Of course if you have all the time in the world then go diddle to your hearts content, and if you have extra money to piss away, send some to me!  Fives and tens are fine.

As for me? I am quite happy with my MXT,  my headphones, my digger,  and my good ole friend Ben Gay.  (okay, I  splurged  and bought a couple of expensive tennis balls for my walker. Great price…couldn’t pass them up).



John Howland

John Howland

John Howland has added an update to the Saloon and in it he shares his thoughts, ideas and recommendations on how we might put together a PAS here in the states.  Something like this is most certainly not going to happen quickly but thanks to Minelab and the Taskforce the groundwork is being laid. Please take a few minutes and read John’s take on this by clicking on the Malamute Saloon link above and scrolling down to today’s date.

Thanks John, as always…



Filed under Metal Detecting

7 responses to “Metal Detecting Necessities…How Far We’ve Come!

  1. Paul Southerland

    They don’t like shovels in the parks here so I don’t leave home without a Lesche digger. The MXT’s are awesome but Dick, are you using the TRX pinpointer White’s sent you?

    • Paul I have used the TRX exactly twice and it works fine. I just need to get used to it. Even the second time out I was finding the coin before I remembered I had a pinpointer on my hip. Old habits are hard to break.

      I hope to get out this weekend and give it a whirl again.

      • John

        I have to agree, I usually find the coin or object before needing the pin pointer, however, they are nice to have just in case. I hate scratching a coin or ring when I have to dig a bit further.

  2. Big Tony from Bayonne

    Wow, I didn’t know you had to travel when you work for Charles G. Very cool, getting out of the office and hobnobbing with business folks! That would be a great gig now….just think about detecting all over the country on there dime. Sweet – too bad they weren’t ready for your good deals.

    Today my pin pointer helped me find a 1972 quarter at 8 inches. It turned out to be on an angle and off to the side not centered. But the coil which is after market type helped me get near to the quarter. A few feet away I dug a barber dime 1913 but again I feel it was the coil that rang out dig here!

    That one didn’t need the pin pointer – I saw the silver side of the dime again on an angle to the right side of the whole! Please – no brag here only happy to share a bit with good folks!

  3. Big Tony from Bayonne

    You assume too much

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