Poor Johnny…

The recent back and forth about company support for hunts and programs struck a chord with me in that I used to be on the receiving end when I was Marketing Manager for Garrett back in the late 80’s. There was never ever a slow day when it came to people or groups asking about freebies for some event or project.

I would usually start by sorting the good from the bad, or to be more precise, the legit from the scams, and yes we had them…. one in particular always comes to mind, and though I shared it some time ago on the website I thought I would post it again here….

It was a letter from a Father John Smith (or something similar) of St. Cheats Catholic Church (not a real church) in Chicago, Illinois, and he was writing on behalf of Johnny Jones, who was diagnosed with a rare disease and had only a few weeks to live (photo included of an extremely emaciated young man, much like those you would see from a WWII Nazi death camp).


Father Smith continued…”while on his death-bed, one of Johnny’s last requests was to own a Garrett Master Hunter ADS metal detector (model GT#4555, page 8 in catalog), with the 8 inch coil (catalog number GT333, page 15), a deepseeking 14 inch coil (catalog number GT444, page 15), hard carrying case (catalog number GT555, page 16) and the Garrett digger (catalog number GT666, page 17)”.

Father Smith asked if we could “find it in our heart” to send these items to Johnny’s home (address given), and if we did he knew it would make his last days on earth that much more memorable.

After all of us at the factory passed the letter around and had a good laugh, I decided to see if I could contact Father Smith, and called information for the number of St. Cheats Catholic church in Chicago. Of course there was no listing, nor was there for Father Smith. I then decided to try and find a phone number for poor little Johnny Jones (if of course he was still alive), and surprise, surprise….there was one.

I dialed the number, and a young man answered the phone. I asked if I might to talk to Johnny Jones, and he said “this is he”….. I asked how he was feeling, and he was curious why I asked such a question. I said I heard about his rare condition and saw his photo, and it didn’t seem like he would be able to pick up a phone, let alone talk as cheerfully as he did. Next thing I heard was a click….he hung up.

So for all you tekkies who think your needs or your request is above reproach and a sure thing, consider all this and remember that YOUR request is not the only one being considered. I will also add that almost all the major detector manufacturers go out of their way to help any and all legitimate requests. If  yours was denied maybe look at the way you worded it, or just what it was you were asking for.  Likewise don’t tell the company that their contribution/donation, or lack thereof, will affect their bottom line. They are not that stupid or gullible and know very well what they are doing.

Happy Hunting…





Filed under Metal Detecting

11 responses to “Poor Johnny…

  1. Roy R

    I attended 12 to 15 sponsored hunts per year in the 80’s. From Texas to Oklahoma,Arkansas, Louisiana ,Tennessee and Illinois. There was one constant fact. Garrett was always represented at these hunts. They furnished detectors, diggers, magazines and Garrett dealers were there to help with any questions or help with a detector problem
    (which were few ). You could not have asked for a better company to ask for help if you needed it.
    This same statement could be also applied to Whites. Just change the word Garrett to Whites and there you have it.

  2. del

    Mr. Stout , here is a copy of an email I sent to a reputable manufacturer (names withheld of course) back in 2012 You would think this would at least be worth a reply with more questions or a respectful decline .

    Hello “Manufacturer” ,

    I really not sure who would be the right person to propose this question to ,
    so i’ll ask you but please forward this to the appropriate departments. Let me first start from the beginning , my name is Dan Xxxxxxxxxx
    and I’ve been volunteering ( detecting ) for the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Museum in conjunction with the U.S. Parks and Recreation Service and the University of Connecticut. They have been in a joint endeavor to study , survey and excavate the 1637 Pequot War battle here in parts of Connecticut , the museum asked our metal detecting club Y.T.C.(Yankee Territory Coinshooters) to help in locating and defining the boundaries for this project by detecting for small period metal items . This is our third year helping and many great artifacts , period relics have been found and preserved from this little known but important war and events that took place some 375 years ago when our country was in its earliest stages.Many diverse machines have contributed to this cause , My machine of choice is the Xxx xx and it has been one of the top performers and has made a great reputation with my peers and the archaeologists. Your main competitor (Xxxxxxx) has completely embraced this project and have gone out of their way to send a high level “state-side” exec. (Rob Xxxxxxx) to visit the site , demonstrate their top of the line pulse and even donated a machine to this cause. I feel Xxxxxx should not be left out of this , your machines have displayed just as much excellence if not more in producing results and i feel that this is a great opportunity to support and promote this aspect of the hobby. If your people feel the same i would be willing to facilitate the proper channels for you to communicate with , there is even a big interest by the museum to permanently display tools (a machine in looks only does not need any electronics “non working” ) that aided to this project in an exhibit . please contact me if your company is interested in this .

    Sincerely ,


    Do you feel the letter was out of line in any way sir ??

    • Nope, but you did end it with please contact me if your company is interested in this”…. Apparently they were not.

      Del/Dan, whatever….this was four years ago. What’s the point in bringing all this up now? My original post “Some Folks Are No Fun at All” was meant to be a fun one and didn’t really necessitate this kind of response. My suggestion would be to just get over it.

  3. Jesus H Christ… I gotta say, Del, that’s not how to do it. You made every PR mistake in the book that’s possible to make, and to compound your mistake, left the ball of reply, in their court. You gave them the choice: They chose not to reply. Put it down to experience and learn from it.

    Indeed, why should the ‘manufacturer’ whoever it was, have dealt with you? They could have gone direct to the recipients. What benefit to them was it to deal through you? Why expect a respectful decline from them? The, “please contact me if your company is interested in this” was their Get-Out-Jail card and they played it. Biz is biz after all.

    You had the right motives, no doubt, but screwed up on the way you presented what was essentially a business deal.

  4. del

    Dick , my point was your lack of response! Of all the people who love to complain about archaeologists , how badly they criticize and cast forever suspicion on our hobby . You’ve commented time after time on how the great divide of the two communities doesn’t help our side out because they hold more of the marbles. How come no comments , complaints on detector companies who refuse , ignore or abandon “the call” to help bridge these gaps and to better promote the hobby in a helpful responsible way. You know , like how you do to your detecting club “punching bags” the FMDAC and TFMDR . Shouldn’t these companies share a little of the burden to at least meet part way , some of us hobbyists sure have . Yes , I’m sure you can point out that they do good charitable work from time to time and “give back” and the usual yada, yada , yada . I suspect the reason might be you don’t wanna bite the hand that feeds ya so to speak and that is fine sir but I’m not under any contract to hold my tongue. This project i was on was a pretty big to do in the American archaeology community , its not like I was asking for a bunch of “freebies” or anything for myself ( 1 mock machine that was to be used exclusively as a museum exhibit piece). It would of been a great gesture to have the American manufacturer in our corner (not a foreign one ) to support this Historic American project , to help draw local metal detectorists and those in the archaeology communities closer . Heck the loads of PR would have been great for them . It was a legitimate and good cause and it was snubbed for some reason or another . I’ll get over it as soon as your over camo ! lol
    Have a great day sir .

    • “Dick , my point was your lack of response!”….. HUH? What are you talking about? What lack of response?

      Then you said…

      “Shouldn’t these companies share a little of the burden to at least meet part way , some of us hobbyists sure have . Yes , I’m sure you can point out that they do good charitable work from time to time and “give back” and the usual yada, yada , yada . I suspect the reason might be you don’t wanna bite the hand that feeds ya so to speak and that is fine sir but I’m not under any contract to hold my tongue….”

      First off Del or Dan or whomever, I could cite things that White’s and Garrett have done for individuals and families that would amaze you, but they chose not to make it public. Why? Because it wasn’t done for PR or self promotion. It was done because it was the right thing to do and because they could. So stop please with the “share a little burden” BS. You have no idea…

      As for biting the hand that feeds me….the only compensation I receive from White’s are royalties on my books and trust me, it’s not a lot. I am under no contract whatsoever with White’s or any other manufacturer. Likewise if I were under a contract you would not see the many mentions here of other brands, especially Garrett, which my drinking pal John Howland constantly talks about, and he too is under no contract with them….just Jack Daniels and Glenfiddich.

      As for beating up the FMDAC and Task Force….I do it when it’s needed. Have you checked out their websites of late? The Task force site is gone, no longer out there. The FMDAC? Latest update is 1st quarter 2015. Breaks my heart trust me.

      As for camo? I’ve been over that since January 15 1966….the day I was discharged from the US Army.

      You have a great day too….

      • How dare you! I’m deeply offended!

        You’ve got it hopelessly wrong to say that I am under contract to ‘Glenfiddich’. I found your comments Barfordian. Excellent though ‘Glenfiddich’ is, I only do ‘Chivas Regal 12 yr Old’… ‘Johnnie Walker’ (Red/Black Labels) and any whisky from the Western Isles.

        Up yours! (er, I mean bottoms up!)


      • You drink so much and so many I get confused….

  5. James M. Fielding

    Del: Perhaps you should seek out some freebies from one of the “Sense Of Humor” companies…maybe even seek a bit of swag from one of the few remaining “Read-Between-The-Lines” firms, like their ever-popular (and free) “Tongue-In-Cheek” readers which alerts you instantly via small icon when various kinds of humor; dark, light, just-kidding, musings, and the like are present on any blog or like-minded piece of writing. After you hit 65 or older you get a free “Not Taking Yourself Too Seriously” booklet, along with the ever popular “Things I Regret” fold-out which is very flammable and will burn like a magnesium flare once filled out, removed from the booklet and tossed in the fireplace! I wish these booklets had been available when I was a LOT younger. Cheers, Del!

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