Updated 10.40 p.m. PT with comment from Direct TV
Culture is a strange thing. Elements that appear normal in one culture--say, drinking a beer on the street when you're as old as 20--are reviled in another.
So one has to accept that pockets of humanity see the world in their own way.
However, a promotion by Radio Shack in Hamilton, Mont., might move one or two people to move there just to benefit from its full-bore imaginative core.
For the Ravalli Republic reports that the Radio Shack Super Store in Hamilton has a very fine sign of the times outside its store.
It reads: "PROTECT YOURSELF WITH DISH NETWORK SIGN UP NOW GET FREE GUN."
I know that in certain parts of America (slightly less so the rest of the world) guns are a huge incentive. They make the owner feel safer and, somehow, just a little bigger. And this isn't even the first technologically-inspired gun giveaway. A couple of years ago, a Missouri car dealer offered a free AK-47 with every vehicle sold.
But somehow Dish Network is supposed to be a family-friendly value proposition. And to entice customers with guns seems not quite so family-friendly in an era in which people tend to misuse guns with such unfamily-friendly regularity.
Still, as the Hamilton Radio Shack owner, Steve Strand, told the Ravalli Republic: "I think it really, really fits the Bitterroot Valley."
Some may feel that gun ownership does, indeed, have bitter roots. But Strand, who claims the promotion has increased his business threefold since its inception in October, explained that customers do have to enjoy a background check once they receive their armored gift certificate. (Which is valid for a Hi Point 380 pistol or a 20-gauge shotgun)
He seems keen to add some cultural perspective. "You'd be surprised how many women are interested in guns," he told the Republic. Especially, it seems, women in their 60s and 70s.
He did admit, however, that Dish Network wasn't entirely armed with joy at news of this promotion.
Still, once this promotional volley is done, the Republic reported that will be another one coming down the pass. The idea was that you would be able to get a gun with your Direct TV purchase at this Radio Shack.
Many would have imagined that the Direct TV promotion would, again, be a shot in the arm for business.
However, I have been contacted by a spokesperson for Direct TV who told me: "DIRECTV is absolutely not following suit with the Dish Network promotion and immediately denied the request for such a promotion the moment it was brought to our attention."