Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A very long Cabela’s African safari March 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:43 AM

"Meet me by the elephants."

Run for your lives, zebraa!

AN AFRICAN SAFARI has never been my dream vacation.

But, on Saturday, I went on a safari of sorts.

I accompanied my husband to Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter®, a.k.a. that store packed with guy stuff.

Randy has $125 in gift cards to spend. And since he’s not a sportsman, he decides to hunt for a new winter coat. He soon fixates on a bright red and gray coat that I find unappealing. I suggest a neutral brown and tan coat that will remain in style for more than a year. Thankfully, he listens, perhaps because the coat features a buffalo plaid red lining.

So, now, if you think this is the end of my story, it is not.

I must add here, however, that spending $159 on a Columbia coat is not typically something either of us would do. That’s just too much money, even if the coat was originally priced at $230. We justify the expense only because Randy has $125 in gift cards and he will get a $15 discount if he signs up for a Cabela’s Visa card.

Getting a credit card we really don’t need weighs on us. But, in the end, the $15 discount sucks Randy into applying for another credit card.

While he does the paperwork and pays for his coat, I go on safari. “I’ll be by the elephants,” I say. “Meet me over there.”

It is a good plan considering Cabela’s is about as big as Africa.

So I head for the wild animals—elephants, zebras, monkeys, lions, rhinos—displayed in an African safari type setting. Since I have my camera slung over my shoulder and time to kill, I start shooting.

On the hunt.

No playful kitty cat.

And then I wait. And wait. And wait.

Randy fails to join me on my African adventure.

Tired of shooting, and waiting, I set out to find my missing husband.

I must appear a bit lost myself as soon a Cabela’s employee inquires if she can help me.

“Yeah, how do you find a lost husband?” I ask.

She laughs and suggests I call him on my cell phone.

“We don’t have cell phones,” I answer.

A look of disbelief momentarily crosses her face before she offers to page him.

“He would love that,” I smile.

So, together, we head toward the front of the store, not because I want him paged, but because he still may be there buying his coat. He’s in line alright—the customer service line.

The clerk, though, wants to play a little joke on my husband. So I hang back as she walks over and tells Randy, “Your wife is waiting for you by the elephants.”

He knows, he says, and tells her that I shouldn’t let the elephants spray me. He’s a funny guy.

Then I come out of cover, curious to hear why my husband is waiting in customer service with a bag clutched in his hand. He says the check-out clerk rang up his coat as a credit card, rather than gift card, purchase. And because she can’t correct the mistake, he’s standing here waiting for someone else to fix the error.


While he waits, I check out another animal display. Then I view the fish in huge wall aquariums. I return and Randy is still waiting.

I’m getting more than a bit impatient, especially when the couple behind him is now at the customer service window. Randy tells me later that they knew the Cabela’s worker and he bumped them ahead of others.

I glance at my watch. Twenty minutes have passed since I found my lost husband. I’m leaning on a boat now because there is no place to rest my weary, I’m-really-tired-of-Cabela’s feet.

Finally, the purchase problems are resolved and we head out the door.

We’re both a bit ticked about the 30-minute wait in the customer service line.

But, hey, he got that $15 off his coat purchase, plus a free promotional Cabela’s cap and a free Mini Multi-Tool with LED Light that includes a flat-nose pliers, small blade, small screwdriver, wood saw and bottle opener.

And, I went on a lengthy African safari.

By the time I leave Cabela's, I feel ornery as a rhino.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


4 Responses to “A very long Cabela’s African safari”

  1. Miranda Says:

    The mini-multi-tool sounds like it was well worth the wait.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I think Randy would say the CAP was well worth the wait. We all know how he needs another CAP.

      But, yeah, that mini-multi-tool is pretty cool, especially with that super bright LED light!

  2. randy Says:

    A co-worker called cabela’s “the dead zoo”. I wonder what was more dead, the animals,or customer service.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Interesting comment, Randy.

      However, customer service was excellent up until you had to go to the customer service window. Remember Mary, who helped you with the coats and even led us all the way back to the bargain cave?

      And then the employee who tried to help me find you, well, she was quite helpful and pleasant too.

      I think Cabela’s customer service area was just extremely understaffed. I saw a lot of frustrated customers waiting in that long line. And no one should have been allowed to buck in line.

      As for the dead animals, typically, I don’t like looking at stuffed animals. But Cabela’s displays are excellent, plus it’s not every day I see an elephant, rhino, lion, zebra or vulture. And as you said, and I observed, kids love looking at all those African and North American animals.

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