I can also understand the stresses associated with this business. There's the legal pressure which is always a big issue. Then there's the CBSA hassles involved importing the obviously very numerous guns he's bringing in. That's a big hassle and can be very stressful. I personally would not want to have to deal with that, no matter how much money I was making.
Then there's the customers. While the majority of customers that are treated right, they will always find something to bitch about. No matter how cheap prices are, there will always be people bitching and complaining. That's the nature of business. There are people you just can't please no matter what you do, and they're a lot more common than most realize. Anyone who's had to work in a customer service job can attest to that. There's nothing Mark can do about that, no matter how hard he tries. And he tries. He gave me top-notch service and I was grateful (and still am) for the products that I got.
My first order arrived with a pistol with a broken and leaky mag, and the AEG broke within a few shots - neither being Mark's fault. Mark had me ship them back and credited me the shipping cost. I decided to 'move up' to a Classic Army rifle instead, so for the trouble, he gave me a great deal on the gun and battery. I have nothing bad to say about the service I received from A&A. It was top-notch. He did what he could to make things right, and I couldn't ask for better than that. So I have nothing bad to say of the man or his business.
I can also understand why Mark has less trouble with people from Manitoba than out-of-province like Thundercactus said. It's actually quite apparent even in this thread so far. He's a well-known member of the Manitoba airsoft community. People know him personally, some probably from even before he went into the airsoft retail business. And honestly, I wouldn't be suprised if he continued with airsoft imports, but privately and on a small scale in the classifieds on the MAA or JSOC or whatever, sort of like what Hellfire989 has been doing here lately. No more retail or outside sales of guns except to the small, private Manitoba airsoft community.
But to people outside that community, he's just a guy that sells airsoft at really high prices and "gouges" people (whether or not that interpratation is correct). They don't know him. They just know he sells guns, and they want guns. And they don't like paying high prices for them. And they complain about the high prices and how much profit he's making at their expense.
I think there's a percentage of that misery that is self-inclicted by constantly jacking prices. I can understand making a good profit on product. That's the point of business, but there's no way that he could be losing money with this, because he wouldn't be doing it if he was. This is a profitable business, or else people wouldn't be taking the risks and going through with it. I don't care how much import licenses are, shipments are lost, etc. There's only so much cost you can pass on to your customers without them starting to complain, and that's a lot of people.
Anyway, it's too bad it has to end like this, but there will always be somewhere to get airsoft guns. Someone will step up and fill the void. Maybe not as overtly as A&A did, but there will be guns available.