'Hot cashier' tradition draws curious shoppers to gun store
By ANDY FIELD
Jul. 30, 2017
ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — When your workplace advertises a "hot cashier" inside, that can be a lot to live up to. Umpqua Survival manager Sam Hango, 22, doesn't mind.
"It's funny. It's just been there forever," said Hango. "People get a hoot out of it. The power lady came in today and was laughing about it."
A sign at Umpqua Survival advertises firearms, reloading, and camping and survival gear. Oh and one more thing: In black capital letters, it reads "hot cashier."
That would be none other than Hango. His long, thick sideburns curve in front of his ear and into his hair, like the grip of the very revolvers he sells. The Glide native speaks with a smile under his pyramid moustache. His voice a lively drawl, he greets everybody entering the store with a booming "howdy."
Depending on the day, people inquire about the "hot cashier" once a day — including one customer, four months ago, on his way to work at the Nordic Veneer.
"Where's the hot cashier," the customer asks after entering the shop.
"That's me," Hango replies.
The customer groans.
"I stopped for nothing!" he says before leaving.
Hango inherited the title "hot cashier" from former employee Shawn Smith, a bearded ex-marine who worked as cashier before him. Hoping to have a little fun with Smith, Umpqua Survival owner Josh Murphy secretly added the message to his signboard, hoping it would lead to customer inquiries inside the store.
Boy did it ever. People have been asking about the "hot cashier" ever since.
"If you look at either having Shawn or Sam in here, they both look like mountain men," Murphy said. "It's the opposite of what you think when you walk in here, and that really stuns people when they walk in and see Sam."
For Hango, it was passion and a bit of luck which led to his appointment as the manager of his store, and doing what he loves.
Hango said he has been shooting guns since he was about 8 years old.
"You go out with your dad or your brother when you were a little kid, and shoot some pumpkins, or something; and watch stuff just explode," Hango said. "It's instant gratification. You know if you've missed, because nothing exploded, and if you hit it, there's a watermelon all over the place," said Hango.
During his time as a student at Glide High School, Hango would come to Umpqua Survival once a week, buying many of the guns he now sells. Now over 21, he carries his favorite firearm — a Colt 1911 — on him in the store.
He would also help out Murphy, the owner, who he knew from being close friends with his nephew since preschool.
After many years of different jobs for Hango, he never lost contact with Murphy. When Smith quit working in January, Murphy asked Hango to be its new manager.
"Josh called me and said, 'Hey do you wanna sell guns?'" said Hango. "I quit my job, and drove all the way down (to Umpqua Survival) for an interview."
When he was hired, Hango suddenly found himself as the sole manager of a store. For him, dealing with background checks was the most intimidating part of the job.
It's not just the title as "hot cashier" that can be a problem for the 22-year-old manager. It can be making suggestions to the older customers.
"Let's say there is some 80-year-old dude in here and he is reloading his gun. Well, he's been reloading his gun, and putting his own ammunition together since he was my age," Hango said. "Then, if he comes and he wants a certain powder, and I say, 'Hey you should try this, this is the newer thing, It works better,' Well, he isn't going to want to hear that."
If the title fits, that will depend who is asking. Or if the store's air conditioning is working.
But Hango is well-known in town for his work. On Sunday, he walked into a Cabela's store in Springfield while picking up his brother from the airport. He said the man at the counter recognized Hango from his voice having called into his store.
"I had never seen the dude before," Hango said. "He called my name and asked what I was doing out here."
Information from: The News-Review, http://www.nrtoday.com