If you are looking to buy your Ohio hunting license or deer tag at Gander Mountain's Mentor store you might want to add some extra minutes to your schedule.
The Gander Mountain store is a volunteer participant in a trial demonstration that is utilizing the Ohio Division of Wildlife's new - and expensive - "Wild Ohio Customer Relationship Management System" (WOCRMS) as a means to issue the agency's various hunting and fishing licenses as well as a multitude of other related permits and tags.
This system will go statewide beginning March 1. For now the Wildlife Division is testing the waters, looking at what can be done to tweak the system's programing.
Perhaps one of the most important tweaks the Wildlife Division needs to consider is the time required under WOCRMS to take a buyer's information, encode it and then have the machinery spit out the requested document.
When my wife, Bev, visited the Mentor Gander Mountain store Thursday evening to buy her state waterfowl hunting permit there was little other store traffic. Even so, it took a considerable amount of time for the process to print the required, single document.
Perhaps even more suggestive is that the sales clerk grumbled that three licenses could be issued under the "old" system in the same time it now takes to complete a sale under the "new" WOCRMS system.
And today I heard another Gander Mountain employee grouse on the same subject; noting as well a much greater preference for the previous system.
All of which could very easily prove to be a sore point with prospective license buyers durng the up-coming peak hunting license/deer tag selling period around Thanksgiving.
And a long wait to get a license also may very well frustrate other customers who are actually buying product but who must wait in line as a sales clerk focuses his or her attention on a license sale that offers little in the way of actual profit for the store.
All of which would - or will - prove bad PR for an agency that swears that WOCRMS is a more buyer friendly system.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn