>>f you walk into a gear store and announce to the staff that you are an Ultra Light Backpacker or even worse, walk in with a scale, then you deserve what you get.
It's probably a bad idea to strut into a gear shop with a lighter-than-thou attitude. On the other hand, I never go gear shopping without a scale. It's a lot less hassle than having to return a piece of overweight gear.
Here's how I do it.
Bring in a small, unobtrusive scale carried casually in one hand. Unless they are "in the club" most folks won't even notice what it is. After saying in a friendly manner,"no thanks, I'm just browsing", find your piece of gear and proceed to weigh it. If you choose a larger store such a REI on the weekend, chances are that no one will notice or care what you're doing. The most grief I'm gotten over the years is an occasional look that you'd give to harmless eccentrics. Since I really AM a harmless eccentric, it doesn't bother me.
Bringing your scale into a store can have unexpected benefits. Those "in the club" will instantly recognize you. You never know where members of this fifth column will be hanging out.
Once, while shopping at the Denver REI Flagship store, a clerk approached me with a twinkle in his eye and asked me what I was carrying under my arm. An animated conversation about UL gear and practices ensued. Last time I ran into him, we spent twenty minutes talking about his UL thru-hike of the Colorado Trail.
Coming up: Part Two. How to talk to concerned rangers and other land managers you might meet on the trail. :-D