Guitar Center stories good and bad

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

Locked
User avatar
thieves
suffering 'studio suck'
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:36 am
Location: Cleveland, OH
Contact:

Post by thieves » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:15 pm

I think the one thing that has to be said about GC is this:

Never, EVER pay sticker price for anything over $100.

I've (reluctantly) bought a lot of stuff there, just because I wanted/needed it quickly and/or there was nowhere else to get it conveniently, and every single bigger ticket item I've ever bought there was bought with at the very least a 5% discount, but more often than not, it's closer to 10%, easily.

The easiest way to talk them down is to have a round number in mind for the final total (including tax and everyting). Having an 'out the door' price is really handy when dealing with not-so-swift sales goons because they rarely remember that tax (at least around here) is at least 7%. Asking for just a few dollars under sticker price 'out the door' will actually get you 10% with little to no resistance.

Case in point: I recently bought a small Fender amp and a used tele there. I wanted to keep the final bill "under $500," which was barely a discount before tax. It turned out that they didn't have the amp in a box, so they sold be the floor model. I asked if there was a box for the floor model and they didn't have one, so I asked for them to throw in a guitar stand, and they caved on that. If I bought all that stuff at sticker price, it would have been just over $600, but after all my wheeling and dealing, I walked out only $500 poorer. 17% off!
Image

Andy Peters
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 602
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:45 pm
Location: Sunny Tucson

try to buy a mic

Post by Andy Peters » Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:55 pm

I was in the Tucson GC last weekend, because it's next to the Ace Hardware, and I noticed that GC had a "green tag" sale. I figured that maybe, just maybe, they'd have a Beyer 201 on sale, so I make my way past the noodling guitarists and crashing drummers to the "pro" "audio" section in the back. I ask the girl at the counter very specifically (because these people are idiots), "Hi, do you have a Beyerdynamic M201TG microphone?" and she looked at me like I was from Mars. After a couple of her "duhhhhs," the two guys behind the counter stopped yapping and she tried to ask them if they had what I wanted. Turns out that, no, they don't carry Beyer stuff in the Tucson store because it's a "C" level store, whatever that means. One of the guys recommended trying the Tempe store (100 miles to the north) and I was like, "no." Then they offered to order it in but it would take some time, so I said, "I can order it from Rat Sound, you know." I gave up, but only after noticing the green tags on a bunch of mics. And they had EV 767 and 967 mics on sale for $109 and $179 respectively. These prices are about $20 off of Sweetwater and such prices.

So I went back on Wednesday, figuring I'd pick up a 767 (because I like them). I got back to the counter, told the dude, "I'll take the 767 for $109" and he scanned it and said, "Oh, because of the sale, I need to get a manager's override."

That's ... odd, since the sale'd been on for four days, but whatever.

He comes back about five minutes later and says, "Oh, the computers are locked out and the manager can't change the price..." I'm like, "really? that's weird." He said, "well, if you want something else that costs $20 we can add it ..."

Now, I couldn't figure this out. He can't override a price in the computer, but he can give me something for free?

"No, I want this mic, and this mic only, for $109. Otherwise, forget it."

So their stupidity prevented them from selling something to a customer who was standing there, cash in hand, ready to buy.

They deserve to go out of business.

-a
"On the internet, nobody can hear you mix a band."

User avatar
>Mojave_Gary<
alignin' 24-trk
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:07 pm
Location: The Mojave Desert, California

Guitar Center - For Better or for Worse

Post by >Mojave_Gary< » Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:51 am

Ok. So I may be playing the Devil's :devil: advocate a bit but, here goes.
First off, I would gladly pay considerably more fo equipment than I do now if I could buy it from the mom and pop stores that were still in business back when I began purchasing gear. but sadly, those days are gone.So, as much as I, along with the majority of the rest of you here, would like to see the immergence of a chain of stores dedicated to the music professional, where guitars and cords to be plugged into the walls of amps awaiting power-up, are only issued once the requester has proven their ability to 1) tune the friggin ax - 2) play at least 5 chords successfully - 3) play at a considerately low volume level for at least 95% of the time. Where once the ding-dong at the drum set has proven that he/she in fact has no sense of rythym or stick control, is immediately escorted to the parking lot.
A Utopia of professionalism where the sales and service staff actually know what they are talking about, and give a rats ass about what you and I need or want. A Xanadu of product stock, both new and vintage, all at rock-bottom prices. :rofl: At this point, GC should just go ahead and change the name of the stores to GITMART, GIT LOTS or GIT DEPOT. :roll:
But alas, i still choose to partake in the painful experience that is GC.
To GC or not to GC, that is the question. :kotzen:
What the #*%@ is that BuZzInG sOuNd ??

hughmanatee
gettin' sounds
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:42 am
Location: Portland, ME
Contact:

Post by hughmanatee » Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:34 am

OK, so one day I go to GC to get some short balanced patch cables, Im looking for a bunch of them. so i go right into the pro audio department and ask

"Do you have a pack of 5-8 or 10, 18" to 24" TRS cables?"
GC D-Bag: I Don't Understand, what do you need them for?
ME: My patchbay, I just need some short TRS patch cables
GC D-Bag: (no joke) Whats a patch cable?
Me: well its kind of like an instrument cable, its 1/4" but its balanced, but i need a bunch of short ones
GC D-Bag: Oh ok, hold on,

he goes and talks to the pro audio supervisor or what ever, i can hear him

GC-D-Bag to super: Whats a patch cable?

the guy brings him to a wall of cables and points, then the super comes to me to ask what i need

ME: Some Balanced patch cables around 2 feet maybe 18 "

he hands me a 25' monster instrument cable

Me: No I need a TRS cable, This is Only TS

Blank stares from both, then i take them to the snakes, show them what a TRS is and ask if they have any short ones

still blank stares

Super: Umm, I think the only way you can get cables like that is in the snake

ME: oh ok, Thanks anyway


after leaving i thought about what it would be like to buy a bunch of studio equipment and have them sell me instrument cables to wire up my studio

that little bit of a chuckle i had became masked by ground loops.

hughmanatee
gettin' sounds
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:42 am
Location: Portland, ME
Contact:

Post by hughmanatee » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:03 am

Another time, i go in to GC help my roommate find some headphones, hes into hip hop, and makes a lot of beats, and is looking to drop $100-$150 on some good headphones, i have a bunch of pairs of K141s and K271s, he likes those quite a bit when hes tracking with me so i figure ill point him in a couple directions so he can make an educated decision on what to get, i also point out some of the better sennheiser headphones

GC Guy: can I help you guys out?
my roommate: well hes helping me pick out some headphones, we're good for right now
GC Guy: what are you using them, for?
Roommate: I make beats, i want some good accurate headphones, can i see those sennheisers?

GC Guy: yeah but if your listening to hip hop you should really check these out, (gets a pair of some $40 American Audio) They have this EQ curve that really hypes the beat in the bass and the highs

ME to roommate: the last thing you want is a headphone that hypes the beat for you, you need to hype the beat yourself

roommate: Yea, I think I need something more accurate
GC Guy: Oh these are really accurate, it just pushes the bottom end a little to make it more punchy

roommate joking to me: I dont know man, He seems to know what hes talking about, besides the headphones you got are too expensive and dont push the low end. and i could get these and a bag, and hip hop sounds best when im high anyway.

ME joking back: thats true man you should get them.

GC GUY starts to ring them up

roommate: oh no ill take the K141s please.

GC Guy: Ill sell you these for $30

Roommate frustrated: fine sold

GC guy: Do You want to buy insurance on them for $19.95

Roommate: Are you serious? NO, maybe i would have had i spent $150 like i was planning to but you talked me into these

ME; Besides if they really suck we can use them to record back up vocals

GC guy is astonished at the thought of recording vocals with headphones, luckily everything is bagged and we run out

theyre so great at changing the characteristics of gear to suit your needs, especially on stuff that is not what you need

User avatar
JGriffin
zen recordist
Posts: 6739
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:44 pm
Location: criticizing globally, offending locally
Contact:

Post by JGriffin » Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:17 pm

RefD wrote: my mom worked for Temerlin McClain for nearly 20 years (actually she started with the Dallas branch when they were Bozell and Jacobs, then BJK&E and then just Bozell) and has regaled me with all sorts of client-approved (or sometimes it was all the client's idea and they just wanted the agency to execute it) ad horror stories.

often it was down to doing the thing at figurative gunpoint for fear of losing the account. :|
That last is the motivating factor behind most decisions in advertising.
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/

jakeao
steve albini likes it
Posts: 304
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 6:19 pm
Location: Red Wing, MN

Post by jakeao » Sun Mar 16, 2008 5:24 pm

My worst GC story is when I went to buy a new needle for my old record player. i got the player at a garage sale for $5, so I'm not looking to spend a lot on a needle. I take the old needle with me because the $7/hour shitstains at GC couldn 't find there ass in the dark with both hands. :roll:
I go to the pro audio section.

Me: I'm looking for a record player needle.
Salesguy: right this way. Was there a certain one you were looking for?
Me: yeah a cheap one. :lol:
Sales guy: Oh...ok...well here they are. So what kind of music do you DJ?
Me: I'm not a DJ I just need one for my home record player.
salesguy: (looking confused that I have a record player at home, makes these weird tourette type sqeaks and grunts.) We have these ones here. ($140) they track in the groove realy good so they don't skip when you're in the club.
Me: :roll: like I said, I'm not a DJ. This is just for my home. Oh, here this one looks like my old one. I'll take that one. ($20)
salesguy:(more weird grunting, joined by eratic pacing and twitching) What about this one here. it's not as much as the other one but it should work for you.
Me: :x No, I'll just take this one.
Slaesguy:(more wierd chirps and blips) I'll go get the key.

10 minutes later he comes back with the ass. manager. (maybe that shoud be Ass Manager)

AM:(as he's opening the case) so what kind of DJing do you do?
ME: (looking him in the eye).......
AM: (ringing me up) what kind of record player do you have?
Me: (looking him in the eye again)............
Wife shows up thinking there was maybe some sort of hostage situation.
I explaing to the wife, in front of the slaes staff "these nice asshats are trying to sell me a needle".
Finally the AM manages to walk the guy through the sales proceedure.
AM & Twitchy: takes it easy.
me: ......

I think the whole thing took me about a half hour to buy a damn Record needle that I saw with in the first 5 minutes. Now I know why I do my GC shopping online

User avatar
Jay Reynolds
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1604
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:48 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Post by Jay Reynolds » Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:04 pm

jakeao wrote:My worst GC story is when I went to buy a new needle for my old record player. i got the player at a garage sale for $5, so I'm not looking to spend a lot on a needle. I take the old needle with me because the $7/hour shitstains at GC couldn 't find there ass in the dark with both hands. :roll:
I go to the pro audio section.

Me: I'm looking for a record player needle.
Salesguy: right this way. Was there a certain one you were looking for?
Me: yeah a cheap one. :lol:
Sales guy: Oh...ok...well here they are. So what kind of music do you DJ?
Me: I'm not a DJ I just need one for my home record player.
salesguy: (looking confused that I have a record player at home, makes these weird tourette type sqeaks and grunts.) We have these ones here. ($140) they track in the groove realy good so they don't skip when you're in the club.
Me: :roll: like I said, I'm not a DJ. This is just for my home. Oh, here this one looks like my old one. I'll take that one. ($20)
salesguy:(more weird grunting, joined by eratic pacing and twitching) What about this one here. it's not as much as the other one but it should work for you.
Me: :x No, I'll just take this one.
Slaesguy:(more wierd chirps and blips) I'll go get the key.

10 minutes later he comes back with the ass. manager. (maybe that shoud be Ass Manager)

AM:(as he's opening the case) so what kind of DJing do you do?
ME: (looking him in the eye).......
AM: (ringing me up) what kind of record player do you have?
Me: (looking him in the eye again)............
Wife shows up thinking there was maybe some sort of hostage situation.
I explaing to the wife, in front of the slaes staff "these nice asshats are trying to sell me a needle".
Finally the AM manages to walk the guy through the sales proceedure.
AM & Twitchy: takes it easy.
me: ......

I think the whole thing took me about a half hour to buy a damn Record needle that I saw with in the first 5 minutes. Now I know why I do my GC shopping online
So, having worked for the competition, I have no love for GC either. And their business model has more to do with being a big-box retailer than a music store. And I've got horror stories galore from dealing with them. But, this one was a bit much and illustrates why most people with a decent amount of knowledge and self-respect won't stay in retail.
1. Consider how you'd feel is you were working on a $2000 gear buy with the assistant manager and he bails on you to get a $20 needle? Or something has gone wrong with your $2000 gear buy and he takes a break from fixing it to get the needle? Maybe your replacement stylus wasn't the biggest issue in the store during that 10 minutes.
2. Its not like you rolled in and said "I need a M447 replacement stylus". You asked for a "needle". And then you pointed to something in the case. Thats on par with saying "I want to put songs in my computer" and then picking out the least expensive box that has the words USB on it. So maybe he wasn't as confused about your application as he was about the likelihood of anything in the case working in the first place because...
3. Consumer audio is a compatibility nightmare when it comes to using dj replacement parts with old turntbales. It just is. Trust me. Why not shop for this part at a consumer audio store that sells turn tables? I know they're not as prevalent, but there's at least one in each city.
4. Lastly, and this is a big one, trying to pick a fight with the manager when he's ringing you out is straight-up bush league, my man. It takes a pretty small set of stones to trot out the sh*t stare and sh*t language on someone who is obviously never going to ask you to step out side. Try that act out at a gig or in the control room sometime and see where it gets you.

Jake's little outburst aside, I'm a little puzzled by a certain attitude in this thread. The 20-something kid who posts on this forum gets good information presented to him/her in generally a civil tone. But if that same poor kid makes the mistake of buying into GC's business model ("You'll make money and go places, just stick with us"), he/she is a bag 'o' d*cks. Maybe the next time somebody tries to tell you that "hardware is on the way out", you might consider countering with, "Do you ever read TapeOp?".
Lastly, a lot of people call GC and other stores looking for session time. And a good percentage of that work is pretty low impact. You'd be surprised what someone is willing to pay for the hour it will take you to record, restore, and burn a cd of their great-uncle's bluegrass band from an old cassette tape. And how hard is it going to be to get that kid (the one you turned on to TapeOp) to send people to you when you come back a month later with some of your business cards?
Prog out with your cog out.

GooberNumber9
tinnitus
Posts: 1094
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:52 am
Location: Washington, DC

Post by GooberNumber9 » Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:48 pm

hughmanatee wrote: the super comes to me to ask what i need
ME: Some Balanced patch cables around 2 feet maybe 18 "
he hands me a 25' monster instrument cable
Me: No I need a TRS cable, This is Only TS
Blank stares from both, then i take them to the snakes, show them what a TRS is and ask if they have any short ones
still blank stares
Super: Umm, I think the only way you can get cables like that is in the snake
ME: oh ok, Thanks anyway
I have had this EXACT conversation at a guitar center. What kills me the most is that the sum total knowledge of musical equipment in a typical guitar center is less than what I knew about gear maybe ten years ago, but I can't get a job there because no matter how hard I try I for some reason can't figure out the right answers to their BS personality test.

Basically, GC management cares not one iota whether their staff members know anything about sales, customer relations, or even politeness. All they care about is whether someone can spout the "correct" answers to a test that is supposed to tell whether or not you're going to try to rip off the store you work for.

Todd Wilcox

RefD
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5993
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 9:10 pm

Post by RefD » Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:09 pm

dwlb wrote:
RefD wrote: my mom worked for Temerlin McClain for nearly 20 years (actually she started with the Dallas branch when they were Bozell and Jacobs, then BJK&E and then just Bozell) and has regaled me with all sorts of client-approved (or sometimes it was all the client's idea and they just wanted the agency to execute it) ad horror stories.

often it was down to doing the thing at figurative gunpoint for fear of losing the account. :|
That last is the motivating factor behind most decisions in advertising.
that's what her response was to me when i synopsized this thing with the GC ad for her yesterday.
?What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.? -- Seneca

Knights Who Say Neve
buyin' a studio
Posts: 985
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 6:27 pm
Location: The Mome Raths Outgrabe

Post by Knights Who Say Neve » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:23 pm

GooberNumber9 wrote:
I have had this EXACT conversation at a guitar center. What kills me the most is that the sum total knowledge of musical equipment in a typical guitar center is less than what I knew about gear maybe ten years ago, but I can't get a job there because no matter how hard I try I for some reason can't figure out the right answers to their BS personality test.

Basically, GC management cares not one iota whether their staff members know anything about sales, customer relations, or even politeness. All they care about is whether someone can spout the "correct" answers to a test that is supposed to tell whether or not you're going to try to rip off the store you work for.

Todd Wilcox
Those tests work on the principle that if you actually steal, you're a thief, but if you say you've never thought about stealing, you're a liar. So, if the question is asking you if stealing is OK, you say no. As far as the test is concerned, you've never so much as taken a pencil home from work. But if it asks if you've ever been tempted, you say yes.

At least they know better than to ask for a urine sample...if they tested for meth, they'd lose all their managers.
"What you're saying is, unlike all the other writers, if it was really new, you'd know it was new when you heard it, and you'd love it. <b>That's a hell of an assumption</b>". -B. Marsalis

User avatar
0-it-hz
buyin' gear
Posts: 563
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:01 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by 0-it-hz » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:42 am

Hi, I've worked for two GC stores (before I was old enough to drink,right?).

For those of you looking for a deal:

The lowly sales schmucks are at the mercy of the computer which imposes a minimum price on most things. Get an asst. manager or greater stoned and the minimum price magically goes away. The minimum price is generally near cost + 15% FYI.

Honestly, most of the sales they do are to amateur consumers. Very rarely did I interact with an actual musician/engineer. It's just not the profit base of the store. I might sell 3-5 PA-in-a-box things in a weekend but it took us a month or more to unload an A&H gl2400 that was discounted to cost. Normal people don't need fancy gear.

Too bad.
Everything louder than everything else.

User avatar
I'm Painting Again
zen recordist
Posts: 7051
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 2:15 am
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Post by I'm Painting Again » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:11 am

I went there to buy a pair of drumsticks yesterday and when you go out they stamp your reciept and there was this old guy playing guitar real loud and the stamper guy shouts over to him "sir, there is no reason to be playing that loud".."sir, I will Teabag you"..he couldn't hear but it was mad funny..

User avatar
Smitty
tinnitus
Posts: 1246
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:14 am
Location: columbus, oh

Post by Smitty » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:49 am

Beauty&Wonder wrote:I went there to buy a pair of drumsticks yesterday and when you go out they stamp your reciept and there was this old guy playing guitar real loud and the stamper guy shouts over to him "sir, there is no reason to be playing that loud".."sir, I will Teabag you"..he couldn't hear but it was mad funny..
this begs the question... on another forum somewhere, is there a group of GC employees going around telling hilarious stories about the customers they see every day?
"I try to hate all my gear equally at all times to keep the balance of power in my favor." - Brad Sucks

User avatar
Sean Sullivan
moves faders with mind
Posts: 2553
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Nashville
Contact:

Post by Sean Sullivan » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:53 am

Considering people as "into" gear as those who post on this message board and others make up 1% of GC's customers, there is no reason for all of their employees to be as knowledgeable with gear because they are going to get ask "My son wants to learn to play guitar, what should I buy him" and "I need a distortion pedal that will make me sound like Zakk Wylde" than "I'm looking for a Beyer M201".

If you are looking for staffs with a lot of know how, shop at Front End Audio or Mercenary or Atlas Pro Audio, they'll have an answer and a product for your everything. But instead we go to GC in the hopes of scoring a sweet deal, and don't feel bad hagglin' and having a short temper with their employees because, face it, the majority of us could care less about how we come off to them. And really, they could give a flying f*** about us to.

I got a brand new M160 for $399, can't complain there. A Vox AC15 with a Celestion Blue for $425. A Korg Triton LE for $250. A pre-serial number Chicago badge Ludwig snare for $80. A Voodoo Labs Analog Chorus for $25. A Takamine EG334 and C132S for $250 total. The list goes on and on. I would never ask them a serious gear question, but I will gladly spend my money if they aren't aware of the value of things.
Still waiting for a Luna reunion

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 82 guests