I was really looking forward to my visit to Philadelphia, mainly because of Cintioli's (Cintioli's Music Center, 5349 Oxford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 215-533-2050, a very high-end, locally owned Guitar Center-sized place, to the uninitiated), but I just had a terrible time there. I've been shopping for a new pair of basses for several months now, and although I had pretty much settled on a used FBB (thanks knight!) and a Washburn XB925 fretless, I wanted to try out some Tobias, Pedulla, Warrior basses, etc. I should mention that although I am only 20 years old, I often am mistaken to be in my 30s, and I usually wear a suit. My bass-shopping day was no exception. When I arrived, I spent about 20 seconds gawking at the HUGE inventory before a salesman approached me. I was very clear about what I wanted: I said I was looking for a nice bass, somewhere in the $1500 to $3000 range, that I play a combination of funk, jazz, blues, and alternative rock, that I prefer natural wood and oiled finishes, active electronics, 5 or 6 strings, neck-through-body construction, and that my ideal tone is warm, fat, full, solid, and thick, and not particularly clear or punchy. I was very specific in stating that I do not like a sharp attack and rarely slap, and that although I am fully aware of the tone-shaping possibilities of a good pre-amp, I much prefer that the source provide a tone that, uncolored, has the characteristics I mentioned. Although I was seriously looking at a 5-string fretless in Missouri (where I'm from), I was prepared to purchase a bass that day if I found the right one. I also stated that although I love Fender guitars, I am not at all impressed with their traditional bass tone, or playability. The salesman looked like your typical guitar salesman. He had long hair, was tall & skinny, loud, and in-your-face. Surprisingly, he was very nice (at first). The guy, Bob C., said he was very glad that I had shared with him exactly what I wanted. He stated several times that this makes his job much easier and that he really appreciated the fact that I had a good idea of what I wanted. He also said that even though he is primarily a guitarist, he also plays bass, and was in a position to understand my tonal requirements. So far, so good! Bob plugged in a Fender BXR100 , which if I remember correctly was a 1x15, and grabbed a PRS 4-string. His only comment was, "I know this is 4-strings, but give it a go and tell me what you think." Well, the very first thing I did was politely request a different amp and cable. I told him that I play through a 1000-watt hand-built system into a 4x10 arrangement, and I profusely apologized for coming across as a "problem customer," (he assured me I wasn't), but mentioned that I spend hundreds of dollars of my cables and that a Rapco would not adequately give me an idea of the tone of the bass. He grumbled a bit and plugged me into a Peavey rack-mount amp, I do not know what kind (I don't exactly make a habit of keeping current on Peavey offerings!), and a SWR Goliath III 4x10. I held my tongue regarding the Peavey, as it was at least a major improvement over the BXR100, and I am very familiar with the Goliath III, having owned one. Now, I am very familiar with PRS guitars, and I have never liked them. They sound very flat, and the low strings have a distinctive "thunk-thunk" tone that is really only useful if you use a lot of distortion, a la nu metal. I should have told Bob before I started playing that it was not what I wanted, but I tried it anyway, and after about 10 seconds said, "This is the exact opposite of what I want." It was extremely bright, extremely clear, and punchy. He was *surprised,* and asked if there was a bass that I would like to try. I pointed to a Michael Tobias 6-string and said that it was more my taste. He got it down for me, returned the PRS to the ceiling, and walked off. There was no price, and I had a few questions about the bass, but he did not so much as say "Excuse me for a minute." I played it for a few minutes and really liked it, but imagined it cost more than I wanted to spend. I had the distinct feeling that he had written me off as a problem customer and it took me about 10 minutes to get his attention again. I asked the price, and he told me it was $5,000. I asked him if it that was the MSRP or MAP, and he said, "Well, the MSRP is $4,700." More than I wanted to spend in either case, but if he knew it was $4700, why did he tell me it was $5000? I told him it was more than I wanted to spend, and asked if there was anything similar in stock for less money. He pointed to the wall and said, "You tell me." I chose a used Carvin 6-string, and he got it down for me and promptly walked away again. I played it for a minute, liked it, but not enough to buy it. It took me several minutes to get his attention again, and I told him it was nice, but not "the one," and thank you anyway. He just kind of looked at me. Cintioli's has a wonderful selection of some very nice gear, but I'm not sure I will shop there again. When I ask for a recommendation, I do not expect to hear, "You tell me." I especially did not appreciate the "stretching" of the price on the Tobias. Considering I was looking at several-thousand dollar basses, I do not understand why he plugged me into such a cheap amplifier, especially knowing that I had such a specific idea of my ideal tone. Wouldn't you put together that I was just as picky about my amps? After a quick phone call to the guitar shop in Missouri that housed the Washburn fretless, it was mine, and I've been in touch with knight about the FBB also. I think I will be very happy with my selections (I have not taken delivery of either yet). I don't understand how people like Bob stay in this business. Oh well. If you're ever in Philadelphia, check out Cintioli's, but avoid the salespeople.