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Rude Music Store Salesman

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by andrewd, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. andrewd


    Sep 5, 2003
    I was in New York City on Wednesday to see "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with school. While we were walking around waiting for the show to start, we found a store that had a Ritter sign in the window. After I figured out that the bass section was on the third story, I had to find an employee to unlock it. After he gathered his lunch together, he unlocked it and ignored me until I asked if I could play the Ritter 6-string hanging up (I only asked because it had a sign that said "Please Ask for Assistance." The response: "No, that's a $5,300 Ritter. If you just wanna jam out.... if you're actually interested in something that's another story."

    I'm not sure if I should say which store it was, but man was that guy a tool! I figured mentioning that ive been playing bass for 5 years and that im going to berklee college of music in the fall wouldnt have changed his mind.
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    So, I gain from your story that you're a high school aged kid. You didn't answer the question. Were you in a position to buy the bass, or did you just want to play it in the store? With ultra-expensive gear, you'll find that most stores will steer kids and teens away from the high-end stuff simply because they aren't in a position to buy such a delicate and expensive piece.

    That's what Guitar Center is for. The kids bang on the instruments, and the instruments show it . . .

    I don't think the salesguy what questioning your playing ability, just your ability to pay. Making money is, however, of paramount importance.
  3. I'll second Mr. Eric. I'm sure you are a responsible and upstanding youth that would have respected such an instrument. Asking the sales guy to differentiate between you and the other kids that come in and have knocked, "adjusted" or dropped high end basses in the past, however, is a bit much. Relax. He's trying to cover his ass.
    As Eric said, the reality is that a lot of GC equipment is in the condition its in because they let everyone beat on their stuff.

  4. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
  5. firstbassman

    firstbassman Apples & Dirges

    Sep 6, 2004
    NYC/Northern NJ
    There's no shame to your experience at this unnamed (Rudy's) music store. The bass room is NEVER open, and they never want to open it without a warrant. And unless your name is Geddy (or maybe even if it is), they'll give you the attitude that your very presence, nay - existence - is an insult to them.

    I can appreciate a retailer being protective over high-end gear, but that's not really the way to treat a potential customer, in my view. If you're that worried about your stock, bump up your insurance and open a museum.
  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY

    You're not alone, I've had that experience several times myself.
  7. C-5KO


    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I see both sides.

    While the salesman doesn't want just any joe-blow messing with a $5300 bass, it's still wrong to stereotype by age. In many areas, it's illegal. I remember a story of a man who put a sign in his convience store something to the effect of: "If you 18 and under, go away, unless you have money to buy something". Eventually the city got after him and made him remove the sign, because he was discriminating.

    I'm not sure where the line is drawn for refusing service to a customer, but I believe the store has some rights as well - ie: like a customer being drunk and disorderly, etc.

    But putting it the way he did, that just makes him a jerk in my opinion... and it's also bad for business. He could have been a little more understanding about the situation... "If you're serious about purchasing the bass, I don't mind if you try it, but understand, if anything happens to it, it's my a$$."

    How does he know you weren't going to purchase it? When I was younger, and more of a hellraiser, I would talk the the manager of the store, and explain what had happened, and tell him that he's lost me as a customer, and everybody I know as a customer. He may not care, and may even side with the salesman, but atleast there's closure with yourself, and you don't feel putdown.

    OR, I would have just answered, "YES. I have my credit card here, and was going to pick between this Ritter, and this Ken Smith. But since you're such an idiot, I'll have to tell your manager that I'm going down the street to buy it."
  8. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Yeah Rudys. I had that too.
  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I'm in my mid 30s, dressed respectably, and still got the same treatment from them several times. Each time, I was made to feel that my presence was an annoyance.

    I expect high prices in NY, but Rudy's are high even by those standards. Throw in the poor service, lack of a return policy and you have a place I'll never buy anything more expensive than a set of strings from.
  10. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Edit - oops, I quoted the wrong one. Rudy's.

    Yep...I was just there a couple days ago. I didn't check out that Ritter because I already have a fretted one, and I didn't like the color of the fretless (I picked it up, but didn't bother plugging it in). I did check out a Rob Allen and a Pensa (wasn't in love with either).

    Anyway, it's so hit or miss at these places...when I went in the guy seemed mellow, if aloof. He sort of gave me a look, but let me plug in whatever (and shut up once he found out what gear I own). Other places people aren't as trusting. I get annoyed with music store attitude, but I kind of understand that angle too; I wouldn't want some heavy handed gorilla with a rodeo belt buckle playing my Ritter. Not to say that's you at all, just the idea of being overprotective with a $8000 item makes sense. You should just give him attitude back and say what you said here. When I walked into Sam Ash, some kid was tapping away on a Fodera. I've had store people give me a hard time, but it is easier now that I'm hitting 32 (and in the case of Manny's, was dressed up from a conference). Still get carded though.

  11. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    oddly enough i was in guitar center (south chicago)the other day to check out some prices on a piece of recording gear when i ran into a friend of mine who is also a pro bassist.we when over to the bass section and started checking out some of the bass's,a saleskid came over and said "check this out this warwick it was marked down a 1000 dollers on memorial day and nobody picked it up"i said of yeah? wow that was a good price if you like warwicks and the saleskid said "if? warwick are the best bass on the market"i said their ok but not my taste in bass's THEN he "well what do you play?i told him i have a few custom bass's by jerry loy,two moons,a zon frettless 5,a sadowsky metro on order and either a bennavent or nordstand single cut 6 on my radar,then he says "i never heard of a sadowsky,bennavent or nordstand" i told him they are small builders compared to fender or warwick but make great bass's.and he said "nobody well known play's any of those brands everybody good has a warwick" my boy and i just looked at each other and laughed
  12. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    PS: Late notice but if any of you NYC'ers are playing tonight, send me an email.

  13. Yep, the one and only time I've been to NYC, I made a pilgrimage to Rudy's and got the same treatment. The salesman was actually pimping Pensa basses (of course) to a jazz cat who was wailing on an Epifani cab. So I couldn't really blame him for not helping me and treating me like I was some riffraff...I was in Cali tourist clothes. At the time, there wasn't anything I could afford in there, which means I really had no justification for taking that Ritter off the stand and dry-firing it for ten minutes. ;)

    It's a double-edged sword: Every note that's played on a high-end bass has the potential to devalue it and make it less 'new' and less 'sellable' for a store. BUT, if I hadn't stolen those 10 minutes from an otherwise never-have-the-chance-to-test instrument, I wouldn't be thoroughly boner'd up to get one. Someday...
  14. and therein lies the problem, IMO. If I were a salesman, I wouldn't put a $5000 anything in a "kid's" hands if it were my butt on the line. Do you really think that Joe Blow off the street cares if the salesman has problems when he damages something?

    I'm not saying this store doesn't have a history of poor customer service. They may even deserve to be run out of business, but the sales guys shouldn't be crucified for refusing to let a teenager noodle on a $5000 bass. For those of you with the inclination, try to go test drive a Ferrari when you have the time and see what happens.

  15. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    that is a good point,i did a gig at a chicago rolls royce/bently dealership and we were all gaping at the 200,000 + car's when the guitar player asked a salemen for a test ride(joking) the guy told him(dead serious) "sure if i drive no problem if you drive we have to run a credit check"
  16. I think Rudy's is still pretty safe. There are plenty of buyers (with talent and cash) who gravitate to a store with a wide variety of stock that hasn't been beat to hell by hordes of wankers.

    Lucky for me, I've got Bass Alone
  17. eldave777


    May 24, 2005
    Generally in my store if a 'kid' wants to play say a Fodera the most I guess rude I would be is to take it off the wall for him, babysit him while he played, show him the features by playing it myself, and hang it back up for him when he is finished. You never know when a kid has the parental backup to buy anything his heart desires. A 14 year old kid came to our store and his grandmother bought him a PRS Dragon and a Mesa Boogie Triple Rec. half stack because he wanted to learn to play guitar. A lot of music store guys are pretty jaded. If you had to listen to 5o kids play enter sandman wrong all day your nerves would be shot too. Still there is no reason to act that way towards any customer when you have the option of doing as I do. On the other hand I have kicked kids out for abusing instruments. Catch 22 I guess.
  18. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    One of my occasional amusements is to test drive cars I have no intention or means of buying. Haven't bagged a Ferrari yet, though I have driven a Testerossa and a 360 Modena that belonged to aquaintences. The most expensive one I've talked my way into to date was a 996 Carrerra. That was fun.
  19. C-5KO


    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Perfect. I agree totally. This is the policy that Rudy's should adopt then. If somebody wants to hear the bass, then get a staff member to play it, or otherwise, do a credit check or even a deposit to play it. BUT don't downright refuse somebody because of their looks/age. I'm sure the salesman at the RR dealership didn't treat you like punks, or laugh in your face, or give you little "huff's" (that what I call those sarcastic breathes), for asking.

    So, looking back, I wouldn't blame the salesman at Rudy's, I would blame their policy, and their Customer Service "training" that he should have taken. So really it's the Manager/Store Owner's fault. If you hire bad salespeople, don't blame the salesman?
  20. Look, this kinda crap goes on everywhere, all the time. No, it's not fair, it's life. I'll bet my left...hand that the RR salesman doesn't do credit checks on people who arrive in comparably prices automobiles. Most of it is based on percieved ability to pay. Most 18 yr. olds cannot afford a $5000 bass, with or without their parent's money. A few can.

    Do we really expect the guy to hand the bass to everyone that asks for it? I don't. Part of his job is determining who to devote the time and attention to in an effort to get the highest return. In his mind, he has to unlock the "bass room" and watch as a very unlikely buyer plays on a bass that, if damaged, will cost him 20% of his salary. OR, he could eat his lunch and tell the unlikely customer "no". Maybe he's wrong...maybe you could afford it, who knows? He made a judgement. Chances are this is not the last time you'll run into this.


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