Last week I decided to take a chance on an Aphex 204 processor. My favorite local store, Washington Music Center (aka Chuck Levin's) could not confirm whether they had one in stock (they often get incredibly busy; they acknowledged this when I asked and apologized). So I took a trip out to Rockville/Wheaton, I figured if WMC did not have one then Guitar Center probably would (the stores are within 5 miles of each other). I went to GC first because I hadn't been there in awhile. I begain with some window shopping in the bass department. I decided to audition a Fender Bassman 25 (because BassNorthwest was blowing them out for $200, heh heh). A Dio album, one with "Last In Line" on it, was blasting, and the sales dude in the bass section was ranting on and on about how pretentious Ronnie James Dio was. (I felt like saying "Dude, it's heavy metal, of course it's pretentious, get over it"). So I started playing along with the album... partially for grins, but partially because it was difficult to play anything else with the music so loud. Sales Dude said "Oh, I see you've spent some time playing that music". A little, but really, it's not like Dio songs are a challenge to figure out by ear. Sales Dude then said (smugly), "back then I was playing Rush". Oh... like Rush isn't pretentious?!? That is not the rant. I just thought that was funny. Here is the rant: I next went to pro sound to check on the 204. First thing I see is speaker cable. A pro audio salesperson asks if I need assistance. I ask if they have any short speaker cable with Speakon connectors. Salesman says no and asks what I need it for? Bass rig. He then tries to convince me that 1/4" connectors are just as good for my purposes, and he happens to have short speaker cable with 1/4" connectors in stock. I should've taken that as a clue to walk away and go to WMC. But no...rather than debate him I simply ask if he has an Aphex 204 in stock... maybe the GC price is less than the WMC price. We go to the inventory computer to search. On the black and green screen I notice that a demo model is available for $249, fifty bucks off regular price. I tell him I want a brand new one, and he says he has one... so I buy it for the regular price of $299, which is the same as the quote I was given from WMC. When I get home, I realize that I was probably sold the demo model at the regular price! Evidence: the box has been opened, there are noticeable smudges on the faceplate, the power cord had been unwrapped and not retied, and the manual was beat up. Worse, one of the control knobs was squeaking because the pot shaft was bent. I bought it July 3rd evening, so on the afternoon of the 5th I brought it back to GC. The jerk who sold it to me was there again, so I told him I was either returning this or exchanging it for a brand new model, and explained why. He spent a minute fiddling with the sticky knob and declared "Here, it works fine now. It wasn't the knob, it was squeaking because the potentiometer shaft was misaligned". Was that supposed to make me feel better, I wonder? Regardless, I said "Sorry, if I pay full price I want a brand new, unopened model, not a demo". He mumbles "let me check something" and disappears. Over 10 minutes later another salesman (who may have noticed that I was not a happy camper) asks if I am being helped, and I said "I thought I was, but the person helping me disappeared ten minutes ago. Here, I want to return this item". Salesman #2 starts processing the return, no questions asked. Then the first guy comes back with a 'tude: "I was just in the back looking for a new model for you" (he had never said where he was going). He says, "We don't have any others. Do you really still want to return this?" Yep, sure do. He then said... "Whatever". Sweet jebus, it was all I could do to keep from tearing him a new one for charging me full price for a reduced demo model. But I didn't want to waste any more time there, and actually, it's possible that the unit I was sold was not the demo model referred to in the computer inventory screen... it might've been a new one returned by a previous customer. Either way, I wanted no part of it, I just wanted my refund as quickly as possible. So I went to WMC and bought a brand-spankin'-new Aphex 204 for $299. I had to make an extra 60-mile round trip to GC, and tolerate aggravation from their snotty salesperson, but it's all over... I'm happy. And I can't complain about the GC return policy: I got a complete refund (would've gotten the same from WMC too). But my lesson learned is this: don't go to GC first. Those of you who have no other options will just have to use extra caution when dealing with GC... but then, you all probably knew that already.