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Went to Guitar Center... twice (long rant)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Fuzzbass, Jul 7, 2002.

  1. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    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.
  2. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Ah GC, those princes of CS! :D

  3. Good lord.

    And yeah, there's nothing more annoying than their policy of trying to convince you that you didn't need what you wanted that they don't have. "Get this it's just as good", to the point of flat out making up a story to sell you something. A friend of mine was trying to get some D'adarrio strings for his new Taylor acoustic. they didn't have the ones he wanted, so the guy proceeded to explain to him that D'adarrios weren't designed for Taylors and he needed to get something else. It's one thing to be a salesman, it's another to be insulting.


  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I don't get it. That's the GC experience. I love it.

    OK, OK. At GC you have to assume that this is the style of business and be ready for it. If the box isn't factory sealed, don't take it. Know what you want, and how much you'll pay for it. If they won't do the deal, OK. Also, NEVER pay their advertised or marked price for an item. Those prices are for the 14-year-old's mom who doesn't know any better.

    For instance, on July 4th, at the blowout sale, I wanted to buy an Avalon U5 (which I did ... good call). They list at $595, and MF (which is GC) advertises them at $529. GC has them at $499. So I'm asking them if they'll blow out the racked demo to me. No, it's not on blowout. "Got any fresh in the box?" "Yeah ... they told us to make deals on everything today." "OK, sell me a new one for $400 out the door." "Let me go check with the manager. :::three minutes ::: ... The best I can do is $480 out the door ($445 before taxes)." "That's good enough for me ... go get it." Of course, he he capped off the deal with my favorite line: "We're only making ten bucks on this deal." YES! I love it when they say that. It' almost as good as "You're getting this below our cost." ROFL.

    Buying stuff at GC is an acquired taste. The key for me is knowing that, when I walk in there, I'm going to spend money ... or NOT. "Not" is not good for GC, so it's up to them to make the right deal.
  5. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Hmm-- I noticed a Peavey B-quad the other day-- The had it around $1000. How low do you think they would go with that?
  6. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I love shopping at big Conglomo-Muzic O-Rama stores. Maybe I'm twisted, but I love dealing with idiots. I never look at their ineptitude as a pain in the ass, I see it as entertainment. It's great having them tell me blatent lies and blowing smoke. It's great. Of course, I rarely buy there (almost always better deals on equipment they don't have) but when I do venture in, I think it's a hoot.
  7. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Having an "I don't NEED your amp." attitude is what got me a brand new, still in the box SWR Redhead for $1100, taxes included! They tried to charge extra for the casters, and I threatened to walk, so they relented. They're still blind melons though.
  8. I would never buy from any store that lets $3000 basses sit on the wall with rusty strings. Period.
  9. WMC beats guitar center hands down. Why did you bother going to guitar center. The only reason I go to GC is because my local one's closer than Chuck Levin's.

    That store is amazing. They carry everything, and are really good about pricing.
  10. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    Yep, your experience at GC was standard guideline procedure. Nothing out of the ordinary for GC....:rolleyes:
  11. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Part of the problem is trying to find stuff you can actually play somewhere other than GC. If I want to look at a Zon in Illinois I have my choice of 4 GC's, there are no other dealers in the state!

    That being said, my local GC really isn't too bad, and you've always got the good return option.

    I'd rather have a Bass Northwest or Bass Central type store within driving distance though. :D
  12. Start one! The Midwest is hurting for good music stores.

    Seriously, though, it'd be nice if a group of investors could be gotten together to get a little storefront space in the suburbs and build a store like Bass Palace or Bass NW.
  13. The huge independent dealers like Bass Central, Bass Northwest, and Chuck Levin's WMC are the best place to buy stuff. Better than little independent stores, and better then chain stores.

    Better in prices, selection, everything. I call up every GC in the area, and they always tell me they can order what I want.

    I call up Chuck Levin's or check their website, and they always have it and it's much cheaper.
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Unless I missed something, BC ain't what I'd call "huge." Maybe there's a 7-acre warehouse out back or something.
  15. It's weird Mungi, these stores seem to do that, the store being not half the size of GC, but with 4 ajacent warehouses.
  16. Too bad there arn't any GC's in the Netherlands, they sure sound like a lot of fun :D
  17. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    Despite the problems encountered at GC, don't assume WMC wont also sell demos as used. I've known several people who have had that happen to them at WMC and while I prefer Chuck's, I do know that this happens there far too frequently so I know to be careful there.
  18. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    The only thing I buy brand new at GC are strings. Other than that, I treat GC as one of the places to go to to see what used gear I can get. If it's new, it must be on sale - bigtime.
  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I've returned/exchanged a few items to WMC, and I'm sure those items were resold as brand new and not as used/demo models.... that's fine with me. My problem with GC was the salesperson's attitude. (Well, I'd be downright angry if I knew for certain that he tried to charge me full price for a demo unit which even according to the GC computer should have been sold at a $50 discount... but I don't have proof).

    Anyway, I'm sure WMC isn't perfect, but on those few occasions when I've returned an item to WMC, I wasn't subjected to interrogation, persuasion, or backtalk. Also, they have a number of long-time, knowledgeable, experienced sales staff who don't give me the hard sell on items I don't want/need (I am always open to suggestions, but not to instructions).

    I actually went into GC with low expectations, but still came out disappointed. I'll still shop there (with shields energized to maximum) if WMC doesn't have what I need, but next time I'll go to WMC first. The only reason I didn't this time was because WMC was too busy with pre-holiday traffic to confirm whether they had my item in stock.
  20. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    I also much prefer WMC, even if GC is closer to me and has bettter parking. Also WMC can be a madhouse, when I go there, I prefer it not to be at a popular time as the place is just too crowded. THey do a good business. Heck, they were crowded when they were in DC before they moved to Wheaton.

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