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Working for Guitar Center or Sam Ash?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by IvanMike, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    As some of you may know, I'm in need of a temporary job, (or 7). I generally only shop at a few non-chain stores. But we do have a GC and Sam Ash here. I'm just looking for input of past or present employees in terms of pay, benifits, and anything to look out for or consider. I'm really not a salesperson, but I know gear and like to talk about it. One thing that is bothering me is the idea of having to sell items that i know are complete crap. I can't see myself feeling very good doing that. :meh:
  2. Unfortunately, I have no experience working at either...but I hope this helps:

    You would really be filling a need. Some people WANT to buy the crap. No amount of discussion will talk them out of it. They need someone to sell it to them. It may as well be you.

    I know it's not the perfect job, but think of all the guys/girls going in there that will be asking someone that might actually be able to help. Why don't you shop at big chains? probably because of the crappy service, uninformed sales staff and lack of persoanl attention. Wouldn't it be nice to know that you stood out in the crowd?

    Just trying to show the other side.

  3. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    I have been a salesman for 25 years and I can tell you this.

    People buy from people they like.
    Be a good listener and do not interupt people.
    It is easy to sell,sales is desire.
    It is easy to talk to customers just by asking a few questions
    you can get them talking to you.
    What instrument do you play ?
    Who is your favorite player ?
    etc etc.
    Do not worry about selling crap.The store's all have return
    policies and the crap is usually a higher profit item and that
    is what they want to sell.
  4. For the love of all things sweet and holy in Odin's Beard


    Especially GC. They are the most ruthless bunch of money grubbing used car salesmen on earth. The pay will be minimum wage, you will work 50+ a week, you will get lousy benefits, and you will be fired if you don't shove enough gear out the front door.:mad:

    I worked for GC for around a year and a half. The first 2 months I was at the front door, which just means greeting everyone, and checking reciepts. Then I spent the rest of my GC life in Accessories. I had a hell of a time trying to get something akin to decent treatment by upper management. Their entire philosaphy is, "The customer has my money in his pocket." It's disgusting. You won't be trained in how to sell to musicians at all, you won't be trained in the gear, and you won't have much room for error.

    Okay, okay, calm down Eric. Explain to the nice man what all you mean.:D

    Upper managment of GC is entirely corporate, in that I doubt Larry Thomas or Max Galster even play guitar anymore. They simply do not care about the workers. The one time I met Max (vice-CEO) he left me feeling oily. They are run by people who only care about the bottom line. They will spit out platitudes about the customer coming first, but then they will expect you to sell like your life depends on it. I was pulling about $30,000 a month in Gross Sales out of accessories, but they kept wanting me to go higher. My feeling was that I had hit the wall, that I was dealing with as many customers as WANTED to come buy from us, but they wanted me to call people who DIDN'T want to buy, and drag them in.

    It's very difficult to get a part time job there. If you do get one, it will be the front door and the front door only. Sales positions are full time+. The few exceptions to this are medical reasons or EXISTING school. If you want to START school while you work there, well, good luck to you.

    Now, I'm not saying it isn't a fun job. You DO get to talk to all the area musicians, you DO get to show off your knowledge on the gear, and you DO get to make people happy. I know that several times I made a few kid's whole month. It keeps you going, seeing the happiness on their faces. Yes, some of the stuff is crap. I always told this to the customer. Sometimes they wouldn't buy, most times they would say, "Okay, so what IS good?" and I would get them something better. But if my boss saw this, I would get yelled at, and on 2 occasions written up. For NOT lying to the customer.:mad:

    Find a mom and pop place, work there. Or work for some other type of store. I just got a job here 4 months ago at a sporting goods store, and am finding it to be very enjoyable (well, except for right now, but it's christmas, and the season only lasts a few more days) I'm getting the same size paycheck working 20 hours a week less, I already have my benefits and they are very good, and the managment seems to actually care about the employees.

    Sorry for the long post, but sometimes that place really gets me going. I felt VERY hosed by them. Probably the reason why the average time in position for GC is a mere three weeks. In the 18 months I was there, in a store with about 30 positions, I worked with 97 different people. There are only 5 still there at the store now from when I started, and they had been hired at the very begining. Watch yourself if you do decide to work there, and have an exit strategy. You may need to jump ship pretty quickly.

    Rock on
  5. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    There are a few past/current GC employees here at TB. You can find some of them commenting about GC life in this old thread: Guitar Center

  6. pmkelly

    pmkelly Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    any job is what you make of it... no more, and no less.

    btw, I have been at the Musician's Friend Distribution Center in KCMO for 3 years, and 1.5 years of that has been in management.

  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    anyione have experience at Daddy's junky music??
  8. Lucky Savage

    Lucky Savage

    Oct 29, 2004
    Hamden, CT
    I'm sorry to say I have absolutely no business-related advice, but if you do choose to work at Sam Ash, by any chance would it be the one at Amity Road in New Haven? That's one of the only music stores I visit and the staff there are great. It'd be awesome to see a TBer from my area working at one of my favorite stores.
  9. KPJ


    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    I was a store manager at Daddy's for a few months. The sales pressure is just as intense there as it is at GC, if not more so. It is difficult to go into all of it in a post, but a lot of what Eric said goes for Daddy's as well. Of course at Daddy's, because they do such a big used business, you not only get the pleasure of charging a customer too much for crap, you also get the indescribable thrill of offering someone a vomit inducing low trade value on there treasured piece of gear that they think has a much higher value.

    The pressure was really intense. I turned around one of there biggest under-performing stores that no one thought could do well, there was a GC a mile away, it was on a divided highway so it was difficult for some to get to, and made it into one of the top performing stores. Then I had to do more! I burned out very quickly.

    Stores like Daddy's, Guitar Center, Sam Ash... they are in business to maximize profits. If you are like me and enjoy musical instruments and want to seriously help out musicians, find a smaller shop that needs help. I would love to still be selling instruments, I keep telling my buddy who opened his own one man store that he needs an assistant, but I'm back in retail autoparts. Oh, well! Don't get me wrong, some people can do very well and THRIVE in a high pressure environment like that, you just have to know what it is.

    OT, are you originally from Southern CT, Mike? I was born in New Haven and lived in Branford until college. From your profile I see we're contemporaries!

    Good luck, I hope you find something you'll enjoy, I know from other threads you're on hard times.

    Hope 2005 brings you happines and prosperity!
  10. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    With everything that Ive said about GC in the past, it was still the first place I looked for a job when I moved back home. I went straight to my old manager and asked if they had room for me.

    Go in to the store and see what the crew is like. Thats what matters.

    Eric's story though very believable is not something Id expect from the GC I work at.

    My manager might be upset that Im selling a better product with lower profit margins, but he wouldnt write me up, and he would rationalize it with me creating satisfied (return) customers and avoiding returns.

    My advice is to spend some time on a not to busy day talking to a few of the crew and ask them how they like it there.

    Would I recommend a fellow TBer work there?

    Yup; I just helped Reasonbass get a job at my store today.
  11. I would rather bag groceries.
  12. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    I was always under the impression GC was a top notch place until I came to these boards. My GC experience has been very good, they sometimes mess things up, but they make up for it in the end which is the most important part of dealing with money :0. If you got a job at GC and I was in the area I'd buy from you :bassist:
  13. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I had thought about getting a job at GC myself years ago. Back then, every time I visited I would chat with one of the bass guys, and a chick working in accessories (I bought all kinds of stuff from her, she was too cute for me to resist. ;) ) and they always seemed pretty happy and chipper. Maybe the management team they had in place then weren't a bunch of overbearing Hitlers. I don't know really how the work atmosphere is there these days. Despite me working across the street from GC, I seldom go in (I get most of my gear/strings/etc online these days.)