Yet another Guitar Center visit thread

drummer5359

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Traditionally I have bought a brick of sticks from my local drum shop once a year. I no longer have a local drum shop. And since I didn't gig in 2020 I did not go through as many sets of sticks as usual. None the less, two weeks ago I was getting low on sticks. My wife had a dentist appointment, I dropped her off and made quick run to one of the two Guitar Center locations in the Pittsburgh area. (Near Robinson Town Center.)

The sticks that I was looking for were wood tip Vic Firth model 1A. (I'd argue that they are one of the most popular sticks out there.) They rarely have a brick in stock, but I figured that I'd at least pick up a couple of pair to get me by. I went into the drum department. There was no one there, and it was a mess. I stepped behind the counter where the sticks are kept. There was a mound of Sound Percussion sticks on the floor. (I'm guessing fifty or sixty pair.) I stepped over them and checked the bin for Vic Firth 5A. It was empty. I checked the bin for the 5AN, thinking that maybe there would be a couple of pair of wood tipped 5A sticks in the wrong bin. It was empty as well. I spent the next ten minutes looking through every bin. There were none. Eventually I found two pair of the double gaze variety. (Mixed in with Zildjian sticks...) I wasn't looking for something unusual. I was sort of surprised to see that of all things completely out of stock.

I was paying with cash at the main register in the center of the store. They didn't have a cash drawer open. I waited a few minutes for them to page a key holder who could ring me out.

I also play bass, I glanced into the bass room on my way out.. There were a lot of empty hangers. I was curious, so I did a quick count. They had nineteen basses in stock total. I counted twenty-one empty bass hangers.

For the record, I'm rooting for them. I don't want to see them go under, but they are not real impressive right now.

I picked up my wife at the dentist's office and ordered a brick of sticks on-line when I got home. I'd rather support a brick and mortar business, but that was not possible.
 

lossforgain

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I'd rather support a brick and mortar business, but that was not possible.
Interesting take. Other than the fact that the few employees left live locally, there's nothing "brick and mortar" about GC anymore. Most of their stock items are online, as you said. My GC was even more bare than that with regard to guitars. Instead of supporting a "brick and mortar" business, I would rather support an independent or family-owned business. Most of my drum purchases right now are through Drum Center NH and Drums On Sale. There's way more passion and customer care in those businesses, even if they aren't close enough for me to run in for a pair of sticks.
 

JDA

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The problem I see with a Guitar Center is if " Joe" is hired to be the Percussion Dept. Manager he cannot--- order what he see's clientele coming in asking for he cannot order what he thinks in his area is popular or is something he thinks he wants to introduce to his customers So in essence......

It's a totally impersonal Experience.
If dept managers where allowed to when time to order -pick and chose- and tailor- their store- in a Personal way- for the clientele they build up... the dissolution of the "independents"... the dissolution of the "independent" shop whether it be lawn and garden, tools, dresses...whatever....... as the individual independent store disappears so does the personality. But you all knew that

You can't blame the people in there that work there... they are hamstrung by the business model... and like working at a walmart you survive by keeping your head down never saying a word never complaining and never suggesting a change...you speak up one too many times you're gone..

a GC drum dept manager probably can't even hang portraits of famous drummers on the wall without asking a front desk somewhere; Can't personalize the place. Can't take any chances can't take any risks can't follow any hunches... that's No way to do business.
Now compare that with the say "Pro Drum Shop" where we watched - Stan- tuck a calf head in his shop. Look around it overflowed with personality.
 
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drummer5359

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Interesting take. Other than the fact that the few employees left live locally, there's nothing "brick and mortar" about GC anymore. Most of their stock items are online, as you said. My GC was even more bare than that with regard to guitars. Instead of supporting a "brick and mortar" business, I would rather support an independent or family-owned business. Most of my drum purchases right now are through Drum Center NH and Drums On Sale. There's way more passion and customer care in those businesses, even if they aren't close enough for me to run in for a pair of sticks.
Up until the end of last summer we had an independent drum shop in my area. (Pittsburgh Drum Exchange.) That was my go to brick and mortar shop. (I ordered my Gretsch Shell bank from them.) I also buy from Drum Center of Portsmouth, Dale's Drum shop in Harrisburg, Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center in the DC suburbs, among others.

I'm hoping to return to work soon. There is a snare at Dale's that I'm salivating over. Other shops have it in stock, but I want to send them the business.
 

DavedrumsTX

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Today’s visit is brought to you by...bankruptcy!

I stopped over to the local GC (only about a mile away as the crow flies) to see if, by slim chance, they would have an electric guitar I am currently interested in. Turns out that this brand is one they only have on their website, the GM told me when I asked. Strike 1. So I decide to walk around. Went to the guitar wall and found a Squier marked as a Schecter. No biggie I guess, everyone makes mistakes, but it was pretty obviously not the guitar on the tag. So I mentioned it to the manager who came over to fix it, but first called out to the guitar sales guy laughing and blaming another employee by name who obviously wasn’t there to defend himself. Strike 2.

Next I walked around the drum area and was ignored in there. Went to the acoustic guitar room and the guitar sales guy, who I’ve bought a guitar from before, came in to ask me what I was looking for. I told him I was just seeing what the deals were, and he volunteers “you know we have 24 month financing right now.” It struck me as him saying “you probably can’t afford what you want to buy.” Maybe not, and maybe it was that I was already feeling a little negative (which I can’t seem to get away from in this store), but I was in sales for a long time. You don’t bring up financing options when you haven’t seen any indication of what the buyer is interested in. It’s a closing tool — make it possible to own the instrument that you have fallen in love with. I’ll call this strike 2.5.

Then, I continued talking with him and told him about the guitar I came to see but wasn’t here. He mentioned the 45-day return policy as a way I could try out the guitar! I was pretty shocked by that but I guess it’s a valid point. So I asked him if they were going to have a St Patrick’s day sale promo, since every holiday seems to bring me another 15-20% coupon in my email. He didn’t seem to want to answer that directly but claimed he didn’t know, and then launched into a pitch on trading something in and getting 10% off what you buy. I told him I sell my own gear because the math on trading in doesn’t work in my favor. He actually argued with me about that for a minute, surprisingly. And in the middle of me responding to him about it, he answered a phone call without even an “excuse me for a moment.”

I know it’s not new to bash on GC but I can honestly say if they had had the guitar and a 15% coupon (which will probably come out any day) and a more professional approach, I would probably have bought a guitar today. I only share this honest review because I think the day is coming when GC really will die out, and this kind of experience is why.
This has been going on for years. The bankruptcy is just the latest chapter. When GC started it was pretty cool, but vibe faded quickly with rapid growth.

I went the other day to buy some accessory clamps and the wall that is usually covered in odds and ends was bare. The staff completely ignored me and I was the only one in the store. I grabbed some sticks and went the counter to pay and asked if the store was closing. The associate responded, “no, the weather held up our new inventory”. lol

Music stores are not like grocery stores where the weekly shipment keeps the shelves full. As a former retailer, GC is bleeding their inventory down and managing when and where to close stores.

Adieu GC!
 

Jimipop

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I’ve always wondered why it takes each employee seemingly 500 keystrokes at their terminal to check me out at GC. Quick recent story. “Trade in days”. Due to the expense of shipping these days I took 3 items to GC on a Saturday morning. I actually got decent prices on my trade ins...only because of the deals I got when I originally purchased them. Anyway. Saturday morning, 3 employees. Place was pretty empty as I arrived around 10:30. But, after watching the lines grow for check out time after time, and 90 minutes later, I finally got my money and left. 90 minutes to trade in 3 items!!! Employee was not very friendly, had to wait time after time for him to “help someone else”, or Answer the phone endlessly. I buy online, nearly exclusively. This was just another waste of time in a GC store.
 

Jimipop

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I can remember getting GC catalogs in the mail back when they had just a handful of locations in a few major cities. There was one in Chicago but I never made it there (don't mind the burbs but not a fan of driving into the actual city unless I absolutely have to) despite the killer deals they were always advertising. Later when they expanded out into the suburbs I used to look very forward into making the 100 mile jaunt to hit up two or three of them on one trip. They had a lot of cool stuff and their pricing seemed to be geared at beating anyone else's. Salespeople would type your lowball offer into the computer and it it accepted it you'd get it for that price. An agreeable sales clerk might be talked into entering a really low price then creeping up in small increments until you hit the bottom threshold. Then they expanded into smaller markets and at around the same time stopped dealing on prices. That was the beginning of the end as far as I was concerned. I might stop into the two closest stores if I'm in the neighborhood on the off chance they might have a neat used item (although anymore it will be priced too high unless they make a mistake about what it is).

I realize the internet and online buying have hastened some of these changes but there was a time when it was a hip, cool music store and a great place to shop for gear. Those days disappeared about 15 years or so ago. When I do venture in my white hair acts as a "cloak of invisibility" anyhow. I'm just some old dude not worthy of a salesperson's time.
What a shame about feeling invisible. I get it, been there. However, if they were smart they would realize, we many times have more disposable income as white hairs!
 

Vistalite Black

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It’s great to read about guys going out in public ... Not sure I understand why so many wind up at a music equipment chain store they claim to dislike so much.
 

Jeremy Bender

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A few years ago I went into the local GC here to get some new heads and sticks. I walked past the snare display and the small section of used gear.

I see a shiny 6.5x14 Ludwig Supersensitive Black Beauty in excellent condition (a $900.00 drum) that was marked as a "Black Magic."
I tap on the drum-it's unbelievable of course. I walk up to the counter with it and ask the kid working there, is this drum for sale for $275.00 ??

He looks up says "yep" goes back to his computer. I shrugged my shoulders and placed it back up on the shelf, bought my items and left.
 
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FlowTom

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In their present financial condition, GC offering 24 month financing is like someone my age buying green bananas.

There are actually times when I like the clueless, indifferent GC approach. Sometimes the Sweetwater folks start getting a bit too excited after I submit a $35.00 online order and insist on packing the early 2000's trick or treat candy in with each order even when I beg them not to. Breathless phone messages from my own personal sales engineer telling me when I can expect the parcel to be delivered.

Dudes, you shipped via USPS. Only God and Louis DeJoy have any idea when the parcel will show up, especially after it disappears from the state of the art tracking system.

"Arriving later than expected but still en route." If Pfizer introduced a pill with that slogan, I'd pre-order the entire first batch.
 

JohnnyVibesAZ

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There are two Guitar Centers in my city. The sales staff of one of them is very helpful and actually works hard to get me discounts. The staff of the other place is so busy talking and laughing with each other that they don't even know you're in the store.
 

Slingwig26

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My last GC visit:

Me: I need a pair of Vic Firth 7ANs
Moron: Do you want wood or nylon tips?
Me: 7AN are nylon tipped, hence the "N" on the end.
Moron: Oh! Are these for school band? (Assuming at 50 something, I'm buying for a child)
Me: No! They are for me, I've got a gig tonite.
*Random questions about band*
Moron: What kit do you have?
Me: Ayotte
Moron: Is that a Chinese brand?
Me: Canadian.
Moron: Oh, If you are looking to upgrade we have some really nice PDPs in stock!
Me: Bye Bye!
WOW! Whatta moron, indeed.
you have a stainless steel bop kit?
that is awesome.
 
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Deafmoon

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I am surprised they are still around. It was my understanding they filed for bankruptcy 3 years back. Maybe I heard that wrong. No matter, with more people buying on-line and next day delivery, and the COVD fear mentality, shopping from a laptop seems easier...and no nasty employees to deal with.
They are out of bankruptcy.
 

chorga1

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Somehow, they are the music store, that manages to be anti-music. smh
 

Corbin L Douthitt

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Why do people keeping posting this outrage GC stuff? I guess it’s fun but it gets repetitive. People say the same things over and over. We hear things like the classic , “that is why I have not shopped there for years “or another greatest hit is “I will never shop there because the service sucks”. Maybe we could have one GC outrage thread and people could just add their negative experience to that one thread. Like they have the pinned Amazon deals thread. Just call it I hate guitar center because.....
It could have thousands of posts. Or you could have I hate guitar center vs. I like guitar center and that could have thousands of posts. It would take a very brave man to say they like guitar center. It’s like saying you are a big Nickleback fan. They sold 50 million plus records but you are afraid to come out and say it. Btw, I really hate Nickleback. People on this board like GC but it’s not cool to say so. I really like the Carpenters, that’s very uncool of me to say.
Everyone loves to bitch.
 

chuckshinall

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Today’s visit is brought to you by...bankruptcy!

I stopped over to the local GC (only about a mile away as the crow flies) to see if, by slim chance, they would have an electric guitar I am currently interested in. Turns out that this brand is one they only have on their website, the GM told me when I asked. Strike 1. So I decide to walk around. Went to the guitar wall and found a Squier marked as a Schecter. No biggie I guess, everyone makes mistakes, but it was pretty obviously not the guitar on the tag. So I mentioned it to the manager who came over to fix it, but first called out to the guitar sales guy laughing and blaming another employee by name who obviously wasn’t there to defend himself. Strike 2.

Next I walked around the drum area and was ignored in there. Went to the acoustic guitar room and the guitar sales guy, who I’ve bought a guitar from before, came in to ask me what I was looking for. I told him I was just seeing what the deals were, and he volunteers “you know we have 24 month financing right now.” It struck me as him saying “you probably can’t afford what you want to buy.” Maybe not, and maybe it was that I was already feeling a little negative (which I can’t seem to get away from in this store), but I was in sales for a long time. You don’t bring up financing options when you haven’t seen any indication of what the buyer is interested in. It’s a closing tool — make it possible to own the instrument that you have fallen in love with. I’ll call this strike 2.5.

Then, I continued talking with him and told him about the guitar I came to see but wasn’t here. He mentioned the 45-day return policy as a way I could try out the guitar! I was pretty shocked by that but I guess it’s a valid point. So I asked him if they were going to have a St Patrick’s day sale promo, since every holiday seems to bring me another 15-20% coupon in my email. He didn’t seem to want to answer that directly but claimed he didn’t know, and then launched into a pitch on trading something in and getting 10% off what you buy. I told him I sell my own gear because the math on trading in doesn’t work in my favor. He actually argued with me about that for a minute, surprisingly. And in the middle of me responding to him about it, he answered a phone call without even an “excuse me for a moment.”

I know it’s not new to bash on GC but I can honestly say if they had had the guitar and a 15% coupon (which will probably come out any day) and a more professional approach, I would probably have bought a guitar today. I only share this honest review because I think the day is coming when GC really will die out, and this kind of experience is why.
"Same as it ever was!"
Gotta remember, these nimrods were stocking toilet paper at walmarket last week!
 

David M Scott

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Today’s visit is brought to you by...bankruptcy!

I stopped over to the local GC (only about a mile away as the crow flies) to see if, by slim chance, they would have an electric guitar I am currently interested in. Turns out that this brand is one they only have on their website, the GM told me when I asked. Strike 1. So I decide to walk around. Went to the guitar wall and found a Squier marked as a Schecter. No biggie I guess, everyone makes mistakes, but it was pretty obviously not the guitar on the tag. So I mentioned it to the manager who came over to fix it, but first called out to the guitar sales guy laughing and blaming another employee by name who obviously wasn’t there to defend himself. Strike 2.

Next I walked around the drum area and was ignored in there. Went to the acoustic guitar room and the guitar sales guy, who I’ve bought a guitar from before, came in to ask me what I was looking for. I told him I was just seeing what the deals were, and he volunteers “you know we have 24 month financing right now.” It struck me as him saying “you probably can’t afford what you want to buy.” Maybe not, and maybe it was that I was already feeling a little negative (which I can’t seem to get away from in this store), but I was in sales for a long time. You don’t bring up financing options when you haven’t seen any indication of what the buyer is interested in. It’s a closing tool — make it possible to own the instrument that you have fallen in love with. I’ll call this strike 2.5.

Then, I continued talking with him and told him about the guitar I came to see but wasn’t here. He mentioned the 45-day return policy as a way I could try out the guitar! I was pretty shocked by that but I guess it’s a valid point. So I asked him if they were going to have a St Patrick’s day sale promo, since every holiday seems to bring me another 15-20% coupon in my email. He didn’t seem to want to answer that directly but claimed he didn’t know, and then launched into a pitch on trading something in and getting 10% off what you buy. I told him I sell my own gear because the math on trading in doesn’t work in my favor. He actually argued with me about that for a minute, surprisingly. And in the middle of me responding to him about it, he answered a phone call without even an “excuse me for a moment.”

I know it’s not new to bash on GC but I can honestly say if they had had the guitar and a 15% coupon (which will probably come out any day) and a more professional approach, I would probably have bought a guitar today. I only share this honest review because I think the day is coming when GC really will die out, and this kind of experience is why.
I'm a real old guy who has been in sales all my life and still do some. I like you, have wondered where and why customer service and courtesy has disappeared to.
Somebody recently told me that sales people today are told to spend three minutes with a customer and then move on. My youngest Son started working at a brand new Home Depot 25 years ago and he said that he was more or less told the same thing.. same at Walmart.
Every now and then I run across a really helpful sales person but they have seemed to have moved on when I seek them out again. And, ever notice at the local music store that 90% of the sales people are Guitar oriented and if you ask a drum question they don't know and don't seem to care. On more than one occasion I'll say "Ok, I'll call your (name their competition)" 90% of the time they reply. "Ok thanks for calling" If I was the store manager and heard that they'd be kicking stones down the road !
 

JDA

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" if guitar center was a member here this thread would have disappeared days ago"..

They don't advertise here do they
(or ads just follow individuals around) Hope GC doesn't read this.
 

Splat

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Anyone got another coupon? i need to replace a pa amp.
 


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