[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

RE: OT: Warning! Musician's Friend Warning!

Man, oh, man, do I have to weigh in on this issue.  You see, I >worked< at
Guitar Center for a few months after just moving back into town.  Rich and
Michael are absolutely right is their approach to Guitar Center: find the
one competent employee in the department and patronize only them.  It's not
so important as it used to be for the salesperson--they are no longer on an
individual commission basis, but rather some "team" commission that doesn't
quite make sense to me.  While working there, I cannot tell you the
frustration the salesman feels confronted with the very same issues:
looking up inventory in the computer, promising the customer something and
then finding the product missing, incomplete or trashed.  Special orders
were a mess.  And the check-out process is excruciatingly long.  To be
fair, there is a HUGE amount of fraud (by both employees and customers) and
the slow downs are often caused in part by safeguards put into place to
prevent theft.  Now, saying that he sees the product "right in front of
him," was probably a ruse--but it's one perpetrated by day after day (GC
employees are required to work 6 days a week) of an unending grind, beaten
down by missed shipments, lost power supplies and a million dollars of demo
equipment that no one has set up correctly (and a management that does not
encourage such diligence).  Add to that the whirling procession of new and
out-going managers from each store and there's no continuity, no quality
control and no real emphasis on customer service, just the numbers.  To
combat this--and knowing that sometimes GC is the only alternative--, try
the following:

1.)  Find a decent employee, with some measure of knowledge.  Ask around,
"who knows the most about X?"  I'll guarantee that there's at least one guy
in there that has used and/or owned the same piece of equipment.  You just
have to find him.  Also, to be fair, manufacturers spend a lot of money
training the GC staff on their products--it's just that only one or two get
to go to the seminars from each store.

2.)  If you detect insincere recommendations for alternate products, (eg,
"yeah, that's cool, but what you REALLY need is this over here"), stick
with your guns, ask about pricing or availability and you'll soon find out
why the salesperson is pushing the alternate item--that or he may get a
SPIF for selling it.

3.)  If you don't mind sticking it right back to them, say you used to work
in the Guitar Center in [other city] for a while.  Bluntly ask if you can
get a hook-up.  To show your authenticity, ask, "What's PAC (pronounced
"pack") on that thing?  Do you think I could get 10 over that?"  Meaning:
what's net cost on that thing, and can I get a price only ten percent above
that?  Big whigs, studio mavens and star performers gets this price all the
time.  It's the "professional" price, though more and more I've noticed
that GC management has imposed minimums on many products (like the SM58,
for instance), but you can often find an alternate product without a
minimum for MUCH less (like the Audix OM2--I just bought six).  To further
compliment your ruse, ask how the salesperson is liking the new team
commission--that'll get you buddy-buddy real quick ("oh, man, it sucks,
dude.  I was totally banking before...")

Other than that, it's your regular caveat emptor stuff...