Frustration with GC

Jhostetler

Senior Member
Just need to vent a little bit here. My apologies.

I went into a Guitar Center a few days ago to check out a used Taye 6 piece studio maple kit in a nice orange finish. First, I was there for a solid half hour, and there was nobody in the drum section of the store. I looked around and made my presence known with no real luck. Finally two employees made their way in only to ignore me (a potential customer) and sit and bash away at one of the kits on display and talk about what they were going to get with their discount. Then they said something about their shift ending and left.

Another guy came in (I'm assuming he was starting his shift) and went to the back. From there he simply stayed and sat at the back counter. I finally went up to him and asked him a few questions regarding the kit and he quickly made it apparent that he knew absolutely nothing about it. Another employee came in, (I'm assuming his manager) and began talking with him at the desk.

Being ignored again I went to take another look at the kit, which was stacked up as high as it would go. Upon closer inspection, I found that both rims on the bass drum were completely split apart! I pointed this out to the manager and he simply said, "Oh, I didn't even see that, thanks." I finally left out of disgust.

As a salesman myself I couldn't believe that this was how they treated their customers and the gear they sell. It has severely impacted my view of the company and of that location in particular.

Sorry, just needed to get that off my chest. End of rant.
 

Superman

Gold Member
I have had the same overall experience at GC. No one ever came to assist me and I never once felt like I was valued as a customer. I don't go there anymore and am lucky enough to have a local music store with a much larger drum section that has friendly employees. You should write cooperate and let them know of your experience...maybe they will throw you a discount on that Taye set.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Nothing new, it's been like that for decades.

They don't pay their employees much, and have a huge amount of turn over.

And because they have such a high rate of turn over, they'll basically hire anyone.

And when they hire new people, they give them very little training, because they don't want to spend the money it would take to train anyone.

They don't want to spend the money because they want to keep their prices low.

And they've built en empire based on most people care more about low prices than customer service.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
As with just about any company or store, the people working there define that operation. Guitar Center is no exception. I know some great people working behind the counter, who know how crucial customer relations and satisfaction is to the company that employs them. But it's more than just a job for them, they're pros at whatever they do. Sadly, the minimum wage "bodies" that occupy those positions far outnumber the pros.

Even among the pros, I don't find a lot of sales skills, but their passion for taking care of customers outweighs any lack of sales training. And that's okay, I don't think things need to be too slick between GC and its customers... the products don't warrant it, and I think many customers would be turned off by a staff that's too polished. When I walk into a GC, I know what I'm looking for and don't need to be sold.

But that doesn't mean the staff should ignore somebody standing around in the department, or not be able to answer a question about the products on the floor, whether new or used. There have been many times that a non-drummer from another department is behind the drum counter, and that's just a waste of everyone's time.

GC's obvious downsides include poor selection (at least in the drum dept) and fairly poor pricing. But the most egregious and detrimental failing to their business is the quality of employees they often hire. And GC wonders why pros don't shop there.

I've often thought about talking to corporate, and going into my local store as a department manager, and treating customers right, and bringing an informed and extensive product knowledge. Yes, I've got both retail and corporate management under my belt. I'd just like to see someone do the right thing. But, I really don't have time, and I already know that GC doesn't seek that kind of value in their store staff. Any of their staff that are superstars either move up in the company (and away from the revenue-generating center of the business) or move on.

I still go, and I still buy when there's something I need. But I'm lucky to live equidistant to a Sam Ash, and I prefer them to GC for a few reasons: better selection, better pricing PLUS rewards programs, more knowledgeable staff with more longevity, and best of all, easier parking. :)

In the end, gear is gear. It's really about the employees. And the parking.

Bermuda
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I have had that happen in more than one store and even restaurants with the wait to be seated signs. I would have left when the other two shift change guys left
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
J C Penny is no different. A few months ago I spent an hour in the mens department with my GF selecting new suits and dress shirts, etc. We didn't encounter any help during the entire hour.
It was even hard to find a register to purchase when we did finally find some new clothes for me.
I remember a time when if you entered the mens department at Penny's and began looking at suits you would be approached within mins by an associate who knew the department inside out.
We were shopping in one of their largest stores in a world class mall in Danbury Ct. I can just imagine what it would be like at one of their lesser stores.
 

greenstar323

Senior Member
Just curious Jhostetler what state are you in?

At the guitar center by me in NJ they no longer have anyone working in the drum department.... Everrrrrrr. I've been there quite a bit recently and have to go to the front desk to ask them to sell me something. It's ridiculous but on one hand I sort of get it. People go there to try gear and probably end up buying online cheaper. However, that doesn't excuse the poor customer service of the employees that were there.
 
As part of trying to better myself, I've been trying to ask "what am I doing to contribute to this bad thing I despise".

I'm not defending GC, but you have to ask yourself how they can do a lot better when people insist they match online prices, but also want a personable customer experience with trained and educated staff.

GC is basically the showcase for you to buy it online, particularly if you live in a "no sales tax online" state. The service reflects that.

I try to think of it as a bonus when I find someone who actually knows what they're talking about.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
GC is basically the showcase for you to buy it online, particularly if you live in a "no sales tax online" state. The service reflects that.
Well, the cool thing for GC is that if you buy through MusiciansFriend or Music123, they own both of those anyway. So they still get your money ;)

ProDrum for me in Hollywood every time. It's a shame not everyone has a shop like this one to call upon. But you could call ProDrum, tell them what you need, and they'd get it for you. It might cost more to ship it, but at least you're talking to people who know how to treat their customers.
 

Jhostetler

Senior Member
Just curious Jhostetler what state are you in?
I live in Northern Indiana, but I'm finishing my Marketing Degree at Anderson University in Central Indiana. I was visiting Indy and decided to pop in after seeing the kit on their website.

I've been lucky enough to go to Sam Ash twice, and it was an amazing experience. sadly, I live nowhere near them. Really, the closest "drumshop" to me is Sweetwater Sounds in Fort Wayne and even that is a good 45 minute drive. (It's a pain living in the middle of nowhere.) I still plan on shopping at Guitar Center out of necessity, it just irks me when I see a lack of commitment from the employees. And that's for any business I choose to enter.

You should write cooperate and let them know of your experience...maybe they will throw you a discount on that Taye set.
I never did take pictures of that kit and the broken rims. I might just go back and do that. The kit was already crazy cheap. I don't need it, it just looks like a great deal that would be hard to pass up. On that note, what do you guys think of a 6 piece (three up, two down, 22" bass, no snare) shell pack taye studio maple kit for $550? And would it be possible to replace those rims? I primarily play big band and small combo jazz. Not sure that I would use all those toms but they would be nice to have.
 

Super Phil

Senior Member
Ok, I saw the set you're looking at on the Guitar Center website. $550 is a screaming deal for those drums. (Golden Amber is the color) Damn, it's too bad those hoops are busted. Maybe you can use that to get the price lowered further. Are they still even usable? (i have a Tama kit that has a busted hoop. It was glued and taped together at the split. Not pretty, but it works.)
If you want I can email the General Manager of Taye and ask her how you would go about getting 2 new hoops? I am fairly certain you can get them...just not sure how long it will take or how much they'll run. ( Retail is $99 per hoop.)
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I sometimes look at Guitar Center's used inventory online. Now I'm not so sure that I want to purchase that way. The drums could have split hoops and nobody even notices. It might list in good condition and actually it's is not.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Must be this one, I guess? http://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Taye-Drums/6-Piece-Studio-Maple-Drum-Kit-111357077.gc

I buy lots of stuff from GC.
If I try it at the store and like it, I buy it at the store.
I pay sales tax, but some of it in our state goes to good use.
If I buy online from them, I also pay sales tax. I guess it's because there's a GC in the state.
They do price match for me, if I ask though.
Sometimes, the matched price is from one of their affiliate store anyways.

A lot of times, there's no one in the drum department.
I like that I can try stuff without someone hovering over me.
If I see something I like, I'll get someone to ring it up for me.

I also trade stuff in there.
On a lot of stuff, the hit I take on price is worth not having to deal with the hassle of selling it myself.

I'm just an easy mark, I guess - LOL
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I never have a problem at my local GC. I have a good repertoire with the drum dept. manager. Maybe I get lucky coming in at the right time of day. I usually go before noon on Saturdays.

Sometimes you just have to be really loud and obnoxious to get their attention.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I've always had this experience with GC, and there are about 3 near where I live (under an hour's drive). I would write an email to the company, this is the kind of thing that corporate places can be good at rectifying... assuming it gets to someone who cares.

I have to say I've had the same experience at some of the local stores around here, and several of them have since closed. I know New England isn't known for friendliness, but sometimes I'd go into a local shop, and they'd be outright rude to me... as if I was bothering them by going in there.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
While i don't like GC much.. when i used to play guitar the place was hell.. but i went into one a few months back and the guy in the drum area was very cool.. and there was another local drummer there we all ended up BSing for like 2 hours and they were very nice and helpful..

This was at the local GC on gratiot. and i'm sure i was just there on a lucky day :)
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
As with just about any company or store, the people working there define that operation. Guitar Center is no exception. I know some great people working behind the counter, who know how crucial customer relations and satisfaction is to the company that employs them. But it's more than just a job for them, they're pros at whatever they do. Sadly, the minimum wage "bodies" that occupy those positions far outnumber the pros . . . . . In the end, gear is gear. It's really about the employees. And the parking.

Bermuda
+1 I have a friend who was consistently one of the best GC salesman in the country. He built an extensive customer base because 1) of his product knowledge, 2) he genuinely cared about his clients relationally, and 3) he cared about his clients professionally succeeding in their craft. He has since moved on to another career path.

Two years ago I went into the regional GC and had the worst sales experience of my life. I asked the sales rep working the drum counter about several specific products I needed for a drum build. He wouldn't look up any of the products I needed but responded how he thought each of my ideas was "stupid" or "lame." I tried to dodge the sales rep by going into the cymbal room to check out a few cymbals but he followed me in and asked what cymbals I was currently playing. When I told him what I was using he launched into how my cymbal choices "sucked" and I needed to go with his cymbal brand of choice. After 10 minutes of the rep speaking well beyond his intellect he grabbed a Wuhan china and started smacking it right next to my face. I couldn't find the exit fast enough.

The only reason I went back to that GC was to share with the drum manager what had transpired. The manager knew I had been playing drums for nearly 50 years at that point and he was truly embarrassed by what had transpired. I told him if I owned GC I would personally want to know about this incident in order to make sure it never takes place again to another customer. Long story short--I haven't ever been back to GC since.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I get to be waited on by Gerald Heyward at my local GC in Langhorne PA. Not even kidding, the great drummer Gerald Heyward. He actually works the Fairless Hills PA GC drum dept when he's not on the road. He does his job really well I might add. And humble as pie. He had like about a thousand people waiting in line for his Masterclass at the 2013 LDS.

My GC isn't too bad. I don't usually need help anyway, so I don't like to be bothered. But I really don't go there much anymore. I get sticks, heads and hardware, online, and drums from England. I have to buy cymbals online because there's no genuine hand hammered Turkish cymbals to be had close to me that I know of.

But the state of service in the service jobs is pretty bad across the board these days. The Best Buy near me sucks. Plenty of sales people, all talking to one another and not looking at anyone else. I find crap work ethics to be much more common than the reverse.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I've always had this experience with GC, and there are about 3 near where I live (under an hour's drive). I would write an email to the company, this is the kind of thing that corporate places can be good at rectifying... assuming it gets to someone who cares.

I have to say I've had the same experience at some of the local stores around here, and several of them have since closed. I know New England isn't known for friendliness, but sometimes I'd go into a local shop, and they'd be outright rude to me... as if I was bothering them by going in there.
If I'm going to spend an hour to get to a drum shop, I'll just go to Pro Drum in Hollywood. I'm thinking of hitting them up for 8" &10" add-on toms.

I go to a local music store once in awhile & they completely ignore me. They know I'm just looking at their used snares and cymbals. I bought my ozone splash there last time I visited, and it was hard to get his attention away from the computer. I guess he was doing the Ebay thing.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
it was hard to get his attention away from the computer. I guess he was doing the Ebay thing.
Several of the stores around me have closed their physical locations and are doing solely eBay now!

Maybe I'm old fashioned, and I have no problem buying sticks or heads online, but if I'm looking at a new cymbal, I want to hold it in my hand before I buy it!
 
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