Frustration with Memphis Drum Shop

Agd8

Senior Member
Hi guys,

Usually I'm not one to complain but this really ticked me off (this might get a bit long so bear with me).

About a month ago, I placed an order for several pairs of drumsticks (different brands and models). Before placing my order, I spoke to the guy in their on-line support and asked that all the sticks that are being sent to me will be checked.
Since I live in another country, to deal with returns is complicated, costly and it takes a very long time. I also pointed out that, the purpose of this order was for me to find my "perfect" stick since the selection in my country isn't great. Once I find my favorite model, my intention was to place an order for a large quantity of this model.
I was assured by the guy I spoke to (I'm leaving out the names on purpose) that he will personally see that I only get good and fresh pairs.
I also left a note to the guy handling my order to double check that all the pairs are good, and even gave a description of some thins to look out for just in case.

A couple of weeks later the sticks arrived and imagine my surprise, seeing that one of the pairs was virtually unplayable (a big hickory stick from Vic Firth that was lighter than maple sticks) and one other as I found out isn't even straight.
I contacted the customer service at Memphis Drum Shop telling them about the problems and their best answer, was that the next time I buy from them I will get a free pair of sticks.

That answer annoyed me.
I've already explained the purpose of this order and the need for all these models in good shape at the same time for me to compare between them. So, I wrote an e-mail to the owner of MDS explaining the situation and expressing my dissatisfaction with the items and especially the service.
The owner had the manager answer me instead which from his reply, it seems he didn't even bother reading the entire e-mail I sent. Still, I replied to his questions only to be ignored.
So, after a couple of days I sent him another e-mail and his final answer was "If you choose to continue business with Memphis Drum Shop, leave a note to have "****" select your sticks, and I will make sure you get the best available quality."

In other words: We screwed you, and we cannot be bothered. If you buy from us again we'll try not to screw you.
The worse thing about it is, that I got no solution to my problem. I'm still in search for my perfect stick and I cannot compare the ones I have here.

For me, It's not about the money. I don't mind paying a bit more if I eventually get exactly what I need (and I did pay more with MDS, for the shipment and the sticks).
I expected a whole lot more from the world renown Memphis Drum Shop, who pride themselves as having great service and support- for drummers by drummers.
I just thought I'll share my experience with you all, I hope my post wasn't too tiring and I would really appreciate your thoughts about the matter.

Thanks,

Amir.
 

brittc89

Pioneer Member
You might want to try writing Vic Firth and voicing your complaint/ frustration. Be respectful, be cool, but explain how as much as you love Vic Firth drumsticks, your particular situation has dissuaded from purchasing Vic Firth drumsticks as a result of an extreme lack of consistency in their products. Might get a response, they might say you should be checking them yourself. But its just an email/letter would take like 5 minutes to write up, and they might be willing to try and keep you as a customer and establish some goodwill (ala gift/ rebate/ incentive). Ive had this experience with Crest toothpaste, got some free tubes out of it.
 

topgun2021

Gold Member
Okay, here are my thoughts.

You are having a hissy fit over three sticks out of how many pairs?

Anyways, for the Vic Firth stick, you could try talking to them because they pride themselves on making straight sticks.

I don't know what the other brand is, but many factors could have made the stick "unplayable" from leaving MDS to your house.

1) Moisture content: The stick could have gone through many different moisture environments, causing the stick to expand and contract. I assume the stick either came by boat, plane, or both. Thus, the stick warped.

2) A person from the delivery company could have put weight on the package, physically warping the stick.

In conclusion, it is VERY possible that the stick was in perfect condition at MDS, but the delivery process warped the stick.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I agree with emailing Vic Firth and finding a resolution and find it very hard to believe that a hardwood stick with a finish on it could warp in such a short time it takes to travel overseas. It seems to me that the extra time MDS could have spent making sure your order was taken care of, wasn't. I would send them back, expensive yes, and ask for a refund and buy elsewhere.
 

Agd8

Senior Member
Okay, here are my thoughts.

You are having a hissy fit over three sticks out of how many pairs?

Anyways, for the Vic Firth stick, you could try talking to them because they pride themselves on making straight sticks.

I don't know what the other brand is, but many factors could have made the stick "unplayable" from leaving MDS to your house.

1) Moisture content: The stick could have gone through many different moisture environments, causing the stick to expand and contract. I assume the stick either came by boat, plane, or both. Thus, the stick warped.

2) A person from the delivery company could have put weight on the package, physically warping the stick.

In conclusion, it is VERY possible that the stick was in perfect condition at MDS, but the delivery process warped the stick.
Actually It's two out of four.
The unplayable stick is Vic Firth and the only good thing about it is that it is straight. The warped stick is Pro-Mark.
Even if the sticks got warped somehow after it has left the shop there's still the unplayable flimsy light one that I assure you left the shop exactly the way it is.
 

topgun2021

Gold Member
Actually It's two out of four.
The unplayable stick is Vic Firth and the only good thing about it is that it is straight. The warped stick is Pro-Mark.
Even if the sticks got warped somehow after it has left the shop there's still the unplayable flimsy light one that I assure you left the shop exactly the way it is.
I am now confused at to what makes the Vic Firth unplayable.

Exactly what is the issue with it?
 

Agd8

Senior Member
I agree with emailing Vic Firth and finding a resolution and find it very hard to believe that a hardwood stick with a finish on it could warp in such a short time it takes to travel overseas. It seems to me that the extra time MDS could have spent making sure your order was taken care of, wasn't. I would send them back, expensive yes, and ask for a refund and buy elsewhere.
I will try and contact Vic Firth and hope for the best.
There's no point sending the sticks back, they will only refund me for the sticks and not for the shipment. I will simply take my business elsewhere and it will be cheaper and less annoying.
 

kettles

Gold Member
In conclusion, it is VERY possible that the stick was in perfect condition at MDS, but the delivery process warped the stick.
Fair call, but it doesn't sound like MDS stated that the sticks were indeed checked before leaving anyway. Could be wrong about that.

I bought a bad pair of Vic Firth sticks, wrote them an email with a photo. Next day I got a reply saying I'd get a replacement pair and about 30 minutes later I get a call from my local music store telling me I have a pair of sticks waiting for me. (I wrote to VF to point out that the stick should never have left their factory, not because the store wouldn't let me return it)

I too live where sticks are expensive, for the price of two pairs of VF/Promark/Vaters I could take my girlfriend out for dinner, so I'm not a happy boy when I get a bad stick.
 

topgun2021

Gold Member
Fair call, but it doesn't sound like MDS stated that the sticks were indeed checked before leaving anyway. Could be wrong about that.

I bought a bad pair of Vic Firth sticks, wrote them an email with a photo. Next day I got a reply saying I'd get a replacement pair and about 30 minutes later I get a call from my local music store telling me I have a pair of sticks waiting for me. (I wrote to VF to point out that the stick should never have left their factory, not because the store wouldn't let me return it)

I too live where sticks are expensive, for the price of two pairs of VF/Promark/Vaters I could take my girlfriend out for dinner, so I'm not a happy boy when I get a bad stick.
Imagine if their policy was if you received a stick that should have never left the shop you got free sticks for life!
 

Agd8

Senior Member
I am now confused at to what makes the Vic Firth unplayable.

Exactly what is the issue with it?
Okay, The model is Vic Firth SMC. It's a relatively large stick .585 in diameter and 16 3/16" in length made out of hickory.
Now imagine it being as light as a maple drumstick, with a flimsy weird feel to it (not the usual dense solid feel you get from a Vic Firth hickory stick) and all of that after I specifically asked for the weight to be checked and was assured it will be.

I can't play with such a strange light stick. If I wanted light sticks I would play with maple sticks or use a small diameter stick.
 

kettles

Gold Member
Imagine if their policy was if you received a stick that should have never left the shop you got free sticks for life!

Not sure if you're joking or misunderstood something I said...



In case of the former: "Yeah that'd be badass, free sticks for life!!!"
 

kettles

Gold Member
Okay, The model is Vic Firth SMC. It's a relatively large stick .585 in diameter and 16 3/16" in length made out of hickory.
Now imagine it being as light as a maple drumstick, with a flimsy weird feel to it (not the usual dense solid feel you get from a Vic Firth hickory stick) and all of that after I specifically asked for the weight to be checked and was assured it will be.

I can't play with such a strange light stick. If I wanted light sticks I would play with maple sticks or use a small diameter stick.
Maybe you could do the Archimedes water displacement test with a block of hickory that weighs the same as the dodgy stick!

Or just take a photo of the good and bad stick on scales showing the weight of each.
 

Agd8

Senior Member
Maybe you could do the Archimedes water displacement test with a block of hickory that weighs the same as the dodgy stick!

Or just take a photo of the good and bad stick on scales showing the weight of each.
The scales thing is a pretty good idea, the problem is I only have one pair of each...
I guess can weigh it against a normal Vic 5A and I have no doubt it will weigh more than the SMC I got.
 

topgun2021

Gold Member
Okay, The model is Vic Firth SMC. It's a relatively large stick .585 in diameter and 16 3/16" in length made out of hickory.
Now imagine it being as light as a maple drumstick, with a flimsy weird feel to it (not the usual dense solid feel you get from a Vic Firth hickory stick) and all of that after I specifically asked for the weight to be checked and was assured it will be.

I can't play with such a strange light stick. If I wanted light sticks I would play with maple sticks or use a small diameter stick.
I play Vic Firth SD10 Swingers, which are Rock Maple and love them, I know the feeling of a light maple stick.

Maybe that was the heaviest one in the man's hands. I am not sure that MDS has a scale that can accurately measure sticks to the nearest 10th of a gram.

I bet the issue was at Vic Firth not weight matching them correctly. It is public knowledge of how the weight match their sticks, so if you can prove you have two sticks that were matched outside of their standards, tell them.

I still think the Promark stick warped during delivery. They have 12% moisture content, and are (more) prone to warping when being exposed to multiple environments.
 
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Agd8

Senior Member
That is an EXTREMELY SILLY complaint (I play Vic Firth SD10 Swingers, which are Rock Maple and love them, I know the feeling of a light maple stick).

Maybe that was the heaviest one in the man's hands. I am not sure that MDS has a scale that can accurately measure sticks to the nearest 10th of a gram.

It sounds like you are complaining that a stick was given to you exactly how it was meant to be.

I still think the Promark stick warped during delivery. They have 12% moisture content, and are (more) prone to warping when being exposed to multiple environments.
Silly for you but not for me, I hate the feeling of light sticks.
If you enjoy playing with maple drumsticks than good for you but not all drummers are the same. plus, a good maple stick is dense and light, this does not feel like a not dense hickory pair like the one I got.
I've been using Vic Firth sticks for 13 years, I know exactly how they should feel and I assure you this specific pair is NOT the way it was meant to be. Trust me, you don't need a scale to figure out there's something wrong with this pair.
 
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topgun2021

Gold Member
Silly for you but not for me, I hate the feeling of light sticks.
If you enjoy playing with maple drumsticks than good for you but not all drummers are the same. plus, a good maple stick is dense and light, this does not feel like a not dense hickory pair like the one I got.
I've been using Vic Firth sticks for 13 years, I know exactly how they should feel and I assure you this specific pair is NOT the way it was meant to be. Trust me, you don't need a scale to figure out there's something wrong with this pair.
I edited my post after some research. ;)
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
I've bought expensive and cheap sticks mail order, in person and just about any way you like. I've never had a stick that was so warped or inconsistent that I couldn't use it, in fact I actively avoid premium sticks these days and use VF Novas in rock weight with nylon tips. No lack of weight there I think you'll find.

Perhaps you've just been unlucky this time. Either that or it's learn from experience time and buy your sticks elsewhere in future.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
Drum sticks are just one of those items that I trust no one but myself to pick them out, especially if they are a new model that I've never experienced playing before. If I were you, I would just try to get to a drum store and try a bunch out. People say that you really don't have to do this now a days, but I still do roll my sticks. I still find more warped sticks than I thought I would. I know that big businesses shouldn't feel like this way but, drum sticks are a very insignificant sell compared to the higher priced items leaving their store and sometimes mail order instructions have a way of slipping through the cracks at times. Most of the time the online sales departments mean well, but others are just trying to get the order though so they can get on with the sales that make them the most commission.

Dennis
 
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