Shout out your local GC employee

Mustion

Senior Member
We all complain about Guitar Center for any number of reasons, but most of us still have to patronize them anyway. If we're lucky, there's someone on the staff there that makes it a decent experience. At risk of being too employee of the month about it, it's nice to hear about those guys and gals.

For me, I must recognize Ozzie at the Brooklyn GC. In all the years I've been going there the drum guys have actually all been cool but Ozzie stands out: a little bit grizzled and jaded but also real friendly and down to earth and helpful. And remarkably patient when the drum room is invaded by teenagers all demanding a pair of demo sticks! I don't usually look forward to going there but I'm always glad to see that he's working when I do.

Who do you hope is on the schedule when you make your GC run?
 

Ruok

Silver Member
Mustion, I rarely stop in at the GC near me anymore, so I can't provide any shout out of any particular employee. But I want to thank you for bringing this up. GC has so many complaints that I feel for the employees who are actually doing a good job, but don't get any affirmation or compliments.

I've gone to GC a lot over the years and lately I buy a lot of used gear online, mostly from GC. I have never had a problem there, except once for getting a wrong cymbal I ordered. But there was absolutely no problem returning it. I've ordered some used cymbals on behalf of my church and in each case the packing of the cymbals was superb.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
GC has so many complaints that I feel for the employees who are actually doing a good job, but don't get any affirmation or compliments.
Such is the internet. People are more likely to take the time to type up a review of a negative experience than a positive one.
At any rate, most of the floor workers I encounter at GC are decent; my complaint is about how things are managed sometimes which, unfortunately, tends to reflect poorly on those with whom the public directly interacts...
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
No one stands out in my area that I can think of. Don’t know if any actually play drums. With this said, there’s a gentleman in the Drum Department (yeah, a real drum department with a selection) in San Diego I Hope is working when I visit the city. He keeps things tuned up, rarely lets kids pound the snot out of things mercilessly for no reason and is extremely knowledgeable.

The store has a great selection of drums in various price ranges with a lot of focus on midrange gear. It’s the only store where I’ve been able to hear and compare sets outside of YouTube. The store and he...his name escapes me at the moment remind me of how music stores used to be.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I don't live near enough a GC to go to one more than once or twice a year, and when I do, I go to one of three different stores in the Seattle-Tacoma area. And of those, I couldn't tell you if I've ever seen the same person twice in a row.
 

trickg

Silver Member
My favorite GC employee of all time is my friend Will Dorsey, aka "Ill Will" from Ice T's band Body Count. He worked in my local GC and I got to the point where because I know those guys work on commission, I wouldn't buy anything unless I knew he was there. Just a super nice, really great guy. Of course he's not local to me anymore - he moved from Baltimore to LA - although I think he still works at his local GC when he's not in the studio or on tour.

Yeah - I'm name dropping. :)

 

Mustion

Senior Member
My favorite GC employee of all time is my friend Will Dorsey, aka "Ill Will" from Ice T's band Body Count. He worked in my local GC and I got to the point where because I know those guys work on commission, I wouldn't buy anything unless I knew he was there. Just a super nice, really great guy. (I Think he still works at GC when he's not in the studio or on tour.)

Yeah - I'm name dropping. :)
That's awesome. I saw Bodycount on Warped Tour maybe 20 years ago and Ice T kept telling the crowd "we're the most MF'ing punk rock band here!"....and he wasn't wrong!

Your story reminds me: growing up in the Cleveland area, before we had Guitar Center there was a store on Brookpark Rd called Lentines. When I was in seventh grade me and my dad went there to buy some cymbal stands and were helped by a worker there named Stephanie who was really sweet and friendly but also clearly a badass rocker. Several years later Kid Rock got really popular and I thought I recognized his drummer; sure enough, it was her...
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I have a love-hate relationship with GC. Given their size and position in the MI business, they could be doing so much better in certain areas. And not just for those of us who shop there, but for themselves as a company. They just shoot themselves in the foot in so many ways, and it's both amusing and sad, and completely unnecessary.

For me, one of their biggest shortcomings is the quality of the people behind the counter. Rather, it's the lack of quality. It's rare that someone in the drum department 1) knows drums, 2) knows how to sell, 3) stays long enough to establish a relationship (as we do with independent shops where the employees are often owners or family, and are there for a long time.) Lately, it's rare to even find anyone in the department! I'm not talking just about a small, maybe insignificant location, I mean the flagship store in Times Square! Not just once, but twice... and I've only been there twice!

It used to be different 20+ years ago.

I visit a lot of Guitar Centers in the area, and while traveling across the country, I would estimate about 100-150 of their stores so far with many repeat visits. Drum dept. people who know what they're doing are few and far between, and seeing the same face(s) from one visit to the next is rare.

Of course there are some exceptions, and the Hollywood store is one that really stands out. Guy Murai has been there a while (and his predecessor was there for maybe 10 years or more.) Guy is smart, friendly, knows drums, and knows his customers. Maybe his (and many prior employees/managers') longevity has to do with the importance of the location* and the sales they make, but it's good to know that I'll be seeing someone sharp when I go in, whether I need something, or am just browsing used gear (which I do a lot!)

So, I hereby put on my hat, and take it off to Guy!

Bermuda

* GC's Hollywood store went through a MAJOR makeover last year, and is pretty incredible inside. The drum department is truly the "Destination Drum Shop" that they've been promoting for a few years (while other Destination departments in other stores haven't changed much or apparently at all.) It's a beautiful store and probably the best-stocked drum department in the chain. Definitely worth a visit if you're in So Cal or visiting L.A., and say hi to Guy when you do!
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I wish I could. There is never anyone in the drum dept. The pro audio guy usually helps me. So I guess shout out to the pro audio guy at the Fayetteville, AR Guitar Center. He has enough patience to help me get what I need while having no idea what I'm talking about.
 

trickg

Silver Member
It's my contention that Guitar Center suffers from two major issues, both which could possibly be rectified.

1.) They hire the wrong kinds of employees
2.) Corporate dictates so much in regard to what a particular store stocks, but they are out of touch with what the store actually needs for the clientele specific to that store.

On point number 1, GC tends to hire musicians, and although that's not always a bad thing, the musicians they hire are often flakes who are more interested in getting their employee discount than taking care of customers and learning what's what in the department where they work.

I can't tell you the number of times I've gone into a GC, and the drum area, particularly the stick rack, is in shambles. I also can't tell you the number of times that I've gone in and know much more about the products in the department than the kid behind the counter.

Case in point, the day I went in looking for VF Maple SD4 Combos. I was having issues locating them on the rack (see my above comment about the stick rack being in shambles. I was trying to explain to the kid that I was looking for maple Vic Firth SD4s.

"Vic Firth doesn't make maple sticks." Riiiight. I reached over and grabbed a pair of SD2 Boleros. I actually said to him that if he was going to work in that department, he might take some time to go through and learn what's in it.

Maybe I'm just too much of a gear nerd, but I can tell you that if I had a job working there, 1.) my area would be well organized and clean, and 2.) I'd quickly learn the products, and details about them, regardless of whether I was selling guitar accessories, drums, or working in Pro Audio.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I'd always be the "expert" at everything I sold in a few weeks. I sold luggage, housewares, mens accessories, tools, furniture, electronics and appliances. I'd learned everything as soon as I could, so I could help anyone stepping into my department. I was on commission, so I either learned and sold a ton, or struggled. The choice was obvious.

One of the worst things retailers did was to remove commissions from retail jobs. While that made some come off as slimy, removing commission removed any motivation to actually be helpful, so customer service has suffered too.

When I sold luggage, I was thumbing through one companies catalog and saw an attache case for $1000. I ordered it and my manager blew up and got in my face about it. I told her I couldn't sell it, if I didn't have it and she said I had better sell that fast, so she could recoup the funds. I sold it in two days. We always had one or two of those in stock thereafter, among other items she would never previously order.

Commission sales made me learn my customers and pay attention to what they would potentially want to buy. The biggest issue with the way most stores and GC run, is the sales staff are removed from any and all processes, except to ring things up. They will never get anyone of quality behind the counter, until they provide something someone would want, besides an employee discount.

Most retailer today suffer from this same state. Retail was dying long before Amazon, but IMHO this was the reason. Amazon is just sealing the deal.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I no longer require the services of GC.

Couple of years ago an actual drum shop opened near me. The owner knows my name, he knows the kinds of things I'm looking for, he helps and recommends and has prices that don't seem stupid. He's actually a working drummer.

Blows everything GC ever did right out of the water. Plus I get to support a drummer's dream and not a huge GC that feels more like a best buy(complete with "do you want the 3 year warranty?) than a musicians store.

Anyone here who is anywhere near the SF Bay Area needs to make the Trek to Dub's Drum Basement in Dublin next time you need stuff. You won't be sorry; unless you really like Best Buy.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Sorry - didn't mean to turn this into a GC rant.

Otherwise, my other favorite GC guy is Jeff from drums in the Glen Burnie store - he's a good egg, but he's just one guy, and he can only do so much.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Nothing wrong with your thread. We do need to recognize that which is done well. You never know who is reading these threads. may give someone great ideas for recognition and to make positive changes.
 

Fuzrock

Silver Member
I've been working in the drum shop at the Guitar Center here in Omaha part time for about a year and a half. We have some great people working at this location who know the gear in their respective departments very well. We also have a few guys in their early twenties who just haven't been around long enough to have built up a working knowledge of a wide range of gear.
It's tough to attract good quality, knowledgeable people at minimum wage plus commission. The commission structure is set up in a way that makes it difficult to consistently make a living wage if that's your full time gig. It's based on your total sales for a month vs how many hours you work. The lowest commission level is .25% of your total sales, the highest is a full 3%. You need to have a pretty amazing sales month to hit 3%. It can be feast one month and famine the next. I do pretty well working part time because my hours are evenings and weekends when foot traffic is higher. Full time guys who work a bunch of the less busy weekday hours have a harder time.
We've had great sales reps that had to go elsewhere for higher income opportunities.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
There's a couple guys (not kids) that work at the GC nearest me who are really great.
They've gone out of their way several times to help me out.
I'm not naming names though - not sure how they'd feel about it.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
I can't tell you the number of times I've gone into a GC, and the drum area, particularly the stick rack, is in shambles. I also can't tell you the number of times that I've gone in and know much more about the products in the department than the kid behind the counter.
A little while ago, I had to teach a GC employee who actually was a drummer that drum sticks came in lengths other than 16".

The GC nearest me tends to hire generalist musician type people. They usually only have 1-2 Sales people plus a manger working at one time that try and cover the whole store. The manager is really nice and I've talked to him a couple times. It seems like employee wise, every time I go in there's a new crop of people and they usually don't seem to know a whole ton.

There was another GC that I used to go to a lot and they had a really great drum department with lots of vintage stuff as well. I now live about 45 minutes away but I was there recently and there was nobody even working there and product was just bad. I couldn't even get over to where the sticks were because they had junk piled up in front of it. I ended up going over to another music store (not GC) and the old department manager was now working over there. He told me that between the manager and corporate they made it a really rough place to work and eventually he couldn't take it anymore.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
@fuzrock, the commission structure is what I was referring to earlier. There was at least for a time a base +commission structure that wasn't "creative." Most of my old retail jobs were structured that way. You had a base + ~ 3% for standard items, + spiffs + points towards merchandise, etc. While some chose to go for minimum, must of us hustled. Then, the structure changed to what you're describing and no one could make anything, so the place cleared out, replaced with those who just wanted beer money. It's been a downhill spiral since.

Businesses still haven't figured out why they have been dying since those days...probably never will.
 
I love all of the GC hate on here. I spent two years working part time at a Bass Pro and the people I came across act the same way as the people on here. Getting worked up because somebody making $9/hr doesn't know what the bearing edge is on "insert drum shell here" is ridiculous. Do you guys really think the guy making $9-10 an hour is going to be the guy to talk to about comparing Gretsch USA's to Ludwig Classic Maples? Get over yourselves, obviously if you're on here you are capable of doing research on your own. Go to GC to get a good price on stuff or go spend more money at the local drum store, if you're lucky enough to have one, so you can have an "expert" validate your opinion and make you feel superior to the rest of us.
 
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