Re: Make it hard for their customers, the customers will avoid the stores.
Well, speaking of my local Guitar Centers, I've gone to both of my local stores twice now and twice they didn't have what I needed. And they were very basic things, like 14" snare heads, or a complete set of the same type of heads for an entire kit. For a Guitar Center in SoCal, this is unheard of. You don't have a complete set of white coated Ambassadors for a 5-piece standard kit? Sorta' floored by that one.
But in this economy, I try to support the local stores because all those people live in my community, and the more people working, the better for the local economy.
Of course, you could look at the music stores and figure they only employ maybe .0001 percent of our local population, and if the Guitar Center closed its doors in my town it would just be a drop in the bucket, but I have to give them a try. I know Pro Drum in Hollywood will have what I need, but they're 34 miles away. I don't mind visiting those guys but it's a chunk out of my day to go into Hollywood.
And in sales, it's been documented that you don't need to be a player to sell instruments. The customer isn't there to get a lesson from you, they want you to supply them with what they want. Sometimes it's better to not how to play so the customer can feel a little superior so he'll make a purchase. I knew a gentleman who sold pianos all his life and made a career out of it (I know - acoustic pianos!). The man could only play a few easy Mozart piano pieces, but it was enough for the customer to hear it, and since it wasn't incredibly hard, the customer saw a glimmer of hope that they too, could learn how to play piano. His approach sold alot of pianos! As did Ringo and Charlie Watts - two guys who gave hope to the world that they could buy drums, learn how to play, and become rock stars!
My GC's seem to be slipping and in this economy that could be bad. But I'll give them the first chance when I need it right now. I'm not afraid to buy things on line.