Our lil sister going into the 6th grade wants to be a mix-master. We decide to help her out, and entered a month-long battle with Guitar Center.
At first we got her setup on a free software mixing program, VirtualDJ. However, it turns out most of her music is from the ITunes store and guess what? Apple’s anti-copying DRM format won’t let her play them in the software. However, she does have access to two iPods. We decided that we would give her an old, very basic Numark mixer we have lying around and hook the iPods through that. Soon she would be making her middle school chums dance to the soothing sounds of The Faint and Peaches.
But all was not well.
We brought the mixer from Brooklyn with us to Jersey on a visit. It missed an AC adaptor but we figured we could pick up something at Radio Shack, maybe even one of those super-duper any kind of voltage ones. Two Shacks produced no love. Nada at Musician’s Superstore. We crossed the street to Guitar Center who didn’t have it, but they said they could special order it. What about we just order it direct from Numark? No good, they said. The factory will ask for a dealer number. A bit bowed, we agreed, as they would ship it from there to our sister’s house. We prepaid for the adaptor, a small thing at fifteen dollars or so, plus all the necessary shipping. Jo-An said he put in our sister’s address in the notes field on the order and we left.
A week later, Jo-An called to said our order was in and we could pick it up, a foreboding sign of incompetence to come. We called and gently reminded him about the whole shipping it to our sister agreement. We confirmed with him that our sister’s address was in the notes. He said it would ship out immediately and he would call us to affirm it. He did not call.
Another week goes by and it’s still not at her house. We call back and Jo-An apologizes, says he was sick and someone was suppose to put it out for shipping. Again, he says he will call to let us know everything is cool. No call this time either.
Three weeks after we walked in off the misbegotten highway of Route 22 into Guitar Center, Springfield, NJ, the AC adaptor has not popped up. We call. He says he don’t know what happened but this time it will really really ship. He will also call us to confirm it. He does not call.
Four weeks and the thing has not shown. We write our sister, “time to go nuclear on their asses.” We call. Jo-An is not in today, but we speak to the electronics area supervisor, JP. Shoulda done this a long time ago, but we felt bad for Jo-An. He seemed like a good kid, even in those platform gothic go-go boots. JP tells us that the adaptor is sitting right there. He says our sister’s address and nothing about shipping is in the notes. He says it’s been sitting there because we had only paid for the shipping FROM Numark, not the shipping to go out. JP apologizes for this miscommunication. Also, he can’t ship it to our sister. It’s against the rules. They can only ship to the address listed for the credit card holder. He wants our credit card, but he’s got two people on hold and will call us back.
Twenty-minutes later, he does. He gets our name and we tell him to hold it right there. We tell the whole story, the delays, the calls never made and how it’s been pretty annoying. We find ourselves declaring it “a customer service failure.” He starts to say, “sorry but as I said, there’s nothing we can do about special orders–” We cut him off, “Fine then, what about a 10% discount the next time I come in or something?” He says, “No worries, we’ll take care of you, let me check on something.” Hold. He comes back and waives the shipping and will mails it out to us.
Victory. We succeed in getting Guitar Center to do basically what they agreed to do in the first place. Normally, we would have found some online solution but we wanted to set our sister up on the click-wheels of steel that day before we left.
Of course, by the time she gets the working mixer, our sister will want to learn to play the drums instead.