Guitar Center Sucks

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.


Edit Your Comment

  1. DeeJayQueue says:

    They work on commission there, so they’ll say anything to get your greasy little fingers away from your credit card for just a minute. Be thankful that you didn’t go into Sam Ash. If you had, they would have told you that no such mixer was ever made by numark, even if you had it in your hand, and that there was no company called Numark and that they couldn’t order or ship anything from there since they don’t exist. Then they would have told you that they could sell you a brand new mixer from their own “Groove” house brand for less than it would cost to order the A/C adapter from numark. The mixer would cost just as much as a new brand-name one but with half the features and twice the shoddy craftsmanship. Then they’d have tried to sell you cables. You’d rebuff them, ask them to order the adapter anyway, and they’d agree, charge your credit card and you leave, only they never order the part, or they’d order the wrong one for the mixer they wanted to sell you, or soemthing like that.

    Don’t shop at Sam Ash.

  2. Falconfire says:

    Ahhh I actually KNOW these nimrods having bought a lot of stuff from the GC on 22. They hire complete social rejects and you have to practically hold the store hostage to get fired from there. I actually managed to buy almost a grand worth of equipment from them for 200 dollars thanks to knowing one of the guys (he was since fired for actually giving good advice to a customer which cost him a sale)

    Not only are they a bunch of morons there, but their used guitar purchasers are a bunch of hacks, wouldnt give over 200 dollars to me on a guitar worth 1000.

    Course if you wanted to use iPods, could have bought her the Numark iPod one, its actually a nice machine for 240.00

  3. Fairytale of Los Angeles says:

    Or, you know, you could’ve ripped those “anti-copying” AAC files to CDs, then to mp3s, and used ’em in Virtual DJ. Apple makes it ridiculously easy to circumvent their DRM.

  4. thatabbygirl says:

    At least you got someone there to pay attention to you! Back when I was getting into mixing, I walked into Guitar Center after having done extensive online research on cd decks and mixers and was ready to put down $2-3,000 in commissionable money that day. For a little bit, I was happy not to be pestered while I wandered around and fiddled with things. But I eventually had some questions, only to find that every salesperson in the vicinity was helping someone else, on their way to break, or “would be right back to help me.”

    After being blown off by about 5 salespeople and being in the dj corner for over 40 minutes, I was ready to walk out. As I moved towards the exit, suddenly a salesperson started coming towards me. Victory, I thought. But no, the words out of his mouth were “do you need help finding something for your boyfriend?” I told him I’d been planning to buy something in the $3,000 range for myself, not my boyfriend, but would be happy to give that money to someone who understood that girls can dj too.

    Ordered my gear online, will never shop there again, have told all my friends about it.

  5. Mr. Black says:

    I recently purchased a new guitar from GC in Oxford Valley, PA. Overall, it wasn’t as bad as the “may I help you since you touched something” type music stores. I did have a heck of a time getting a sales person’s attention (I’m agressive, so it wasn’t too hard), but was a bit put off at having to that…I don’t want to be hounded, but some attention is nice. However, when I walked into the keyboard/dj section, I was asked immediately if I needed anything (they seemed to be itching for a sale).

    After everything, GC is nice for two things…testing out gear before buying it online (at a better price), or instant gratification (I need it NOW)…I fell into the second category.

  6. Ben Popken says:

    Fairytale, true, and I tried to teach my sister how to do that but she couldn’t get the hang of it. Figured this would be faster, and so, I was punished.

  7. Guitar Center was the site of my worst job experience ever. Four days I worked there. Four days they were “too busy” to train me.

    I should have held out longer just to steal a lifetime supply of Elixir strings.

  8. Darkavenger says:

    You know, I have worked in music for 30 years and I was led to believe that guitarcenter was a legit organization and I gave up. I wrote my boss today and a leading management company and told him I now have enough methadone and booze in my system to shutdown and I welcome it. I am tired of fighting a male oriented business, and fought to keep my male bands and female bands treated fairly; and I play guitar, but I walke quietly into Guitar Center here in Charleston, SC and try not to do the “chick thing”, you know, burst into tears out of years of frustration, and find that the person in charge of guitars is a pussyboy playing for 13-14 year old boys, and I come in to pay for a Dean Guitar and am left standing there like I am not even a person. I just walked out in disgust and I am sure, one small female warrents no respect from them, and I am sure I don’t even quality as a commentor. It won’t matter in about four hours as I decided enough is enough, so I have enough drugs and alcohol in me to end my life. Life is not good when you are surrounded by liars, poor egotistical salesmen, and buying four guitars and hearing the undermining comments made by your “sales professionals” in Guitar Center on Rivers Avenue in Charleston, SC. What does it matter? What do they care. When I asked for a guitar teacher, they lied and said they were all booked up, and that was a lie. I talked to several of my older male friends and they said, they thought the crusade against women guitarists, and other women with different musical instruments involved was supposed to be over. Well, another person has fallen in a battle I care no longer to fight, and I can hear Ben screaming to me not to do what I have done. I told him I asked his forgiveness, but I have been insulted and just treated pathelticallly and I just wanted to be treated fairly. GUITAR CENTER IN CHARLESTON SOUTH CAROLINA SUCKS! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND i AM PAYING FOR IT WITH MY LIFE. GOOD, WHO CARES?????

  9. gctruth says:

    I have worked in sales at Guitar Center for about 2 and a 1/2 years now. Let me give everyone the true run down on what this company is about.

    When I was hired I was told that it was minimum wage plus commission of 10% proft, 2% sales. I had to find out the hard way about “FADING”. How it works is You have to cover all of the hours that you work with this 10 and 2 percent before you get to see any “Commission”.

    An example would be:

    You make $1200 dollars a month from minimum wage. Now you make $1300 dollars a month from the 10% gross proft and 2% gross sales. You’re now thinking, “oh that’s not bad, I’m going to make $2500 for the month…” NO, how they have it set up is you have to cover that $1200 with the $1300! $1300 minus $1200 equals $100. So you end up with your minimum wage of $1200 for the month and a $100 “BONUS”…if you’re lucky. This is just a big loop hole in the law that Guitar Center is getting away with. Do waiters and waitresses have to cover their tips? Does the pizza delivery guy have to cover his tips? NO, so why the fuck do we have to cover ours?

    Technically it’s not even really commission, it’s really just a bonus on top of minimum wage! Everyone else that has been hired since I have hasn’t been told about fading either, They are hiring people and misleading them into thinking they are getting something they aren’t.

    Because of this fading system they have set up Guitar Center gets to tell you how many hours they want you to work without having to worry about paying you anymore because you have to cover those hours anyway. These hours include staying late usually past 1am having mandatory merchandising “parties” preparing for sales and making the store look good. During all of these hours that they have you work as a sales person, you are expected to not only sell AND FADE, but also to mercandise, clean (including the bathrooms), take out the trash, count your draws/money before and after your shift, inventory control and be security to name a few. Basically sales people are running the store for minimum wage, oh and did I mention that Guitar Center still expects you to FADE your hours? At most locations a sales person will be fired if they don’t fade after three months from what I hear, but I have not faded for over a year and I’m still employed!

    Why havn’t I been fired even though I’m not fading? Because it doesn’t cost GC anything to employ sales people since they have to fade! If you think about it the only employees GC has to actually pay are the warehouse/operations staff and management!

    Since they can’t keep coverage and the turnover rate is so high the people that have to suffer are:

    *The empoyees that stay because they now have to cover the hours that were being covered by the person that just quit or got fired!

    *The customers because now the new people that are being hired are not knowledgeable and hence where most of the customer complaints come from!

    If GC actually was legit and didn’t try to think of every possible way to screw their sales staff this problem with not having knowledgeable employees wouldn’t exist! Most of the sales staff at GC have less than a month experience because of this! I know my district sales manager wanted to fire me but they wouldn’t because they knew they don’t have enough help as it is.

    Now on top of this FADING BS you have to deal with stuff like this that makes it even harder to fade:

    *If you’re opening shift you have to come in an hour early before open which is pointless! These are extra hours that you have to fade against!

    *If you’re closing shift you have to leave “as a team” with all of the other employees even though it usually means standing around for an extra hour and a 1/2! These are extra hours that you have to fade against!

    *So you work @ GC and you think your going to still be able to perform at your gig on Friday night? NOPE, You have to work Saturdays, they are mandatory!

    *GC makes their sales staff work 6 days a week during March, August and December on top of even more extended hours every day! These are extra hours that you have to fade against!

    *They extended store hours! We get the same amount of business compared to before having extended store hours, it’s just spread out over more time! These are extra hours that you have to fade against!

    *When you are doing all of the stuff that GC requires you to do like be a telemarketer and call customers, merchandising, cleaning ect…your “managers” are the ones taking the sales because they don’t have to do these things.

    *Customers saying “what’s the best deal you can give me” after spending a 1/2 hour with them and you’re now at the

    register…Do you say the same thing to the pizza delivery guy or girl?…”What is the best price you can give me for that pizza…oh and is it ok if I don’t give you a tip?”

    *Marty Albertson creating a letter that goes out to “Only our most valued customers”…(Everyone that has ever purchased even a pack of strings in the past). The first time it was 20% of your entire purchase and the last one was 10% off your entire purchase! WTF! That’s all of the profit margin right there and they still expect you to “FADE”!

    Guitar Center lies to their employees! COST on the green screen ISN”T really GC’s COST! GC makes more profit than what’s displayed on the green screen! This is profit we make the company that we’re not credited on! On top of this what exactly is the “St Ad Pack” in between “COST” and base cost? I was told numerous exuces such as “That is what pays the bills like rent, electricity, heat…” If that’s the case then WHAT THE FUCK DOES GC DO WITH ALL OF THE PROFIT? BULL SHIT… “AD PACKS” are just another way for GC to make profit without giving the proper percentage to the sales person that busts their ass merchandising, being inventory control and the janitors!

    Why do you think GC plays 90% of the shittiest fucking music on earth in the store on Guitar Center radio? Because they are looking for the songs with the cheapest licensing fees! This also brings me to another point. GC recently setup a program for employees called “GAIN” where empoyees have a chance to get their music on GC radio. This is just way for GC to not have to pay licensing fees for the music being played on GC radio!

    Oh I’m sorry, I forgot to mention for those that didn’t know that the Green Screen is just what Guitar Center calls their sales terminal computers. They look like Microsoft DOS from 1980! What the hell does GC do with all of their profit that WE make for them?

    When I quit Guitar Center I’m going to send most of what’s here in a Green Screen email to everyone in the chain so that I can open most of the employees eyes that are brainwashed!

    I can’t wait until I quit. Guitar Center can suck my fucking balls.

    • rubicthecube says:

      I worked at the hollywood store for 3 years. After a while of fighting uphill only to earn a few pennies over minimum wage I quit. Now I can afford to buy the gear I used to sell. GC coorporate has ass-backwards policies which shaft their employees. But I dont have to tell you that. My worst story: Christmas time, I spent 2 1/2 hours helping a customer rack up a few thousand dollars worth of gear. It was going to be a great sale. Once I tell her the price, she busts out with her G.C. corporate employee badge. You have no I dea how pissed I was, not only did I not make any money, but I lost money in sales I could’ve made. I’m not one to condone hitting women, but sometimes, just sometimes…

  10. penna2 says:

    Yes ……….Guitar Center totally sucks. I am a former employee who made the biggest financial mistake of my life. The majority, or should I say 95% of the employees who work at the store where I was emplyed are between 20-30 years old w/ no real financial responsibilities other than worrying about their beer and weed money. Several of them even lived together in one large house they rented. No car payments , mortgage etc. You CANNOT and WILL NOT survive there unless you can live on several hundred dollars a month!!! The commission scale is designed to serve the great satan of corporate greed. I am glad to have quit even though I really enjoyed the job and liked everyone,not just a few but EVERYONE I worked with! So Marty Albertson , you seem like a real douchebag. I’m sure you enjoy screwing these young naive’ musicians, who live to be around the gear and the atmosphere. I had to leave unfortunately before my passion for music was sucked dry by the company’s lust for the ALLMIGHTY dollar….Hey Marty,your corporate private jet up your ass!! I will be sure to tell anyone and everyone who is thinking of working at Guitar Center to not apply.
    Good Riddance

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hey all,

    Our mission at Guitar Center simply put is to help people make music period. Our goal is to be the place where serious musicians love to shop and work. Sometimes things can get complicated and there are a lot of variables that happen that shape a customers or an employee’s experience. If at any time you feel like you are not getting the level of service you feel that you deserve then please by all means contact the general manager of the location you are dealing with and whoever that is will do everything in their power to make it right. Trust me we are on the same side of the customer and want nothing more then our customers to be taken care of and to exceed their expectations. If you are an employee who feels wronged then please sit down and bring it to your general manager and discuss it together and you can work it out. You can always contact me as well, while I can’t promise to fix your particular issue you are having I’ll do my best to take of any problem you may be having with Guitar Center. My name is KZ (Kevin Zielinski) and I am the general manager at the Flint, MI Guitar Center (810)-720-3863.