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Matthias1730
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« on: April 04, 2015, 03:33:29 PM »

First let me introduce myself. My name is Matt, I am 24 years old and worked for Guitar Center for 5 years. I have only recently left the company which is why I am taking the opportunity to post on this forum. I apologize for the lengthiness of this post

After reading a few of the posts on here from a standpoint of someone who spent a lot of time going above and beyond for this company, it is a little disheartening to see some of the poorly drawn conclusions about how this company works (even with so many other former employees on this forum). People who clearly do not comprehend that when they walk into a store (not just Guitar Center) that the individuals who are there are PEOPLE JUST LIKE YOU who deserve respect. The typical Guitar Center employee falls into one of only a few categories.
1. The musician who is just starting out, trying to get traction in the music scene. This employee is working approximately 32 hours a week and then playing gigs for 4+ hours every Friday and Saturday night AFTER their 8 hour shift.
2. The college student who is currently just trying to make money while balancing studies.
3. The audio engineer/production guy. This guy runs sound (or some other element of production) at numerous venues or churches in the local area.
For the purposes of simplicity I am going to leave the categories at 3 because while I am aware or the stereotypical, punk teenager who doesn't have a clue what is going on, they are not one of the core team members of any store because they usually don't last long.

Before I get into the meat of this, let me make a few statements.

My intentions are not to defend Guitar Center. I am not trying to "troll the forum". Lastly, for anyone who wishes to engage in discussion with me, I will expect the same level of professionalism and understanding from you that I offer.
Now, let's get on with it.
I worked in the HiTech department (more commonly known as Pro Audio) during my tenure at Guitar Center. It was there that I encountered some of the nicest and rudest people it has ever been my displeasure to converse with. For those of you who don't know, the professional audio industry is laced with middle-aged men who believe that they are the smartest person to ever lay hands on an audio or lighting console. This is typically made obvious within the first 30 sec of any encounter. I met people such as this on a regular basis. They have a sense of entitlement and believe that the person they are talking to is a complete moron.
side note: I don't know how many of you are alright with being belittled and talked down to, but for the majority of the population, it is not an enjoyable experience.

This happened day-in and day-out. individuals would come into the store, use condescending tones and treat us like garbage for 30 min, and then begin grinding us for a deal on their purchase. For anyone who understands commissioned based jobs, you will understand how these to behaviors don't make a logical connection.
Old guy comes in, spends 30 min telling you how worthless you are, and then proceeds to ask you to (quite literally) take out your wallet and GIVE him $20 (which is what they are asking for when they "grind on a price"). Would you do that???

Before I move on, let me clear up one misconception that this particular type of customer had about who they were encountering.
Yes, there are a lot of Guitar Center employees who don't know jack squat. You have to learn to avoid those guys. There are, however, people such as myself working there. I am the key lighting designers for one of the largest churches in my state (roughly 12,000 in regular attendance). I have experience and practice with equipment FAR beyond the realm of your typical Guitar Center's inventory. I have trained under some of the more brilliant minds in the industry and in doing so, have developed a strong competence in the trade. In addition to that, I will be graduating with my Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering in approximately 1 month. - So, NO. Employees at Guitar Center are not ALL complete morons.

Now, let's move on to the good.

Throughout my time with Guitar Center, I developed a relatively large clientele. These were the people I enjoyed working with who did not necessarily spend $50k with me every year, but were regulars in the store. These individuals all had my cell phone number and worked with me exclusively. They would call me regularly to ask about a particular piece of gear or get some tech support with their recent purchase. I went above and beyond for these people. NOT because of how much they spent (most didn't spend a lot anyway), but because they treated me with respect. Sometimes to the extent of going out to their gigs and helping them in a pinch by hand delivering equipment when they couldn't make it into the store. These were the customers who NEVER paid full price. They also NEVER asked for a discount. They made my day better and so I made their day better.
This is what I have learned the most from. When you want someone to do something above and beyond for you, treat them with respect.

On my last day with the store, one of the managers decided to take me out to dinner which ended up being a going away party. The entire staff was there, he had also invited some of my long term clients without me knowing and I arrived to a room full of 20+ customers whom I had gotten to know very well throughout my time there.

I do not wish to modify anyone's opinion or start an argument. I only want to offer my perspective.

Thank you for your time,

Matthew *****
B.S. Electrical Engineering class of 2015
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Frankedj
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2015, 04:19:13 AM »

#1. It takes way more than 5 years of working at a big box store to actually become well educated in the industry let alone becoming educated in a sales position. That is like saying that you worked at Best Buy for 5 years and now you are now an expert on TVís or washing machines.

#2. No one ever walked into any Guitar Center on the planet looking for expert advice on anything. They went for the price and that was it.

#3. Working in a Guitar Center in no way equates to actually working in a real musical instrument store.

My music store has been in business for 45 years of which 12 I was an employee. Even though I do not work there anymore I still have my master key and the complete trust of the owner. I have earned the respect of every single good and bad customer that I ever had.

You coming online to berate any customers that you took care of shows that you are not what you claim to be. While some customers can be a real pain they are still your customer and they deserve your respect regardless of how much they think they know. Five years does not make you an expert in anything. Once you spend decades in your field and continue to learn all the way through that time, then you just might become an expert.

I have the respect of every major club owner in my town. The respect of every major karaoke jock, the respect of bands, churches and many more. Working on one system in one church does not make you an expert.

I have walked into a Guitar Center and I am very well known in my city as being the expert. I have spent three decades earning that title. Every independent music store owner in my city knows my name.

You should never expect to have a customerís respect the first time they walk into a store. Respect is something that you as the employee have to earn. The trust must be built. If you can show them that you know what you are talking about and if you can give them the absolute best advice, then they will respect you.

In sales, the customer is always right even when they are wrong. It is your job in the industry to get them to the right place with what will be best for them for their specific needs. If you can do that then you will be successful.

If you came to work in my home music store while I was there you wouldnít be quite so arrogant. Iíd show you how a real expert does it.

When a Guitar Center opened in my city, my boss and I knew they wouldnít last and we were right. Soon all Guitar Centers will be closed due to the bankruptcy for giving everything away. The sad part is that they are taking down some of the biggest manufacturers in the industry including Fender.

My music store survived GC but many hundreds of other many decades old music stores did not. GC is
getting what they deserve due to their greed and it canít happen fast enough.
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Matthias1730
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2015, 05:40:11 PM »

In order:
#1. Becoming "educated" from a sales position is not what I was referring to. While it does happen slowly, it is not necessarily correct to say so. My implication was that I immersed myself in the industry. As a college student, I did everything in my power to surround myself with the individuals who REALLY knew what they were doing. By doing such, I did develop a strong knowledge of the industry (particularly that which was outside the realm of Guitar Center) allowing me to provide the CORRECT solution to any and all problems my clients encountered.

#2. The term "No one" is considered a universal statement. You have a relatively limited knowledge of the entire national GC customer base and so for you to state that no one enters the store looking for expert advice is rather trite. Yes, I understand that many people come into the store for convenience and price. That is the primary purpose people walk into any "brick and mortar" stores these days. However, there are people who do want advice, opinions, help, etc...

#3. No it really doesn't by your definition, I will not argue with that. But a few key factors are true. 1) people come to Guitar Center to purchase musical instruments (they aren't looking for toothpaste). 2) There are at least a few GC employees who really do want to help their customers get into the right piece of gear. 3) I worked in HiTech. not really a "music" department anyway. (even though I am a musician). So I can't speak on that part.

It's good that your store has survived the expansion of GC. I am also a strong supporter of the privately owned music stores in my town as well. They have things that we never carried at GC such as boutique pedals, Guitars, and amplifiers (I am not a fan of much of the pedal/amplifier selection at GC).

I did not come online to "berate" customers. I have never responded to rudeness with anything less than kindness and compassion (which is why I was able to develop the client base I did). I simply wanted to share a perspective. It was my perception that was the purpose of the forum (negative experiences at GC???) I guess it is not acceptable to share negative experiences caused by customers...
-That was my rant for this post
I wanted to address the fact that many of the problems with big box retail chains are more of a "two-way street" than some wish to believe they are.

While it is beside the point, one of my personal endeavors is that I am also an independent contractor doing venue AVL installations professionally. So in the interest of clearing your misconception, I have worked on a few more than "one" system in "one" church. (To date, 73 different churches, clubs, and bars).
-Not really important, I just wanted to clarify.

I believe you were misinterpreting my definition of "Respect" (my apologies for not clarifying). When I used that term, I was referring to the fundamental respect that we all expect when encountering another human being. Shake the hand, carry on a professional conversation, treat the person as you wish to be treated.
Yes, I agree that the kind of respect you are speaking of is earned through years and years of work and experience.

 As for the customer always being right, while that may be a good business model, you and I both know that is not always true. This is where the afore mentioned "respect" becomes necessary to avoid the situation from souring when you must redirect the customer to what you know is right. However, I never once attempted that with customers who did not know and respect me.

It is an ongoing struggle for me to contain my arrogance. I recognize and am actively working on that character flaw.  Apparently it is something that many Engineers struggle with. However, I never walk into any store acting as though I know more than the employees (even when it becomes clear that I likely do). If I walked into your music store, I would treat you with respect without even knowing who you are.

by the way, GC is not taking down Fender or anyone else (Fender now sells directly). Perhaps Behringer will suffer after last year's separation, but their stuff was never good quality as it is.

I will always be the first to say that giant corporations like GC have long lists of problems that small music stores are lucky (and smart) enough to not deal with. (read: your reputation is only affected by yourself and perhaps the staff in your single store, not 10,000 employees scattered all over the country)
You do need to remember that while GC is run by greedy corporate monkeys, the employees are typically NOT that way. They are just people like you (or you 20 years ago) who love music.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 03:24:43 PM by Matthias1730 » Logged
J!m
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2016, 04:41:04 PM »

interesting "conversation" once I push past the arguments...

I would like to add that ANY situation is as good as we make it.

Although I have not worked for GC (I may be soon doing repairs) I formerly built custom guitars at a company I built from nothing with a partner and was managing a sales territory doing 10 million annually in business. I have seen and dealt with all kinds.

Another point I want to make (and this is not directed at anyone in particular) is that education is not equal to intelligence. I do not have a Ph.D. however I have trained several in my main industry (which is not guitars).

"Do onto others..." and we all know the rest. But in sales in particular, you have to treat everyone as the golden ticket because even if that guy (or girl) is a first class PITA, they may know someone who might come in and drop a few grand. Sort of like not treating the unattractive girl at the bar poorly, because her (sister/friend etc.) is your dream and soul mate. Don't burn the bridge before you even get to it!!
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Harrykip
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2016, 04:10:20 AM »

The DIY place across the ring road from Global House - whats it called, Home something?
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MaryAnnkip
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2017, 03:24:11 PM »

Marquette Mall in Marquette, MI has a car dealership in a former Angelis Supermarket space Angelis being a now defunct local chain.
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Ladygrim
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2017, 08:58:44 PM »

Hey FrankEDJ

Thank you for your single input that absolutely had no impact on Matthias's post. You kind of sound like Donald Trump when he rambles about **** he knows nothing about. Being ignorant and spouting off just puts a target on your back... If you going to attack something after having the bullet points buzz over your head... Make it worth it. All I read was:

1. I hate guitar center. I even have statistics on why a customer walks into Guitar Center, but I can't tell you the term because its a secret.
2. Guitar Center employees suck, so I know must more than them.
3. Small stores know more cuz I said so
4. Beings that I know everything, I don't need to worry about displaying credible information, it simply means you have to listen to me.
5. My grammar is sucks and thus continues to entertain those reading my comments cuz I hate Guitar Center.
6. Bro 5 years of experience isn't enough. And I know this because I have no experience in this industry, or have had very poor training in it so you must listen to me.
7. JUS CUZ

Here's the Deal Frank. You are an asshole. Get a life. You obviously do not understand the inner working of this industry, or even business in general. Poor uneducated guy who thinks he's right... The more intelligent person, like myself, just feels bad for you. You forgot to get off of the trailor park bus at the corner of maturity and intllectual curiousity.

Guitar Center is successful, and you can't stop it. Keep grinding your teeth. My job was fun as hell. I woke up everyday and I did'nt want to kill myself, as you obviously do with infatuation of things you have zero control over... Here this dude is talking about how GC affected his life positively...He's humanizing with this vast group... but then... oh look its Frank. He's going to say some off point **** right now and be too simple minded to see what the OP is truly trying to say. Go do something that doesn't suck and learn how to not say stupid ass ****. I hope this helps Frank! Really, learn from it. Or don't, I wouldn't mind laughing at your proud ignorance again...  I am sure you suck just as badly in real life. Let's talk about how we can make you an adult over some French Roast. I'm here to help.
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