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  #1  
Old 01-11-2017, 10:29 AM
polarred21 polarred21 is offline
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Default Finding a New Music Shop - Can't Play the Guitars

So I decided to check out a Music store within reach of me at 35 miles away to see what they had to offer. I had already called ahead and asked about inventory and she stated they had about 40 guitars in stock. I was looking for a bass at the time and they are a Peavey and a Samick/Greg Bennet dealer.

This is an old family business and good sized shop. As I entered I noticed half of the store was maybe church related supplies like robes and literature and the other half was music. About 10 pianos in stock, some wind instruments and all the guitars on the wall in one spot with a decent selection of amps and PA equipment.

I had time to browse and had picked out a small bass practice amp that I needed and did not have a price on it. I was willing to pay a little more there within range to support the locals and begin a relationship with store...possibly.

So I made my way to a nice Samick cutaway about $299 and began to tune it with the tuner and pick I brought with me. The owner I think came over and she asked me If I needed any help. I told her I was interested in the small amp in the next room if she could tell me the price.

She said okay I'll check on that amp for you. Then....
"Now we don't mind anyone playing the guitars as long as they are interested in buying"....just as I strummed the freshly tuned G chord...."and I say that lightly" she said.
"So you don't want me playing the guitar ?" I asked.
"Well it makes them hard to sell with scratches on them. Let me check on that amp for you" as she walked away.
I proceeded to hang the guitar back on the wall and replied, " I tell you what, just forget it" and I exited the store thinking they just don't need my business.

I sure hated that too as I had high hopes for finding this nice store. The lady was very nice and I can understand her reasoning, but still disappointed. I felt bad afterwards.

What would you have done?
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Last edited by polarred21; 01-11-2017 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:41 AM
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fazool fazool is offline
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I would have done exactly as you did.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:35 AM
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She's not wrong in that it is harder to sell a guitar with scratches on it, but I imagine it is nearly impossible to sell a guitar if you you won't let the potential customer play it first.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:39 AM
RedJoker RedJoker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by posternutbag View Post
She's not wrong in that it is harder to sell a guitar with scratches on it, but I imagine it is nearly impossible to sell a guitar if you you won't let the potential customer play it first.
I would agree but when you start the conversation by saying you wanted to buy an amp, you clearly weren't considering the purchase of a guitar. If you were thinking of buying one, just say so and I doubt they would have a problem with you trying it out.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:56 AM
amyFB amyFB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polarred21 View Post
So I decided to check out a Music store within reach of me at 35 miles away to see what they had to offer. I had already called ahead and asked about inventory and she stated they had about 40 guitars in stock. I was looking for a bass at the time and they are a Peavey and a Samick/Greg Bennet dealer.

This is an old family business and good sized shop. As I entered I noticed half of the store was maybe church related supplies like robes and literature and the other half was music. About 10 pianos in stock, some wind instruments and all the guitars on the wall in one spot with a decent selection of amps and PA equipment.

I had time to browse and had picked out a small bass practice amp that I needed and did not have a price on it. I was willing to pay a little more there within range to support the locals and begin a relationship with store...possibly.

So I made my way to a nice Samick cutaway about $299 and began to tune it with the tuner and pick I brought with me. The owner I think came over and she asked me If I needed any help. I told her I was interested in the small amp in the next room if she could tell me the price.

She said okay I'll check on that amp for you. Then....
"Now we don't mind anyone playing the guitars as long as they are interested in buying"....just as I strummed the freshly tuned G chord...."and I say that lightly" she said.
"So you don't want me playing the guitar ?" I asked.
"Well it makes them hard to sell with scratches on them. Let me check on that amp for you" as she walked away.
I proceeded to hang the guitar back on the wall and replied, " I tell you what, just forget it" and I exited the store thinking they just don't need my business.

I sure hated that too as I had high hopes for finding this nice store. The lady was very nice and I can understand her reasoning, but still disappointed. I felt bad afterwards.

What would you have done?
What I would have done is first ask if I could play the guitar. I don't think I've ever been in any guitar shop where I didn't ask first if it was okay for me to take it off the hanger myself. Sometimes, I prefer that the clerk hand it to me so that there is one less chance for ME to drop it!

This could have increased the chance of having a discussion in advance where you might have been able to communicate your awareness and intent of the importance of being a careful test driver.

somewhat akin to a car showroom - you can sit in it and try out the doors , but you can't get the keys for a road test without a discussion first.

or, maybe like when meeting a potential partner for the first time and greeting them with a big kiss on the lips before you've even been introduced.

I do not think it is at all unreasonable for the business owners to establish the boundaries of access to their wares.

I think it is an example of cognitive dissonance for a shopper to overlook the fact that there are many kinds of shoppers, and many with no consideration for others.

I try to consider that a retail clerk or store owner has no way of knowing by looking what kind of shopper you are.

In addition, I try to be mindful of how quickly we'll ask for a discount on an obviously used new instrument, and then consider how that discount (on top of others) impacts the profit to the store, which continues a domino effect all the way to a store barely holding on with one underpaid miserable clerk.

This thread now has me thinking about how we shoppers can contribute to the overall experience of guitar sales.

Personally, I've never ever , not once , had any store object to my test driving a guitar, even after I've specifically declared my goal is simply to try stuff out on the way to making a decision at some unknown date in the future.

I think that is due in some part to my interest in establishing a relationship with the store where I'll likely come back for support for whatever I buy.

I'll be interested in reading what others have to say.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:57 AM
BahPa BahPa is offline
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Default New music shop

I wonder if they would have let you plug in the amp to see if it worked?
I wonder if they would have let you try on a choir robe to see if it fit?
I wonder if they would let you sniff a votive candle to check the smell?
I wonder if they want to be a music store or some thing else?
I wonder how long it would've taken me to walk out the door?
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:58 AM
cmd612 cmd612 is offline
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Obviously local customs differ, but I generally don't pick up a guitar in a store I've never been in before without asking first.

Assuming I were in that situation, though, I'd apologize and put it back on the wall, unless I either a) was interested in buying it or b) picked it up because I needed a guitar to plug into the amp I was interested in. If either of those were the case, I'd say so. I'd probably also promise not to scratch it.
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:17 PM
amyFB amyFB is offline
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Last edited by amyFB; 01-11-2017 at 12:18 PM. Reason: sorry; violation of 'be nice'
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Old 01-12-2017, 01:26 AM
architype architype is offline
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I was in Carter's Vintage Guitars in Nashville a couple weeks ago. Most of the guitars there are priced on the higher end...I'm talking 5k and higher. The place was pretty crowded and I had been just looking around. One of the sales guy's said "If you see anything you like just pick it up and play it." I was a little surprised. I typically ask first if I'm at a store where they don't know me.

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Old 01-12-2017, 03:33 AM
chitz chitz is offline
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I too, would have walked out.

All those instruments and gear on display should be considered demonstration items and subject to minor shop wear.

Sold at the end of their purpose at discounted prices.
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Old 01-12-2017, 03:37 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by architype View Post
I was in Carter's Vintage Guitars in Nashville a couple weeks ago. Most of the guitars there are priced on the higher end...I'm talking 5k and higher. The place was pretty crowded and I had been just looking around. One of the sales guy's said "If you see anything you like just pick it up and play it." I was a little surprised. I typically ask first if I'm at a store where they don't know me.

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This comparison of Carter's with a small independent selling stuff like Samicks makes a valid point.

Small independents selling cheap gear, are probably on small margins, and cannot sustain damaged stocks by careless shoppers, and/or time wasters. I understand the saleswoman's concerns.

How many folk would walk into Carter's or Gruhns, pick up a $5k guitar, wearing inappropriate clothing and/or mistreat it? I suspect very few.

How many folk might go into a shop to play a Samick or other budget piece just for the fun of it? I've seen people on this forum say they go to box-shifter chain houses like Guitar Centre etc., just to jam or mess around with the stock, with no intention to buy.





I guess the sales lady's concern expressed as nicely as she could reveals that they've had stock damaged by careless people before.

I guess part of the skill of a good sales assistant is knowing your typical clientele, and how best to handle them.

The last two instruments that I bought from a dealer (mentioned by Toby recently) where all items over, say, 1000, are on the walls or stands, but locked.

I assume most visitors go there to check out specific items seen on their website, rather than just browse around. (I'd not go there unless I had a specific aim in mind).
I think the usual practice would be to enter by the main desk, tell them what you want, and an assistant will lead you to where it is. Sit you down, (casually checking for any metalwork on you), unlock and tune the instrument for you, watch you for a moment or two then wander off for a few minutes before returning and asking you your opinion, and maybe offering alternatives.

At my last visit when I bought a Waterloo, I also spotted a new Collings "T" model, (over 5.6k).
I pointed out that I had no intention to buy it, but asked to try it out.
He happily unlocked it, checked the tuning, and watched me as I played it for a couple of minutes - then I gave it back - all friendly, safe and reasonable.

I see differing attitudes in different types of shops - the specialists, the High volume dealers, and the small budget independents.

Good attitude is necessary from the visitor as well as the sales folk.
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Old 01-12-2017, 04:43 AM
Parlorman Parlorman is offline
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I don't get the problem. She said you could play if you were looking to buy which makes me think she would have been fine with you using a guitar to try out the amp - if you had asked. While many stores willingly accept the risks of letting anyone pick up and play whatever they want, smaller stores have to be more careful.

I used to work at a small, family owned music store. We had to buy or finance the instruments in the store. A ding or scratch can take hundreds of dollars off the sales price of a new guitar and that comes out of the already slim profits of the store owner.

I feel you over reacted.
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Old 01-12-2017, 04:43 AM
DoryDavis DoryDavis is offline
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There are 2 sides of this, both stated well in the comments above.

Many of my purchases have come about like this: I sometimes go to a music shop to relax, and I go on off peak hours to do this. Sit and play several guitars, talk with anyone who is friendly, sales or other customers. Take my time. Yes it has happened, all of a sudden I'll be playing something and say I have to have this. Maybe not buy it then, but always buy it THERE.

Without trying out guitars, it'd keep me away from the stores.

Here is a novel idea. Is there some way to level the playing field between stores and on-line (I think sweet water and even MF are great by the way). Offer something (from the manufacturer) if you buy in a shop, that you can't get on line? That's half baked, but as a shop owner I'm sure I'd be royally ticked off if someone came in, tried (and even scratched) a guitar, then bought it at MF.
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Last edited by DoryDavis; 01-12-2017 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 01-12-2017, 04:58 AM
Parlorman Parlorman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chitz View Post
I too, would have walked out.

All those instruments and gear on display should be considered demonstration items and subject to minor shop wear.

Sold at the end of their purpose at discounted prices.
Most small stores own or finance their inventory. The instruments are not generally "demos" that folks test drive and then order a new one if they like it. If an instrument is damaged and has to be sold at a discount, it comes out of the store owner's pocket.
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Guitars:
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1920's Larson/Stahl 0 size guitar
1893 Martin 0-28 (for sale)
1920 Martin 1-28
1963 Gibson Hummingbird
1987 Martin Schoenberg Soloist
2016 Froggy Bottom L Deluxe Koa
2015 Rainsong P12
2017 Probett Rocket III
1993 Fender Stratocaster

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Old 01-12-2017, 05:42 AM
LSemmens LSemmens is offline
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Unless it's a supermarket, I'd generally ask before I tried a product. Even supermarkets take a dim view of customers licking their cheeses to find one you like the taste of.

The store sounds like they are very protective of their inventory, hopefully they would be as protective of their customers.
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