Used to be when I walked into the local Sam Ash the manager although not instantly recalling my name always greeted me in a friendly manner. If he was with a customer a nod of the head and a wave and a "I'll be with you when I'm done here" was a given. Of course those were the days when there just a few SA outside NYC.
I remember having the manager throw a drum key or a pair of sticks in my bag every now and then. I distinctively remember him asking me to try a new brand or style of stick they had just picked up, and let me know what you think. What exactly it was is lost to time were talking late 70's folks.
I remember looking at the Zildjians and paistes ( that's all there were then Sabian had yet to come into existence) Trying a Zildjian whatever kinda crash and having the manager tell me we just had a guy return the same one if ya like it let me know it will sell as used and I can save you a bunch of coin.
Those days are gone forever. Now whenever I walk into a Big Box store there's a different manager. Usually a whole new crew. You know the guy. The Drum managers today are by and large embittered Drummers in their late 40's early 50's who music careers were about as successful as the Titanic. They hate the record labels for not recognising their genius. They hate the company they work for and they pretty much hate life and you.
It's attitudes like that help me decide to found Cymbals & Snares to re-establish a retail practice that has long been dead Customer Service. Some of the things that have happened to me at Music stores are just unbelievable. I know we all have stories and we wanna hear them. Just recently I accompanied a Friend to Guitar Center ( he's a guitar player) I strolled over to the drum department. No one in their except me and 2 clerks. One guy was chatting to his girlfriend on the phone. I approached him and said" excuse me." He put his finger up indicating he'd be with me when he was done. Not saying to his girlfriend "hold on a second honey I got a customer" I turned an approached the guy behind the counter who was practicing his paradiddles. I asked for some sticks to try some Pies out. Without looking up he reached down and gave me a stick. A STICK. all the while intently reading his music notes. Eye contact was established after I asked for a pair. I was there 20-30 minutes playing Cymbals in the sound room. Playing pearls new demon drive $600 set of pedals. Neither of these guys asked me a single question nothing Nada zip. I thought to myself not much has changed here.
A few months ago I asked the bitter drum manager about Agazarian cymbals. GC has ditched Wuhan for Agazarian it's their house brand. I asked why the switch ? how did they compare a few shop talk kinda things. Now this guys has no idea I'm an Authorized Wuhan dealer. First response from him was Wuhan quality was going down hill. Wuhan is/was going out of business. Wuhan was only making china's from now on. Of course all three answers are wrong. But I wonder was he intentionally lying ? Was he misinformed ? Or did he just not know ? Any way you slice completely unacceptable for a dept manager.
Several years ago at Sam ash ( Now you Knew I couldn't leave them out) I was looking to purchase a new kit. My first new one in years I did my research I wanted to make sure I was making the right purchase. After talking to the clerk who recommended a DW kit (of Course) he then began to make his sales pitch For his personal Kit !! I politely told him I wasn't interested in a Canary yellow Birch kit from some boutique maker I never heard of. But on he went Every parameter I has laid out for my new kit was ignored as he kept talking about his kit and what a deal it was. Over the next two weeks I was in and out of that store 8 times looking and relooking and each and every time he talked up his kit. he even got my telephone number from a stick purchase I made and called me at Home !! I screamed at him " I DON"T WANT A USED KIT !!! " That became my first on-line purchase I wound up getting a Mapex Mars pro series kit. That I still use today.
Now my last story from the big Indie shop around here. This was my last big purchase before opening Cymbals & Snares. I decided to re-head my entire kit get a new crash some new snare wires felts I mean a real kit tune up. My first purchase was the heads . Now I have 11 drums on my kit so you know quality heads are gonna set you back a little coin here. Evans G2 coated for the batters and G1 Clears for the reso's. The kid Told me big mistake. I'm thinking "oh boy" They talked me into a Emad bass drum head. I wish I has stuck with my original Idea another Aquarian super Kick 2. Oh well. Off to the Cymbals. I grabbed a beautiful Meinl MB20 med/hvy 16" crash which was well over $200 bucks. Felts, washers a set of 14" 20 strand purseound Blaster series snare wires. a few pair of sticks and I was ready to go....... Almost I spotted amongst the snare stands 2 matching boom stands that are huge The biggest boom stands I'd ever seen. Besides my 11 drums I use about 20 cymbals on my kit. These had the height , telescopic arm perfect to bring 2 more cymbals to within reach of me. I also noticed they were used. I thought Great Bargaining room especially with what I bought.They were $40 a piece I offered them $25 for the set. The kid went nuts. "that's nuts " what do you take me for, are you crazy " I looked at him and quickly reminded him I had just shy of $600 in merchandise on the counter. His response was swift "So what what has that got to do with this" I thought Salesmanship not being emphasized here that's for sure. I told the kid "look you gave the guy store credit for these anyway you ain't loosing nothing and what your making off of me should more than make up for giving me these stands for $25. A Senior employee walked over listened to us I again emphasised my $600 purchase. I was soon loading them into my car. But the point of all these stories are the same Customer service is dead. Stores look for the single deal as we at Cymbals & Snares look to build relationships with drummers for the long term.
But enough about how Cymbals & Snares does things. Let's hear some of your music store fiasco's. T