Guitar Stringing You Along

, , , , , | Right | April 26, 2019

(We’ve had a new customer come into our guitar store three to four times a week, usually for around thirty minutes each time. He always goes directly into the room with the most expensive guitars, shuts the door, and starts playing one of the most expensive electric guitars we have. Keep in mind, this is around a $15,000 guitar he’s playing. He always plays the same expensive, vintage guitar. As would be expected in a retail store, either my coworker or I always go to check on the man and ask if he has any questions about the guitar. He is usually very polite and declines our help, before continuing to play again without waiting for our response. After five visits from this gentleman in less than two weeks, we genuinely believe he is very seriously contemplating purchasing this expensive guitar, so we attempt to be more proactive and check on him every five minutes to try to make the sale. However, rather than his usual polite response to our assistance, this time the gentleman cranks the amplifier as loud as it can possibly go and begins playing the guitar at deafening volume in response to our questions. Not wanting to also be rude, I leave the customer and close the door. After five minutes of this loud playing, we’ve had two calls from the stores next to us complaining about the noise, which we’ve never, ever had a complaint about before. I go into the room to calmly ask the customer to lower the volume, which I have to literally shout at the man. He glares at me and turns up the volume on the guitar itself, which raises the volume to levels so loud I cannot think. I quickly run over to the amplifier and turn it off.)

Customer: “What the h***? Why do you keep f****** bothering me?”

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but I cannot allow you to continue to play at this volume. We’ve had complaints from other stores, not to mention that we cannot hear the phone ring. You are more than welcome to keep playing this guitar, but you’ll need to keep the volume at a much lower setting.”

Customer: “Man, f*** that! I come in here all the time and this is the service I get?!”

Me: “Sir, again, I am very sorry, but we cannot have our customers playing the guitar so loud that it bothers other customers and the businesses next door.”

Customer: “I don’t give a f*** what those people think! You are offering a service here and I am using it! Screw what those other people think! I am having a bad day and I just wanted to come here and let out some steam without anyone f****** bothering me every five minutes.”

Me: “I’m sorry you’re having such a bad day. I know you’re really interested in this guitar, but the only situation in which you’ll be able to play it as loudly as you were is if you were to take the guitar home with you.”

Customer: “Seriously? I can take it home? Why didn’t you guys tell me that the first d*** time I came in here? This is horrible service!”

Me: “I’m so sorry about that, sir. I would have assumed that it would be a given that you can take our guitars home if you decide to purchase them.”

(The customer has already begun to gather his things and unplug the guitar, but stops when I finish my sentence, looking at me like I’m insane.)

Customer: “Purchase them?! What the f*** kind of place is this?!”

Me: “A guitar store…”

Customer: “No, it’s not! This is one of those places where you can go and play guitar as much as you want for free!”

(Now it’s my turn to look at him like he’s insane.)

Me: “Those places don’t exist.”

Customer: “Yes, they f****** do! That’s why I come here so much! You all let people play guitars without having to buy them!”

Me: “Well, while we do allow people to test out guitars here, our main goal is to sell them. That’s why each guitar has a price tag dangling off it.”

Customer: “No, those are to tell you information about the guitar.”

Me: “There’s a price on each tag, as well as a barcode.”

Customer: “That’s just so you know the value of the guitar. Dumb b****. I can’t believe they hire such idiots here.”

Me: “Sir, how do you think we stay in business if we don’t sell the guitars?”

Customer: “You sell s*** like strings and pedals and crap. Now, grab me the case for this f***er so I can take it home like you said.”

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry that you had the wrong idea about this place, but we are in fact a store. That guitar in your hand is for sale. I cannot let you leave with it without you paying for it first.”

Customer: “Fine, if it’ll get you to shut up! Jesus, how much can this piece of s*** guitar cost?”

(I show the customer the price tag, which reads $14,950; this causes the customer to go bug-eyed.)

Customer: “I am not paying that much for this piece-of-s*** guitar, you money grabbing w****! This guitar has been played! It isn’t new! See, it even has a scratch right here!”

(He points to the smallest scratch right behind the strings, which honestly wasn’t there before.)

Me: “Huh, I haven’t seen that scratch before. But since you’re the only one who has played this guitar since it came in three weeks ago, I cannot discount a guitar for any damage you may have personally done to it.”

Customer: “You f****** b****! How could you possibly know I’m the one who did this?! Maybe it was you with your fat fingers! I will pay you no more than $500 for this worthless junk.”

Me: “Well, sir, being that I’m the manager of this store, who is not only here every day we’re open, but also photographs every single guitar when it comes in so we can list them online, I’m pretty sure I have a fairly good idea of whether or not a guitar has a scratch on it.”

Customer: “Why, you little b****! No one would ever hire you as the manager. You’re just a stupid little girl. Now, you’ll give me this guitar for $400 or I’m walking out of here right now. Actually, f*** that. I’m leaving now, and you can’t stop me.”

(The customer pushes me aggressively hard onto the ground and takes off for the door. Luckily, one of our regulars, a decorated police officer, walks in the door right as the customer makes a break for the door with the guitar in his hand.)

Officer: “What’s going on here?”

Me: “Stop him!”

(The officer grabs the man by the collar with one hand and grabs the guitar out of his hand with the other. The officer has about seven inches and 75 pounds on the guy, so there is no issue when the customer tries to put up a struggle. The officer has him subdued in seconds. The officer hands me back the guitar as he cuffs the man, who all the while keeps yelling at the officer.)

Customer: “But the guitars are supposed to be free here!”

(The next time the officer came in, we had a box of donuts waiting for him. Apparently, the customer he arrested had tried this in several guitar shops throughout the region, refusing to believe that any of them actually SOLD the guitars in their shops. He had caused $4,500 worth of damage in one shop, which had caused a warrant for his arrest. We ended up filing a police report, as well, for a fair amount of money, as he put a huge ding on the front of the guitar when he tried to make a break for it, lowering the value of the guitar by about $3,000. It may seem insignificant, but the smallest of dings on an expensive, vintage guitar can lower the value drastically. The customer also broke my wrist when he threw me to the ground, so we filed for my medical bills. Thankfully, he was sentenced to three years in prison for a slew of charges, all of which seemed to involve guitar shops and assault.)

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