The Sausage Party that is Guitar Center

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 |

Peeps- prepare yo selves. I am about to vent. I am enraged. I am surprised I am still speaking to my father since he is a man. 

So......after a bajillion years of wanting to get a guitar and saying it was in my plans....I am finally going to do it. I am not going to get some super nice guitar as was my plan many years ago. All my money(and more happy Visa money) got spent on school. Surprise!!! But I did get a Christmas check allocated toward getting me a crappy guitar to at least have something to learn on. YAY!

But secretly inside I knew what it really was preventing me from getting a guitar. In the world of crappy cheapo guitars I really want to see and hear the one I buy. Ebay and Craigslist are then OUT. So my only real option is ........gag......Guitar Center. They have the most selection. The inevitability of having to spend even one moment of time in Guitar Center trying to actually get helped by their oh-so-full-of-themselves employees was what was really keeping me from making my purchase. 

Let us make some sweeping and stereotypical assumptions about these Guitar Center employees so you know what I am talking about in case you haven't experienced the wonder for yourselves. 

1) He is a male. 99.95% of their employees are males. 
2) He is in a band that has not made it quite yet. 
3) He has no educational pursuits. College is for tools. 
4) He dresses for work as if making himself look like a rock star or tragically unappreciated grungy acoustic player was the only thing to prove he knows what he is talking about. But he will bore you to DEATH by showing off his talent in case you missed the outfit.  
5) He will jam out by himself on the merchandise and ignore you completely unless his manager is watching or you touch something expensive. Then he will annoy you to DEATH. 
6) There will be 50 employees in the store standing around watching you from across the room but the one you need to talk to in your instrument section is ALWAYS already jamming with someone. ALWAYS. And those other 50 employees are totally and completely incapable of stepping out from their areas to assist you. Even on a Wednesday at 11am when there are no freaking customers but you and the one other guy jamming with Mr. Helpful.
Here is another thing you need to know. That you don't know anything. Inevitably you will need a piece of equipment or an accessory that is hidden better than the holy grail ever was. You cannot really function in the store without the help of one of these jerks unless you are making a really basic purchase.  

And now we will enter into my actual experience today at GC

So I head into the acoustic section. Score 1 point for me that I don't have to get a map or ask the Nikki Sixx wannabe (who I couldn't get away from and couldn't stop looking at- he was freaking me out with his awesome hair)or one of his 6 fellow employees who are behind the Electric counter. OF COURSE once I get to acoustics there is one employee whom we shall call Toolio and he is sitting on some boxes jamming with some old dude in a band. He doesn't even acknowledge I have entered his sacred lair. So like 5 minutes pass and finally I walk up and say I need some help. When you have time of course.  The jammer says - go help her I'm just messing around here. Ha. As if I needed him to tell me that. No one sits around jamming forever if they're actually going to buy today. So Toolio is all ......OK what are you looking for?

I tell him I play viola, I want to learn guitar, from the little I know about guitars I know that I want a 6-string acoustic smallish and a darker color. Also I tell him I prefer a used instrument. I do not believe in buying new instruments. It comes from being a viola player. I want a well loved, used guitar. That is how I roll. 

So he proceeds to tell me that they just got in a shipment of guitars that are perfect for beginners. Toolio doesn't look me in the eye. This worries me. I think to myself"Please don't take me over to the stack of little girl's hot pink daisy guitars!!" 

Toolio then proceeds to a stack of boxes of shiny new guitars and rips open a new light yellow monstrosity. We shall call it Big Banana. I turn and look at him with my "You've got to be kidding me look". He ignores said look. He then starts jamming out on Big Banana. And keeps on jamming. Obviously he is looking for compliments. He is not going to get them. I start talking over his playing. SOOOOO Toolio, do you have anything else more like what I asked for? Toolio stops. How do you like the sound of this guitar? Ummmm....It's nice.... I say. This is a great value. They won't last long he says.  I give him a "What are you smoking? look." I think to myself "Seriously? You want me to believe Yamaha won't keep making new guitars? Riiiiight

So he hands me Big Banana. I awkwardly strum the monster guitar that I can barely hold in my arms. (Hmmmmm......sudden thought! Maybe it's their lack of breasts that keep these men from understanding why I don't want, and feel awkward holding the huge guitars!) So anyways I give it the old college try and tell him- well I really can't play AT ALL which is what I told you but I fully agree the sound is great. BUT do you have anything used and smaller and darker? 

So Toolio tells me they don't have anything used(liar) and then goes off about how I need to get a new guitar and make it my own and scratch it up myself and that's how everyone starts out. I give him the "Whatever you're selling I ain't buying" look. So he walks me over to an Ibanez that is a different style and smaller size. He jams out for a minute and says can you tell the sound quality is not as good? I say Yes I Can. But I like the size better. 

He then shows me to the wall of acoustic electrics and suggests them for a better size, but I need to spend more money. I say I understand they cost more. Toolio then turns to ask jammer man if he needs anything(obviously Toolio is bored with me) and jammer says yeah man....I'm gonna check out I guess. So Toolio asks what he wants to buy and he buys PICKS. PICKS I tell you. I was getting ignored and delayed and having to wait during the endless jam for a PICK purchase?? They soooo didn't roll like this at Brook Mays I thought to myself. No hours of jamming on their instruments with no intent to buy. And the employees were .....helpful. Imagine that. You'd never have to interrupt any employee at Brook Mays during a jam session or a rocking solo to force them to help you. But I digress. I continue to wander the acoustic room at GC. Still carting around Big Banana waiting for Toolio to come back and take it and box it again. Big Banana needs to go back to his home. I see a female employee walk in and I am so excited that Toolio wised up and sent in a girl that I can barely contain myself. But she goes over to the counter and makes some calls that reveal she is in the financing department. Of course. I should have guessed. Finally I set BB on his box and walk to the front and see that the jammer is long gone and Toolio is just chillin with his fellow tools in the toolbox. And I then storm out. Seriously. If I had received even one iota of helpful assistance he would have most likely sold me a guitar. And now once again I am swearing off Guitar Center. What a Hellhole. What a Toolbox. What a MotherFlippin Sausage Party.  

I am so getting a guitar off ebay now.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr.



At work we received a thrilling little giftcard for 10 bucks to use at our cafeteria or hospital Starbucks as a christmas present. YAY! Just what mama wanted for Christmas. But that giftcard allowed me to have this gem of an experience. 

The Tale of the Really Really Bad Barista

Baddy was having a crappy day. To start off with, she had to go to work at the butt-crack of dawn. Those healthcare workers need their daily shot of incredibly overpriced caffeine and they start their day really early. And they know they are about to be exhausted by their day too. Not too many smiling faces. 

The reason this day was excruciatingly craptastic was that it had been like 80 degrees out the day before and suddenly this morning she woke up to 30 degree weather. What the? And of course the "Starbucks in a hallway" she worked at was a total wind tunnel entrance to the building. Brrrrr!!! So Baddy bundled on her fleece jacket over her thermals and trudged in to work bleary eyed and miserable. 

She made it through the first few hours of her morning like a drone. Luckily she was at checkout and pastry duty. All she had to do was punch buttons and shout orders and swipe credit cards. It really chapped her hide when people payed cash. Then she had to wake up and think for a second. Ug. But hours passed, and the young doctors and parents and nurses slowly thinned out as their shifts started and the hospital got it's morning underway. Yesssssss!!!! The morning rush was over. 

Baddy looked around her and blinked her glazed over eyes a few times. Suddenly she saw what had happened over the course of the morning. It looked like it had rained coffee inside the Starbucks. Sloshed non-dairy creamer, spilled caramel, crumbs. And coffee, don't forget the drips of coffee. So much coffee.....EVERYWHERE!!!!  Caffeine addicts don't act very friendly if you stop the movement of the line to clean up for a few minutes. Finally, now she could take a breath and restore some order to her station. What a filthy mess. 

Unfortunately Baddy was about to commit a cardinal sin in the food industry. Everyone knows the kitchen is dirty. BUT YOU NEVER TALK ABOUT IT TO A CUSTOMER!!!! Baddy was just such a friendly girl she couldn't help herself. Commiserating about her woes, or the customer's woes just came naturally to her. 

Nurse E was just finishing a really really long night at work. In fact it had taken her so long to get out that the rush had cleared away and there was no line at Starbucks- Holy Schnikies!!! Normally she walked cheerfully past the junkies lined up to waste their whole paycheck on their daily hit, but today, after that looong night, and the prospect of sleeping in her warm bed and relishing a super cold day with a book and DVR, she thought to herself " I have a giftcard burning a hole in my wallet- why not start this amazing morning a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate while it is still available?"

Abruptly she turned and approached Baddy and proudly presented her shiny new giftcard. "A Grande Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Please!" Nurse E giggled in glee at the glory about to be bestowed upon her. And she looked up at Baddy seriously tried to use the sides of her fingers, her elbows, chopsticks.....anything to NOT have to touch the register keys. Nurse wondered to herself " Do her fingies hurt? What the crap?" And then Baddy let her in on a little secret. 

"Everything is so disgusting in here I don't want to touch it. I am trying to not touch anything at all but I guess I'll have to." 

"YUM" thought Nurse E. "Just what I want to hear from the person about to serve me food." 

She turned to look more closely at the inside of the Starbucks and indeed, it was nasty. But she moved over to the pickup area and took her delicious hot chocolate and called herself lucky to get even a dirty cup of it for free. 

And she looked back at Baddy as she walked away and thought to herself......."Oh well. I hope they give me another giftcard for more dirty cocoa next year. Or dirty cider. That stuff is amazing too. MMMMM!"