From The beginning of the holiday season until about a week or so ago I bought or received about $500 dollars worth of stuff from GuitarCenter. Presents (an sm57 microphone, and drum pads), accessories to better use the presents (a tascam audio/midi input device and a bunch of cables), books, even some guitar picks. By the way the GuitarCenter stock took off after the holiday season, I’m wasn’t the only one dropping loads of cash on instruments.
At no point did I give a single thought to the hypocrisy of my hating the Walmartizaion of our country while at the same time spending money hand over fist at the Walmart of musical instrument stores. I hadn’t thought about the mom and pop guitar stores in the east village, or the guys who do freelance instrument repairs.
The GuitarCenter I go to is about a block away from Union Square, and it’s size (from the inside, if not the more nondescript storefront) makes it a bit out of the ordinary when compared to other stores in the neighborhood. Well, maybe not the huge Urban Outfitter’s store down the block. I hadn’t really thought about that until today. Well, not so out of the ordinary I guess when you add the Virgin MegaStore at Union Square into the mix. Jeez, how long is it going to be before everything in that neighborhood is a megastore?
I hadn’t really thought deeply about any of that until today. The reality is, most of the people who work at the music stores I used to go to were condescending and couldn’t be bothered to help you out. The first store where I really felt comfortable was the GuitarCenter which was across the street from my bachelor pad in Queens. The guys who worked there always seemed to be having a good time, and were more than willing to answer questions or make recommendations. I couldn’t belive it…I can’t strum a clean G chord to save my life, but they treated me like a valued customer. They even sent handwritten postcards with discounts after big purchases. I’m not naive enough to think that it was anything other than a loyalty campaign (ok, a coupon), but it was really refreshing when compared to the brushoffs and couldn’t be bothered attitude I’d faced at other places.
I’m not really sure how I feel about all of this, but in the meantime I’ll still be shopping at GuitarCenter. I mean, I have to use the coupons don’t I? I’m already planning on saving up enough cash for a new guitar amp, a wah wah pedal, and tons of other toys for making noise…