Recent Guitar Center visit
Hello everyone... I was at GC the other day testing out some tube amps and I happen to go on the day they were "blowing" out some used stock. Tons of amplifiers all over the store. Anyway... I was looking at just testing out a few amplifiers (Peavey Valveking, Fender HRD & DeVille, Crate Palomino, Traynor, etc) and I got lucky that they had so many available (probably twice as many as usual).
Ok, this thread isn't about amps, though... it is more about GC. I was walking through and checking various gear out and I can't tell you how much J U N K there was at this store. I've found this to be the case most times I walk around. There are amps and guitars missing switches, missing knobs, with broken strings, and some gear with half an inch of dust. What is the deal? I know they have a lot of merchandise that they need to worry about, but would it kill them (and their sales) to fix-up some of this stuff? Seems weird that they would put stuff on the floor that was clearly damaged or compromised (even with a discounted pricetag). The more difficult part was that they didn't seem to have a clearly marked "used" area... there was stuff strewn about... new with old... .demo with brand new...
An example... MANY of the amplifiers were missing knobs or had broken pots. I know if it used stuff, but don't they have a technician available to fix that stuff? Isn't it worth 45 minutes to repair it so you can get another $100 for it? Seems like business basics 101 to me...
Also, there was a Line 6 Variax Acoustic 300 guitar on sale for $199. Looked like a nice deal. I picked it up and (aside from a few dings) found two strings that fretted out at the 6th fret. 6th fret! It either needed a crazy setup or a fretjob. It was unplayable.
Anyway... I just thought I'd vent about the massive amount of junk I had to wade through...
"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"
The great thing about GC is that everything is out on the floor and you can just start banging away. The bad thing is ... well, you know.
And yeah, it's kind of amazing that they sell anything given the usual condition of the stores.
"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."
i agree very much with your assessment of GC. like slejhammer said, the great thing is the available selection. i once picked up an epi les paul i wanted to try, and discovered the input jack was completely unscrewed and falling into the body. i took it up to the counter to make them aware of it. although i didnt expect them to do anything immediately, i would have expected them to repair it in less than a month, but it in fact took them over a month. i went back repeatedly during this time, they put the guitar right back on the wall where i originally found it, loose jack and all. this might not have been a big deal for most people, but im a lefty and this was the only left-handed LP they had in the store.
i guess thats why ive never bought anything "big" (as in guitars or amps)from GC. i go to smaller places and even though they sometimes wont or cant match GC's prices, the smaller shops usually have capable techs that can throw in an action job or some extra service if you buy from them. i love a good deal, but i'll take service over savings almost any day of the week.
It probably has a LOT to do with how well the local store is run by the manager. There are the types of managers that take the opportunities when it is slow to pull out old and broken stuff and fix it, and then there are managers that would take the afternoon off.
Most likely the cosmetically damaged amps/etc. are returned items. eventually there are more of them then they have room for and they have these "blow out sales"
I agree with Riff Raff and 'Lefty. The amazing thing to me, is that GCs don't keep techs on staff, at least my local one doesn't. Even if they lose money doing so, they still gain in so many ways. For instance, the scenario 'Lama brought up. Also, they are giving their customers reasons to go to the competition. How much money do they lose in lost sales doing that? Sure, customer services like that are a pain and open for abuse, but that's life.
My local GC does have "a guy who comes around", but forget any prices up front, and forget any estimated times to get your gear back. Not the same.
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin
Good points but, for a "supply & demand" type operation like MF or GC they make money moving stuff out the door.
if they can use something that can't be sold to sell stock in the warehouse that's profit partially inspired by an item that they can't sell at full value.
The "Bottom Line" is what's important to a business of this type. All the extra training, insurance, and/or hiring of qualified repair techs won't balance against the need for them, so they mass an inventory of returned stuff up to a point that it costs more to store it than it's worth. Then they mark it way down to move it or sell it in bulk to someone.
About a year before MF started building the new facility they have near here they did a remodeling of the showroom/salesfloor at the old location. Right before they started the remodeling they sold almost all the returned stuff to one guy.
I am sure that they did not take a loss on it. the point is, it was still worth it to this guy to buy a huge amount of gear to repair or part out on ebay or whatever (who knows), This means the true markup on things is probably at least 2-3 times the price they pay because they buy HUGE amounts of single items. The value (to them) per single item does not balance against the cost of repairing or even storing it.
TL - you have it correct, but it would seem good business sense to make an effort to repair some of the easy fixes for a greater sales price? I mean, a bunch of the issues were missing chicken-head knobs, etc... The nice thing is that if you have any experience repairing these things you can get a pretty good deal.
"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"
I'm not sure it does "pay" for them to do that. It's doubtful adding a knob to an amp is going to get them a significant increase in the selling price. They're moving volume so it's more about quantity then quality, especially on used stuff, if they start making repairs it cuts directly into the bottom line so it probably is in their best interest not to fix those things.
By the way was that the one in Manchester?
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!
Yeah, the one in Manchester. They must have had 200 amplifiers around the store, but most were in "well used" condition.
I know what you mean about the bottom line, but cleaning the housing and replacing knobs is pretty inexpensive. I'm not saying that they should perform diagnostics on the amps, but make them look presentable. And it always makes me laugh when I pick up a guitar off a rack and it's either missing strings or totally full of static once I plug in (or both!)...
"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"
Having stock sitting around costs money. First of all, you have cash tied up in the item, that could be put into circulation, elsewhere. A part of the everyday costs of running a business (heating, lighting, wages, etc.) is eating away at your profit. It is far more cost effective to have items turning over regularly - cost of sales is reduced dramatically.
Second, The chances are that the cost of a repair is far lower than the discount that will have to be offered to get the item sold. You have to remember that technician's time is also subject to profit for the dealer, as are parts. If he were to do a repair for a customer, he may charge â‚¬50 for labour and â‚¬5 for the parts, although he's only paid the tech â‚¬35 (or whatever) and â‚¬2,50 for the part - his repair cost â‚¬37,50, which a likely to be far less than the price differential between the damaged item and the repaired one.
I've really been enamoured by my local GC.
They have treated me right in all buy issues. Of course I just spent about 5K with them over the last 60 days. They do amass a lot of gear. But I do see it move, too.
A couple of examples...they had a Schecter C1 Classic (with the beautiful fretboard inlay?) that sells new for 700 or 800? It was in really good condition for 400. Yesterday when I was in there, they had a Hellraiser like the one I'd purchased, for 500, regularly 650. The classic was gone within a week of it showing up. Will be curious how long it takes for that HR to disappear?
For me, I had been looking at a second new kit. One I could use for outdoor gigs since I really want to keep my new Gretsch drums for inside gigs. I had been eyeballing an $800 kit at GC and online at MF. Last Sunday they set it up, put new heads on it and tuned it. The store manager, the sales guy an myself played on it for a couple of hours and agreed that it was one of the better values in the store. The only thing we were unsure of was the finish. It was okay but nothing that would make your eyeballs drop or cause uncontrolled drooling but still was nice looking. The overall value was in the high quality hardware and maple shells. Mostly unheard of under a thousand dollars. Now it also had a $100 in new heads put on.
I found a "more suited to my needs" kit on the MF website for $650. Called GC and it's exclusive to MF so they couldn't get it for me. However, the store manager offered to sell me the kit they had for the same price. At the same time, I had just been let go from DLH and didn't really at that moment need another kit. But the savings was almost too hard to pass up.
So I went back last night a took the deal anyway. So they will blow stuff out if you work the system.
Sorry for jacking the thread.
"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"
Perhaps it is just because I have been cursed with some of the worst local guitar shops this side of the Atlantic, but I absolutely love Guitar Center. There are two of them within a 100 mile radius, and my favorite of the two is the best guitar shop around, by far. Very helpful, willing staff, a clean facility, and best of all; new, quality merchandise. I have given them thousands of dollars, and every time I get a high quality, brand new piece of gear in return. I do wish that they had just one technical guy on staff at all times. I think they could make a killing if they offered a good guitar setup for $30.00 USD. Not enough shops around here even offer guitar setups, and if you could just get it set up the same day you bought it...that would be a huge selling point for their store. Either way, I have been happy with my Guitar Center experiences, but I am sure that it varies from town to town.
I recently got my brand new unmarred Schecter Hellraiser 7-string at a deal price with a gigbag and strap thrown in for less than retail. I was haggling down a floor model missing a selector switch cover and a loose knob. I got to talking to the sales guy and he said he had a new one in the back still in the box. I was gunning for getting a deal on the "damaged" one and fixing it. I got the new one for the same price with stuff and Uncle Sam's cut.
It is a small world for metal fanatics. I welcome you fellow musicians, especially the metalheads!