Kind of a vent/rant.
I recently decided I wanted to pick up and learn guitar. I've always wanted to, I had a little extra cash, so I bought a Fender Stratocaster Starcaster that came with a basic amp. Just a little starter set for like $170 from Guitar Center.
I get an email three days later from a store manager in San Mateo (I live in LA) saying they've got a Starcaster set in stock, but its a floor model and would I be ok with that? I said sure, just make sure all the bits and pieces are there and that nothing is broken or loose.
Three weeks later, the packages show up and I eagerly unwrap my prize...only to find the amp broken. The grounding plug is just flat snapped off and nowhere to be found. On top of that, there is this plastic covering the pick guard that took an hour to remove and got bits of plastic stuck under the tuning knobs. It was also missing half the parts it was supposed to have with it, making the entire setup unplayable.
After calling Guitar Center's customer....service line, I'm told I can ship it back for a replacement...if I pay the shipping. That being a giant pile of "fuck no," I asked for alternative options. They finally let on that I could bring it into a store and get a replacement. But...I had to trade in the ENTIRE thing. The guitar was fine, nothing wrong with it, I could deal with the knobs. They couldn't just replace the amp, they had to take back the entire thing.
After a return process that took an hour, they handed me a receipt and said to come back later and they'd have another one in. I had to ask if they wanted my phone number so they could call when it arrived. Either that or they employed long-range telepaths who could simply beam a notification into my head.
Needless to say, once this nightmare is over, I'm NEVER going to Guitar Center for so much as strings. Maybe the dicking comes from the fact that I'm dropping less than $200 so I'm not exactly a "high roller" but come on.
*grumble grumble growl*
As a fellow guitar player (I actually played at a wedding and funeral in the space of the last 18 months) I feel your pain here.
Never bothered with electric though for some reason.
Still...once you get these annoying issues ironed out, it will be all plain sailing. Except for the painful fingers, callouses, frustration, that voice in your head saying 'seriously, just fucking give up, why are you putting yourself through this?'...etc.
Btw - I'm sure you have all this stuff sorted, but I recommend guitar.about.com for beginner guitar lessons. The site looks like it was constructed in about 1996, but the info is all solid and totally free. There is no filler there whatsoever - just all the basic info you need to start learning, and step by step lessons.
It's exactly what I used to teach myself guitar in 2001 and haven't looked back since.
B and I both worked for GC for 8 years.....I can tell you that since Bain took over the customer service has gone to shit
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