Dear internets, before you read the first few sentences of this and rush to chew me out1, I’m not looking for empathy. This is not a “poor me” story, it’s a “WTF is going on here?” story.
Not terribly long ago, I found myself at the local Guitar Center. I disliked Guitar Center before visiting this place, but this location made me absolutely hate the company. I’d already faced a bad experience when I purchased a defective MIDI controller, exchanged it the next day only to have the manager rudely ask “what did you do to it?”2. So I was going in with very low expectations.
But, I had a little Line 6 amp and wanted one of the crazy foot controllers so I could actually use the amp with other people. They were the only place in town that would have one in stock.
Should be easy enough, walk in, say “hi” to the girl at the front counter3, B-line to the accessories counter.
Darryl or Burt or whatever turd is at the counter is busy talking about Digitech distortion pedals and skateboards with some kid. So I try to wait patiently while also making it known that I’m next in line and some soccer mom isn’t going to cut in front of me to spend 20 minutes trying to remember which strings her son uses.
After spending far too much time leaning against the counter, listening to a bad rendition of Enter Sandman4, it was finally my turn.
This should still be easy. Ask for product, give credit card, leave. Five more minutes, tops5.
First of all, the guy seemed really intent on selling me the Floor Pod Plus. I already had a Line6 amp, I had no need for another modeling device, just a controller. But eventually, we got the right product off the shelf and were on our way.
Usual deal, give them my contact info, tell them I don’t want their 47% APR credit card, yadda yadda. Then they hit me with the purchase protection plan.
I never accept house warranties. I never even listen to the offer, it could be $1 for a 30 year warranty on a car, and I’d turn it down just because I start drifting off and thinking about the sales person melting into a puddle of pudding.
But in this case, the guy wouldn’t let it go. I kept saying “no” and he kept telling me I needed to change my mind.
Finally I snapped out of my pudding fantasy and joined the conversation to ask why I should care about their protection plan.
He says “They’ve got this policy, where they don’t repair anything under $250. So you just call in and say the cable6 is broken. They’ll let you keep it and send you a gift card for the full value.”
I was amazed I what I heard. I told the guy no way, I wasn’t about to go to hell over a Guitar Center purchase. I believe I said that this would definitely make all my hair fall out and give me crabs. Sales guy thought I was nuts.
Eventually his manager walked over. I started getting real quiet, thinking we shouldn’t be discussing this. I wanted to avoid a scene, buy my product, go home.
Instead, the sales guy turns to the manager to affirm his point! She agrees, tells me I’m a fool not to do this.
Finally, against all logic and self-respect, I cave and agree to the extended coverage.
I try to put it out of my head. A month or two go by and I have the stupid brochure on my desk the whole time. Finally I’m so mad about being suckered into paying the extra money that I call the 800 number.
On the phone, I try to play dumb. I say the thing just stopped working, maybe it’s the cable or something, I don’t know how to test it7.
So what happens? Pretty much exactly what I expected 8. They say they’re emailing me a shipping label so I can mail the thing in for repair or replacement.
I make some half-hearted attempt to get what the jerk at the store promised, saying how it’s such an inconvenience to live without the unit while it’s in transit. All they offer is a scripted apology. Well deserved.
When the email came, I deleted it. I threw away the purchase protection info. At this point I figured if anything legitimately went wrong with the unit, I’d just buy a new one as punishment. Thankfully that hasn’t happened, but I’d deserve it.
I don’t feel bad about attempting to be devious. But I sure feel bad about being so stupid.
- This disclaimer is a guarantee you’ll skip reading this and call me an idiot ↩
- I should’ve peed on it ↩
- the same one that is at every GC, she has a nose piercing, is reading a magazine, all the teenage boys think she’s cute ↩
- it’s amazing that, at least in guitar stores, this song has stood the test of time. It’s the Rudy of riffs played out of time by teenagers at guitar shops ↩
- Yeah, I am dumb ↩
- It uses a Cat5 cable ↩
- Next to my desk is a drawer with a Cat5 crimper and testing equipment ↩
- Outside of the baldness and VD ↩