A Letter to Guitar Center

The following is the text of a letter I sent to Guitar Center (the Wal-mart of music retail) on 6/12/05 after they managed to piss me off.  The letter could have been more eloquent or clever, but I just did this in one pass and sent it off.  To date I have never received any response from Guitar Center... nor have they received any of my business.

Guitar Center, Inc.
5795 Lindero Canyon Road,
Westlake Village, CA 91362
Assuming there's anyone To Whom It May Concern:

I was so pleased when my girlfriend surprised me with a Gretsch 6120-1960 reissue hollowbody guitar with Filtertrons, a classic Bigsby tremolo, etc.  In short it rocks.  It was the best present ever.  Of course for a $1600+ guitar (on sale, naturally), it had to be!

A few weeks later I was pleased to receive a postcard (see attached) by way of thanks that offered a choice of accessories with a $15 purchase.  Well, I could certainly use another 10' guitar cable, so why not?

Even though this wasn't the store in my town, I'm out that way from time to time, so I made an effort to swing by there.  I went in and picked up a $30 sheet music book*.  Granted, that's a small purchase and something I could get on-line for just as much anywhere else (I had considered buying it earlier), but, hey, why not?  I mean, the offer of the cable was enough to get me back in the store, right?

Of course, when I got to the check-out to ring up the book and cable, the cashier tells me, Oh, no, those cables aren't included in the offer.

Huh?  Okay, no big deal, I'll get a different cable.  At this point we're talking about a $12 cable instead of the $15 version (because a black cable is just as good as a blue one, I figure).

No, the cashier says, not these either.

Never mind the fact that there's no qualifier between the words "Free" and "10' guitar cable."  Now I'm confused.  And I don't have a lot of patience when I'm confused.  Typically, I just give up and walk away from things for a while.  So that's what I did.

I left the sheet music book, the guitar cables, and the cashier at the counter and walked away.  I went home.  I thought about what the point of this was and concluded that Guitar Center doesn't want my business.  They want to scam me.  They won't even bother with the fine print, they'll just change the rules outright.  Because they want to make sure I only shop at the local guy down the street or, even better, the on-line guys a click away.

Thanks, Guitar Center, for getting your message across so clearly.  I wish all retailers could say things so unambiguously!


Alexplorer, former customer.

*Note: The sheet music book has since been obtained through a retailer on eBay for $23 (including shipping).  I picked up some cables on-line as well (no hassle required).

Copyright Alexplorer.