a special sensitivity

So I ended up at Guitar Center today.

I promised myself I never would, but sometimes your snare strands are BOING!ing all about the place and Music Go Round is out of 14" snares and you're going out of town in four days and need to do something about that. So I went into this Home Depot of music stores, headed for "Drum Town" or whatever they call it, and was immediately overwhelmed by the spectacle before me. I felt a bit like Saul on the road to Damascus, suddenly blinded by the shining light that could have been my maker or could have been dozens upon dozens of well-polished cymbals. I glanced around, looking to see where in this sea of ridiculously expensive kits I might find a homely little 14" snare. My eyes finally fixed upon a rack of them behind the counter.

Behind Taylor.

Taylor was my sales representative. He reminded me of the type who works at Radio Shack. What I mean by this is, he was pushy as fuck. When I told him I needed a 14" snare, he immediately asked if I needed any special sensitivity or anything. No, I needed a snare. One that would make my snare drum rattle. I'm not that picky about these things. I really wished I could have just grabbed one off the rack myself, but there was a counter between me and my goal.

So, after a short bit of discussion, he brought me down the "run of the mill" (his words) Gibraltar snare, priced at $10.50 (a bit pricey, but, as noted, I was desperate, else I wouldn't even be in this place). He asked if, while I was at it, I might want to "update" my snare side head. No, I did not want to do this. Mine is fine. "When did you change it last?" he pried. I thought for a moment, then made something up, because I'm not good at thinking on my feet in pressure situations. "Six months ago," I replied. He was finally silent a moment. Then he recovered.

"It's always good to have an extra one!" he noted.

No. No, Taylor, I do NOT want an extra head. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, and buy it from someone I like.

So he rang up my snare, which rang up at $7.99, a much more reasonable price. It was probably a ploy to make me feel like I was getting a deal, but I assure you it did not work.

We then began the Personal Information Tango, in which I permitted him to step on my feet at first, giving him my name (I was paying with credit anyway, so he'd be getting that) and my address at my parents' (likewise, he had to check my ID against my credit card, since I might be using someone else's card to buy a $7.99 snare). Then he asked for my phone number.

Phone number privacy is a big thing with me. I inherited a certain paranoia about phone numbers from my parents. I'm not too good at talking on the phone in the first place, and I really feel like unwanted calls are a major invasion of my daily life, so I resist giving my number to anyone I'm not friends with. And I'm not really friends with Taylor.

"Dude," he said when I told him I don't give my phone number (Taylor always calls me dude), "No one's gonna call you. I promise."

I didn't even bother with the "Then why the hell do you want my number?" route, because it shouldn't be necessary. "Do I need to give you my number in order to buy this?" I asked, knowing I didn't.

"Naw, but no one's gonna call you, dude."

No, Taylor. I'm not giving you my phone number.

At which point he hopped on the phone, where someone had been holding, waiting to hear him call them dude, as we waited for my receipt. I turned down a kindly offer for a bag, then exited, having my receipt stamped by the bouncer dude at the door.

What a rude bastard that Taylor is. If I felt like I could have gotten a snare elsewhere before the end of the week, I would have just cut that transaction where it was and left. How is being condescending toward one's customer a habit that doesn't get a person fired? (I might point out that it's a trait that's fairly common in music stores, and bike shops as well.) But alas, Taylor had me suckered against my will and took advantage of it and thrashed me against the wall with his superior drum knowledge, nice hair and overbearing personality.

It all makes my love for Music Go Round a bit greater. They may be a little Jesus-freaky (at the Monroeville store, at least), they may not always know more than anyone else about a given query, but they don't offend my special sensitivity to rude bastards, and it does not go unnoticed.


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