Scott at 2011-07-14 12:15:45:
@Teddy: Oh, the stories I could tell. And believe me, Guitar Center today is a much different creature than back then. Those were wild west days compared to now. They didn't even have prices on the guitars on display. It was like working in a used car lot where you haggled over ever deal.
There was an anecdote that went around the store: If you found a five dollar bill on the ground, how much would it be worth? As much as you could sell it for.
Per your specific interaction: When I worked there, it got so bad with salesmen 'attacking' customers as soon as they walked in, we had a name for it: "Door pop." That is 'popping' a customer as they entered the door. LT laid down a rule: Whenever a customer entered the store, we had to wait 30 seconds before approaching them.
30 whole seconds.
Fortunately I carved out a niche which served me well: Dealing with international travelers, Japanese especially. They would fly into San Francisco and come directly to GC to buy a Gibson, Fender or Martin guitar. When they flew with it back home, they could re-sell it for 3-4 times what they paid. I had the best time in those deals, I just seemed to hit off with them. It was actually fun, they enjoyed the haggling process. I even learned one line of Japanese which I would lay on them after I'd gone up to see LT with yet another deal written up: The translation: "Cheapest possible deal." They'd hear this gaijin drop some Japanese on them, then they would whip out their traveler's checks and that was that. It got to the point where Japanese customers would walk in with my business card provided to them from one of their friends or associates who had dealt with me before. It was like they'd literally traveled thousands of miles to see me. Eventually whenever a Japanese customer entered the store, the other salesmen would sigh, and wave them toward me, "Talk to him."
The day I left, LT offered me an assistant manager position at a new GC they were finishing out in San Jose. I declined. Years later I was at a Super Bowl party in Beverly Hills (Marilyn Monroe's old house) when I met this guy. We got to talking. Turns out he was senior management in Guitar Center and his boss was LT. I thought to myself, "Man, I could have been this guy." Who knows? Maybe I am in a parallel universe!