Check Your Manners at the Door Please!

What makes a good guitar shop? Is it all that great gear and equipment? All those guitars lined up shining on the rack and the amps that could cause a sonic boom if turned up all the way? Or is it the multi effects pedals that could emulate any sound on God’s good earth? Well, all of these things are great but in my years of experience I think it comes down to a pretty simple formula. You take decent equipment, decent prices, plus a good attitude and you have good business.


The number one thing of those three I would like to emphasize is that of having a good attitude. Because how many of us have went into a guitar store only to encounter that arrogant, sometimes bitter and sometimes condescending store worker or owner who made you feel like you were not worthy to even walk into the store. The attitude is what makes the final sale.

You need to be open, friendly and patient. If the customer wants to try out three different bass guitars and then buys a keyboard that is his business. We need to take it easy on our customers and not be so judgmental. I remember when I was younger having horrible experiences with flat out mean guitar shop owners and personnel.

I remember one time in particular that me and my friend Bernard were checking out a local store, I was wanting to but a new bass, and we were browsing around. I picked up one bass guitar to check out and the store owner comes flying over and almost incoherently mumbles, “If you want to see one, ask first”. Pretty silly idea, to have to ask permission every time, but I barely even heard the guy and my mind was distracted by my ideas of what I might buy that day.

Sure enough, without thinking too much about it I reached up and grabbed another bass to try out and this guy had an absolute fit. He just about shrieked, “What did I tell you! What did I tell you! I said to ask me first!” I was pretty startled; I forgot he had said anything at all about it. My friend Bernard started cracking up laughing and that just made the guy even madder.

I was pretty irked this guy thought he could treat potential customers like this so I quickly put the bass back and told him, “Look you are going to go out of business if you keep acting this negative, I’m never coming here again now.” At which he replied, “Good! That’s what I want!” Bernard then made me laugh again because as we went out the door he yelled back in there, “You’re going to hear from our attorney!” Ha, we didn’t have an attorney, but it was funny to keep that mean old dude wondering.

What a real jerk this guy was though. I think he is shut down now. If you want to keep customers show them decency and respect. It doesn’t mean you let people run wild in your store but at least give them a chance to breathe. That is a number rule in my guitar shop.