Mellzah: 2, Guitar Center : 0

I bought some keyboard benches today from work. For a penny. Actually, I bought four of them. So for less than a nickel, I’ve got seats for people who visit my apartment.

Someone in the keyboard department had mentioned a week or so ago that those particular benches were marked down to a penny (from the 69.99 we normally sell them at). Today I found a nickel on the ground and decided the gods themselves must want me to buy furniture. I set up the sales ticket, and called over a manager to approve the deal. I then immediately stacked up my boxes and brought them out to my car.

A few other employees witnessed my great find, went back to purchase benches for themselves and THEIR apartments, and approximately 30 seconds later, the angry scottsman came out of his cave, angry INDEED.

“Melissa, who are you selling those benches to?”

“…I’m not selling them to anyone. I bought them for myself.”

“Those benches are not for sale! They’re for salesmen to throw in when they sell a keyboard!”

“If they’re not for sale, why are they out and tagged on the sales floor? I bought those fair and square, and they’re out of the store. They belong to me now.”

“Fair and square? Who did you buy them from? Who are you supposed to get employee purchases from?”

“Any assistant manager or above.”

“No, you’re supposed to go through ME.”

“Then you might want to inform your assistant managers and sales staff of that fact.”

He walks off in a huff, and approaches me again in my department five minutes later.

“Look, the cost on those is likely not a penny. The cost listed in the computer on anything is not the REAL cost. We could be losing money on this!”

“Yeah, but it’s not a promo price. I didn’t buy the benches at our ‘cost’. I bought them at the price that pops up when you scan them into the register. It’s the price that any customer off the street could come in and purchase it at. What’s the difference between me doing it and a customer doing it? It’s not like I purchased every single bench in the store, and was planning to re-sell them on ebay. You still have plenty of benches left–you just have four less of them now.”

“I need you to bring those back.”


He walked off again, madder than I’ve ever seen him.

I’m not bringing the benches back. He’ll have to pry that four cent’s worth of furniture from my cold, dead fingers.

22 Comments Mellzah: 2, Guitar Center : 0

    1. admin July 7, 2005 at 8:26 am

  1. v1c1ous July 7, 2005 at 7:17 am


    1. admin July 8, 2005 at 2:42 am

      Yeah, they’re rad. I bet they’d be easy to re-upholster, too.

  2. damienwolfe July 7, 2005 at 11:57 am

    If they aren’t for sale, why were they on the sales floor?

    1. admin July 8, 2005 at 2:12 am

      I dunno, and apparently neither does my boss.

  3. stacyeanne July 8, 2005 at 12:10 am


    LOL- R they still on the sales floor? I see a trip to your work in my future!

    1. admin July 8, 2005 at 2:45 am

      Re: Niiice

      haha they’ve probably been yanked off the floor at my store. I checked region-wide inventory last night, and it said the lynnwood store had 5, so if you make a trip up there you might be able to get one…or five. If they were still out, they’d probably be tagged at $69.99, but don’t let that scare you off. Get a salesman to ring you up, and if he tells you anything higher than a cent, tell him you changed your mind, give him the finger and walk off.

  4. bellachiara6 July 7, 2005 at 11:55 pm

    what does that mean “the price listed in the computer is not the real price”?? hasn’t guitar center ever heard of weights and measures violations? are you just supposed to ring something up then arbitrarily make up a price? they could be in a whole world of hurt if someone from the county inspectors came in.

    which may be a good thing, depending on how you look at it.

    1. admin July 8, 2005 at 2:41 am

      This is kind of hard to explain and might be boring to read: consider yourself warned.

      Everything rings up at a price set by corporate. But because I’m a commissioned salesperson, I can see how much an item costs US, and I can adjust the price accordingly BELOW the price set by corporate, for pricematching purposes or whatever. It’s a way for the salespeople to know their margins, and furthermore to see the price that we can buy items at.

      The thing that confuses me about the whole situation is that the costs on the items actually fluctuate up and down, like stock.

      Every item has a few prices associated with it. Using a set of strings as an example, the manufacturers have a price they want us to sell it at — retail price, which may be $10 or higher. Then there is the MAP (manufacturer’s advertised price) which may be around $7. THEN we have Guitar Center’s GLP (guaranteed lowest price), which will probably be around $5. Guitar Center will advertise this price as “We’re saving you 50%!!!!” because they base their calculations off of retail and not MAP…otherwise the savings wouldn’t appear to be as large. Once someone is a ‘trusted’ employee, (basically once you’ve established you’re not a complete retard) they can look up an item in inventory and see how much it costs us. That pack of strings might show in the system as costing us $2.50. HOWEVER, when corporate decides to have a sale, 3 packs for $10, say, if a sales associate checks the cost, it may have been lowered to $1.75. I don’t think it’s that we’ve bought a zillion of these things at a special price, I think they’ve artificially adjusted the price somewhere. It’s entirely possible that these strings have cost the company $1.75 the whole time. This is the part that bothers me. Because that means that the company is being dishonest with their employees when they say that employees buy items at cost—the company is still making a profit from it. It means they’re lying to employees in order to cheat them with their commission system.

      The manager has explained it the opposite way–he says prices are artificially LOWERED for a sale, and the company loses money with each of those items sold. Losing money is not something that strikes me as very guitar center-ish, so I think that explanation is bullshit.

      I really don’t know where this all lies in terms of legality, but there you have it–costs on items change.

      1. bellachiara6 July 8, 2005 at 5:07 am


        that seems really sketchy. there is no way that a company is going to have a sale and “lose money with each item sold” as you also noted. retail is all about profit and the customer and employees are merely necessary evils.

        you shoud hear about the scams in bookselling!!

        fucking capitalists.

        oh, and speaking of bookselling, i sold this terrifying lady this book and thought of you. haha.

      2. smacksaw July 9, 2005 at 10:15 am


        For the cost changing, yeah…see, cost never shows incentives and the like. So sometimes you can sell something below cost, and not lose money…but then again, your cost is not fixed, it’s based upon the PO price at the time, and then an average cost is calculated based on that.

        For example:

        Let’s say you bought 100 guitars from Fender for $100 each. You sold them. Then you bought 100 more, but this time there was a special factory price, so they were only $50 each this time. Your average cost (what you see) would be $75.

        Now, let’s say you bought another 100 guitars for $100 each, and you wanted to buy it for $75. That’s below cost.

        PO cost fluctuates.

        Now with the benches coming up at a penny, I can guarantee that you’re not only on thin ice, but probably in the wrong.

        See, a lot of things show up as a penny…they have to for tax purposes, and to make selling them easy. But contractually, they aren’t to be sold seperately…like when Fender would give away a free set of Ernie Ball strings. It’s a different SKU, so it comes up at a different price, but it’s from Fender to be sold with a certain guitar.

        I’m almost positive that these benches were subsidised by keyboard manufacturer, and there is documentation somewhere that stipulates that it much be purchased with a keyboard.

        Like all of these computer ads where you get a free printer, cables, paper and crap. The bundle shows up as a penny, but the products sill have a SKU, so if you removed it from the bundle, it would scan at that SKU…but it’s like taking a cable out and selling it.

        Personally, I think if they wanted to push it, you could into deep shit…because you basically took a package apart and sold the products to yourself.

        You should be VERY open to taking it back.

        1. admin July 9, 2005 at 3:36 pm

          nope, nope, and nope. But thanks for playing!

          The benches were regular inventory. Stuff we’ve had in the store for a long time–that’s why they were being clearanced out.

          And I didn’t sell anything to myself. That assistant manager had all the time in the world to go “hmm…something isn’t right about this, I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to wait to buy these until I can check this out.”

          He didn’t say that. RATHER, he congratulated me on my most excellent find.

          I’m pure as the driven snow.

          1. smacksaw July 10, 2005 at 1:36 am

            But if the regular manager can prove that it was incorrectly marked as regular inventory and removed from a set, he can accuse you of breaking a set apart to sell it to yourself.

  5. rhydant July 8, 2005 at 1:41 am

    You should of called up Val immediately to come and purchase the remaining benches.

    Oh well. 🙂

    1. admin July 8, 2005 at 2:45 am

      hahaha I’m already in enough trouble as it is! Besides, I can’t imagine what I’d do with 11 benches in this apartment! 😉

    2. admin July 8, 2005 at 2:46 am

      I guess if I had them all, I’d have to practice ninja-ing them.

      1. ph34rtimmybunny July 8, 2005 at 3:36 am

        hey mel, can you look up the inventory in your old store down here? I think our new place could use some outside furniture if it’s a penny

        1. admin July 8, 2005 at 4:25 am

          I will check at work on saturday for you! 🙂

  6. emmadilemmanema July 9, 2005 at 2:18 am

    that’s right girly stick it to the man

  7. delicateman July 10, 2005 at 6:13 am

    that’s not right.

    i’m all for sticking the mythilogical “it” to the proverbial “man”.
    but those benches were supposed to be available for the keyboard salesman to give away when someone wants a bench thrown in.

    so by buying 4 of the, you have essentially taken money from the keyboard people.

    that’s not cool.

    All’s i know is that if someone did that off my g-floor, i’d break em in half.

    that being said, i bought two of those crate stools for 10 bucks a pop, so i’m only slightly hypocitical, since those were a time specific promo.


    1. admin July 10, 2005 at 7:01 am

      Yeah, I figure it’s a little give and take considering how many times people from other departments walk over and steal sales from me, or sell multi effects processors when they don’t know shit about them and *I* end up having to tech them.

      The keyboard guys can cry me a river, and then flood the earth. But not until they kiss my ass.

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