Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Gone Shopping...

I found myself in a guitar shop this afternoon for the first time in quite a while. I don't frequent such establishments as often as I used to in my youth because the whole game works a little differently for me these days. I'm in the privileged position now whereby if I'm at all curious about some item of guitar exotica, I simply phone the company who supplies it to these fair isles and they send me one to appraise in the comfort of my own hovel. Then, I generally spill red wine all over it and either buy it or send it packing with a note to the effect that it must try harder if it wants to become part of the Mead musical battery.
Now I'm very aware that this is a rare and extremely fortunate position to be in - but it wasn't until this afternoon that I realised how lucky I am to be able to audition my potential new toys in this fashion.
My mission on this particular occasion was to examine a range of acoustic guitars from one particular manufacturer (and I'm far too much the gentleman to tell you which) whose website has recently enthralled me with its promises of orgasmic tone at a very reasonable price. I didn't ring them and work my usual charm because I wanted to compare models in the raw and heck, it was a nice day and I hadn't been out in a while...
When I arrived at the shop I was extremely disappointed to find that the guitars were in a quite a poor state; very dusty and loaded with strings so old that I imagine they had enjoyed more than a passing acquaintance with Lloyd George. The environment wasn't at all attuned to peaceful strummery either. The sales assistant was busy plucking away at a mandolin behind the counter, oblivious to me and my fellow guitar enthusiasts on the premises, apparently intent on learning some folky opus at unsociable volume levels regardless of whose afternoon she might be ruining.
So it was actually quite difficult to hear anything on the shop floor - and my British reserve is such that I was far too decent and upright to ask her to shut the f*ck up and give me a chance to hear what I was doing. So I left, my impression of the guitar range rather sullied and with no intention of ever darkening the doorsteps of that particular establishment again.
I spent a fair amount of time as a young plucker visiting guitar shops far and wide and got used to the fact that when it comes to service you had to put up with both the exceptionally good and the rabidly poor with the same kind of insouciance. But this is 2008, I'm a grown-up and things haven't changed at all. Inappropriate service is still apparently rife in the marketplace and guitar buyers are still being treated will all the disrespect they certainly don't deserve.
Now, where's my phone book...

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