Ugh, Guitar Center has been an unfortunate force to reckon with ever since I started playing music, and sometimes it is the only option when you are on tour in some weird town and need to make an emergency purchase. But when I think of every lame comment I’ve heard from a sales rep there, from overt chauvinism (“this girl was a pretty good drummer, not just for a chick, but you know, actually good!”) to patronizing comments presuming you don’t know what you are doing, to aggressive masturbatory peacock-ing (I had a sales guy actually pick a guitar out of my hands and try to continue a sales conversation while he casually shredded out a solo) I get pretty bummed.
That said, last year I ran across a really interesting interview in the Denver Westword with Guitar Center Vice President of Operations Laura Taylor about how she was was fully aware of the way women get treated in the stores and was trying to improve it.
"Being a female, being a player, being in a male-dominated industry for so many years, I was the one who approached my boss [Gene Joly, Executive Vice President of Guitar Center stores]. I said, "Look: this is something that we really need to focus on." It has been off everyone's radar, and it is just how it has always been...One of the Girls Rock Camps didn't want to join into this alliance with Guitar Center. They didn't want to take any of the opportunities we were able to give because they had had such bad experiences in our stores. We are still working with them to change that. But when we hear stuff like that — and I've heard that pretty much verbatim from customers, that the experience is just awful — you wouldn't want anyone to treat anybody that way. Again, it is our industry. It is male-dominated. It always has been. In the 22 years I've been with Guitar Center — which, I mean I'm 42, so most of my life I have been in this industry — I've seen where it has evolved and where it hasn't, and where we need to go. I'm really excited, and I really do believe that we can make a difference and we are going to."
I thought that was pretty awesome that some steps were being made to fix this! Maybe now I wont have to mentally prepare myself for demeaning comments when I just wanna buy cables! Except I haven't really needed anything from there lately, and that interview took place last year. Has anyone noticed any difference in the way that you are getting treated in the stores?