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Old 21st November 2001, 08:50 AM   #1
walker is offline walker  Australia
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I've noticed that this forum can get a little serious and it's great to lighten up every now and then, well this is my attempt. You must all have great HIFI salesmen stories if you've spent much time auditioning gear, boy I've got a few.
About 20 yrs ago I got a call from a store that I used to do repairs and installs for. My salesman mate was very worried, he's got a problem in this hifi system with a big screen TV, (well 29" was big in those days). Over the phone he explains that one half of the picture is brighter than the other half. He's fiddled with the contrast and brightness for over an hour and can't fix the problem and the customer is due this afternoon to audition the system.
I asked him over the phone to describe the symptoms and it's got me beat. There's a common problem if the top or bottom half is brighter but I've never heard or seen the left side brighter than the right, with a distinct line between. I have to admit I though that he wasn't describing the symptoms correctly.
I raced over there with a collection of likely components, when I got there it was exactly as he said! The fix was quicker than I was expecting, I asked him which side of the picture he thought was best, and he said the dark side. I adjusted the curtain in front of thew window across the room to comply with his tastes and didn't charge him.
I did promise him never to tell anyone and I think he believed me.

I'm sure we can do better than that, (I'm keeping my best for last).
Regards WALKER

PS I have a good friend who is an excellent HIFI salesman, my apologies if I offend anyone in the trade.
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Old 21st November 2001, 01:04 PM   #2
paulb is offline paulb  Canada
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Think Grey will write about himself?
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Old 21st November 2001, 07:37 PM   #3
Evaas is offline Evaas  Canada
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Smile thats hillarious

thanks for sharing, and hopefully we can get more stories. unfortunately I've only run into the dumb salesmen who don't know anything about the product (and some good ones along the way, whom I rewarded with a purchase) but never anything funny like that.

keep em coming!
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Old 30th November 2001, 03:32 AM   #4
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I, as a customer, have met the usual number of arrogant & silly salesmen (like the moron who was trying to sell me a pair of the Eminent Technology planar speakers--every thirty seconds, he'd tell me that they were a 'completed Magnepan,' which got tiresome after the hundredth time), but most of my stories are from the other side of the fence.
One aspect of being in sales is having to deal with The Owner Of The Business. Now, there are some wonderful people out there, but I was inflicted with one who wasn't, shall we say, fit for polite company. He was into karate and would return from a karate lesson without taking a shower, then horn into an ongoing conversation between one of the sales critters and a customer with the intent to 'show you how to sell.' (He was the pushiest salesman I ever met in the stereo business. He'd be better off selling used cars.) Picture yourself talking to a salesman when this stranger who smells like a goat walks up, intrudes forcibly on the conversation, and starts trying to shove this Model XYZ down your throat. We lost a lot of customers that way.
He was also prone to making a fool of himself in other ways. He'd show up saying something inane like, 'listen to the wood tones on that flute!.' This would cause incredulous stares because, as you are no doubt aware (though he was not), a flute is one of the woodwinds, but isn't made of wood; modern flutes are made of metal. Again, envision customers sidling towards the door, wondering just who this strange man is.
To put it mildly, it was hard to make a living with that particular albatross around your neck. There are a fair number of ex-employees around town, and when we happen to see one another, we'll trade horror stories about when he did this or that.
Unfortunately, the man was so aggravating to work with that you'd end up going out and snapping at a perfectly innocent customer without meaning to. More customers out the door. I have to take the blame for doing that a time or two, myself. Naturally, there's no way to tell the guy that if he wasn't such an ***, you would be more relaxed, and life would be better all around. I try (not always successfully, I'll grant) to remember those days when I meet an obnoxious salesman today.
(Incidentally, apologies to any customers out there who I might have barked at on a bad day. I and the other guys weren't always up to the task of absorbing the behind-the-scenes stuff without some spilling over onto bystanders.)

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Old 1st December 2001, 04:23 AM   #5
walker is offline walker  Australia
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Grey, thanks for the insight, I have spent some time selling gear as well. This occurred on a couple of occasions at a Audio Video store that was a good customer of my repair business as well as a HIFI store that I used to vagrant. I'll bet it's a different game if its your sole source of income.

I used to 'sport' with the arrogant salesmen at a couple of stores that I would normally go out of my way to miss, if I wasn't in the mood, (I suppose that makes me arrogant). Hopefully I’ve grown out of that sort of behaviour, hmm.

About 15 years ago I was in the market for a new CD player, (I still own the first Sony CDP101 brought into Aust for demonstration, have CDs come a long way). Deciding to listen to as many players that could, I wandered into one of the stores that I love to hate. As I wandered past the speaker lounge, the recording that was playing caught my ear and I wandered in. The record was by Elliott Fisk, (classical guitar) the speakers were small 2-way ported UK units and sounded great with this material. The customer who was auditioning the speakers suggested that although they sounded nice, he thought that he wanted bigger speakers. The salesman, who subscribed to “the customer never knows what he wants” club, told him that you don’t know what your talking about, you want these speakers, (may be not so directly). The customer said he liked loud rock music, the salesman assured him that these speakers would play loud rock music better than any other speaker on the market, that he would hear from these speakers details that he had never heard before. (He later proved to be correct!)
So on went the loud rock music. The customer had to admit that the speakers sounded more revealing than any others that he had auditioned. The bass, he said was tighter and sharper than any other speakers he had heard.
It sounded terrible, in my opinion.
I couldn’t help myself, I butted in and was half way though describing what driver poling, (bottoming) was when one of the tweeters decided it had had enough. I quickly pointed it out to the salesman who stated that what I was listening to was, just exceptional imaging. I took exception to that and left the lounge, as the second tweeter took a rest.

Interestingly, I was called to repair a set of Cerwin Vega speakers sold by that store a number of years later. It surprised me that the owner could have cooked them knowing how robust they were. Once the grill was removed the blown driver was obviously not CV. It had been replaced with a cheap 12” unit. Its partner in the other enclosure did have the big CV on the dust cap but didn’t sound healthy either.

The motto; listen to the individual drivers up close before purchasing speakers. You might be surprised how often I have come across a blown tweeter gone un-noticed.

Regards WALKER
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Old 3rd December 2001, 01:50 AM   #6
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Lew Johnson (Conrad Johnson) had just bought a Porsche 928. On finding out that I had some interest in cars, we went down to the driveway to look over his small collection. One thing led to another, and we were soon tooling around the DC area in the 928 at speeds that would surely have upset the local constabulary had one been in the right place at the right time.
Lew was driving. I was in the front passenger seat, and my (ex)wife was in the back. Lew and I were extolling the virtues of the Pirelli P7, a relatively new tire in those days, graced with a footprint about the size of a mastodon's. Curve after curve flew by. It was a sunny afternoon, and life was good. We came to a twsting, back-handed curve that looked like a good one for testing the P7's adhesion.
Lew floored it and swung the wheel to meet the curve.
The 928 fairly flew around the turn, emitting a slight <i>chirp</i> in the apex. Lew and I exchanged puzzled looks. Surely the P7 could handle that dinky little curve...couldn't it? But facts are facts, and we agreed that we'd heard one of the tires lose it.
Blast it, you just can't get good tires any more.
Somewhat dejected, we headed back to his house, parked and got out, preparing to listen to some things he'd been putting together upstairs. We were still muttering about the tires.
My wife, unable to stand it any longer, confessed.
It hadn't been the tires squealing in the'd been her squeaking in fear for her life.
Lew and I, vindicated in our belief in the P7, looked at each other and nodded. Whew! Close call. Almost lost faith there. We went up to his listening room/workshop with the cloud lifted, all smiles and laughter.
My wife, on the other hand, didn't say another word throughout the entire evening. She'd always thought herself a bit of a thrill-seeking individual, but found that when put to the test, perhaps she was a bit more homebody than she'd realized.

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Old 3rd December 2001, 03:43 AM   #7
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In my highschool days I worked extra in the local radio/TV store.
One day a little old lady walked up to me and asked if we sold the TV remotes spearately.
I asked her what make and model her TV was so I could look up the replacement part.
She said it was at least ten years old, but she thought it just seemed so convinient not having to get up to change the channel.
It took some explaining before she realized there had to be something in the TV also to get it to work...
Good thinking anyway
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Old 4th December 2001, 12:35 AM   #8
PassFan is offline PassFan  United States
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Years ago I worked for a large music store down in Florida. We also happen to take phone orders from in state in our store. One day a gentleman called up wanting to purchase a portable dat. He went on about how little money he had, but he had to have a portable dat to record lightning as that was how he made his living. Naturally I steared him toward our least expensive model and all was going well until it came time to pay. He had no credit card and wanted to fill out an in store credit app. Well, he wanted to fill it out over the phone even though he was only thirty minutes away so I tried to get him to come down to the store. Well he couldn't he said because he was blind. This whole thing took about 45 minutes and when I finally got off of the phone my boss was snickering. It seems poor old Tad calls at least once a month with the same routine. The thought of a blind man tripping after lightning storms to stand out in them holding a mic just didn't sound right. After that when Tad would call we would put him on hold and page some unsuspecting expert.
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Old 4th December 2001, 01:56 AM   #9
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Reminds me of a customer we had. Okay, perhaps the word customer is putting it too strongly. This guy would come in about once a month and talk your ears off, wanting to know the lowdown on some particular receiver. Wanted to see literature, how much power, distortion specs, the works. After taking up an hour or two of your time over some dinky $300 receiver, he'd up and say that, well, actually he wasn't going to buy anything right this minute as Big Magazine had just had an article saying that NAD or Yamaha or whoever was on the verge of releasing a new model, and he thought he'd wait to see what that one looked like, and the specs, etc.
To my knowledge, the miserable creature never actually bought anything--ever--from anyone. He just wasted everyone's time, month after month after month after...
The last time I saw him, his girlfriend happened to come along. She confided that she was going to leave him. Seemed that he was indecisive about <i>everything</i> and she was fed up with having to make up his mind for him.

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Old 12th December 2001, 04:37 PM   #10
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I wandered into a local "High END" establishment a couple of months ago with one of my own CDs so that I could really get a good comparison with what I own and what is considered to be some REAL GOOD gear. Mac preamp, Krell amp, B&W speakers, some $10K cables etc. Well I listened to a cut and asked the sales guy "Why the 1000 watts?" He tells me a story about a full orchestra playing at a whisper and suddenly pours it on and how the meter they had on it showed a jump from 25 watts to over 600 in the blink of an eye and that how many watts an amp had was a sign of quality. He wasn't lying to me. He believed it 100% because someone taught him that. The reason I went to listen to this set up was a guy working in Best Buy was telling me how he had just been to listen to the new Krells and when I asked him who really needs 1000 watts he told me that how many watts an amp has is a sign of its quality. And so it goes. I guess my SE tube amp must be trash and I just couldn't tell by listening to it.
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