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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Break-Up And Make Up Of Me and Guitar Center

Tighten up ya headbands, True Believers and True Deceivers, it's ere'bodee's favorite Mega-Blogger. I promised my new friend Jeremy Cole I would blog about my experience with them, and here we go.

So I finally make my order for my Maschine, and I decided to go with Guitar Center, the brick-and-mortar store on Atlantic, but they didn't have them in stock. I've been checking prices online on the site, so I said "What-the-hell" and went with them. Enough with the talking and get with the walking. I wanted to buy from GC to make up for all the time I've spent just test-driving everything in the store. There's a couple of my 10-minute beats in Guitar Center on the Triton, Motif, MPC (1000, 2500, 4000), it's fun to see how much I can recall even though I don't use them everyday anymore. Anyway, I loiter a lot there, so I was giving them the business out of loyalty; I'm that kinda guy.

So I go to the site, make my order, and It's showing "Completed Order" and generates a receipt. I even pay a little extra for 3-Day shipping. Fantastio. They tell me I'll receive an email when my order ships.

No email.

I log back into my account on Guitar.com and generate a trouble ticket. The system says I'll receive a response within 24 hours.

I get a response in the aforementioned time-frame. A nice representative hits me back and tells me my order was held up by adverse weather conditions. He refunded my 3-Day money and said the order would be shipped no later that Tuesday the 8th.

I thanked him for his reply, and asked if I would still receive an email when the order shipped (I was thinking that it might not, since the order was pending). He told me that it would, but if it didn't I could just check my correspondence on the GuitarCenter.com website. Once again, fantastic.

All this was the week prior to the Superbowl. Tuesday comes... and goes. No email, and no update on the site. Now I'm cranky. I'm starting to feel like Big Worm, and GuitarCenter is my Smokey. You playing with my emotions... don't make me fuck you up. This was Wednesday.

I tweeted out my frustration, and I demanded my money back, because I had every intention of getting my money back and going to Zzounds.com or Sweetwater.com. The representative informed me that my order was already on the way out. Ordinarily, this would have made me happy, but I had no way of tracking because again, the email never came. He provided me with the tracking number and I saw that my order did indeed ship on the day they said it would.

I went to Twitter to check my responses and saw that Jeremy Cole had inquired about the status of my order. I told him it was on the way, but I would probably never again use GC because of the lack of regard. He asked if I would email my order number so he could look into it. He put me in touch with Scott, a manager over at GC.com.

Scott asked what my version of events were. I explained that I understood about the weather, and I didn't expect anyone to be able to do anything about that, but I was upset that I asked a simple question and someone effectively lied to me. He asked if maybe the email had been caught by a spam filter. I conceded that could be a possibility, but I pointed out that I got no correspondence indicating that the order was shipped until I asked for my money back. I knew he could see my account, so he knew I wasn't making it up. I told him in the beginning of the conversation that I'd worked customer service before. After I pointed that out, he respectfully said, "You didn't lie when you said you've done this job..."

Scott then offered me a $100 gift card and 20% purchase off the site. I was impressed at the generosity of the offer and the sincerity in his voice. You can tell when people really want to make things right, and I totally appreciated it. I didn't go into this thinking of how much I could get out of it, I was seriously offended at the way I was treated by a company that I liked. Scott put that back right immediately.

I'm also impressed that Jeremy was out there in the Twitterverse, seeking out opportunities to right situations on behalf of his company. That's proactive thinking. That's one way to make sure you stay on top... listen to the "Little Guy", your frontline people, your customers.

While it's important to help everyone you can, sometimes you want that one "Raving Fan". I learned about this in a Customer Service class. You want those people who become advocates for you, because they have access to people who might not be familiar with you. Raving Fans are your best friends.

When someone has a good experience in a business, statistics show they may tell one person. When a person has a bad experience, he tells ten. The math is not hard, but you need to make it work to your advantage. The good stories have to be created. The hardest thing to fake, is sincerity.

To be honest, if Scott would have offered half of what he did, I'd have been satisfied... but he don't need to know that. Great work, guys.

-ere'bodee's favorite mega, blogninja and future Maschine Owner

Last Package Update:
Orlando, FL, United States 02/11/2011 6:41 P.M. Arrival Scan

*sigh* Patience, Young Skywalker. Free. Your. Mind.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Patience, Young Skywalker

I think that everyone my age looks to Yoda to be a sage prophet. I've heard time and time again from my rabbis throughout my life "Patience". It's a lesson I've often passed on, but it takes much practice to not do anything when everything around you is popping off, but it's a lesson I continue to practice. In poker, a sign of a pro is the good laydown... assessing a situation and getting out of the way of a superior hand. It's a special skill.

I don't want to get in the practice of name-dropping, but I know personally people who have sold millions of records. Such feats are not nearly as easy as it once was, but the potential for success is something those who are attuned to their surroundings can detect. The unifying element in all these people was a genuine love for what they were doing, and the idea of having fun. Yes, you must have drive, but if you don't love what you do, "success" is elusive.

Anybody who befriends me on Facebook have seen my numerous posts regarding Native Instruments and the Maschine. I've been on this thing for almost a year now, becoming more and more impressed with its potential with every update. I've been making music for most of my life now, and in my chosen genre of expression, the Akai MPC is a staple and an icon. There's a reason for it: it's a lot of fun to use. Many have imitated it, but have been unable to capture it's ease and workflow, and the hardcore users have been reluctant to throw their support behind anything else; until now.

I don't want to make this an overly technical blog about the mechanics of the MPC, I'll just tell you that it's a joy sometimes to just tap out a rhythm on it and before you know it, you've got something special... the problem comes in the process of tracking everything out one piece at a time. This could be anything from a 15 minute process to well over an hour. In today's computer environment, there's no reason this has to be the case with the right interface. For whatever reason, the guys over at Akai never thought to address this, and they've allowed the people over at Native Instruments to take all the best elements of their unit and marry it perfectly into the software world. The Maschine is one of the most exciting innovations in digital music since the creation of the mp3 itself.

I've had the pleasure of owning the MPC in a few different forms, and unfortunately I've not ever completed an entire project with one. My first had some technical difficulties (MPC1000), my 2nd was stolen (MPC2000XL), and my 3rd wasn't all mine, the other owner was not a dedicated "music" person (we don't part with equipment, it's like a painter selling his brushes... once you do that, you can't paint) and when the hard times of the recession came down, he opted to move on by selling the unit. So it's been some time since I had my own tools to compose.

I'm expecting delivery of my very own Maschine in a couple days, and I'm DYING to get my hands on this thing. As my friend Beth quoted on my status, I'm as nervous as a virgin at a prison rodeo. I'm so amped to get my hands on this thing, I could punch somebody. I've watched dozens of videos and seen what someone who knows what they are doing could potentially do. My friend Justin Aswell is a virtuoso on groove boxes and he just MURDERS this thing. I won't do anything like what Justin does, I'm a programmer, not a performer, but I intend to be just as vicious.



I'm dying to get my hands on this thing because it means I have the final pieces to finally put this long-awaited solo project in full-gear. There's a host of other insanely-good artists around me all hitting their stride, like my friend Rob Roy who now has his video "Carmencita" added to MTVs rotation through an online campaign. I'm hugely proud of his accomplishment and look forward to more awesome music coming out of him.



I've never had the desire to do this as a solo artist. From the time I started in all this, I had my brother Tza right there with me. He's become a (very good) engineer and retired from the stage, and my best friend and partner-in-rhyme is putting the finishing touches on his "Plan B". I respect him, but I never had a Plan B. Music and HipHop have been my life. My son is now following in my footsteps, and I want him to know the love of this culture without some of the pitfalls I've encountered. So now I get to be an example, and to be honest I look forward to it.

I have a personal beef with a former group member of mine, and regardless of the ancillary differences I have with him, one of the primary was his insistence of saying things in his music about how this was "all about his kids" when every action I saw him take stood in stark contrast to that statement. Whether you're a studio gangsta or a false prophet, I can't make music with you when I know every word coming out of your mouth is a lie. This album I'm about to make will literally be a blueprint for my son, because we've always said we wanted something to pass on to our kids. I know he will be right there watching me, and I want to mold him into the emcee/producer/artist who I can be proud of, and I can call him a Child Of HipHop, raised on all the best principles we put forth. For him, "Keep It Real" will not just be a catchphrase.

So in short, I'm ready to go headfirst into completing a lifegoal, spending some time with my kid doing what he and I both love, and having some real damn fun. Any wonder I'm about ready to jump out of my skin?

Where the HELL is that UPS Delivery truck?!

-ere'bodee's favorite mega, blogninja