Today, my boyfriend and I went to the local music store, Jim Laab's, to buy him an electric guitar.
Everything was going fine at first. The salesman was nice; he didn't listen to what my boyfriend was saying, but I think he was just trying to help. See, we initially told the guy we wanted to rent a guitar, but he explained that it would be in our best interests to rent-to-own; we agreed, because it would be about the same price anyway. So we picked out a guitar, amp, cord, all the other little acessories, for a total of about $200. We were renting-to-own, so there would be some kind of monthly payments after a down payment. The salesman had to call some lady up to do a credit check.
I wasn't worried, because I know our credit is fine. The woman told us that for financing, she usually got a figure from the customer as to what a good monthly payment would be- she said whatever the customer could afford. So then she asked us what we could afford to put down. My boyfriend asked if there was some kind of standard amount, because he didn't want to say some ridiculous number. The woman said, "No, it's whatever the customer can afford." So my boyfriend said, "Is thirty or thirty-five okay?" The woman stared at him as though he was stupid and then said, "Could you do $50?"
This was the first indication that things were going badly - why say that the payment is whatever the customer can afford and then refuse what he offers? But we let it slide, because $50 was still reasonable. Then she gave us a credit check form and left.
So we fill out the form, and the lady had said to call her when we were done. It took all of five minutes to fill out the form, but when we were done the lady was on the phone. Apparently, the store did not have anyone else there would could run a simple credit check. So we waited, and waited, and waited. It got to the point where the salesman was repeatedly apologizing for the wait; you could tell he felt extremely awkward. He even paged the lady a couple of times but she didn't respond. The salesman indicated it might be some sort of emergency, so we waited. We had arrived at the store at 4:30, had the credit check form filled out by 4:50 at latest. The woman didn't get off the phone until almost 5:45.
My boyfriend has a shorter temper than I, so he got annoyed and we walked the form to the woman's office. I think he was hoping to spur her into getting off of the phone by reminding her that we were there. About five minutes later she met us and looked over our application. (I would like to add that she told us she had been on the phone with the same person for forty-five minutes; it seems to me it would have been better time management to put that person on hold and deal with us first, but whatever.) Without even running the credit check the application was filled out for, she told us our income seemed "too low to support us both" and it made her feel "leery" about selling to us. My boyfriend was ready to walk out right then, but I told him we should wait because I thought, well, we have good credit, so maybe once she runs the check she'll see that and be less "leery." I told the woman that because I am a college student, my parents help us pay a lot of our bills, so our income is actually higher. But she basically called me a liar and said she couldn't believe me without evidence. I was fine with this, because I understand that I could be making it up. Still, it didn't feel very good to be called both poor and a liar in the space of five minutes.
She never even ran a credit check. She just told us our income was too low for her to feel comfortable giving us the guitar that day. She said the best she could do was take $50 then, and then get the first $50 monthly payment, and THEN she would give us what we were buying. My boyfriend did not want to wait a whole month to start playing, so he said no. The woman didn't offer any other options OR an apology for making us wait about an hour and a half for no reason. We left the store with nothing but ABSOLUTE RAGE.
The thing that really pisses me off, is besides calling us poor untrustworthy liars, the woman had us fill out an application and then only looked at our income. And I'll say, we aren't rich, but we aren't really poor, either. We know what we can afford. PLUS, she had said that the monthly payments / down payments are based on WHAT THE CONSUMER CAN AFFORD. So if she thought we couldn't afford $50/month, why didn't she just extend the payments over a longer period of time so they would be smaller?
ALSO, we had to write down our credit card number and sign a form that said something like "Jim Laab's reserves the right to charge this credit card if the monthly payment is ten days late." So what the fuck was the risk? If we didn't pay, charge our card. I don't get it. Why have that on the application if you aren't going to trust someone who's income makes you "leery"?
The thing that is especially upsetting is that they got our hopes up. We had a BEAUTIFUL guitar picked out within fifteen minutes, and we spent an hour with the salesman talking it up and playing stuff on it so we could hear how it sounded while we waited for the woman to get off of the phone. I was really excited, and so was my boyfriend. This was supposed to be his birthday present. Then, after the woman told us that payments would be based on what WE COULD AFFORD, we were told that we really COULDN'T afford it and we had to leave with nothing, not even a stupid apology.
It probably wouldn't bother me SO much if we had been buying a $1,000 or even $500 guitar. But we were only spending $200.
Annnnnnnyway. We won't be going to that store again.
Summary: Go to buy an electric guitar; wait for an hour for a credit check that is never completed, and are then told we can't afford the guitar. Leave with nothing.