Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong” ~ Donald Porter

Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them” ~ Kevin Stirtz

A few weeks back I posted on Facebook something about having a bad day and that for the first time in maybe more than a decade I called someone an idiot straight to their face. I am typically far more respectful to everyone and so what might have precipitated that momentary outburst?

Back in October 2014 I purchased a Project Debut turntable from (what once was) my favorite audio gear shopLotusland Electronics and Music on Alma street in the West End of Vancouver. This shop is an audioporn paradise of vintage, mid-range and high-end used audio equipment which also has a great selection of vinyl. Although I have only purchased maybe a thousand or two dollars’ worth of gear from them (so far), I certainly planned on buying more down the road, until recently.

On the same day I brought that turntable home, one channel cut out after 2-3 albums. Of course I first suspected the amp, so tested on two other amps in the house and had the exact same experience – clearly a turntable and/or cartridge issue. But since I live in Squamish, I could not arrange to come back into town right away so I first had another shop look at it (The Turntable Shop) but they failed to find anything wrong and I suspect they simply did not exercise due-diligence and play it long enough for the problem to manifest.

So I contacted Lotusland through their Facebook Page and asked/posted the following question.

Johnny Stork:Bought a Project last year (October I think). After maybe three albums, hum in one channel and then no audio. Swap left/right, problem followed the swap. Connected to second amp with phono stage. One side of one album played, then same thing, slight hum one channel, swap left/right on that amp, problem followed the swap. Took it into the “Turntable Shop” in NV. They said nothing wrong with the “continuity” on the turntable. Said audio fine both channels, but not sure how long they tested. Brought home, connected again and around one side of one album played fine, then same behaviour. Can I bring it in for you to look at it?

Lotusland responded clearly below with “bring it on in and we can take a look at it”.

Lotusland Electronics & Music:Hm – The Turntable Shop does great work and their assessment is generally on target. But yes, absolutely — bring it on in and we can take a look at it! We’re not sure what that problem may be as described, but we’re happy to try to figure it out. Thank you!

Ok, so along with around $500-$600 in my pocket which I had planned to spend in their store for a new power amp, I drove into Vancouver with the turntable anticipating that Lotusland would do WHAT THEY SAID THEY WOULD DO and would honour their business and ethical obligation to repair/look-at or replace a broken turntable which failed the DAY I GOT IT HOME.

Unfortunately I was sadly mistaken. As I walked into Lotusland Electronics and Music with my blue Project Debut in hand, the owner (I think is his name is Nick – who comes across as a paranoid technophobe) asked “what can I do for you”. I said I purchased this turntable back in October but one channel died after 2-3 albums the day I brought it home and after communicating with someone from your shop through Facebook, they told me to “bring it on in and we can take a look at it”.

His (Nick’s) response?

We don’t do turntable repairs, take it to a repair shop

I said, calmly, “someone from your store said you would take a look at it and since I came all the way in From Squamish, and this turntable was not working correctly the day I brought it home, are you really going to send me away and not honour what your staff said they would do. Are you not going to do anything about the turntable I bought here which did not work the same day I brought it home?”

All this guy could say, repeatedly and in a very insulting and almost childish and exaggerated manner was…

I am sorry that my wife told you we would look at your turntable, we don’t do that

My appeals to logic, rational thought, ethical business dealings, your responsibility to your customers etc…fell on deaf ears and all this idiot would do is to keep repeating, slightly louder and more annoying each time..

Look, I am sorry, I am REALLY, REALLY, REALLY sorry

“What do you want me to do?”

“I am sorry, I am REALLY sorry”

“I am sorry, I am REALLY REALLY sorry”

“What do you want me to do?”

At this point I knew I was dealing with a complete idiot who had no concept of business ethics or even common sense for that matter.

His repeated exclamations which kept getting louder and more assertive..

“I am sorry, I am REALLY, REALLY, REALLY sorry, what do you want me to do?”

And yes, he really did keep repeating and with more emphasis each time – “I am REALLY, REALLY, REALLY SORRY!”

What you are supposed to do – you idiot, provided your IQ has managed to make it into triple-digits – is to honour your personal and business responsibility to:

  1. Repair, replace or provide a refund for a FAULTY product which died they day it was purchased from your store.
  2. Honour your personal and business ethical responsibility to DO WHAT YOUR SHOP/EMPLOYEE said you would do.

I could see this was going nowhere and so I picked up my turntable and with the $500-$600 I had planned on spending in the shop that day, I just said in true Dude fashion “ah fuck it” and I walked out.

The guy (Nick), followed me out the store getting more and more excited and still saying over and over:

I am REALLY, REALLY REALLY sorry my wife told you to bring it in, we don’t repair turntables

As I was walking up to my truck he then reached out and grabbed the turntable and once again said:

I am REALLY, REALLY sorry, what do you want me to do?”

I had had enough at this point, this guy was truly, truly a clueless idiot and his aggressiveness was getting spooky and he actually appeared a bit unstable, a bit unhinged.

I then said “let go of my turntable, you are an idiot and I want you to go away now”

So there it is. Given how dishonourable, disrespectful and unethical this guy, this shop, has been and the juvenile and moronic manner in which the owner behaved I think I was pretty kind by only calling him an idiot.

Combined with some questionable experiences with The Turntable Shop in North Van as well – overcharged on items I purchased, failed to play/test the turntable long enough to manifest the problem and an amp which had a sticker price of $275 strangely became $475 when I emailed in to confirm later – I have now dropped both of these stores from my list. I spend a great deal on audio/sound equipment each year (in the thousands, sometimes tens of thousands) and I appreciate having many resources from which to shop. But I will not tolerate incompetence, dishonesty, unethical or questionable business practices, unprofessional conduct or stupidity.

Maybe I am being too harsh, maybe I am not being fair. I tend to pretty patient when it comes to people making mistakes, I certainly have made many of my own. But this experience with Lotusland Electronics and Music was very disturbing, destroyed my trust and confidence in the owner, and so I just can’t give them any more of my business. This seemed like such a simple issue – you sold me something that broke the day I brought it home. YOUR staff said you would look into it. The answer to the simple question which you so childishly and annoyingly kept repeating “what do you want me to do?” is brain-dead simple.

  1. Repair, replace or provide a refund for a FAULTY product which died they day it was purchased from your store.
  2. Honour your personal and business ethical responsibility to DO WHAT YOUR SHOP/EMPLOYEE said you would do.

You failed to do either and so I will be taking my money and business elsewhere. I still don’t have a working turntable so maybe it’s time to head back to the HiFi Center and buy something new, or maybe something from Craigslist or Canuck Audio Mart.