The Power of No (Part 2)

Sometimes a bad example is as motivating as a good one. I had just such an experience last Saturday:

Electric guitarGuitar Center is now my son’s “candy store.”  There are so many flavors to sample: Stratocaster, Telecaster, Les Paul, and Gretsch to name a very few.  Saturdays are the worst day to shop there because there are so many customers trying out electric guitars that it’s sheer dissonance. It’s a cacophony of mostly teenage boys trying to impress nobody in particular with their imitations of classic rock guitar heroes.

One particular 14 year old boy surprised me with his guitar skills, but it was his behavior that was truly shocking. In the thirty minutes that we were there, this boy must have picked up and played twenty guitars through a dozen different amplifiers, using every effect imaginable. He played at near-ear-splitting volume so that other customers could not hear themselves. Eventually, he sat down right next to my son and started wailing away and jammering on about the awesomeness of Marshall amps. Just as I was about to ask him to turn it down, his dad showed up and asked his son to leave.

“Dude, it’s really time to go now,” he pleaded with his son who apparently had a profound case of selective-hearing.  He whined again in frustration, “Son, you do this to me every time we come here. Let’s go.” No response, just more power chords, whammy bar, and something about how sweet the amp was.

Then the dad, who had plenty of tattoos and really cool hair, turned to me and said, “Man, he’s got like six guitars at home, and he just can’t get enough, and his are nicer than mine.” I was stunned, and so was my son who had been saving his pennies and bargain shopping to buy a moderately-priced guitar.

Fifteen minutes later, we left, but that dad was still helplessly following his son around the store.

As soon as we got in the car, my boy said, “Dad, that was crazy. You would have killed me for any of that.”

“You got that right.”


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