Sam,

My 13 year old son Ash and I have been taking guitar lessons from Rick Pupello at the Tampa store for approximately two years, and are extremely happy with him. Not only is Rick a great guy and a superb salesman, but probably the best guitarist in Florida. About a year ago, he urged us to perform at the Sam Ash open mike night. I had my reservations about it, as it is designed for original material and we had none. Rick assured us that it would be okay, and told us to tell Mike Prichard (Rick’s apartment mate and person organizing the open mike) that Rick approved it and to ensure that we received the $10 Sam Ash store credit for participating. Rick has stated numerously that Sam Ash is a family business, and as such, would appreciate father and son participation. So we did a duet, playing the classic song, “Walk, Don’t Run”.
Afterwards, I approached Mike Prichard to get the two gift cards, only to find that he refused because the music was not original. I explained to him that Rick said it was okay, to which he responded, “Well Rick’s not in charge – I am”. Later, Rick became irate when he heard the story. He felt that Mike had undermined his authority and placed him in an embarrassing situation. Please understand that we only performed because of Rick’s prompting and to gain a little more time performing. As a retired Northwest Airlines captain, I really didn’t need the $20 store credit. But to a 13 year old (12 at the time) my son was heartbroken.
About a month ago, I was approached by Eddie Kessel, sales manager at the Clearwater store, during the Hoener harmonica demonstration. He had been working at the Tampa store at the time of the incident and had heard the story. He asked me if my son and I ever got compensated for performing, and when I said no, he said he would take care of it! He returned a few minutes later with two $10 store credits. I was greatly impressed. Not only did he remember the situation from a year ago, but he made good on what Mike Prichard failed to do. Eddie is the type of person that goes above and beyond expectations, who brings credit to Sam Ash, and is just a caring person.
I cannot speak highly enough of him. You can imagine how elated my son was.
I have been a loyal customer at Sam Ash for 4 1/2 years now and have spent thousands of dollars in your store. Except for this one incident, I have always been very satisfied with store personnel. Please ensure that those who earned it get the recognition they deserve.
Sincerely,