Ash Music Sucks Customer Reviews and Feedback

From Everything.Sucks

Sam Ash Music was founded in 1924, and is the largest family-owned chain of musical instrument stores in the United States, with 44 locations in 16 states. With corporate headquarters in Hicksville, New York, Sam Ash sells musical instruments, recording equipment, DJ and lighting equipment, and professional sound equipment.


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Former Employee - Senior Department Manager says

"Continuous drop in commission rates, willingness bordering on eagerness to cut your rates and hours, high stress with little pay."

Current Employee - Senior Manager says

"- Disastrous pay structure - Poor leadership - Work/life balance - Negative culture - Set up to fail - Commissions below 2% - Terrible training structure"

Former Employee - Online Sales Representative says

"Company is deceitful and tells salespeople to lie to customers. Piling the work of 5 people onto 1 person for minimum pay. Unorganized management in most departments and many of the stores. Highly abusive and hostile work environment, short of praise for the employees. This is the absolute worst management I have ever seen in my life. Abusive language from management via email and humiliating employees publicly forced me to quit. Payscale arranged so that salespeople make barely anything in commissions. I would not reccommend this company to my worst enemy."

Former Employee - Sales Associate says

"Management is from the hip. No consistency, and the Sammy Ash himself emails staff with absurd unprofessionalism."

Current Employee - Sales says

"Low pay, lack of upward mobility, poor HR department"

Former Employee - Sales Associate says

"I worked down the road from corporate, and have seen many deserving managers (and senior managers) be extremely mistreated and coerced to stay while being trailed along believing they would eventually be compensated for their work. They never were. That left a pretty bleak outlook, and made it clear even the best in the company would be treated terribly."

Former Employee - Warehouse Picker says

"Coworkers participate in the usage, sale and distribution of illegal drugs and narcotics (audio, photo and video documented) Disability discrimination (filed) Requested detailed information about disabilities/ health conditions (illegal) while holding affects against employee even with medical note from Doctor. The information needed to know was already listed on my application. Sharing personal information with other staff members that leads to bullying, harassment and embarrassment. Sexual harassment and advances. I was replaced for reporting and complaining about these issues; they exaggerated reasons for my termination without any factual documentation to support their claims. Was forced on top of 10-15 foot ladder to change their industrial lightbulbs (expressed fear of heights) Applied and was hired onto warehouse #69 then transferred during these complaints affecting my productivity to be consistently supervised for no logical reason; all while doing tasks I wasn’t trained or hired to do from my application. They will take advantage of you and replace you when they’re done."

Current Employee - Pro Audio Sales says

"Broken commissions system. Schedules day before you have to work. No training, and hellish POS."

Former Employee - Copywriter says

"If you want to be ignored and replaced like a gear within a year or two,then apply at sam ash!"

Former Employee - Sales Associate says

"I decided to change industries and try to get into music. My co-workers were great and I was trying very hard to learn the system and just have a good time but with in a few weeks it began to have a very weird and strange vibe. Being a former business owner I quickly realized that the company is heading backwards with their reluctance to update computer software and hard headed, old school business methods and that there's no way I could make commission or anything above minimum wage without being taken advantage of. Management is very lazy, careless and entitled. They pass the buck along from corporate and then sit in the front office all day. Literally. Every problem is laid on salesmen/dept managers and they leave it up to them to fix it. Some days there are 3 people working in one dept and none or one in another. Scheduling makes no sense and its simply because of ineptitude. There is also no flexibility. Management also uses scare tactics and intimidation in morning meetings to push sales. One day, "its a sinking ship" and "I can't save anyone" and the next its "you're all the best salesman in the world" and "you're beating goals"...... Its manipulation The point of sales system they use, GERS, is extremely antiquated, confusing and embarrassing. Its a 25yr old point of sales system designed by General Electric Retail Sales. Customers wait with their card in hand for five minutes or longer. Its a major deterrent for employees and customers. After months, its still very confusing. Its all in codes and everything has to be done manually on forms and fields. Returns and gift cards for example, are each a two step process that can take 5-10mins. Everything is extremely time consuming and detrimental to productivity as well as proper training. Which, there is almost no proper training. The online academy doesn't teach you the dizzying in's and out's of GERS and the faster you learn means the less commission for dept managers who have no interest in losing commissions to new employees that they know will probably just quit in a matter of months anyway. Its very territorial and chippy between departments. Sales are so few and far between that nobody wants to lose one. Retail is dying and they want you to push sales and warranties like a wheelin' and dealin' used car salesman and when you dont make base sales or sell enough warranties then your in trouble. Its a lose-lose situation. Sweetwater offers a free 2yr warranty while Sam Ash is trying to sell you one for everything. Sweetwater and Guitar Center are crushing them in online sales and rather than fix the problem by expanding their web divison, they leave it up the salesmen. They want salesmen to build a lead book and do cold calls and follow up calls like its the 80's and 90's. They push them to get customers phone numbers, emails, personal info. Customers are cursing us out, hanging up, comming into the store confused asking why we're calling, etc.... And on a personal note, I absolutely hate their all black dress code. Its gloomy, dismal and uninviting. It also makes salesmen look lazy because they just wear black hoodies. You would think that musicians and artists would be encouraged to wear colorful and representative attire. I felt like I was dressing for a funeral everyday and the environment in the store clearly reflected that"

Senior Department Sales Manager (Former Employee) says

"Spend 5 years working for the company and was continually passed over for promotion. wasnt paid my for what my time was worth and ultimately had to make a career change."

E-Commerce Supervisor (Former Employee) says

"I helped raise their sales by quite a bit. They did not train me for more than 3 days. They told me I would have a reevaluation after 6 months which they backed out of last second. This made me lose 6 dollars per hour compared to my last position. The owners care about buying more porsches and other german cars. No one has had a raise in 6 years. The only nice one is the owners son."

Sales Associate (Former Employee) says

"The whole pay structure of this company is to essentially pay them back what they pay you. This is referred to as your base. So, if you make $300 a week, you are expected to make $300 a week in sales. Otherwise, they pay you minimum wage. Anything made over that is your commission. The problem is that the company refuses to use modern advertising as they think its a waste of money. So your entire customer base is founded on word of mouth networking. At this point, you are fighting against the tide since Sam Ash has a fairly poor reputation due to constantly rotating through employees, and having a very low bar for employment. A typical day consisted of stocking items, making sure price tags were correct, playing on instruments, and then fighting through other sales associates when a customer walked through the door. Heaven forbid the customer asks another person something while you are grabbing something for them because then you are expected to split your profits with the other person. Making an already impossible job even harder. The best part, was that I got to play on instruments I love every day. Didn't do much to put food on the table, but I got a lot of practice time in.Unlimited practice timePoor pay, poor management, no support from corporate"

Sales (Former Employee) says

"Great opportunity to see inside corporate America again. Tackling projects and daily demands, combined with the interaction of the public allowed myself to see insights should I become involved with the sales world again.Staff was great.Archaic systems and thinking in the 21st century"

Sales Associate (Former Employee) says

"Honestly if you are a creative person looking for a job related to the music field you should probably look elsewhere. The only real plus to the entire time I was there were the people I shared the sales floor with. Most upper managers cared very little about resolving any sort of problems and are more concerned about micromanaging every step of every employee, and the ones that did care about problems were often times to bogged down with a mountain of issues that only ever got bigger. The customers at the location I worked at had also become accustomed to a type of "Discount" culture, which would really hurt ones ability to make commission in the long run, while any attempt to get help or coaching would often be met with a snarky "Well what do you want me to do about it?" instead of any constructive comments. Work to Life ratio was absolutely abysmal, where it is clear that the store basically runs off the hard work of a few dedicated individuals. To make a longer story short, If you are a salesman (not a musician) that enjoys working at a call center disguised as a brick and mortar store, then Sam Ash is for you."


"While I gained knowledge and experience in retail sales, the pay was not nearly enough to live on and the culture from the powers that be was that of apathy and ignorance. No benefits package, bad 401k, and horrible work environment. If it weren't for a few immediate supervisors and my coworkers, I would have quit long before I did. Little to no career advancement, low commission, and no work life balance. If you need a job to break into the music instrument retail industry, go to a boutique store and network. Big box retail is dying.Employee DiscountsLack of work life balance, apathetic management, no career advancement, low wages"

Operations Coordinator (Current Employee) says

"a good company and i learn on my behalf management not too friendly and my co- workers is okno free lunchyes"

Sales Associate (Former Employee) says

"I worked at Sam Ash for little over a year and the whole "make base" system is crazy. Brass & Winds can do it and same with Pro Audio but everything else in the store practically can't even though guitars is one of the popular sections. They show a lot of favoritism too. I saw a lot of kids work there to have their soul's crushed. In my time of working there I saw about 20 people quit/get fired(and they employ about 26 people at this location). It's not worth it. Stick to small are usually greatlow pay, horrible upper management"

Sales Associate (Current Employee) says

"Solid store staff. Some of the most genuine people you will ever meet. You also sell music gear to customers and customers tend not to be horrible, bar any outliers.Pay is garbage. You're lucky to make $20/hour in pro audio or guitars. Warehouse will make more than drum or band sales. Raises are a myth unless you become a manager and want to get chewed out by your manager who is getting chewed out by corporate.If you were thinking this job furthers your music career, it actually does the opposite. You're pretty much limited to the two days you get off a week, which can't be Saturday. Getting clientele is easy, but your Sam Ash schedule prevents you from doing anything meaningful with it.Beware of this company. Corporate is constantly making desperate plays at the expense of their workers, such as making their salesmen telemarketers, ridding the operation manager position entirely, or dropping commission rates even on items that are pure gross profit. Do not believe their broken promises.Great staff, work with musicTerrible pay, terrible work days, dead-end job"

Sales Associate (Former Employee) says

"I've never worked in an establishment more chaotic that this Sam Ash. Often multiple people would tell you to do different things and nothing would get done.Discount on gearNot flexible"

Customer Service Representative (Current Employee) says

"Great people, everyone is nice. Some clique behavior but that is to be expected with music stores. Horrible pay. Empty promises for advancement. I would not recommend"

Pro Audio Expert (Former Employee) says

"I would not recommend working here unless all you want is to be around cool equipment and other musicians. The pay is minimum wage with no commission really at all even for good employees."


"Aside from corporate layoffs, this company is more worried about their online presence than stocking their physical stores for local musicians to benefit from. Management ignores any requests for help or support to help reach corporate set goals. Employees are single handedly expected to do the job of multiple people in one single work day."

Department Manager (Former Employee) says

"terrible place to work! Lack of bussiness. Too many management changes. Hard to bring in customers when there's a revolving door!"

Manager (Former Employee) says

"Make no mistake - the job is to SELL SELL SELL. It's a car dealership mentality gone horribly wrong. Music is a creative skill that must be fostered and encouraged... not assaulted with meaningless promotion. Even the lesson program is inherently flawed due to the sales mentality.Hands-on gear.Too many."

Music Teacher (Former Employee) says

"I worked at Sam Ash Raleigh for a long time. The atmosphere is unprofessional, the management is awful, and there is no real care for employees and their needs. There's a lot of jargon about Sam Ash being a "family," but do not be fooled.Working around musicTerrible management"

Sales Associate (Former Employee) says

"Hardly any traffic, especially with a competitor located directly behind Sam Ash. Harsh commission rates that leave employees seeking secondary employment."

Drum Sales Manager/Merchandiser (Former Employee) says

"Merchandising and selling musical gear. It was a cool job at the time and I got to help a lot of customers in the process. I really got a chance to hone my skills at qualifying customers and making better suggestions to fit their needs. Management didn’t seem too interested in the employees or even proper training for them. The employees seemed more interested in being musicians rather than the job at hand. The hardest part of the job was the commission structure. You were compensated very well for selling the proprietary gear that was not as sturdy and would not last the customer. You were compensated poorly for selling the excellent gear with higher dollar value. The best part of the job was helping people make their first musical purchases as well as the in store clinics we would to work with great musical gear and meet customer needs.poor pay and inadequate management"

Administrative Specialist (Current Employee) says

"If you're given a position, there's almost no room for growth, and because the earnings are mostly by commission, depending on your position, there's no such thing a raise, even if minimum wage rises."

Sales Associate (Former Employee) says

"Good place to meet people. Terrible staff and unsuportive coworkers. Overall the environment is not cooperative and customers are expecting discounts left and right. Comission was a joke, not realistic unless a lot of foot trafic in this digital age.The gearThe comission structure"