Helping a client set up some home kit he had just ordered, we realized that he hadn't gotten all of the cables he needed. I almost always have some spare XLR's, but I didn't think to pack some Insert/TRS and Instrument/TS cables. I made a quick run, expecting to hit a RadioShack, but it turned out there was a GC right by his place. I gritted my teeth, and pulled into the parking lot.
I usually avoid big-box stores like the plague. SamAsh, BestBuy, Circuit City, etc, I've had mostly horrible experiences at almost all of them. I either get the "know-nothing" guy who takes longer to "help" me find something than if I just looked for it myself, or I get McUberNerd who acts like he knows more about what I do than I do, yet still manages to not really provide any solid solutions.
Problem is I'm pretty good, and I have a McUberNerd streak myself, so when I need to ask for help, I'm already not in a great mood. I'm pretty much primed to not like what I hear, and it's unfortunate that this stance of mine gets reinforced more often than not.
I walked into this GC ready. Frowny "don't talk to me" face on, shoulders squared, ready to storm in, grab my cables, and get out. I was immediately dismayed by the first wall-o-cables I was confronted with. It was all Monster Cables. I'm still boycotting Monster. This just wouldn't do.
I'm pretty much just ready to leave at this point, but I really wanted to get back to my client, and I didn't really want to drive all over town. Expecting horrible, time wasting failure, I approached an associate.
"Hey I need some TRS patch cables, some TRS to dual Mono TS, and a couple instrument cables. All of them about 2 meters."And then he walked right over to where they were (tucked behind one of the microphone displays), pulled down six packages, and walked me right back to a cash register.
"Oh, sure, rght over here."
Helpful, friendly, no cheesy up selling, and he didn't even look at the Monster wall.
Looking around the place, all of the employees were my age or older. They all seemed really casual, joking around with each other and the customers. While there were a lot of associates around, none of them approached me. They seemed ready to help, they just didn't get in my face about it. I like that.
After getting back to my client, I checked out online to see how badly I had been "screwed" by paying "retail" and not ordering these cables online. Turns out the whole purchase was $3 cheaper than where I normally buy from, after accounting for shipping.
I still can't recommend them all, but if you're floating around Sherman Oaks, the GC there is pretty cool...