The Audio Shop From Hell: Addendum

Feb 28th, 1997


I was sitting at home when the phone rang at about 9:30 pm. It was Don Caruso from Audio by Caruso. He seemed a bit hesitant, then came out and asked me. "When you came into my shop, were you just trying to break my balls?"

This one floored me. I had gone to his shop after finding Sunshine Stereo closed I had the intentions of listening to the VR4's at Don's shop.

"No. I just wanted to hear the VR4's."

"Well, then I have to apologize to you." Don continued, "I thought that you had just come into my shop to break my balls on a Saturday, and I was trying to break yours back."

I still was unsure about where this was going.... "Well it worked, I was furious for days after leaving your shop. I was treated worse there than any shop that I've ever visited. "

Don groaned and apologized again.

I continued, "What did I do that gave you the impression that I was in to break your balls?"

"Well you mentioned the Internet when I asked you how you found out about Von Schweikert."

At this I was confused. Don continued to explain, with the following being a general recount of our conversation:

A local dealer in Miami (Sunshine Stereo) had recently begun selling VR speakers in the Miami area, and that this guy didn't have a storefront, but was selling out of his house(As an addendum, this was later found to be untrue). To get his VR dealership, Zip had promised Albert to only sell to his previous customers. Over time it became apparent that this dealer was selling locally, and via mail-order(Again, found later to be untrue). Don's shop had been wiped out by the hurricane 18 months prior, and he had been working hard to get the business back in order. Since Sunshine had begun carrying VR speakers, Don had been losing some business to Sunshine, and since Sunshine was Zip's house, Zip didn't have to pay for a storefront, and thus had less overhead(Only partially true). Don described Zip as a wheeler and dealer, and said that it wouldn't have been above Zip to tell me "Go listen to the VR4's at Audio by Caruso, then I'll beat any price that he gives you."

Don thought that my traveling from Tallahassee to Miami to listen to the VR4's at Sunshine, then finding Sunshine closed, sounded a bit fishy.( Don didn't know that I was in town to see a friend, and as a bonus, was going to audition the VR4's.) This combined with the word `Internet' made Don think that I was at the shop just to break his balls, then head elsewhere to buy.

His explanation for turning into a maniac on me was a bad combination of circumstances. Don was working as the only employee of his store at the time that I visited. The combination of a busy holiday season, frustration, and current events led to him unloading on me and my friend when we came in that Saturday.

Don truly seemed apologetic at his treatment of me, and I think that he was sincere. He mentioned that he had a customer tell him that he had seen a negative post on the Internet about his store, and that my name was on it.(Entirely correct) Don didn't recognize my name off of the bat, but after looking it up in his book, he thought that he should give me a call and discuss this.

When queried about the story, I replied to Don "Yes, I posted that story on the Internet, and it was called The Audio Shop From Hell. " At this Don groaned, and half chuckled.

Don apologized again, and said that I just got him on a bad day. He said that he hadn't stayed in business for 18 years treating customers the way that he treated me. I could believe that, as I didn't think he could stay ALIVE for 18 years treating people the way that he treated my buddy Brian and I on my first visit.

In the end we had reached an accord. I understood that Don was having a bad day, and the circumstances lined up just the wrong way to cause him to explode. He realized that he had made a mistake and apologized.

I know that I've gone off on the wrong occasion, and I appreciate his apology.