The beginning of a new school year brings with it…rental season. It’s a time when parents go from music store to music store and try to understand the difference in rental programs and what works best for their child and budget.
It is a time when music retailers go, well, nuts! I have experienced the nutty time of rental season as a music retailer and as a parent. I guess that is why The Chief decided I should use my experience to find out about rental programs in the capital city of Ohio. That, of course, being Columbus.
The city is located just two short hours from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Who knows? Maybe some of the students beginning on an instrument this fall will be future hall of famers themselves!
I chose a sunny day to head for the city and test out four music retailers. My mission was to see if the stores would allow a potential band student to “try out” some instruments to assist in making a decision as to what instrument the student would come to play.
No problem! I know instruments, I know how to test them and I understand rental programs. I also know about bands and kids. All I needed, in fact, was a kid!
That was the hard part. My kids are too old and my grandkids live far away, so I had to punt. I called a friend in the capital city and asked if I could “borrow” her son to be my “instrument tester.” Of course, I met with no resistance. Anyone with a kid that age is willing to loan him or her out for a few hours at a time, I find.
I knew it would work since he was considering joining the band at his school.
My cover story was simple: I was a friend of the family and a former band director. His grandmother was my accomplice, just to keep the story straight. After all, 11-year-olds can make up a good story when needed, but, this way, there could be no slip-ups from store to store on the spy mission. Two of us were listening.
Here’s the storyline: We wanted the “test kid” to try out the instruments and also learn more about the rental programs so I could help advise his parents and save them some leg work, as well. This storyline had the benefit of being the truth.
I chose a silver blue Hyundai Tucson for this mission. It has good pick up and four-wheel drive for a quick getaway, should enemy agents materialize.