Ascent Publication
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Ascent Publication

That One Time I Forgot I Loved My Favorite Thing

It took a 15 year-old kid to remind me.

Boom boom bap. Boom, boom-boom bap.

So like most musicians, I spent a little time working behind the counter at a music instrument store. For those two years, I split time between the store, going to graduate school a few evenings a week, and playing in two bands (drums in one and guitar in another). It was a crazy time, but a good kind of crazy. A kind of crazy that felt like I stuffed five years into two.

The best part of working at the store was the people. Hands down. I am still friends with a lot of those guys with which I worked. There are a lot of hilarious memories that only those guys will ever get. I’m lucky enough to still be friends with a lot of my former customers, too. It was the best place to work if you enjoyed talking gear with every talented musician in town.

In those two years, though, something happened. It was weird and unexpected…

…I forgot how much I loved drums. My favorite thing ever.

As a customer, I used to walk around slowly. Peruse. Soak it in. But as an employee, I literally was speed-walking my entire shift from warehouse, to register, to the floor, to the parking lot to help a customer load-out their new gear, back to the register, back to the warehouse, etc.

Selling drums was the job. I was decent at said job. I sold drums to all kinds of people and life was good.

One day, a 15 year-old kid came in. I had seen him before a few times in the store, but he was pretty quiet and kept to himself, unlike the other kids who were chatty. But today, this kid brought four of his best friends with him. Why? Because today was the day.

He was going to walk out of there with his new drum kit.

He’s been saving all his money and today he was going to slap it down on the counter in exchange for the kit he’s been eyeing for almost a year. He wanted his best friends next to him on this big day. I guess it was sort of like having groomsmen with you at your wedding. It was a big deal. They were all amped up.

Me, though, not so much. I was working. I was at my job. I took the payment. Made some small talk with them. Speed-walked back to the warehouse, got the cart, pulled down the boxes with his new kit, got all the boxes of his new hardware, got the boxes with his new cymbals. Counted it all. Counted it all again. Triple-checked it. Speed-walked out on the floor and had the doorguy check it all again. I was heads down. All business. Doing my job.

But then one of the “groomsmen” said to me, “Hey man, I know you’re just doing your job and everything, and thanks for all your help. I just wanted to let you know that this is a HUGE day for my buddy here because he’s been looking forward to this for months. We’re all pretty stoked.”

I stopped in my tracks. Well shit.

I felt like an ass. I was too busy doing my job, that I completely forgot the incredible feeling of getting your first set of drums. Completely absorbed in being efficient in my work, that I didn’t even pause to notice that this kid and his friends were jumping out of their skin with excitement.

We were pulling the cart out to their car, when I invited them all back in. I hooked them each up with a free pair of sticks and sat and talked to them about the band that they were finally going to start. I told them about my first kit and how it was a Tama kit since I loved Stewart Copeland and how I still had it. They had questions about tuning the kit and I told them a few tricks. It was a good hang, actually. I was excited for him. I was excited for all of them. They left after 20 minutes or so of just chatting. I asked him to take a picture of the kit once it was all set up and get me a copy so I could hang it up at the register. A few weeks later, he did just that.

I promised myself that day that I’d never get so absorbed with my end of the deal that I’d forget what it was like to be the customer. With Magic Room Brand, that insight comes into play every single day. Before I was ever in the music accessory business, I was a musician. First and foremost. Thinking about building a business from the perspective of a customer is really the only way to do it.

So whoever and wherever you are, random 15 year-old kid…thanks.


Vijoy Rao || Founder // Magic Room Brand
When you’re doing something you love, there’s no room for compromise.

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Vijoy Rao

Vijoy Rao

Drummer • Painter • Father • Founder of @magicroombrand • Lover of records, ballpark nachos, and bad puns — sometimes all at once.