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Jim Coash

Sorority girls discover Bob Carver (with Jim's help!)

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Greetings:  The picture below is one of my systems.  I use this one currently to make custom CDs.  There are 3 matching Yamaha components, a Sony 5+1 CD changer/recorder, A B&O 4002 turntable and a pair of McIntosh ML-10C speakers. It is set-up on a piece of furniture I bought at The Sound Room in 1979.  Some of my favorite vinyl is stored in it.  The Beatles album you see was purchased by me in 1966.  Despite 100s of plays, it still sounds great!  Home made stands too.20140224044904655.jpg
In the fall of 1979 I was about to complete my third year at The Sound Room.  I was having a great season already and I would break all of my records in December with nearly $55,000 in personal sales.  By then we had a new sales manager, Ken, who changed the rules.  You could win "Salesman of the Month" by making more profit instead of total sales or he could choose someone else based on "Individual effort or improvement".  I still won in December, but it was the last time.  I would be gone in a couple months.  We all knew something was going on but not exactly what.  Strangers were having private meetings with Ken and Don.  As it turned out, they were the owners of Hi Fi Buys in Indianapolis.  Big changes were next.
We had a beautiful fall.  The store was busy and Saturdays were the best.  One Saturday in late September I was at my desk and most of the other salesmen were busy.  I had just closed a nice sale but it was my "up" again and Dave, Daryl and I were watching both the front and back doors when we all saw a car pull to a stop right at the front door.  It was a late model MG Midget, dark blue, tan convertible top with a University of Michigan sticker on the back.  College games had been on all day. Western had played earlier and when the game ended we saw the expected flurry in business as out of town people stopped at the "legendary" Sound Room. Two attractive co-eds exited the tiny car and headed for the door.  It was my up but Dave said "Good luck getting anything in that car".  I made my approach a moment after they walked in and got their bearings.  I was 29 years old, 6', 290 pounds but not much fat.  I was naturally intimidating to most people, especially young women.  I was dressed nicely with a tie and they had U of M sweatshirts on over blue jeans, one blond, one brunette, both trim and nice looking.  I disarmed them with a smile and a friendly greeting.  "Welcome.  Are you in town to watch the Western game"?
"Just looking around" the brunette said.  "Well of course you are.  I will grab my records.  What would you like to hear"? I said as I reached around the corner and retrieved my cloth media bag. "My name is Jim", and I reached out my hand.  "I'm Jill and this is Carol" the blond said and then "Well, we think it might be time to get a better stereo for our house but we don't know much about this stuff".  "Fortunately, I do.  How large a space do you need to fill"?  The ice was broken and they outlined their situation.  They were students at U of M, they lived in a Sorority House near campus. They had borrowed a sound system from one of their roomies but it just didn't seem adequate for the party they were planning. They described a modest H/K 430 receiver, a pair of Small Advents and a BSR 510 record changer.  It worked fine and sounded pretty good but they wanted dance music for a pretty large group and the room was actually two, a living room of normal size with a larger room, part of an addition on the house just for meetings and party activities that was almost 20' X 30' with high ceilings.  How could they they get music in both rooms?  I drew a picture on a scrap of paper and saw that the two rooms shared a wall.  I noted that the system they were using was already on the shared wall.  I asked if the other side of that wall in the large room would be a good spot for another pair of speakers and they said that would be fine.  We actually have two ways to go here I told them.  A small hole behind the system in the living room would allow a second pair of speakers to be connected to the H/K receiver's "B" terminals and then both rooms would have music.
"We want to give the stereo we borrowed back to Chrissy and get something of our own", they said.  "We also want it much louder in the activity room for dancing without having it too loud in the living room"  "That brings me to my second option. You could use a separate amp and speakers for the big room and then only turn it on when you needed it.  If you pick a receiver that has that feature.  That way you could choose the amp and speakers to be whatever size you needed for each room and have independent volume control".  They looked at each other and nodded their heads.  I led them around the corner to the big room where we had about a dozen systems ranging from $600 to over $3000 and said, "When you get to this Yamaha CR-820 you have a nice unit for the living room and it has the feature that allows another amp and speakers to be connected". The real question is, if you spend $1000 on this system will you have enough left over for the other room?  This package includes everything you see here (by then they were listening to it), a matching turntable, a cassette deck that records and plays with good sound quality, a pair of Yamaha NS-670 speakers with stands and the walnut finish and the wire and cables you will need.  All we add is a pair of "Y" adapters for the amp. Then you can add whatever you want for the other room.
They looked at each other, stepped back and talked a minute.  "Can we use the ladies room"? Just around the corner over there.  While you are gone I will set up something for you to listen to.  I headed for the back demo room and found a Phase Linear 700 sitting on the floor next to a system that currently was connected to a Yamaha C-1/B-2 amp and preamp.  I knew there was a pair of "Y"s under the turntable bench and grabbed those, two 8' pieces of 16 gauge speaker wire and a 6' RCA cable, I took them back to the system, shut off the amp, pulled out the pre-out/main-in jumpers, installed the "Y"s and the RCA cable and speaker wires, placed the amp on top of a speaker stand and hooked it up.  I had a pair of larger Yamaha speakers nearby, NS-690s and I set those up and stands and connected them.  By then the girls were on their way back.
We need to know just what we would get and how much it would cost.  Sure, you can pick and choose any components you like. Here you have the the matching Yamaha pieces with the NS-670 speakers for a grand.  If you can fit an amp and another pair of speakers into your budget you will have both of your problems solved.  The system was playing at a modest level and I checked to be sure the gain controls were at zero and turned on the amp.  "You may want to step back a little, I'm going to give you an idea of what this will sound like in your big room".  I began to advance the gains on the 700 and it got louder, and louder, and louder.  Large grins spread across their faces.  I brought it back down and said, "It would get much louder than that.  Is this what you had in mind"?  Clearly it was.  I handed them my card with the whole package laid out in writing.  At the bottom it said $2300+tax.  They looked at each other and then back at me  Can you make it $2000?  That's all we have.  I smiled, "There is a way.  Give me just a minute.  Please feel free to play with this while I'm gone".  As I walked out I heard the volume go up.  I noticed other people in the store looking over as I picked up a pair of JVCs largest "bookshelf" speakers and took them one at a time into the room.  They were a little embarrassed as I walked in because it was substantially louder than it was when I walked out.  There was no hint of stress or distortion.  "That's fine I said, but remember; you must not adjust the tone controls or loudness compensation when you play very loud.  Always leave the low filter on. You can damage the speakers but only if you turn it up to the point where there is distortion.  Notice the meters. Stay out of the red area, and you will have no trouble".  The both shook their heads yes.
They were excited now.  The big JVC speakers were not as pretty as the Yamahas but they were larger.  When I swapped them out they stood almost as tall as they were on the stands.  "These speakers do not have quite the clarity or quite the sound quality as the others but they are more efficient which means louder, more durable, they have more bass and they are on sale. With these speakers the total is $2000+tax.  Try them out while I make sure I have everything".  I was quite sure I did have everything but I stepped out and went over to the counter, wrote everything up on a fresh invoice, and smiled as the sound reached a crescendo.  For a moment it was the only thing anyone in the store could hear and then as it receded I said in a loud voice "I apologize for the interruption.  We are almost done".  All the customers and the staff, including some people from the office and the service department were smiling at me.  I walked in and handed the invoice machine to the girls.  "Would you like your JVC speakers in walnut or the silver finish"?  "Walnut" they chirped.  But, we have a problem!
Actually I knew what it was.  Maybe you do too. It was the MG Midget.  They looked at me pleadingly, "Can you deliver this?  Today?  In Ann Arbor"?  Although I suspected this was coming I looked as surprised as I could.  "I do try to deliver whenever I can but my wife and I were planning to see a movie tonight.(on the VCR)  She probably has dinner ready and the two boys are expecting me at 5:30".  "We can pay you"! they said.  I hesitated and then said "Let me call Martha". When I called I told her that I needed to make a delivery and it was in Ann Arbor.  I would be very late.  Ken had figured out the situation and it was just after 4:00. I described the system and he sent two guys to the stockroom.  When they came back they had everything ready except the turntable set-up.  I told Ken to let me take a whole role of wire.  The girls came out and met me at the counter.  They had a check book out with their Sorority letters on it.  I gave them the number, they gave me the check and I called them over to the turntable set-up bench.  Ken went over the invoice adding all the serial numbers and warranties.  I tossed him the keys to my truck.  By the time I had carefully set-up and explained everything I did to the girls my truck was out front behind the MG, loaded with equipment.  I borrowed a few tools from service including a drill and a long bit.  They suggested we stop for a sandwich and we sat and talked about the system as we ate.  Time to go.
Lead on I said.  I stayed right on their tail for 100 miles and then a few blocks north of I-94 to a very nice, very large old home that had been expanded on one side with a large addition.  I backed in close and a dozen girls came out to help carry everything in.  Talk about excitement!  I gathered that they were all getting ready for hosting one of their biggest party events of the year.  The were expecting about 100 people including new pledges, Frat guys, friends and classmates.  I disassembled the H/K system and Chrissy asked if I could help her put it back together in her room.  Well of course I could.  First I unpacked everything while all of them watched, asked questions and offered help.  Most of them were in the middle of getting ready for the party and the big system was in the add on activity room which also had a big bathroom for the women and a smaller one for men.  There was also a modern kitchen designed to feed large groups.  After all was out of the way I carefully drilled a hole through the baseboard and into the big room.  I fed the 12' RCA cable through.  I placed the Phase Linear 700 on a tall end table and made the connections.  The JVCs sat on their stands on either side so that they were symmetrical, not in the corners, but 6' out, not against the wall but 1' away and the wire was dressed along the baseboard.  The girls had cleaned everything when I went back to the living room, just through the archway to my right. 
The Yamaha components stacked nicely on the table with the turntable to one side.  I had two pairs of stands, short for the NS-670s and tall for the JVCs.  I suggested that they select a record and I set it on the table and started it, explaining every move I made clearly for all to hear.  It was a very nice system with plenty of power for that room.  I left it playing and went around the corner to turn on the amp.  I brought up the gain controls slowly and equally until the room was filled with music. Someone handed me a beer.  They all gathered around and praised me, Jill and Carol and the sound they were enjoying.  I excused myself to wash up a little and then followed Chrissy up the stairs carrying the H/K system.  Her room was large and she shared it with four others.  One door opened out onto a second floor balcony over the added on room.  It was a deck with lawn chairs and lounges on it.  Clearly a quiet, private place to catch some rays.  I suggested that they move things around so that her stereo would be right next to that door.  I told them how to carefully clean the components up and then re-calibrated the turntable.  I suggested that she replace the stylus soon.  I made sure that the speaker wires were long enough so they would permit her Small Advents to be carried outside and showed them that capability.  It was a nice sounding system.
By then I was working on my fourth beer and had decided that would be my last before leaving for home.  If I didn't run into much traffic I could be home by 10:00.  Then a few girls cornered me and suggested I stay for the party.  I hadn't been given any money but they said "We have $100 for you but if you stay and run the music for us we will pay you $200".  I protested that I would be in no condition to drive home at 1:00 AM and they said "You can stay on the couch"!  I thought about it.  I was already losing interest in driving home and the food and beer looked pretty good.  "I would need to check in with my wife", and they took me to the phone.  Martha was a little concerned considering what she knew.  I had told her it was a Sorority house and she could hear the beer in my voice and said, "You get home as soon as you can"!  I turned back to the girls and said "Martha isn't too exited about this but I told her you needed me to DJ the party and I could make a few bucks". "DJ the party"? they said.  I handed them one of my "Music by Coash" cards which advertised my DJ business.  In my truck I had three dozen custom recorded cassettes that I used for parties with a lot of current music as well as the best of the classic oldies.  I told them that normally I charged $350 for 4 hours.  They had offered $200.  Is that their best offer?
I decided if it was I would probably stay at least for a while and then go.  Jill handed me $300 hundred dollars in assorted bills and said, "Play until it's over, have anything you want to eat and drink, stay on the couch and leave tomorrow morning.  I agreed.  They loved the music.  The sound system played until almost 2:00 AM.  No one had ever heard something like that at a Sorority party.  The music on my tapes played continuously  but I paused the tapes to play requests on vinyl.  I borrowed a pair of headphones from Chrissy and used them to cue up songs on the tapes.  I had only two sources but it worked just fine. While the music played I could sit in front of the small system or around the corner in the big room watching the kids dance and have a wonderful time.  When I finally shut things down I found a blanket and pillow on the couch.  I slept well until about 6:30 Sunday morning.  When I got home it was almost nine.  Martha served my breakfast while I told the whole family about my adventure.  I gave Martha that wad of cash.  It was a day I will never forget.  On Monday, everyone at the store had to hear the details.  In our meeting Ken talked about the way a professional salesman did his job.  He was talking about me.  Jim
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That was a pretty amazing story Jim!!! I wasn't even born yet, but it seems like things are NEVER that laid back these days......nor are salesmen EVER that courteous and informative!!! We need more people like you out in the world!!!

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Thanks for another great story, Jim!
All I can say is: if I had been in your position, it would have involved some "perks" from that job. emwink.gif  
Keep the stories coming! 
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