June 9, 2013
Overall: 5 |
Service: 5 |
Selection: 5 |
Alright, I know GNC has been reviewed a ton, but as a former employee who managed stores for two years, I wanted to provide a review that is a little clearer and more in-depth than some of these. And before anyone asks, yes, I have reviewed GNC products but that was prior to my employment.
I've also decided to give ratings of 5 across the board because unlike the majority of the retailers reviewed on here, you can have a vastly different experience depending on where you shop. I will explain this more in each sub-section.
Selection gets a 5 because of the different segments of GNC stores. Larger Segment A stores (malls, big strip centers) have the largest selection of items while the smaller Segment C & D stores (small towns, crappy areas, etc.) have very little. Military stores usually have good selections, but they are unable to carry certain products (primarily anything with DMAA in it). Finally you have franchise stores, which are all over the map, but if you like PMD products than they've got all you could ever need. You can always have an item that GNC carries but can't be found in store delivered for free, but that is contingent on the sales person being competent enough to do it and the price being worth it.
Price gets a 5 because unlike what some other people say on here, you can actually find some pretty good deals on products. The gold card now works everyday, but you are going to save anywhere between 5-50% off instead of the 20% you used to. Since GNC retail prices are f**king absurd (P6 for $120?), this can either be a great deal or a pretty crappy one. For example, a while back Jack3d was on sale for $26.99, which isn't the cheapest you'll find it, but you don't have to pay any shipping and you can have it right away. On the other hand, PES Enhanced is part of BOGO, so with a price of $50 you are getting ripped off unless you are getting something else.
The best way to get a good deal is to find the discontinued or expiring products (which is probably going to really *** of the sales person). Most of these are marked down at least 50% off of retail, and the membership gets you another 20% off. For example, my entire stock of the Cellucor 2 in 1 M5 was expiring and marked down to $41.49. It's a pretty good product (tastes atrocious) but with the additional 20% off it's $33.19 before tax.
Finally, because I believe in transparency, I feel I should mention a little fact on the member pricing program. Basically the company has decided to make weekly price adjustments on the member prices of some products. This pretty much means that if they are selling a lot of a product they are probably going to increase the price. Take the Jack3d I mentioned above for an example, I guess a lot of it was being sold at $26.99, so the price was increased to $29.99 after three or four weeks.
Same as the others, this gets a 5 because there are a lot of different type of people who work for GNC. You've got some people who actually know what they are talking about and want to legitimately help, while others could care less about helping you and only want to make commissions or sell GNC brand products. Hopefully if you are someone who is reading this site, then it means you are doing your research on products before hand, because it can be hard to tell if some sales associates have yours or their best interest in mind.
I've figured out a pretty easy way to determine whether or not the person helping you is being honest, or just trying to make money. All you have to do is ask them to compare a product you know is good to one made by any member of the BPI family. If they really talk up the BPI product, then they are probably full of s**t. BPI products pay a ton in commission, and if you are wondering about their effectiveness then just check out any of the reviews on BPI or Image Sports.
My basic point here was to point out that it is entirely possible to have a good experience with GNC, but it is just as easy to be completely screwed over. When I worked there I did everything I could to make sure that I never turned into one of those money-grubbing morons, but unfortunately I can't speak for the entire company. My best recommendation is to search sites like this prior to going to a store so that you have some idea of what you are looking for. If you have some background knowledge on the products it makes it significantly easier for you to make the correct decision once you are in the store. It also helps prevent you getting robbed by a sales associate who tells you that the "Jay Cutler This is What I Take Stack" will turn you into a Greek god overnight.