When I first started out, the boss taught me a really smart lesson.
If someone comes in and asks for something we don’t have, never say, ‘I can order it for you’. Instead, you should say, “I can call you when the next one comes in”.
That was really smart. People feel guilty about ordering stuff, so not all people want to do that. But if you word it as if it was coming in anyway, they don’t feel bad about putting you out, and it seems like less of a big deal if they don’t pick it up.
Usually the next question was, “When is the next one coming in?” You’d give the standard answer of “one to two weeks”. And that usually was the case.
Except this one time, a guy walked in looking for the Stones. Specifically, he wanted Love You Live.
“Have you heard of a Rolling Stones album called Love You Live?” he began. Of course, I had. Live at the El Mocambo in Toronto. I knew we didn’t stock it, but the Stones were on Sony and easy to get.
“Yep, I know it. We don’t have one in right now, but I can give you a call when the next one comes in,” went the standard answer.
“Really?” he asked. “You carry that?”
“Oh sure,” I said. “We have usually have it in, I just sold our copy last week, so a re-stock is on order anyway,” I lied.
He seemed absolutely shocked, then overjoyed, then offered me $50 personally to get it in for him. That is, the price of the CD plus a $50 tip. That seemed a little out of place to me, but hey, guy was a fan, right?
What I neglected to do was check the catalog from our distrubuter. Instead, I just wrote the guy’s name and number down and told him we’d give him a call. Well, when the boss went to order that CD, it was not in the catalogue. It also wasn’t in the importer’s catalog. However, that didn’t mean we couldn’t get it, so he dutifully ordered it anyway and I assumed all would be well.
For whatever reason, Love You Live (much like some other important albums like Kill ‘Em All and Garage Days) went out of print in the 90’s. This was usually due to record label disputes and whatnot. Love You Live was commanding $50 and $60 price tags, used, at record shows at that time. I was not aware of this. No wonder the guy seemed so excited.
Well, it took a few weeks for me to realize that the CD was not coming in. In those few weeks, the guy showed up every Wednesday asking if his disc was in. He looked so crushed every time I told him no. But it should be here next week.
The album was remastered and reissued in 1998 at a reasonable price, and remastered yet again in 2010 to milk it one more time.
Still, I want to personally apologize to Mr. Stones Fan for probably ruining your year. Sorry man. My bad.
Got this update from my buddy Aaron:
Yeah, I had to get my copy of Love You Live, at the time, in the box set I got as a gift. Covered 1971-1989. It’s a sweet live record. Especially the last four tracks of the set, holy.
My memory tells me there were others of theirs that were hard to get for a long time, too (before remasters). Couldn’t tell you which ones, though. I had them all. ;)
and Aaron: http://keepsmealive.wordpress.com/