I used to get recognized a lot, from the record store. Work in one place with customers for 12 years and eventually you start to see familiar faces in the streets. It was both good and bad.
For example, the bad: One time I was sitting in the mall, on my lunch break. With my face full of pizza, a man walked up to me.
“I can see you’re eating your lunch, and that’s fine. I’d like to see you later about returning a tape.” Like, dude? That couldn’t have waited?
That was a small minority of times. Often people that recognized you would politely ignore you, or at least be friendly about it.
I’d be walking through the mall, and some guy would nod at me. I’d nod back, not really knowing who the person was, but not letting on. One time I was walking through a park, and these two kids stopped. “Hey look! That’s the guy from the CD store!” I smiled and waved sheepishly. I was a celebrity of sorts I guess?
The most common thing would be being recognized in a rival store. Often I’d be shopping at my local HMV store, or downtown at one of the more collector-oriented places. I’d love it when, in another store, somebody would ask me if I had a CD in stock. I once used a pay phone (no cell back then) to call and ask, but I’d think to myself: Really? You think I have them all memorized or something?
Most of the time though, it was a simple, “Hey man! What are you doing here? Checking out the competition?”
While I did sometimes “check out” the competition (comparing prices and selection), the main goal was always to find rare musical treasures. Besides, a lot of other record store people in town had come selling discs to me numerous times. Usually it was pretty friendly. It was better to have friends at the rival stores than enemies. I even had a buddy at HMV send customers my way, when he knew that something was out of print! So, being recognized in public as “that guy from (insert name here)” wasn’t a bad thing.
To be continued