RECORD STORE TALES Part 287: Closing Time
We’d start getting ready to close the record store around 8:30. Tidying up, putting things away, straightening the shelves which were always a mess by the end of every night. At 8:45 we’d turn off our six listening stations. Actually to be more accurate, we’d shut down two or three of them, because the others were constantly broken! I can barely remember a time when all six were functional. Then we’d make the circuit around the store, asking customers if they needed any help since we’d be closing in 15 minutes.
Most nights were pretty routine. Customers would trickle out, we’d kill the music and the lights, lock up and begin cashing out. That’s most nights. Some nights, we’d have one or more of the following to deal with:
– Last-minute stragglers who can’t pick the music they want, and don’t want help (of course).
– CD listeners who insist they “just need a couple more minutes” to decide what they want (if anything). If drove me nuts if we stayed open late only for them to buy nothing. They didn’t seem to get how rude it was.
– People banging on the door to be let in after closing to sell CDs for crack/liquor money.
In the olden days, staff didn’t get paid for whatever time they spent cashing out (usually 15 minutes). Eventually they changed that. We usually had a lot of small bills and coins to count, and had to be within $1 of balancing. We’d put on some good music and count and count again until we were balanced.
As technology changed, cashing out got easier. The computers did most of the work. When we got the computers, we also had to do a long computer backup. In the pre-internet days we’d backup the inventory on a floppy disc. Then as the database grew and grew, we switched to a tape backup drive. Man, that thing sucked. We ditched it when it started to take 45 minutes to an hour to back up the computer. We were supposed to stay until the computers were backed up, but nobody wanted to stay 45 minutes unpaid, so nobody did. We struggled with that for a while before they got us a zip disc backup.
We had a closing checklist – lights off! CD players off! If it was summer, A/C off! If it was winter, we had to make sure the heat was on overnight. Set the alarm, lock the door, and we’re out!
None of that could stop the phone from ringing. I didn’t like to answer the phone after close, but when I did it was often some pain in the ass calling.
“Hey, what time are you guys open til?”
“We’re open til 9, we’re actually closed now.”
“That’s dumb. The mall is open to 9:30, how come you guys aren’t?”
“We always close at 9.”
“Well that’s dumb. I want Eminem. Do you have the number for HMV?”
Man, I loved locking that door behind me and being done for the day. The idiots could wait until tomorrow!