RECORD STORE TALES Part 317: Rival
There were very few people that I had standing orders to kick out if they ever came into the store. Sure, there were some. The Barefoot DJ was to be kicked out if he ever came in without shoes on his feet. The Creepy Twins, a couple of racist identical twin brothers, were to be kicked out if seen. The one that I remember most clearly was the owner of a rival CD chain. He was notable for his coiffed blonde mane. He looked like he was a member of Def Leppard, and still does to this day. The fear was he would steal ideas for his own store.
That CD chain owner, who I shall dub Mutt Lange, had a longstanding rivalry with my boss, the owner of our stores. Mutt seemed like a total douche. Just a pompous ass. When we first started out, we based our pricing scheme on Mutt’s own catalog. He published an annual catalog, which we bought several copies of each year. When we first started creating our own price database, we used Mutt’s as the starting point. That really would have chapped Mutt’s ass if he had known. I was even sent into Mutt’s locations to buy the newest catalog. They needed to send someone that wasn’t recognizable.
I recall not really being into Mutt’s stores. I don’t remember ever buying anything there besides the catalogs. T-Rev found some old Saga CDs there, but it wasn’t really my kind of place. A lot of cheap mainstream “Super Saver” CDs, but not a lot of the stuff I was looking for. The catalog was useful, because it not only indicated retail prices, but would tell us if an album was still in print (or not).
My boss also checked out Mutt’s website regularly. I learned a valuable lesson there.
“Look at this,” my boss said while loading up Mutt’s site. “This hasn’t changed in three years. His site is exactly the same. He hasn’t added anything, he hasn’t changed format, or changed the look at all. It looks like a place that isn’t even in business anymore.” That was a good point, so when we started up our own site, he made sure we gave it a good solid revamp semi-regularly. They’d change the graphics, the layout, and the way the search engines worked. That was probably the best lesson that I learned about e-commerce. Keep changing things up. People have short attention spans, but if it looks like your store is defunct, they’ll probably assume it is.
Back to Mutt himself – I recall seeing that blonde mane walk through my doors one summer day. It was actually T-Rev’s doors; I was filling in for him while he was helping to build a new store. And yeah, I had to kick him out! Not a fun experience I wanted to repeat!