RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#387: Standing Alone
When I first started at the Record Store, we worked alone. Everybody worked alone. The owner worked all the days alone, and then T-Rev and I alternated nights and weekends alone. I actually enjoyed working by myself. Nights were slow enough that one person could handle it, plus still get all the stocking and cleaning done. It wasn’t until later on that we brought in a second person on Saturdays. Until then, you could still close the store for 5 minutes to go to the washroom. You could eat your lunch in the store because you didn’t have much choice.
The way to make an 8 hour Saturday shift go faster is to play music you love! Back then we were allowed to bring in the odd CD or tape from home to play in store. My sister made me a cool store play mix tape, with a lot of top hits by artists like Sting, Barenaked Ladies, and Bryan Adams. I had the idea that we could even make tapes monthly, in the store, to showcase hits without having to constantly swap discs in and out. We only had a single disc player. We never did do the monthly tapes but it was a neat idea.
On your typical Saturday I would leave the house around 9:00 or 9:15 am and walk to the store with a bag full of snacks, drinks and music. There were usually lots of “new” used arrivals to price and display. There were sometimes customers to call and let know that their special orders had arrived. There was always something to clean, a project to do, and filing to take care of. When you were tired there were Spin and Rolling Stone magazines to flip through.
I would get busy and overwhelmed after lunch hour, but that would pass and I could take a moment to breathe again. The busy times weren’t the problem though, it was the 8-9 hours of standing. I told T-Rev before he worked his first Saturday alone that it was hard on the legs. He discovered what I meant! We didn’t have a chair. Well, that’s not entirely true. We had one, we were just not allowed to use it. It was used as a step-stool only. The first time you stand for a whole Saturday is hard but then you get used to it.
Feet get swollen and legs get tired. My method for dealing with it was ample stretching, and changing my shoes halfway through the shift. I don’t know why, but putting on a fresh pair of shoes helped with the discomfort. It provided a fresh bolt of energy. Much, much, much later on, when I was nearing the miserable end of my dark final days at the record store, I artificially maintained energy levels with caffeine drinks and sugary snacks. I was no longer working alone, but the fun was also gone.
Today I sit in a chair and get fat all day. It’s a trade-off for sure!