GETTING MORE TALE #541: When the Packaging Gets Wrecked
It’s so easy for a store to wreck the very product that you want to buy. It happens every day. A CD jewel case helps protect your precious music…if it comes in a CD jewel case. How did stores wreck the packaging? Here are some of the most common!
- Box cutters
When you open up a fresh shipment of music, it’s very easy to damage the product inside with a box cutter and it happens all the time. If it’s LPs inside the box, or digipack CDs, it’s very easy to cut open the top-most item inside the box. Not only do you see this happen with music but toys and games too. I’ve seen a few toys on shelves with the bubbles accidentally scored by overzealous box cutters. I’ve accidentally done it to a few CDs because I wasn’t being careful enough.
- Price (and other) tags
I have some great examples here. The first revolves around a rare Led Zeppelin Complete Studio Recordings box set. This deluxe box set was released in 1993, but by 1996 it was deleted and hard to find. The boss man apparently knew somebody from Warner who supposedly had a cache of them stashed away. If so that would have been a potential goldmine.
If there was a cache of them or not, I don’t know, but we did get one to sell. We sold it as new, but because of the format of stores (all CD cases on display were empty), the boss opened it up. I believed this to be a mistake and I still do. I think we could have sold it just as easily had we kept the sealed box on display behind the counter somehow. But we didn’t, and we had to put stickers all over the now opened box set to proclaim that it was BRAND NEW and OUT OF PRINT.
One customer came up to the counter to complain.
“Why is this thing so expensive?” he asked, for good reason.
“It’s brand new,” I answered. “The owner brought this one in sealed, and he opened it himself, so I can vouch for the fact that it’s brand new.”
“Yeah but he put stickers all over it!” complained the customer. “Can you give me a deal?”
We were only selling the box for a few dollars over cost, so no deals were to be had.
We eventually sold that box set after it had sat there for a few weeks. The stickers came off no problem, but had they stayed on there a while longer, they might have been an issue. Sticker residue on paper can leave nasty stains, sticky spots, or even tears.
Our price tags were usually pretty good. At one point we ordered a cheaper batch, and they were just awful. You couldn’t peel them off in one piece, and you’d always leave paper on whatever you were peeling them off from. Whenever we re-priced something, we were supposed to completely remove the old tag, leaving nothing behind. These tags made that a chore. It was a relief when that batch was used up.
The worst price tags I have seen in any store in my life came from Dr. Disc. They are still around, though only in Hamilton now, and I don’t know if they still use the Yellow Tags of Death. These tags had a magnetic security chip embedded in them, and left a horrible red residue on everything. It was like taking a red crayon and melting it on your CD cover. You could never get the red residue off, unless you used a product like Goo Gone, but it left its own oily residue behind that was equally impossible to remove. I had to replace the case on every used CD I ever bought from Dr. Disc. Every single case!
- Regular wear and tear
This is all but unavoidable. Stuff gets damaged in shipping. Customers drop stuff. In our store, just about every front cover of Metallica’s Load CD was dog-eared. Its thickness made it hard to put back in the CD case. When the CD came out new, our display copies took severe beatings. The front covers were so damaged that we had to sell them as used.
If you see something in a store that’s a little dinged up, but not too badly, ask if you can get a discount. If you ask nicely, they will usually agree. Whether it is worth it or not, is up to you! Remember, most things tend to show up again. You can usually wait until you find a better condition copy.
Are you picky? Some of my customers were so picky that I actually told them “I don’t think buying anything used is really for you.” Do you want everything as mint as possible? Let us know in the comments.