#541: When the Packaging Gets Wrecked

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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.




  1. Oh man. I’ve bought a few CDs over the years that were priced with stickers of doom. Lord knows what those things were made with! Nowadays, especially when buying a secondhand LP in a store I’m not familiar with, I subtly check that the sticker is easily removed before buying. I’ve also had a few CDs of the years with the cracked or scored jewel case as a result of overzealous box opening shenanigans. I also tended to replace them.

    Anyhoo, I don’t think I’m too fussy these days. It depends on the price, right enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amazon used to be terrible for cracked cases in the mail. Not so much anymore. It used to be heartbreaking, getting a parcel and hearing the rattle of loose plastic bits inside. My old store was bad for this too. They sent me a 3 DVD Rob Zombie box set with all the teeth shattered inside. You could hear them bouncing around. Don’t know what can be done to prevent that except more bubble wrap?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The dreaded loose plastic bits. Must have been a worldwide Amazon problem… I suspect they had a suitable worldwide strategy to combat it, cause I remember the last few CDs I bought being fine. But yeah, those wee ‘teeth’ sometimes got stuck under the disc resulting in scratches galore!


    1. Stickers ARE evil. I read that in a book once.

      I’m less picky with used vinyl, but with the prices you pay for new vinyl, it better be mint.

      How long before all the hipsters start selling off their 180 gram vinyl reissues, you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dunno. I think vinyl will get sold off the same as it always did? There are pressings every year of the same albums over and over. Some of them are bound to end up in the used shelves! I think it’ll start to happen more and more as time goes on.


  2. I am picky and will look in another shop if the copy in one store is damaged, but I’m also practical so I’ll still pick the cheapest one, and just resent it all my life lol

    What I really hate is when you do it yourself. I had gorgeous looking AC/DC digipacks and when I moved house in a hurry, they got water damaged and the booklets are stuck together and destroyed and the boxes are all warped and ugly. I hate it. I’m almost tempted to buy new ones. Except, y’know, money. If I have AC/DC money it’ll go towards more AC/DC albums not the same ones again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am not terribly picky, considering a lot of my collection came from used cd places, including dr disc! But that Zeppelin would not have been for me. I would want to buy it in package and open it myself! I didn’t like those stickers, especially if the case was made of cardboard. Dr Disc’s were particularly bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah their stickers were not customer friendly. I used to be a lot pickier, but less so today, because I don’t have the control over the used product that I buy, that I used to have. I used to be able to insist I’d only take mint.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah and also I don’t have the access I would have at the store. As soon as you see a mint copy you jump on it. And you can afford to wait for it. You learn from experience “oh a better condition one will come in.”

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I still buy a load of discs mainly through Ebay. I have a problem with the ones that come with a strip like sticker across the top spine labeled with the band and album name. Most come off ok but some leave a sticky residue which pisses me off.

    Btw I received my copy of Sword live at Hammersmith today. Posted out by Dan Hughes nonetheless. Going to enjoy that one tomorrow morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FANTASTIC! Glad you got the Sword CD so fast. I hope you like it.

      I know that top “strip” you mean. DVDs have them too. They used to drive me NUTS in the store, because of that residue.


  5. Ohhhh man, I remember Dr. Disc’s stickers of evil! I used to shop at the Windsor location when I was in uni, and oh man what a nightmare.

    The only one’s that still real bad now is BMV, actually. Those white stickers they put on their cases are tough to get off. And there are three on each CD! One on the front top right, one on the back lower middle, and one inside on the tray! I mentioned it to them, one time, the guy just shrugged.

    As for stickers that come on the shrink wrapping, I always cut them out around the edges so they still have a shrinkwrap backing, and slide them into the booklet inside the case.

    I’m pretty picky about buying used stuff, but I’m more concerned with the condition of the CD itself than I am with the packaging.


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