#1039: Catalogue

RECORD STORE TALES #1039: Catalogue

There was one chain back in the Record Store days that was considered our chief rival.  They weren’t really; they were actually much bigger than us, but the Boss Man really had his radar locked on that one specific rival.  The other guy made an offer to buy us out, but there wasn’t much he could do if we were not for sale.  It was a cold war rather than a hot war from my perspective.  I did have to eject the rival from my store once.  We had standing orders (and a picture of the guy behind the counter, a Mutt Lange lookalike) to eject if he was seen in store.  That wasn’t fun.  He was with someone else, a buddy or a business associate and I had to kick him out!

I cannot be certain, but I think one of the main reasons the Boss Man didn’t want his rival in our store was one particular secret.

It is true that we had a general policy of “loose lips sink ships” – meaning “don’t say shit”!  You can imagine how much the Boss loves my website, which is why I don’t name any of the guilty parties, but these stories are from another millennium.  None of it actually matters anymore.  One thing he didn’t want known is just what we were using as our pricing guide when buying and stocking used CDs from the public.

The rival’s store had an annual catalogue.  It was about the size of a telephone book.  From the very start, we used that catalogue as a guide.  We knew their lowest retail price for everything they sold, which was virtually everything currently in print on a major label.  Every year, the store managers were sent out to buy the latest issue.  One at a time, so as to not raise flags.  Every year, we had to make white book covers to disguise the true origin of the catalogues that we could be seen flipping through.  When things got computerized, we scanned, line by line, every single CD in that catalogue to begin our own pricing guide.

It grew from there by many times over, as we added discs from other labels, out of print CDs, and everything else we ran across in our travels.  Within a short period of time, our pricing guide was many times the size of their original catalogue.  Obviously, having a custom made pricing guide on the computer was superior and a mere glimpse at the future.  Still, I kinda miss wrapping those big ole catalogues in paper and decorating the new covers.  The new kids will never know.




    1. Depends on the customer. Some do not take it too kindly.
      I remember working at a store mid ’90’s and we would hear a certain page over the store. That meant for all the big dudes in the warehouse to run up and either toss someone or chase them down in the parking lot and catch them for the cops.

      Times were better in 1995ish than 2023. Now everyone has a cell phone and a sense of entitlement.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Shitty deal that your boss made you boot this guy out. My wife has to do that to shoplifters in her store but that’s different. They deserve it. It just seems like this guy was the competition.
    From the comments section in the chief rival post from 2014, you felt maybe you could elaborate more on this other store/person. I’m curious. Can you share more now in 2023?


        1. Paranoia, the Destroya!

          He was very paranoid. One guy quit to work at a rival store. I believe he received the NDA phone call as well. He was not a trusting person and sadly he was not to be trusted either.

          Liked by 1 person

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