#1047: A Pretty Good Day

RECORD STORE TALES #1047: A Pretty Good Day

The worst and most tiring kind of days at the Record Store were the ones with customers bringing in endless boxes of discs for us to buy.  These took up a lot of time and counter space to keep organized.  I hated it when multiple customers with multiple boxes arrived at once.  All you could say is say “leave your name and number and we’ll get through these as quickly as possible.  It could be a couple hours.”

Some customers understood, some did not.  That’s retail.

By contrast the best kind of days were often the ones without the pileup of CD boxes.  If everything came in at staggered times, that was ideal.  Even better if all the discs were in good shape.  Icing on the top of the cake if the customer wasn’t a jerk about pricing.  Everybody assumed their discs were worth solid gold.  To be truly the best kind of day, customers would be bringing in good stock that you wanted for yourself!  Whether it be a new release or something rarer from a back catalogue, those were the good days.  You’d slap your name on a post-it note, stick it to the CD and claim it for self-musical enrichment.

I may have mentioned this a couple times before:  the Big Boss Man hated when we bought stock for ourselves.  But that was 50% of the reason people wanted to work in a music store.  The best of days were those when the Big Boss Man and his underlings were not around!

One factor that didn’t affect whether the day was good or bad:  who I was working with.  I liked virtually every single person that worked in my store.  There were one or two who made me pull my hair out, but they never lasted very long.  I was very fortunate to have good working relationships with just about everyone in my staff.  I tried to show my appreciation by buying them CDs or dinner.

Speaking of dinner, one of the best days I had was in the late 90s.  A Jack Astor’s restaurant opened in the plaza across the street.  I was working one afternoon minding my own business when a guy showed up at my door with a “Jack Attack”.  I was shaking my head “no” as if to tell him I didn’t order any food, when he explained it was all complimentary!  A bucket of wings and six bottles (bottles! Not cans!) of root beer.  He dropped off a menu with ordering instructions for delivery.  That was a very good day.  I was working alone, but I left a couple bottles of pop for the night shift.  (A couple.  I was thirsty.)

I liked working alone, but eating a meal on a lone shift was tricky.  Even the best of days were food-free days.  The boss absolutely hated when we ate meals at the counter, but where else was there to go?  We were working alone, we couldn’t leave the store.  We couldn’t go into the back room to eat for 15 minutes.  So most days, at least the ones working alone, were junk food only.  Chips, pop, candy bars, pepperoni.  That was it.

But combined with good tunes and no bosses, a pretty good day!






  1. Speaking of your old store, I was in the Fairway one last Sunday and a guy came in with a big box of cd’s. The employee told him they were not accepting cd’s right now (not sure if I’ve ever heard that before).
    The guy said he just wanted rid of them so they could just have them. The employee again refused.
    I usually don’t speak up but I said I would take them. I offered the guy $5. He then asked for $10, but I told him $5 was all I had.
    It was a good score. All in great shape (including a Dylan bix set)and the majority stuff I will listen to.
    I’m not sure how the economy affects the store, if that is the reason they are not taking any more. Why they would not take any for free was a surprise.
    Maybe you remember down times and how it affected your old job.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We never ever ever said no to CDs or to anything free.

      Things have really changed there. I asked a guy at the Cambridge store if they were going to carry the Kiss Mego figures. He said, “We just carry what people sell to us.”

      I was like… what? I don’t want used, you used to carry stuff like this new. Not anymore.

      Even a free box of CDS, we would pick through and sell the rest at a pawn shop!


    1. I need to think carefully about how I respond. Inevitably someone will tell me I have it wrong and it wasn’t that bad.

      The first several years I worked there, managers worked alone all day – 10 to 5, no backup. We were told not to eat in front of customers.

      After that they started bringing in a second person at 2 pm and you COULD go eat. I often didn’t.

      The boss usually said “I know you have more than 15 minutes of downtime during a typical day so we don’t do scheduled breaks.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve never worked retail, I’ve only worked for organizations that had set lunch breaks. The most difficult one was when I worked 8.5 hr shifts and was only allowed 0.5 hr lunch (as was within labor law rules). The last job I worked we got an hour for lunch and we could break for 5-10 mins throughout the day while we ran for a snack or whatever. And not supervised. That one was a privileged environment, to say the least…


        1. Labor laws, what are those? At the Record Store, we had to fight for CHRISTMAS TO BE A STAT HOLIDAY.

          I’m not kidding.

          They’ll deny it, but T-Rev remembers and I’ll never forget when they said “I don’t think Christmas is a Stat…”

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I certainly remember!

          The owner himself might not even have been aware this conversation happened.

          I think there was a lot he didn’t know. He wanted the day to day operations run by underlings while he made deals.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. No, no you wouldn’t. LOL.

      Greasy, filthy discs, all abused.

      Smelly customers looking for crack money.

      Arguments daily over prices.

      Trust me you would have gotten tired of it very fast. In the average day, I’d only be excited about a fraction of the CD purchases. The boxes full of Dance Mix ’95 could go to hell.

      Liked by 1 person

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