Part 298: Why I Couldn’t Give You A Quote Over the Phone


Why I Couldn’t Give You A Quote Over the Phone


We advertised that we paid cash or credit for used CDs.  A lot of customers used to call with the titles of their CDs, to get a quote over the phone for selling them.  “Hey, I have 30 CDs here to sell, if I read off the titles, can you tell me what you’ll pay me for them?”

The answer was no, for a number of good reasons.  For us, buying used CDs wasn’t a science.  We tried to create a system as best we could, but there were so many variables.  In addition, a lot of the process is subjective.  I’ll try to help you understand.

First and foremost – quality.  We were exceptionally picky about all discs that we bought.  If the disc was scuffed, we could buff certain scratches out.  (Not top scratches and pinholes though!  They are a whole other chapter to the story.)  A lot of customers would call and say, “My discs are all mint.”  Well, I found that for some, “mint” had a broad definition.  It could mean anything to brand-new to scratched like a hockey rink.  If a customer said “mint” you couldn’t go by that.  Likewise with “they all play fine.”  Until I look at it, I don’t know if it’s in a condition good enough to sell to my customers.  You probably have your own standards regarding CDs you want to keep in your collection.

But there’s more to quality than just the CD itself.  Is the front cover present?  How about the back?  A lot of customers discarded the back covers, in order to store their discs in those stupid travel wallets.  Bad idea, since those wallets scratch up CDs, sometimes beyond repair.  Not to mention, we wouldn’t take a CD missing its back cover.  Maybe the front cover is also water damaged – we couldn’t take a CD when the pages of the book were stuck together like a teenager’s Playboy mag.  That happened a lot more often then you might expect.

When it came down to the pricing of the CD, we had a lot of additional factors to consider.   How much do we sell it for?  How many copies do we have?  Do any of our other stores need a copy?  It is rare, or scarce to find used?  For example, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was not a rare CD, but it was hard to find copies used in good condition.  I’d be interested in paying more for Dark Side of the Moon than I would Van Halen’s Balance, even if we sold them both for the same price.

Let’s say you’re an annoying customer, and you called my store looking for a price quote.  Let’s say the person answering the phone forgot the rules, and gave you a quote over the phone.  Then when you actually come in to sell them, I’m working instead, not the person who gave you the price quote.  So imagine that scenario.

You come in and I start going through the discs.  Immediately, you’re pissed off that I’m passing on that scratched up Metallica CD that somebody quoted you $5 for.  The reason?  A hard-to-spot top scratch that cannot be fixed.  Or a missing back cover.  Or a deep scratch I can feel with my fingernail.  Or perhaps I could take it, but I need to have the scratches buffed out and I can only pay you $2-3.

Then next up, you have a Guess Who Greatest Hits.  When you called for your quote, I had none in stock.  Now I have two.  (It happens!)  So I can’t give you what the other person quoted, because now I have two copies and I don’t need it as badly.

Finally, let’s say you were quoted that you were going to get $3 for your Hanson CD.  The person you spoke to on the phone saw that we didn’t have any Hanson in stock.  However, I know that is an unusual happenstance and we always have tons of Hanson everywhere.  I might pay a buck where somebody else offered you $3, because I know better.  Them’s the breaks, right?

This doesn’t even account for other stupid things that can happen.  For example, a customer saying to you that he has Metallica Garage Days when he actually has Garage Inc.  Basically if you could think of a way information could be miscommunicated over the phone, it happened.

Customers seldom understood.  “I don’t want to come all the way down there unless I know I’m going to get good money for these discs.”  Unfortunately, coming down there was the only way.  No ifs, ands, buts, or exceptions.  People sucked sometimes.


Part 254: You Don’t Need To See My Identification

RECORD STORE TALES Part 254:  You Don’t Need To See My Identification

In Ontario, to sell any used goods to a pawn shop or used CD store like ours, you had to present valid, government issued photo ID. That was the law, even though many of my customers thought I made that up just to be a prick. No; that was indeed the law. I couldn’t buy a used stick of gum from you without a driver’s license, passport, or other form of official photo ID.

One day, I was buying some discs from a man, and we just needed his ID to finalize the deal. Upon asking to see it, this exchange occurred:

Me: I just need a piece of photo ID from you.

Him: I have a membership.

Me: …I’m sorry?

Him: I have a membership here.

Me: I’m not sure what you mean. We don’t have “memberships”.

Him: Whatever it’s called. I’m in your system.

Me: That may be but I still need your ID to prove you are who you say you are.

Him: But I’m a member.

Me: I really don’t know what you mean. I’ve been working here for years and even I’m not a “member”!

Another time, I asked a fellow for identification, and it went down something like this:

IDMe:  I’ll just need a piece of ID and your signature.

Him:  ID?  What for?  They’re not stolen.

Me:  That’s the law in Ontario.  I can’t buy anything used off anybody unless they show me ID.

Him:  Like a license?  Will my driver’s license do?

Me:  Yup, sure will.

Him:  Alright, I’ll drive home and get it, I’ll be back in 10.

So he left, and I’m standing there thinking, “What an idiot. What if a cop pulled him over?” Why wouldn’t you just put your wallet in your pants so you have it with you?

Then there were the paranoid ones.  They were rare but they were out there, occasionally surfacing, to raise funds by selling off CDs or DVDs.

Me:  And I just need a piece of ID.

Him:  Don’t got any.

Me:  None?  Nothing at all?  Driver’s License, Health Card?

Him:  Nope.  I don’t want the government knowing my affairs.

Nor did he want them to know he was selling off his Tammy Wynette albums, I suppose.

Bottom line:  I was surprised how many people in this fine city walk  (and sometimes drive) around without any sort of identification on them.  Just an observation, is all, from the front lines of the record store.

Part 253: Angry Man Go Boom!


RECORD STORE TALES Part 253:  Angry Man Go Boom!

September 6, 2005.

It was 11 am. Sales were slow so far on this first post-summer morning. I was feeling fantastic after a perfect night’s sleep. I only had one customer in the store. He was a somewhat odd fellow, late 30’s, liked to look stuff up in the computer, write it down, and then not buy it. Different strokes for different folks, I say. All the bosses were in the back office, as is typical. I was listening to Jethro Tull, Elvis Costello, and Max Webster. Nothing later than 1981, of course.

In walks our main character to this story. He’s a tall fellow, very tall, but even now I can’t quite put his face into focus. I can’t even clearly recall if he had a beard or not. I do remember his height, because he towered over me when I stood next to him. In his hands was a copy of Shaggy’s Hot Shot-Remixed album.

To get the proper effect, please read all of his dialogue in a Jamaican accent, a forceful Jamaican accent.  He was holding the Shaggy CD in his hands, and I saw our price tag on it.

“Yo, I bought this one but…it’s not the right one. Can I get somethin’ else?”

“Sure, just take a look around if you want. Do you have the receipt?”

His eyes got wide, he smiled a huge toothy “just ate the cat” smile, and then said, “Ahh man, I think I lost it somewhere.”

The price tag looked quite worn, it could have been purchased some time ago. We had our exchange policy: 7 days (+ an unspoken 7 more days just to avoid hassles). We also needed a receipt for all exchanges except in special cases.  All of this was clearly stated on the store signage as well as the lost receipt.

“Ahh, see, we need to have the receipt for all exchanges. Sorry man…”

“Ahh come on man! You remember me buying this thing don’t you?”

“Actually, no, I don’t, not really, without a receipt…”

“Ahh come on man I just want to switch it!”

Prior to this I was on the sales floor. I walked behind the counter, and said, “Without a receipt, I can’t do that.  The best I could do would be to buy it back from you.” I motioned for him to hand me the CD.

“Huh?” He handed me the CD. I opened the jewel case and examined the condition of the disc.

“I could buy it back from you used.”

Shaggy was quite scratched indeed. I chose not to say anything about it, since he’d claim he bought it like that. They always say that whether they did or didn’t, so my saying anything about it wouldn’t help. However, to buy it back in that condition normally we would give less, to cover the cost of having the CD buffed back to a new finish. I chose not to do that either, since I was being a hard ass on the rules I’d cut him a break on the condition.

“I can give you four dollars for this.”

“What?” Eyes go wide again. “I just want to switch it man, I’m the customer!”

“I know, but as I said, I can’t do that for you. What I can do is give you four dollars for that CD, but that’s the best I can do.”

“You know what, I’m the customer, and [accent gets too thick for me to continue]…”

Then, he took the CD in his hands, jewel case and all, and crushed it.  Pieces went flying everywhere. He stomped to the door, where he stood in the doorway and yelled “I am the customer!”

Out he went.  There was this moment of awkward silence. Then, the man at the lookup computer (who I’d forgotten all about) chimed in.

“So, let me get this straight. You were going to give him $4 for that CD.  Then he crushed it. Now he can’t get anything for it. How did that guy think that was a good idea?”

Took the words out of my mouth.

WTF Comments: Inaugural edition


WTF Comments:  Inaugural edition

Welcome to a new feature at!  A spin-off from the popular WTF Search Terms, I now present to you WTF Comments.  These are real unpublished comments that were left for me, for whatever reasons.

First, we have “Tony Tony” (leaving me to wonder where Toni and Toné were) from Obregon, Mexico. Tony Tony apparently did not like my comments about the 1998 movie turd Godzilla:

tony tony  ad that’s because you all haters are A BUNCH OF FAGS COMPLAINING… HAHAHA what an asshole hehehe… the movie was great… and the soundtrack kicked your asses out…

Thanks Tony.  That doesn’t really need any additional commentary from me.

Then we have Max, from Russia.  In the past I’ve been clear that I will not share my music.  Max asked me to email him a copy of my “Get Your Hands Off My Woman…Again” mp3 single, by The Darkness.  As is my general policy, I deleted the comment.  A few days later, Max returned with this one:

max fedjudas@xxxx.xx:  I got this version, checkmate!

I didn’t realize it was a competition, but good on you.

This comment was sent to me on Facebook.   This person posted a comment using a word in a negative connotation that I personally dislike: “retarded”. I replied that it was now 2013 and saying that word in that context is no longer cool. If it ever really was cool.  Several people agreed with me, but then I got a private message from this person, Mike F.  Private presumably because he didn’t want to be publicly scolded by somebody else for using the word again. This is what he needed to get off his chest:

Mike F*****:  Retarded is retarded… Remember the meaning of it? Stupid… Dumb… Ya know… Retarded. 2013 and all its political correctness can kiss my fuckin asshole!

Dear Mike:  Welcome to my “block” list! Population: you.

Finally, we have the 164 comments that made up what I called the Neue Regel Saga.  I don’t blame you if you do not have the appetite to wade through that nonsense, but here it is, staggering in its absurdity.  The first time I had to close comments down!

Thankfully these flavourful comments are few here.  If you enjoyed this, and if I receive any more comments that make me “WTF?” then I promise to post them in the future!

Part 228: The Phone

RECORD STORE TALES Part 228: The Phone


Boring conversation anyway.

I has been a long time since I’ve had to answer the phone at the record store. As long as it’s been, sometimes I still find myself answering my phone at work, and it just happens: “Good afternoon, [name of record store].”  I’ve stumbled over that a couple times before realizing what I’ve said!

Every time it happens (like today), it takes me right back in time!  The memories flood in all at once.

There were several ways we were supposed to answer the phones at the record store. “Good afternoon, [name of store]” was the main one. Our boss used to answer the phone with “good afternoon” no matter what time it was. 10 am: “good afternoon”. 8 pm: “good afternoon”. I used to tease him about that.

Later on when we got more locations, we changed the phone greeting to, “Good afternoon, [name of store], [address of store].” This was done for customers who were too confused to figure out which location they had just dialed. Although that didn’t stop one guy, who went on an extended cuss-infested tirade because I didn’t have his special order…even though he called the wrong store! You can’t fix stupid.  (This story was recounted back in Part 104: A Nightmare on Cocknuckles Street.)

At Christmas we’d do other variations of the greeting. I personally enjoyed “Merry Christmas, [name of store]” because I for one don’t like “Happy Holidays”. The name of the date on the calendar is Christmas, whether you celebrate it or not, you still get a stat holiday like everyone else.  Happy Holidays my arse.

Tom came up with a few interesting greetings. “Happy Ho Ho, [name of store]” was a good one. Another time he answered “[Name of store], Santa’s little rock shop.” He tried to have fun with it.

Still, the worst answering of the phone that ever happened was on my watch.  It was a busy night, and some kid asked to use the phone for a moment.  We usually obliged such requests, instructing the person to be quick.  Well I turned my back for a moment on this kid, and next thing I knew he had walked halfway across the store with the phone and was having a whole conversation.  I made my way out to retrieve the phone, but it was too late.  The kid had a “call waiting” and answered the store phone for us.

“Hello?  Uhhh, hold on.”  Then he finally acknowledged me.  “It’s for you.”


Part 221: Frustration Blues

RECORD STORE TALES Part 221:  Frustration Blues

Sometimes, shopping in a music store can be a frustrating experience especially for those who don’t know a lot about music. They might not have a clue what section to find (for example) Linkin Park in. Are they rock? Metal? Alternative? Something else? Somebody who only knows a couple songs might spend a long time walking around aimlessly in a store trying to find Linkin Park.

Sometimes just the simple act of trying to find where Linkin Park is filed alphabetically can be frustrating to the uninitiated. Some people are confused. If Barry Manilow is filed under “M” instead of “B”, why is Linkin Park filed under “L” instead of “P”? This gets even more hard to understand when the band’s name sounds like a person’s name. Max Webster. Pink Floyd. The difficulty is tripled when you’re shopping in a store that has a loose grasp on the alphabet in the first place. Ever shopped at one of the local HMV stores?

Sometimes in order to find something, you might have to get the store employee’s attention. If he or she is busy with customers, please don’t yell across the store. “I can’t find anything in this damn store!” I’ve heard that too many times. Come up to the counter, wait until I’m done giving my full attention to my current customer, and ask. I know some people think they are more important than other customers, but that’s life. Sometimes you have to be patient.  And please don’t yell, “Hey, buddy!  Little help?”

Here’s a true story:  One of my staff members, Matt, was once hailed by a 300 pound Jamaican man with, “YO!  WHITE BOY!”

Be clear about what you want to know. For example, a lost customer once had this question for me:

Him: “Who designed your shelves?”

Me, slightly puzzled: “The owner’s dad built them. Why?”

Him: “Well is the owner’s dad dyslexic? Nothing makes any sense! You’ve got B coming after C, everything’s backwards, upside down, I can’t find anything!”

Hey, thanks for the feedback! Here’s how it works – it’s like reading the page of a book! Go across, then down. Across, then down. Across, then down. Then when you’re at the bottom, you go over to the next section! Across, down. Across, down. Across, down. No need to be a dick about it.

For those who get frustrated finding music in a record store, I offer you these three tips:

1. Before you get too frustrated and feel like blowing your lid, ask. Ask in a clear, reasonably polite manner.

2. If all the staff is otherwise busy with customers, wait your turn. Don’t yell, don’t interrupt, don’t get yourself all worked up over a CD.

3. If the store doesn’t have what you’re looking for, don’t tell the staff that they or their store sucks. Some kid making minimum wage doesn’t care what you think.

Following these three simple tips will make your shopping experience that much more efficient, stress-free, and pleasant. You might even want to say “thanks” for the staff’s help. Saying thanks will help ensure a better experience next time you come in.

Enjoy the music!


WTF Search Terms: Rock and Roll edition


WTF Search Terms VI:  Rock and Roll edition

Welcome back to WTF!  Click here if you missed the last one.  This edition collects some musical Google searches that somehow led people here to this blog.  Enjoy these head-scratchers and WTFs!

This first guy’s obviously an idiot.

10.  steve morse sucks

9. is paul stanley loosoing his voice?

8.  i wouldl like to hear mob rules (why, how polite!)

7. life+it+up+kiss

6.   black sabbath paranoid deluxe edition where is the 3 disc (right there.)


5.  phrase from what tv show – it’s the final countdown!! (Arrested Development.)

4. puff daddy’s embarring habit

3. new kids on the block poster greatest hits

2. real elvis videos tumblr hornny holes

And this week’s winner:

1. marilyn manson with butt plug

Like the WTF’s?  Then come back soon, or better yet, subscribe!

News: MÖTLEY CRÜE Attacked On Stage In Saskatchewan; Video News MÖTLEY CRÜE Attacked On Stage In Saskatchewan; Video.

This really pisses me off, especially to see it happen in a place such as Canada.  We try to keep our image as the nice guys of the world, and then this jackass knocks down Mick Mars.

Like Nikki Sixx (or somebody) said, “What the fuck is wrong with you, you fucking idiot?”

Mick Mars has a very painful bone disease (ankylosing spondylitis).  I’m guessing he could have easily broken his back in that fall.  You can see how freaked out everybody is, and that he can’t get up on his own.

Hope you’re feeling OK today Mick, come back to Canada anytime, don’t let one idiot ruin it for you.

Mars  says: “Thank all of you for your concerns about me being knocked down last night I’m alright nothing broken. My body guard Rhyno got 2 busted ribs.”

It happens at the end of “Primal Scream”.

More Motley:

REVIEW:  Shout at the Devil

REVIEW:  Theater of Pain

REVIEW:  Generation Swine

REVIEW:  “Sex” 2012 single