RECORD STORE TALES Part 189: Hiding the Music
There was a group of kids on the street (Bob, myself, Rob Szabo, and Peter Coulliard) that were competing for a cassette copy of Kiss Alive II. There was only one copy that we knew of in town on cassette. Guys like Bob and Szabo would know that — they were older, had nice bikes, and probably had been checking all over town. The only copy we knew of was at a store called Hi-Way Market.
Other kids on the street such as George and Todd had the album on vinyl, but Bob and myself didn’t really have any decent equipment for playing records at the time. Cassette was portable, it was our primary medium in 1985. In 1985, you didn’t listen to “albums”, you listened to “tapes”. The cassette copy at Hi-Way Market was priced at $12.99. This was more expensive than most, because it was considered a “double album” even though it was still just one tape.
None of us had $12.99 plus tax right then, but Hi-Way Market had this tape we all wanted. Hi-Way Market was a great store. It had old creeky wooden floors. Downstairs were groceries and clothing. Upstairs, the greatest toy store in town. Every Christmas they did a giant Space Lego display. It was incredible. But off to the side of this store, up a narrow staircase, was a little record store. I bought my first Iron Maiden (Live After Death, on vinyl) there. (I think the deciding factor in buying the vinyl of that album was the massive booklet, a rarity in those days.)
Since none of us had the money, Peter Coulliard hid the copy of Alive II behind something else in the store. Something where no Kiss fan would ever look for it. Probably behind Duran Duran or Michael Jackson. This enabled Peter to have the edge when he finally did gather the necessary funds, thus edging Bob, Szabo and I out in the battle for Alive II.
These two kids kept coming into the store that were fascinated by my copy of Kiss’ Carnival of Souls. These were young kids…well, about the same age as Bob, Peter and I were back when we pulled this stuff. They did not have the $10.99 ($12.64 with tax) to purchase Carnival of Souls. We didn’t have the only copy they could find, but we did have the cheapest one. The mall stores were asking at least $20 for new copies.
So these kids came in day after day, week after week, moving Carnival of Souls. They continually got more creative with their hiding places. My job was to make sure the shelves were also straight and orderly, and when you’d find Kiss under Anne Murray, you’d put it back. When bosses found Kiss under Anne Murray they’d give you crap. So, much as I sympathized with the kids’ musical choice, they were grinding my gears as manager.
Finally I got fed up. I sent the CD to Trevor’s store with an explanation of why he had to keep it and sell it there. Then the two kids came in again.
“Hey, umm, do you have Kiss Carnival of Souls?” asked the first one.
“Nope, sold it yesterday,” I lied.
“Awwww…” said the second kid.
It had happened. I had become “the man”! I had lost sight of my old self. Didn’t I pull that “hide the album” stunt myself? In fact, didn’t I do it with GI Joe figures at Hi-Way Market? I did!
NEXT TIME ON RECORD STORE TALES…Early Birds.