Here’s another example why record stores are struggling to survive.
I walk a couple of miles down Land Park Drive to Broadway, to Dimple Records, the local independent music store, excited to pick up the new Ryan Adams, Deerhunter and El Vy CDs – all released today (10-30-15). None is displayed on the new release shelves, but I do find the latter two in the alphabetical racks. No Ryan Adams though.
So I ask the clerk behind the counter about Ryan Adams and she says they got it today, but apparently haven’t unpacked it yet and points to a couple of small boxes in the corner. (I should establish that it’s noontime; they’ve been open for two hours.)
“Our other stores (across town) have it though,” she offers. Off my annoyed look, she adds, “Or you can come back in an hour and the boxes should be unpacked.”
I put the two CDs on hold and set out to kill an hour at the bookstore next door, then grab an Americano at Starbucks around the corner. An hour later I return. The boxes are gone, so that’s encouraging. I check the new release shelves: not there. I then check the alpha racks: still not there either. (Keep in mind, too, that this album is currently in the Top 10 on the charts and has been heavily and favorably reviewed.)
I ask a different clerk for help. He says he knows they have it and says it should be with the new releases. I check thoroughly again: nothing. About this time the first clerk notices my irritation and says she’ll go get it for me and heads back to the alpha slot. Now I’m nervous thinking she’s going to somehow find what I couldn’t locate just a minute ago.
Except, here’s the kicker. She comes back smiling with the new Bryan Adams CD. I tell her it’s Ryan Adams, the new CD on which he covers Taylor Swift’s “1989.” She shoots me a blank look.
About this time, a third clerk comes to the rescue. Instead, though, she points to a new stack of boxes and says, “It’s probably in there,” and implies she’s clearly too busy to sort through them. Then, like the first clerk, she politely suggests, “But our other stores should have it.”
Before my head explodes, I pay for the other two CDs I came for. No bag, no “thank you” and no apology. As I’m walking to the exit I contemplate telling one or more of the clerks how ridiculous it is to be so disrespectful of a customer’s time. (Not that they would care or that it should even matter, but especially one that spends in excess of a $1,000 a year supporting their local, brick-and-mortar establishment when I could be ordering the same items for much less on Amazon.) Except that I know what would result: They would smile, apologize, not open the boxes, and laugh off the “old guy” as soon as I’m out the door. The whole experience smacks of ageism, sadly, now that I think about it.
Not only do I consider each of the three clerks to be inconsiderate, disorganized and lazy, what is inexcusable is that they are so damn ignorant about music!
The insanely annoying thing is this. I will continue to shop at Dimple — because I like record stores and they are the only ones left in town. And later today I’ll drive across town, past the Dimple on Broadway, to buy the new Ryan Adams CD.