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.
I was in the VW dealership a little over a year ago, I asked him if the would have a lot more models next year with the TDI. The diesel engine.
I was looking at the specs and they were really great. He asked me if I knew something he didn’t. It just seemed logical to me that that would be the plan with such a great engine. I was right about the plan. How could you be so clueless when the company you represent is coming out with engines that seemed almost to good to be true, unless you knew they were to good to be true.
Are they stupid or inconsiderate–how about both!
These employees attitudes are inexcusable. They have to realize that, unfortunately, their brick and mortar store is a waning model. But what makes it different from other dying enterprises is that it’s beloved by so many. It’s represented a community, historically. So they have a rare opportunity to be something exclusive and special.
It’s like vinyl: Practically speaking, vinyl is inconvenient and its quality is inferior. But, for many other reasons, it’s a beloved product. And just as it was dying, it came back to life. Record store day, which celebrates vinyl, is a special event. Re-releases on vinyl are special gifts. And the industry seems to treat vinyl in a special way, with exclusive tracks, like it’s a hand-crafted, artisan creation made just for fans.
Record stores are inconvenient, too. Like you said, you could have bought the same CDs online for cheaper. You’re going out of your way for the music-buying, experience, in an age when people don’t even buy music anymore. So it’s really disappointing that brick and mortar stores don’t celebrate the fans. They haven’t followed the trend of vinyl. Not the one’s I’ve seen, anyway, and your experience seems to illustrate this. These employees don’t seem to be celebrating anything. They don’t sound knowledgeable and they don’t care. They’re just collecting a paycheck.
This should be their time to, as Dylan Thomas said, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light!” But, instead, it sounds like they don’t care if the light dies out.
Steven — Thanks for the passionate, articulate reinforcement. — Stuart
Sorry for the painful experience but glad it inspired a post. Now I’m just stoked to know there is a new Ryan Adams cd. I’ve been a bit out f the loop.