The Usual Suspects of Every Record Store


Welcome to For Your Consideration, I am Nicholas La Torre and I am here to present relevant issues in music that are on my mind. I will present multiple sides of the issue for you to consider and ultimately we will try to gauge your thoughts on the issue. In today's talk, I'm taking a satirical look at the typical groups represented every time you visit a record store.

Thanks to the recent upsurge, many are now able to check out record stores these days. For a while there, it was getting hard to find a record store. In small towns, many places had given way to strip malls, which always seemed to favor more modern technology. If you could get a record, you were choosing between maybe 10-15 that were just extra pressings from modern band album releases. As I got older, I was fortunate to live in places that had old time record shops. They were just like you see in the movies and most have the typical set of characters. Check out who to expect below.

The Browser (Loiterer)

One of the single-most frustrating experiences (if you've worked retail) is the person that hangs around all day and buys absolutely....nothing. They will throw around questions and tidbits about your products, but they know they are getting out of there without having spent a dime. I imagine record stores are a bit more used to this these days, considering a trip to the record store is more of an experience than a simple purchase venture. Many let you sample the works and listen to records in the store. Also, the playlist that comes out of the shop is something that should always be examined.

Music Snobs

Ok, these assholes....Wait....let me calm. These folks are the plague of every record store, but every record store has them and sometimes, the record store needs them. They will dog all over anything you like, shout out a more obscure "better" version of whatever you are listening to, and they sometimes care more about music snobbery than they do personal hygiene. Yes, these are the high mortals of the record store and they must be challenged! They are good for one things though. When you get that customer who comes in and stumps even the employees, it's like the moment they've all been waiting for. They have to tell you exactly who they are looking for before they tell you they are garbage.

The Overpayers

These are the folks who waltz in off the street and pay double for an audiophile version of an album for one song that they barely even like. Sure, this is their way to get the foot in the door and could go on to better things, but for now, they are dropping stacks for records that do not provide the best experience. Not that the audiophile version wouldn't, but most of these albums were cut with tunes that were all provided as singles. If you have any bands who are older and released albums originally on vinyl, those are the ones to check out. You'll see how different the music is than you are used to and you will see what you have been missing about the entire culture.

Super Obscure Person

Ok, this person is actually pretty cool. Usually socially-awkward and questionably dressed, but they are actually usually pretty cool. Super obscure person knows about a lot of bands you've never heard of. This makes it difficult for them to buy in a record store to begin with because their super obscure throat music albums aren't very marketable at most record stores. They usually hassles the owner about something that he should really check out, but only SOP and a few other people have even heard it. Sometimes this can work out really well. Often, it ends us with everyone in the room wanting to cover their ears because SOP's taste is just a bit too out there.

Owner/General Manager

Sometimes this person can bleed into the next previous one. Store owners and managers generally get into the business for the music, not the money. It's nice to have their friends around while they talk about their favorite types of music. That beats a 9-5 drag elsewhere to make a living. They put up with the next person on our list because they appreciate the variety in their store. They are usually incredibly friendly, super hardworking, and one of the most accommodating people you will ever meet. They want people to enjoy their jobs. Watch out for their bad days though. Managing all their bills with meager revenue can make for a seriously stressed out person. If you are off your game, they might take out their stress on you.

Indifferent Employee

Now, these folks run the spectrum in terms of their indifference. Sometimes, they are indifferent to most of the success or failure of the shop, but really into the music. Other times, they just finished smoking a joint before starting their shift and they planned to reorganize the collection of musical soundtracks for the entire. Yet, they are nowhere to be found unless called by name or right before lunch. They are as cordial as necessary to the customers, but only when the boss is around. Before that, they do not care about your questions and may even belittle you for your selection in music. Coming around with a Billboard Top 10 track in mind, better take it to a streaming service if this person is alone. If they are on the other side of the spectrum, they may not even care whether you pay for it or not.

Person Still Trying to Make Cassette Tapes a Thing

Look! Give up! The only supporters you have are people with really old cars or others like yourself who inherited a huge cassette collection from some other doofus who collects these things. Yes, they were great for making mix tapes, but other than that, we should leave them in the past. They don't sound better than anything else and they still have to be rewound and all that garbage. Even with the ones with a skip-type feature, you're slapping lipstick on a pig. If you have the collection already, I get it, wear it out, but if not, make declutter and try something else. You don't need to hang on to this music delivery method for any more of your Whitesnake cassettes. Even if you're using these to make demos these days, there are much cheaper and distributable methods out there for free.

The 45 Guy

Speaking of lame technology, welcome to the guy who loves having pancake stacks of his music collection around at him at all time. Even the cases for those things looked like weird, miniature hatboxes. Who wants to listen to a record two songs at a time? That kind of up, down stuff is left up to new parents or church masses. Then you have to figure out where that little puck is because you can practically fit your whole hand through a 45 record. That thing is always in the way until you need to listen to the record, then you can't find the thing. They offer adapters these days, but c'mon, give up the 45.

Despite all that, a trip to the record store can be a great time. It's nice to have some consistency to our lives, even if it means putting up with the usual suspects at the record store. In fact, anytime you spot a new version of the same thing, it can be like adding to another collection.


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