Feb 15, 2012
Death of a record store salesman
They say the record store is dead. I can tell you from experience, it has been a slow, painful, process. I was eighteen years old when I started working at Wherehouse Music. It wasn't quite the behemoth of a Tower or Virgin mega-store (which are most certainly extinct by now), but a corporate giant nonetheless. Two years later, the company had completely vanished. Ever since then I've been working for record and cd outlets of all sorts, in various positions, from lowly store-clerk to warehouse manager. One by one, they've each closed their doors, and I've perpetually moved on to the next. These days, there's just no place left for me. Even recently, I walked in to Homer's Music and asked if they had any open positions. I already knew the answer, but I thought it wouldn't hurt... painful. It was once a dream of mine to open my own store, but I'm sure by now that it wouldn't have stood long. One of my favorite movies has always been High Fidelity, where the hero of the story had one day awakened from a drunken slump to find he had purchased a vinyl shop. I definitely fit that bill. So anyway, what's the point to all this? The point is, there might still be hope. Sure, we couldn't 'Save The Empire', but they maybe didn't need saving. It's big commercial stores like Wherehouse, and Blockbuster who have completely convoluted the true integrity of such local staples. Not to mention crappy little places like BuyBack$, and CD Tradepost ("Where Being Used Is a Good Thing"). Those kind of places drill it in to their employee's heads that 'this is NOT a record store' in hopes of ever clinging to the dying industry. And they do well. But consider this; Though your favorite record store may have disappeared a long time ago (or in my case, you might have to drive 10 or more hours for a half way decent selection), the spots that actually tend to survive are the little holes-in-the-wall that no one ever seemed to notice - not the big guys. Maybe record stores are dead. But who cares? You want a real worth while experience? Go down in the basement of your local antique and thrift stores, and you'll find gems like you've never imagined. Check out that bookstore on the corner and see what you can find. And if you really miss having that super store near by, stop throwing all your money away at Walmart and Best Buy (honorable mention to iTunes for completely destroying the foundation of physical merchandise), and give it back the artists and labels that kept those businesses alive.
If you live in the Omaha area, here are a few independent outlets that can still use your support:
Drastic Plastic Records
Back in The Day Antiques