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June 23, 2007

The Last One at One of the Last Ones

The office wanted to buy a record. An actual, brand new, vinyl record. Unfortunately, one of the side-effects of Home of the Hits’ closing was that the availability of useful vinyl in the City of Buffalo decreased by about 50%. What to do?

With vinyl, it’s not the sort of thing we always want to mail order. The staff isn’t usually in the right part of the grounds to receive it. We also don’t want it to sit in the sun all day. And the librarians like to be able to see it, so they can pick a record that isn’t dinged up (what you call fussiness, they call “quality control”). There are other record stores in town, but the one that would seem most likely to have it is… well… let’s just say that due to a history of dissatisfactory service, we’ve decided to take our business elsewhere. That mythical “elsewhere”, however, was now presenting problems materializing in the face of this new record issue.

A friend of Triskaidekaphobia’s suggested Record Theater’s former-flagship-then-bought-by-Music-Plus-now-owned-by-Record-Theater-again store on Main Street. This isn’t the first time he suggested it for purchases. The last time we went there, we were pleasantly surprised. It had almost been forgotten what a real record store could be. It has the size the H.O.T.H. lacked, and the selection that the boycotted store never has. Artists’ entire catalogs, new and old releases, reasonable prices, classics actually in stock—a music lover’s dream.

On the fateful release date, the staff went to Record Theater. They had the album we wanted. The last copy. Not dinged up, not sitting in the sun all day, and not outrageously priced. These are the things that any consumer really wants. Selection and service.

We’ve now been going back to this Record Theater. Rumor has it it may close once again. Too bad. Now that the number of local record stores has dwindled (by one, but a very significant one), finding these sorts of purchasing options and service has become ever more difficult. As convenient as buying online is, sometimes you want to actually see the merchandise, or be able to listen to it right now, or, you know, leave with eight albums when you came to buy just one.

It’s also nice to go back, because we’re visiting an old friend. The current store is only a shadow of what it once was (post-sale renovations have reduced its floor space by about half), but it still has the selection we want. In its nascent stages, a large part of the Triskaidekaphobian Music Library was purchased at this particular store. Two records = $19.41. Tapes? Please. CDs? Those got added later. Online music stores? Need it be said: they didn’t exist.

Support your local record store. You never know when it may be too late to do so any longer. And then where will you get to manhandle your vinyl?


posted at 11:55 AM | find it forever




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