October 17, 2006

Grave Robbing

So I took a little trip to the saddest store in the world: the once-great Tower Records. It started with old man Solomon selling records out of the back of his dad's drugstore. It grew into a global chain and a Sacramento institution. But then came iTunes and Wal-Mart and Chapter 11 and now, the great crash. So now the mother of all going-out-of-business sales is under way. Two-hundred million in stuff has got to go. Craigorian Chant World Headquarters is not eight blocks away from the Tower district where it all started. And where it ends. All the books, CDs and DVDs you want, everything must go.

They are a week into the fire sale now. The shelves are maybe one-third empty. The staff is putting their best face on it, because when the stuff is gone, the job is too.

So I pick through the stuff grab a little here and a little there. A sale is a sale, but it feels a bit like making off with the flowers at a funeral.

I'm keeping the yellow bag with the red store logo the clerk puts my stuff in. Souvenir. In a few weeks they might be selling off bigger stuff. If I time it right I might get the store sign or maybe the "Tower" itself.

We are all on our way out. Act accordingly.


larry said...

How sad. I used to frequent the one in Campbell, CA. It had a parking lot that was way too small for the number of customers. It caused traffic barriers and no-parking signs to sprout in the residential neighborhood behind it and a fence to grow on the median of the street in front to prevent customers from parking at the mall across the street and (jay)walking to the store.

The most notable SF-area store was in San Francisco on Columbus Avenue in the North Beach area. I only went there a few times, however.

I don't buy a lot of music, but I definitely prefer CD's while they are still unrestricted. (They won't be that way forever.) This DRM'd stuff that Apple and others sell, or the music that is subscribed to, is a real slap in the face to consumers - who, I must say, deserve it for all the piracy that has gone on. I don't steal music, I don't copy friends' CD's, and I don't want no copy-protected s**t on my iPod.

I do try to buy CD's in stores rather than the internet, though I just have to admit that ordering from Amazon is tres convenient.

I'll wander over to the Tower near my office later this week and see what's left for picking.

larry said...

So I went to the nearby Tower yesterday. I didn't have as much time for browsing as I planned, but I picked up 5 classical CD's. And that reminded me of another advantage of Tower stores - a separate section for classical music, so that we don't have to listen to hip-hop blaring over the speakers while trying to choose between Bach and Beethoven. (Bach wins!)

The Virgin Records store in San Francisco has the same arrangement, as I recall, but obviously most other stores do no.