Monday, April 18, 2011

Postmortem: Record Store Day

Did you make it to your local mom-and-pop shop last Saturday? From what I witnessed, the kids are still crazy about vinyl. This was my first Record Store Day. So, I didn't really know what to expect. I did know quantities of exclusives were, in many cases, extremely limited, and I had a few on my must-have list. With that in mind, I left the house quite early for the short trek to
Easy Street Records in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. I anticipated arriving about 30 minutes before opening and felt like I would be in good shape to get what I wanted. Due to some unexpected construction, I ended up losing about 15 minutes of cushion time. Then add the fact I passed another record store along the way, Silver Platters, only to see a big line already outside the doors. Yep, I was starting to sweat it... and with good reason. The line at Easy Street was a sight to behold. By 9AM, it stretched an entire block. I would guess I was about 125th in line. Would that get me, for example, the new dB's 7"? I had talked to someone from Easy Street a day earlier, and he said the store would have four copies. Hmmm, I don't know...

There were some operational problems. All of the exclusives were in cardboard boxes right at the door. So, imagine hundreds of eager vinyl collectors rifling through these boxes right at the entrance. It was almost impossible. And why put it at the door? At least 90 percent of the store was a ghost town during those first minutes. Everyone was at the door. If I ran the store, I would have either put the stock on the shelves where they belong (such as Big Star in the Big Star section) or, at least, put the 12" vinyl at one end of the store, 7" vinyl at the other end and CDs and other collectibles in the middle. That would spread things out a bit.

For the first several minutes I couldn't get anywhere near the boxes. Then the gods smiled on me. I spotted the 7" single of the dB's. It was between me and a couple of customers going through a box, but I could see it as I looked underneath a small hole underneath the armpit of one of the fellas. I yelled: "Could you grab me that dB's?" The guy actually handed it back to me. As I reached for it, I saw the new Cars 7" in a box next to this guy. I stretched as far as I could and got a finger and thumb on it and pinched. Got it. By now, the crowd was starting to take their finds to the register for purchase. In seconds the line is snaking all through the store. Uh-oh, there seems to be multiple lines, but there is only supposed to be one. Oh well, not my problem. I have other records on my list. Unfortunately, the boxes look pretty picked over. Sure enough, I can't find anything else I want. Grr. So, I only walked away with my two seven-inch singles. The worst part was seeing what I wanted in the hands of others already in line to pay. Is that the new Paul Simon on vinyl? Oh, man.

Now, I realize this is only one experience in one store, but I'm wondering how things worked out for you. Did you get there early enough? How were things organized? Did you get any freebies? Were there any good in-store performances where you were? Feel free to share your tales.

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