The One After 9/09

I like record stores. I am thankful that the last major record store in NYC is the locally owned J&R, rather than Tower or Virgin. They’ve always had a better selection and better prices, and I’ve been climbing those stairs now for something like 25 years.

But today, they made me reconsider. Today is the release date for the newly remastered Beatles albums. I could have ordered them on Amazon, but I wanted to go buy them in person (I’m old fashioned that way) and I wanted to do so at J&R. So I showed up there at 9am, when they open, to see a line all the way down the block. OK, fine. I got in line, hoping to score one of the box sets. They let people in very slowly, maybe five people every ten minutes, and then announced they were sold out. Despite repeated questioning, they never offered any details on why the line was moving so slowly or how many boxes they had in stock. They never came out to tell people like me, farther back in the line, that there was no chance we’d get a box. They just pushed us around, ignored questions, and then shouted “No more.”

One of the employees (you’d recognize him if you were a regular shopper) came down the line asking if we wanted to advance order the set. No, I said, based on the way you treated us, I’ll be ordering it online. “Good luck finding it online,” he snarled. But I’d been browsing Amazon on my phone, and had already ordered both sets (the stereo as well as the mono, which he said was “plain gone”), and they will be here in a few weeks.

So, I’m disappointed not to have the set today, but I will have them soon, and at considerably cheaper prices than J&R charges, and without the hassle and the rudeness. I generally try to buy things locally, especially books and records, whenever I can. Between music, computers, and stereo equipment, I’m sure I’ve spent well over $10,000 at J&R over the years, maybe quite a bit more. But experiences like this make me much less likely to bother.

Anyone get their hands on a Beatles box today? Where?

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