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How your pretentious local record store asshole got that way
02.23.2015
11:38 am

Topics:
Idiocracy
Music

Tags:
morons
record stores
clerks
How your pretentious local record store asshole got that way


 
The smug, judging record clerk is a sad cliche, but the stereotype exists for a reason. Not all of them start out that way. Sometimes it’s a process of grinding down that takes place over several years. I’ve been working in and around record stores since 1991. Anyone working retail knows dealing with morons and nutjobs comes with the territory, but music retail people will tell you they deal with a completely different breed. There’s something special about a record store that attracts a fringe class one might never encounter any other place, save the emergency room or the DMV. Ask anyone who has worked in music retail, especially the old-timers, and they’ll tell you. We all have a story to tell.

In 2002 I stashed a notebook behind the counter of the shop where I work, something I wish I had had the foresight to think of years earlier. Anytime we got a dopey phone call, boneheaded comment, or generally batshit customer experience we’d log it into the book with the date and time of occurrence. We’ve got a few volumes filled at this point. Earlier today I flipped through some back pages and noted favorite entries. I have omitted the date stamps for the sake of brevity, but these entries span from February 2002 to November 2014. There’s so much more where this came from, but ideally this begins a dialogue with other battle-scarred shop grunts. We want to hear your stories. If you have favorite quotes or tales, especially ones that top these, post them to the comments and share with others who’ve lived the struggle.

Enjoy these hand-selected quotes from the music retail front

 
 
Customer: “Why are there only 12 songs on this CD?”
Clerk: “Uh, that’s just how many songs are on it.”
Customer: “So, there’s six songs per side?”

*

Customer: “I’m looking for an old song called ‘The Monster Mash’. I think it’s by Kris Kristofferson.”

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Are you the manager?”
Clerk: “Yes.”
Customer: “OK. There’s a Beatles album… it’s really rare… it’s worth a whole lot of money… Do you know which one it is?”
Clerk: “No.”
Customer: “OK. How much would it be worth?”

*

Customer: “Do you have a Christmas album by Aryan Neville?”

*
 
Customer: “Do you have any Van Morrison? I didn’t see any under ‘V’.”
Clerk: (politely) “Well, it would actually be under ‘M’.”
Customer: “NEVERMIND!” (customer storms out)

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Is this the record place?”
Clerk: “Yes.”
Customer: “Could you tell me how to get a record deal? I do rap.”

*
 
Customer: “I’m looking for a Country singer. The last name is ‘Redding’. I think the first name is ‘Otis’”

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Do you have any… uh… Gospel… uh… I mean… uh… tape… on… video… uh… I mean… (screams) DO YOU HAVE ANY HALLE BERRY MOVIES?

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Do you have constellation music?”
Clerk: “Constellation music?”
Customer: “You know… A variety.”

*

(phone call)
Customer: “There’s this lady that just put out a song. I don’t know what it is.”
(statement ends here with customer expecting an answer)

*

(phone call)
Customer: “I have some… I don’t know what they are… uh… (moment of silence) Do y’all buy 26 inch records?”

*

Customer: “Do you guys have any Kenny G posters?”
Clerk: “No, I’m sorry we don’t.”
Customer: “Well, if I get two then I’ll give you guys one.”

*

Customer: “I know that the Beatles Red, White, and Blue albums are the best, but are there any other good copulations by the Beatles?”
 

 
Customer: “Do y’all have ‘Old Mount Zion’?”
Clerk: “Um, who is it by?”
Customer: “The New Years song everybody sings!”
Clerk: “Auld Lang Syne?”
Customer: “I dunno, maybe.”

*
 
Customer: “Are all your CD’s made?”
Clerk: “...?”



Customer: “I’m looking for ‘Theme From a Summer Place’.”
Clerk: “Do you know by who? About 100 different artists have done that song.”
Customer: “There’s no ARTIST! It’s an INSTRUMENTAL!”

*

A guy comes in and wants to order a TV-only-offer CD. He brings in the 1-800 number from the commercial and asks if we can call it in for him.

*

Two sorority girls come into the shop.
Sorority girl #1: “Do you guys have any Beatles DVD’s?... no… wait… I guess they didn’t have video cameras back then.”

*
 
A young white woman’s inquiry about Reggae:
“Y’all got that Reggae guy? ...He’s black.”

*

Customer: “Y’all got any Ronald McDonald?—You know that guy who used to be with the ‘Doobie Boys’”

*
 
Customer: “Y’all got that Freddie Jackson anthropology?”

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Hello. I bought this DVD from you guys and the price sticker has a date on it: 12/05… does that mean that I rented it and I need to bring it back? Or did I buy it?”

*

Customer has an inquiry about the Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions:
Customer: “What does BBC session mean?”
Clerk: “Well, it would have been a session recorded for British BBC radio.”
Customer: “So is it in English?”

*

A white woman hands my co-worker, John, three CD’s and he tells her the total without using the register.
She pays and says “That was impressive!”
John: “What was?”
Woman: “I’ve never met a black guy that could add numbers without using a calculator”

*

A man kept us busy for 30 minutes, trying first to find in the store, and then google “African Bandstand”. He couldn’t believe us when we told him it didn’t exist because it was, according to him, “the most popular song of all time.”
After 15 minutes more we figured out on a hunch that he wanted “Afrika Baambaata.”

*

A man returns to the store 10 minutes after his purchase and wants to return an Elvis DVD because it wouldn’t play in his car’s CD PLAYER.

*

Customer: “Do you have the Beatles Salt and Pepper Hearts Club?”

*
 
A man buys Yusef Lateef’s Eastern Sounds CD. The next day he brings it back complaining: “There’s too many eastern sounds on it.”
 

  
Customer: “Hey man, where’s all y’alls CD’s at? The ones with the music on it.”

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Do you guys buy oil wells?”
Clerk: “...”

*
 
A grown man comes into the store pulling a little toy red wagon…
“Do you guys have that movie Alive about a rugby team that crashes and they have to become CARNIVORES?”

*
 
Guy mumbles to himself: “Same size as Janet Jackson, right?”
Clerk: “Huh?”
Mumbling guy: “All CD’s are the same size, right?”

*
 
Customer: “Do you guys sell punk? Like MXPX and CREED?”

*
 
Customer: “Do you guys have ‘If I Gotta Love Edith’ by Iron Butterfly?”

*
 
(phone call)
Customer: “Do you know who buys records?”
Clerk: “We do.”
Customer: “Where are you?”
-explanation ensues, guy is clearly not following…
Customer: “Well, I only got one record to sell”
Clerk: “Oh?”
Customer: “I paid $80 for this Cinderella picture disc in 1986. I’d like to get at least what I paid for it.”

*

Customer: “Do you just buy the vinyl or the music?”

*

OK, this one’s pretty cool.

There’s an elderly couple that shops at the store regularly. The old man is blind and his wife is this sweet old lady that guides him around and reads off the song titles to him on the Big Band CD’s. One day we decided to order a pizza for lunch and there’s three of us at the counter eating our slices. The old woman comes up to my co worker, Rob, and says “that sure does look good.” Rob has the slice right up to his mouth to take a bite out of it when the old lady grabs Rob’s hand and pulls it over to her own mouth, taking a huge chomp out of it—completely out of the blue.

Rob is dumbfounded, just staring and not knowing what to do or say to this old woman that just took a bite of his pizza.

The lady then looks at Rob and says “when you get to be my age you can do anything you want.”
 

 
Customer:“Can you tell me where your ‘Renegade’ music is?”
Clerk:“Renegade?”
Customer:“Yeah, like Shabba Ranks”

*

Customer: “You ever listen to the Yardbirds? ...Oh man yeah, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Sammy Hagar!”

*
 
We once had a young lady turn in an employment application. She included a resume, which most people applying here never do - but whatever, that’s cool. The resume was three pages, but had an extra page stuck in the middle by mistake. It was a print-out of an email she received from a friend telling her what remedy to use to get rid of her yeast infection.

*
 
Customer: “This that concert that got Sting and Yo Yo Mama?”

*
 
Customer looking for Michael Jackson’s Live in Bucharest: “Ya’ll got that Michael Jordan - Dangerous, Live in Buddharest?”

*

Clerk: “No I’m sorry I can’t buy any of these (caked in mildew and ratshit) records.”
Customer: “Well, how about you just give me $20 and throw them all away?” 
Clerk: “...”

*

Customer: “Do you guys buy records? I have a Lou Rawls album that my wife looked up online. It sells for $800. You can sell it for me and take a cut.”

*

Customer: “Do you have CDs for turntables?”

*

World’s most awesome 80+ year old white lady comes in and picks up a Ying Yang Twinz CD and then asks if we have the Three Six Mafia CD with “Whoop That Trick” because “that’s the one they won the academy award for.” She buys both.

*

One of our employees is eating a bag of chips when a customer comes up and asks “whatcha eatin’? Rootbeer?”

*

Customer: “Do y’all have any cuban music? Like Kenny Chesney or Jimmy Buffett but without the Kenny Chesney and the Jimmy Buffett.”

*

A customer on the phone probably calling about H.E. Dixon, who later angrily dismisses the suggestion that that might be who he is actually looking for: “I’m praying y’all got this. It’s Eighty Dicks. It’s a gospel.”

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Do you buy records? I got records that haven’t even been degenitalized yet.”

*

Teenage girl asks for classic rock gift suggestions for her dad.
Clerk: “How about Alice Cooper?”
Girl: “Oh no, he hates female singers”

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Hello. Is this a restaurant?”
Clerk: “no”
Customer: “OK. Do you take 8 track records?”

*

Customer: “Do you know where The Department of Resurrection is?”
Clerk: “Is that a band?”
Customer: “It’s a government organization”
Clerk: “Oh. No. I don’t know where that is.”
Customer: “The Pentagon… The Vatican and the Pentagon.”

*

A sketchball character comes in trying to sell some obviously stolen 80’s goth records including a Bauhaus record. I try to call him out, pointing to the Bauhaus record:
Me: “So what does this one sound like?”
The guy looks at the cover of In The Flat Field, obviously for the first time ever, and sees the distorted nude photograph:
“OH! Bahadu?! He’s like the white PRINCE… ya see, he’s naked. It’s kind of mellow… it’s funky!”
 

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Sh*t People Say At Record Stores
I Need That Record: The Life And Death Of Indie Record Stores

Posted by Christopher Bickel

 

 

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