Monday, April 15, 2013

Records: The Morning After

Record dealers have a reputation, as do record collectors, and it isn't a good one. The characters in both Nick Hornby's book "High Fidelity" and the film of the same name aren't that much of an exaggeration. I live it, so I know. One of the reasons I love doing the Brooklyn Record Riot, the fifth I've been a part of, is that somehow, almost of the dealers and most of the attendees have been truly wonderful to be around. This might have something to do with the organizers, though they certainly couldn't guarantee who would show up to haggle for that elusive French Monkees picture sleeve.

Or this guy, who took a year off of my life.

"Do you have The Rascals-Once Upon A Dream?"

"Yes, I do actually. Four bucks."

"I already have it, but mine doesn't have the book."

"This has the book."

"Can you sell me just the book?"

"No. Of course not."

"But I already have it."

"Good thing it's only four bucks."

"I'll give you two for just the book."

"Give me four for the record. The book is free."

"Hold it for me. I'll be back."

This circle of insanity happened another three times, with the conversation barely changing. My friend who helped me out at the show offered me $5 for the record just to annoy the guy. But he didn't notice.

"I already have the album. I just need the book. You won't take three? I mean, no discount?'

"Yes, there is a discount. It's four dollars. It should be eight. It's in excellent shape."

"I already have it. I have all their records."

"Me too."

"I just need the book."

"This has the book."

"Can I give you three?"


I realize I was being just as difficult. But I miss this.

This next line is what made me give in.

"Will you take three dollars?

Just like that, with no emotion, like it was the first time and not the thirty-first time, he asked me again, seconds after telling him no.

That was my last sale of the day.

I loved every second of it.


William Repsher said...

I don't understand that about myself either as a music consumer. Thinking more in terms of buying digital music now. If I see a track on Emusic listed as $0.89 as opposed to $0.79 or less, I think, this is a rip-off. Maybe in a larger, longer sense it is ... but we're talking a dime!

It's always been this way. I recall when record stores had their letter price codes, fretting that I didn't want to spend $6.99 on an album instead of $5.99. What was a dollar if it meant I'd get a week, maybe months or years, of listening to an album?

Anonymous said...

oh sal.....shame on you - you should've held out....i don't even collect records and if you'd have phoned me - I'd have "cabled you" $5 for it and given it to a friend (who thinks they "collect" records).
i remember working for a chain of music stores (that sold guitars mostly) and for one straight week, this guy would come every night, 30 minutes before closing and "grind me" for this bass guitar that he (obviously) coveted......"what's my price, man?", he would say - & from the initial reduction (that I would do whenever someone came in that late), the price would never change and he would keep us there every night AFTER closing while he repeated the same questions (like "your" moron).
On Evening Number Seven - the general manager finally said to me "get that guy out of here - with or without a sale".......
and i did - i told him that i'm glad he understood why we couldn;t reduce the price any further (than I already had) and that since he (obviously) wasn't going to buy it from me - that my "manager would like to take over the sale - beginning once again at the pre-sale price that the bass was marked at......."
he said, "what?" and "begrudgingly" bought it and then he proceeded to "grind me" (for another week straight) for an amp!!!! I could've killed him!

I went and saw him "play" shortly afterward (which i would do, if you bought something from me and told me you'd be playing somewhere soon).......
and he sucked.....


A walk in the woods said...

Hilarious. We've de-monetized music of course, so everyone thinks it should be free - right along with stock photography from the Interwebz (I'm a graphic designer and have noticed nobody thinks they should pay for photography).

I'm always willing to pay a fair price for a good piece. Even if it's a dollah over my limit.

Hope you sold other stuff you wanted to sell - at your price.

Anonymous said...


Ken D said...

Damn... all those times I came into NYCD and paid the price that was marked on the item? That was NEGOTIABLE??? I never knew all I had to do was be a completely oblivious jerk and I could've saved a buck or two (and been good story fodder!).

Walk in the woods: Almost noboby wants to pay a graphic designer either. (I'm one as well.) Real work for actual $ has nearly dried up. Now its all, "My niece made this [logo/poster/brochure/business card] with a template she found online. Nice, huh?"
At least I have more time to read music blogs...

buzzbabyjesus said...

I don't respond well in these situations. I can't help thinking I'd offer to sell him the book for $4 without the record.
I know a hardcore tag-saler with no shame. His strategy is to grind the seller down to the point where they don't care anymore. I have walk away at some point it's so embarrassing. It often works, but I've seen it backfire where the seller won't sell him anything at any price.

rick said...

i remember reading an article in the new yorker about haggling; the writer--realizing that when he mentally converted the foreign currency to u.s. dollars he was really haggling for the equivalent of 25 cents--decided to start reverse haggling: telling the moroccan cab driver, "2 dollars to take me across town in such a fine vehicle? i will offer you 5!" "10 dollars for such fine craftsmanship? i will give you 20" it freaked everyone out, and they all started to give him more in return as well: the cabbie waited around and took the guy back to his hotel; the rug salesman threw in an extra rug, etc etc...i would've given you $8 for the record, sal

Anonymous said...

Overpaying, eh? Never thought of that...

charlie c. said...

So there was probably no chance of you bundling the Shelly Berman and Dwight D. LP's for me at a generous discount - glad I stayed home!

soundsource said...

I already have the cover and the book so if I just want the record could I have given you $1
Mr. your a better man than I

Bill said...

Hey Sal--

This doesn't belong here, but I thought I'd send this to you anyway.

I went to see Graham Parker and the Rumour in South Orange NJ on Saturday night. It was a totally fantastic show!

The first time I saw GP live was for the tour behind Another Grey Area, so I just missed the Rumour years. Man, was it great to hear that sound live. They are a really good band, and the sound was crisp and clear. And the songs from the new album really benefitted from being played live--they were tougher and more fleshed out. I hope he does another album with them.

Thought you'd appreciate the report. Thanks for coming back and blogging again. I stop in almost every day and enjoy what I read and hear (although I have to say that I've never caught the Todd Rundgren bug. Maybe I need to give him another try.)