Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hump Day Is For Humps


I run a vinyl group on Facebook. When I started the group in 2015, it was one of the only groups of its kind. Since then, selling product on Facebook has become the norm, and there are at last count, close to three dozen vinyl groups that I can see with just a few simple clicks of research. In reality, there are probably thousands.

My group had over 1,000 members, but I saw membership drop down to 800 or so. There are a few possible reasons. One reason I imagined was, I don't allow other members to sell their product in my group. But I think the big reason was, I don't take bullshit. A lot falls under the bullshit umbrella.


•Selling crappy, thrift shop vinyl
(There were too many other group offering up the Alan Parsons and Eddie Rabbitt catalogues, and I didn't want to see anyone trying to get $10 for records that could be found for $1 just about anywhere, with all due respect to both Alan and Eddie and their fans. It's not about the music. Mind you, I didn't care what people sold in their own groups. This is not a criticism. It's just what I wanted for my group.

•Price gauging
(Every record I put up for sale was the same price or most of the time, less than its equivalent online. I didn't want to see anyone pricing a $15 Prince record at $40, just to cash in on his death. That's just one example.

•Showing off
(If it's not for sale, don't show it me. I'm happy that you found your rare Jane's Addiction picture disc. I really am. But you must gloat somewhere else. Plus, I've seen too many photos of rare psych records, or hard to find grunge albums from 1991, posted in groups with the tag, "Today's thrift store finds." Nice try, but more than likely, bullshit. My thrift store has John Gary records, not all three Nirvana records. I admit to posting photos of recently acquired collections, to show off a bit myself, but most everything shown, ends up for sale.

Finally, the thing the irked me most-

•Unhelpful commentary
(Three years and 1,000 members, and I can tell you exactly the number of people who purchased regularly. If you were not one of those people, but chose to criticize someone's purchase, or offer up some pointless review after the record had already sold, or offered me $3 for a record that I was selling for $4, you immediately ended up on my shit list. If you can find all of the records I have for sale in your local record store for less money, by all means, go grab them and support that mom and pop. You don't need mail order.

I eventually shut down my group, which was called AM/PM Records and opened up a new, private group called "Records For Sale." Currently, it has 60 members, all personally invited by yours truly.

Things have been going wonderfully, and because I truly like all the people in the group, the rules have changed. Members can sell. Members can discuss whatever they like.

But two things happened yesterday.

If you are still with me at this point, thank you, loyal readers.

I had removed myself from Facebook early yesterday morning. I needed a breather, after having a frustrating and stroke-inducing discussion with a raving gun lunatic. Members of the group noticed this, and within minutes someone wrote, "I've heard about stuff like this. I hope we get the records we paid for!" Three years of loyalty and excellent service, not to mention hundreds of free bonus records, and the FIRST thought about my absence was, "THIEF!"

And this--

Todd Rundgren and Utopia have reunited for a spring tour, and of course, most of the members know how I feel about Todd. One member was kind enough to post a link to the news, with the tag, "For Sal." It was a thoughtful move, even though I had already procured my ticket. But seconds later, the commentary began. "I...just...don't...get...TODD!" "Yeah, I try. I just can't." Blah blah blah. And thanks again.

What is this need to shit on people? Before social media, if you didn't like a guy, you just didn't hang out with him. If he liked Jimmy Page more than Tony Iommi, you pushed each other in the schoolyard, and then walked home together. There wasn't this need to voluntarily offer up bile with every keystroke, to criticize without provocation.

If I offer up a subject, Teenage Fanclub for example, my goal, whether you believe me or not, isn't to trash the band and all its fans. I know I should like TF, and I don't, so by throwing this out for discussion, I hope people will lead me in the right direction and steer me into the songs I should be listening to. I didn't say, "I just don't get TF" so someone could say, "Yeah, and I hate Todd Rundgren."

I know I am mixing things up a bit, but it really and truly eats at my stomach lining. There are many blogs I visit, that more often than not, post music I hate, but I just keep my fucking trap shut. I don't see the need to snark on someone's parade. And yes, I am King Snark, but if Dave Matthews wants to have it out with me, then let him. I don't feel any need at all to shit on my friends because I don't like what they like. I haven't felt that way since I was 17. But mostly, if no one asked you how you feel about Todd Rundgren, try to find something more useful with your time than to offer that up on a page run by a Rundgren fan.

As for Facebook, one friend offered this:

"Think of it as a tool. You can either build something or destroy something, depending on how you use it."

It has become very apparent, no one is interested in building anything.



Michalis Matthaiou said...

I was here from the beginning,on AM/PM and even though i am thousands of miles away,i have build a fully trustfull relationship with Sal over the years,and this thing works both ways.As for anyone who even thought for even a second the word "thief" for Sal one word only applies: Shame...
And if you ever even think that Sal will do sth like that,and i speak from experience,then i personally offer you this guarantee: Whatever record Sal sold you and didnt send you in order to get your money and vanish,I vouch to send it to you,my expence.
Otherwise you can please put a cork in your piehole.

vanwoert said...

Michalis, If for some reason you don't have it to send or can't find it, I promise I'll give it to you to send or at least help you look for it for free. Hang in there Sal.

Joseph Eskenazi said...

Love reading your comments on music!!!

Shriner said...

So I'm in a not-dissimilar situation. I paid in advance for the remaining books in a series where the author dutifully cranked out the first 5 books in a promised 8-book series (and I paid for the first 5 books as they were released and had no doubts that he'd finish the series so when he suggested paying in advance, it seemed the right thing to do to give my support to the author.) It's been years since the last book was published, but there are continual promises that he'll finish the series, but the author has been involved in other projects since then (many of which I've bought from him and he has acknowledge that I've paid in advance and has accepted my e-mails related to my address change for potential future shipments, etc...). I get that circumstances change as does the muse, etc...

This is not specifically aimed at Sal, but how much time does somebody give somebody in a situation like this? A couple of months? A couple of years? Write it off?

(And back to the music -- it was extremely surprising to see Willie Wilcox back on board for the Utopia reunion. Too bad Roger couldn't do it for the short tour. No "Caravan", sadly...)

Sal Nunziato said...

I don't think our situations are similar at all. I am dealing with the same 60 people for three years. I did nothing. Literally. Nothing. Someone took it upon himself to draw the conclusion that the minute my name did not appear on Facebook, I ran off with records and money. I was missing for two hours! I've taken longer baths. I think enough time has passed where saying something in regards to a refund should not be anything but acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Sal, I very much empathize with your feelings/situation. Unfortunately, when participating in social media these days, one is apt to encounter numerous assholes. All you can do is just be Sal and do what you do. Randy

Gene Oberto said...

My friend, you and I are taking our journey through dangerous territory. There is no more respect for people on the internet.. Because you occupy space on the interweb, people believe you are fair game and the hunting season never ends. Add that the web offers anonymity in their sniping and you have 21st Century public discourse. When their is no repercussion for your actions, you can bring out all the bile and ill will you want. In past days, if you said out loud what these weasels say on websites, well, as Miss Loretta Lynn so poetically sang, "You better close you face and stay outta my way If you don't wanna go to fist city."

Maybe that's why at this time of my life, I stay out of these "debates." Last month I was with my brother, and we were listening to something on Sirrus, and I mentioned that I didn't care for Dave Matthews, "Oh, I like his stuff," Pete said. I never said another word about Dave Matthews.

As Moms have always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, DON'T SAY ANYTHING.

Jay Jarrell said...

Wow! In a world with so much negativity, sadness and hate, all I can say is “wow”. After reading this all I can feel is a kind of numbness. It was not the “thief” comment the person made so much as who made it...someone who was trusted and liked by Sal; that was the real kicker. People of ignorance make rude and uneducated comments regularly but when someone you trust does so, especially in a public forum, that only takes it to another level. Like most of us, I imagine that most who saw you were out for awhile thought “I hope Sal is okay” or “I guess something happened to his computer or Facebook again”, but “thief”? Never! No way! We have dealt with you long enough and know better. So sorry you had to put up with this at all. You deserve so much better. The one thing I am happy about is that I totally misssed that part of the comments. That would have made me too mad and I may have said something to the other individual I may have ended up regretting. I was very happy when you returned as I knew at that point you were okay...and that is all,that truly mattered. In a world where we deal with records, it is the people whom with we deal that really matters. When life happens in these groups, we do not worry about the records, we worry about the state of the person who bought or sold us the record. When our first thought is a negative one towards a friend, then something is truly wrong and we need to leave. Hope that person did so. Love ya, Sal, and I cannot express enough how much more peace of mind I have knowing you are well.

Shriner said...

@Sal -- true. I saw it as a sort-of-similar in that I believe the author is/has/had marketed his books to a very specific subset of people (though I haven't the foggiest you how many it is, and certainly probably more than 60, but for a similar number of years), so your scenario raised that thought I occasionally have in my "WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? GET WRITING YOU SLACKER!" outrage. I feel (on very rare occasions) like those Game Of Thrones fans must think about George R.R. Martin, but I don't rant on the internet about it because it's not going to make the author write any faster -- or write at all, frankly.

Obviously, mentioning it here is sort of ranting, but it was something like $200 that I'm assuming I'm likely never to see again.

I'm not apologizing for the tools in your group of 60 by any means in how they might have responded. But (as I've been around the block a long time), it's not unheard of for an actual physical store that I've done business with for many, many years to just close shop one day when I've pre-ordered/paid for something and felt "am I ever going to see this or my money again"? Doing the same just because it's on Facebook -- I can see that as equivalent to driving up to a store and seeing an "OUT OF BUSINESS" sign on the door that was not there last week.

Again, people shouldn't be dicks.

But for some people, when money is involved, their dickishness comes to the surface more quickly. As a friend once said to me, "it's not an excuse, but an explanation". Maybe.

Don't be a dick -- I try to live that motto the best I can.

Sorry for the right-turn here. For all I know the author of said series reads your blog (it might not be too far out to think that could happen...). If so, "GET WRITING YOU SLACKER!"


John Hare said...

So this is my comment for Sal: You're a good guy, emotional at times, but a good guy. Wait that's not correct and let me rephrase it. You're a great guy, very passionate at times, but a great guy. That being said, you have a lot of comments that are spot on. Here's my take on my own situation. I started buying Joe Cocker, Sly Stone, and Led Zeppelin in the late sixties when I was still in grade school and junior high. Always had a passion for music. After college my wife and kids got in the way of my collecting. I held onto what I had and then about ten years ago after the kids left the nest and I needed something to do I had the old system restored and got the old collection out of the closet and started savoring my listening experience once again. Yes, I am from the generation that would sit with friends and listen to music, comment on the audio quality, and enjoy the experience. In 2012, I retired at 55 to care for my dying wife. Listening to music was my respite. Along comes Sal and Johnny and their carnival show of music. It was heaven. I bought a lot of music. Sal learned my listening tastes and introduced me to titles and artists I wouldn't have tried before. I bought and bought more. I love my collection of thousands of albums (yes, albums. I can't stand them being referred to as vinyls. Vinyl albums or LPs are ok). I have tapered off buying the past few months for a variety of reasons. I had so many I would listen to a title once and file it away even though I liked it, I went back to work a couple years ago to preserve my sanity, and my wife passed away and the past two years were consumed with her care on a 24 hour basis. There is the occasional title that pops up that I still have to get, but I'm not buying as many. You may see me sell a few titles from time to time. I don't really need four copies of Leon Live or three copies of Concert for Bangladesh. Five copies of Dark Side of the Moon don't get played, only the best copy.

That said, Sal is in the category of the very few that if he makes a recommendation or tells me I really don't need to pass up on a certain title I listen. He's that good. One of my prized possessions in my collection is approximately 125 different Chet Baker titles that I would have never gotten had it not been for Sal. Some people use fishing guides or hunting guides, Sal is my music guide. He is a treasure that we should all appreciate.

Thank you, Sal.


buzzbabyjesus said...

Snark ruins everything.

cjbennett said...

So Sal. I trust your Judgement. I am trying to get tickets to Todd Rundgren's Latest Tour. I am a neophyte to his music . Which albums do you recommend as essential? Thanks

Sal Nunziato said...

The records that I find essential are all solo records. The tour you’re trying to get tickets for will strictly be the Utopia quartet. This is a good thing, but I don’t know if you want me to suggest records that you will be hearing on the tour or just my favorite/essential Todd records in general.

Dr Wu said...

‘Hell is other people’ - Jean-Paul Sartre. Sometimes. Certainly on social media it seems. Can identify with the ‘schoolyard’ bit - even today.
Thank you, Sal

Chris Bennett said...

Sal, I am looking more for the favorite album selection than for the upcoming concert listening experience. I guess what you would call the essentials. Thanks again!

Sal Nunziato said...

Chris Bennett

My Ten Todd/Utopia Essentials

1. Something/Anything?
2. A Wizard/A True Star
3. The Hermit of Mink Hollow
4. Healing
5. Liars
6. Nearly Human
7. Faithful
8. Runt
9. Oops Wrong Planet
10.Utopia (1982 self-titled)

Chris Bennett said...