Lost In The Supermarket




I had mixed feelings when Tower Records shut off the lights for good last month. Honestly, it was inevitable. The company had been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for years, due to bad business decisions and shortsighted views on the changing music industry. I won't go into a long discussion about how mismanaged they were, but the quote at the beginning of this article blaming all the industry's problems on file sharing illustrates how management at the company just didn't get it. And their poor customer service was legendary. My favorite "Tower sucks" moment was when I lived in Las Vegas, and heard an announcement one night that "Tower will be closing in thirty minutes, so you might want to think about leaving."

But when Tower first came to Nashville in 1988, you couldn't buy music on the internet. If you wanted an import CD and Cat's didn't have it, it meant a trip to Atlanta, or perusing the ads in Goldmine. When we were still underage and couldn't go to bars, my friends and I would often spend Friday nights going through the racks at the West End store. After college, I worked near West End for five years, and would often spend my lunch breaks reading Billboard or Melody Maker at Tower. So I actually had quite a few memories based on the store. None were more satisfying then the four hours of absolute boredom I watched my mom suffer through while my step-dad and I went through every single bin at the Tower Clearance store in Greenwich Village. It was sweet, sweet revenge for all the hours I spent bored out of my skull as a kid while she shopped in fabric stores.

So why am I writing about Tower a month after they closed their doors? Because when they were liquidating their inventory, I bought a LOT of CDs. The deep discounts gave me a great opportunity to buy a bunch of stuff that had been on my radar for a while, but kept getting bumped back down the list whenever I went music shopping. I've been ripping the cellophane off CDs on a daily basis for the past month and a half, and I still have a stack of twenty or so that haven't been touched since I brought them home. Over the next few weeks I'll be writing about some of them, so if you're wondering why I'm suddently posting about so much old stuff, that's why.

I was going to put up a Clash track with this post (the one in the title), but then I figured anyone who hasn't already heard London Calling a thousand times probably isn't reading a music blog. So here's another shopping song instead...

The Replacements - "Customer" (mp3) from Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash

Comments:
I haven't read this blog for a few weeks, but this one made me chuckle! Thanks for the "memories". That visit was almost as boring as the record store in Nashville when it was raining so hard I couldn't leave. I think you and the big guy went through EVERY SINGLE RECORD in the store that time. I still love ya!
 
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