17 Apr

15 Universal Truths About Record Shops & Record Shopping

© Spaztacular


As a life-long junkie, I can attest to this!

by Mark O’Donnell TimeOut

Yes, there’s the small matter of Record Store Day coming up soon. But buying vinyl is a way of life, not just a one day fling. So what’s the deal for lifelong vinyl junkies and record shop staffers? Take a look below…1. There’s always good stuff hidden away behind the counter
You might think a shop has all of its wares on display, but think again, my friend. Just like in Breaking Bad where Walter White’s gear is much better quality than the other stuff on the street, your local black crack dealer (that’s your record shop worker, yo) keeps some of the good stuff tucked away in a special place behind the counter. Be nice and you may just scoop a limited edition release or a sought after promo.2. It’s an expensive habit
Once you’re deep into the addiction cycle, buying vinyl can drain your cash like an out of control gambling habit – you’ll stop at nothing to get your mitts on those must-have platters, racking up credit card bills and sacrificing stuff like having any food in your fridge. Best to see it as an investment…

3. And it depreciates QUICKLY
As investments go new vinyl is not a short-term winner – the moment you’ve bought your box-fresh new beats, you can expect the value to plummet to a fraction of what you’ve just paid. Hold onto it long-term and you may just get some big numbers on Discogs (not that you’d want to sell it anyway).

4. The seller is rarely in a strong position to bargain
You’ve splurged all your hard earned on tunes and now you’re broke – what next? Well, there’s always the second-hand shop, that’s got to be worth a punt, eh? One small problem: the person buying the tunes in the shop can smell your desperation, so much so that they know they can offer whatever they want and you’ll probably accept it just so you can buy yourself a kebab for dinner.

5. There’s always an ultimate obsessive collector
Anyone who works in a record shop thinks they’ve got the best collection in town, but no, they’ve not reckoned with the obsessive collector who spends all his days roaming every shop in town, buying and selling like a stock trader after mainlining coffee. This guy always has an arch nemesis, who wants a piece of the action. Put these two in the same shop at the same time and feel the vibes (not good ones by the way).

6. And promo whores
To snag the best new tunes you’ve got to be on you’re A-game each and every week, and this means descending like a vulture when the parcel of promos rocks up.

7. And a strange guy who smells like a rotting corpse
Weirdly, buying records and hygiene are not always compatible. The great unwashed can often be found lingering in plain site, stinking up the place. They’ve still got a few quid for tunes, mind.

8. He’s not the only weirdo on the shop scene
There’s the aggro guy who shouts random things at the wall as he’s listening to records, or the guy who played with himself that time in front of everyone, or there’s the nutter with white slime round his mouth who has just been sniffing poppers – at 10am in the morning…

9. Some punters will ask for the most stupid shit
Just like a DJ might get asked to play something ‘funky’ when he’s playing James Brown’s ‘Gonna Have a Funky Good Time’ at his weekly bar residency, record shop workers are well versed in stoopid requests stakes. ‘Have you got Tupac’s new tune?’

10. It’s like a social club for your mates
Occupying a prime spot in town means your mates will be in on the regs, stopping off for a brew and a good natter. And once the doors shut and the shutters go up, you can have a little party with a decent soundsystem and endless tunes on hand.

11. And there’s always someone who always hogs the listening deck without buying anything
Record shops don’t exist to make people rich. Fact. So to the people who spend all day hogging the deck without buying anything, buy something you miserable feckers, or move your ass and let someone else have a go.

12. Promoters will love you if you work in a shop
Working in a record shop means you’re quite literally in the shop window. This means you’re invaluable for local promoters – you can give them a nice spot for their posters and flyers, sell tickets, basically promo their night like a total pro. Make sure you get a decent fee for that gig they offer you in return.

13. Other shops might not… 
It would be nice to say all independent record shops are in it together, fighting the onset of low grade audio diarrhoea in one unified front. This does happen. Kind of. But don’t be surprised if politics rears its head.

14. And the pay’s not great
Let’s face it: if you wanted to be rich you wouldn’t work in a record shop. But there are many, many perks: guesties galore, DJ gigs galore, and good times guaranteed!

15. It’s still the best place in the world
Despite everything – the oddballs, the meagre pay and the tumbleweed shifts when it’s as quiet as a graveyard– working in a record shop is still the most fun you’ll ever have doing a job. You get paid to listen to music all day while drinking copious brews with your mates. It’s a dream gig.


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