I know I've written about going back to the Best Buy I worked at in college, but there were new thoughts that came into my head when I was in Houston last week.
I don't miss working there, and the store layout that I remember is completely different now. Instead of drawing customers in with CDs and VHS tapes, the emphasis is (and has been for a few years) on cell phones and computers (especially their Geek Squad service). My area of expertise has been relegated to a pit stop before checking out. What was once a dozen aisles and shelves is now a couple of shelves and kiosks. And the CDs are shelved in alphabetical order with no room to break things up by music genre. It's Kanye West next to Wilco across from Jason Aldeen and As I Lay Dying. I'm not bitter or hurt; I simply reflect how I've moved on from there as a former employee and a regular customer.
Working at the store between 1997 and 2000, I experienced the last hurrah of the music industry with CDs. I stocked boxes upon boxes of Celine Dion, the Titanic soundtrack, N*SYNC, the Spice Girls, and the Backstreet Boys. I was not the greatest employee, but I liked the people I worked with and was seen as a reliable person. I never grasped being a salesman; I was happy to help people find what they were looking for. I was not a fan of trying to make people buy something they didn't want. (This was only really enforced in my last few months working there before my college graduation.)
I don't think of my time working there as a waste of time. Far, far from it. I learned valuable lessons about the working world and how to work with other people. Those things certainly helped me when I worked in radio and TV. I do, still remember a valuable lesson: retail is not a career for me. Some people love the experience, but I prefer to spend my holidays with my family and friends in a good mood.
I used to buy CDs every few weeks. This year, I've purchased two CDs from Best Buy. One was for an interview I did and I didn't want to wait a few days to get it from Amazon. If I buy CDs, normally, they're used copies found at Half Price Books or Good Records. I still consume a ton of music, but like millions of other people in the world, it's from online sources. Not everything is available digitally, so if I find something dirt cheap on CD, I do what must be done.
Looking at what my old Best Buy is now, I remind myself that moving on is a good thing. There's no more Best Buy Radio to (jokingly) aim announcing for. I like the thought of giving money to a touring band directly for their merch instead of playing hot potato between their record label and retail outlets. These days, I don't think I fit working at a place like them, and that's certainly fine by me.