Skip to main content

Turn On the Fun

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.


Popular posts from this blog

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Catherine Wheel

Originally posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 Despite managing to release five proper albums, Catherine Wheel was one of those bands that always seemed to slip past the mainstream rock crowd. Yes, they got some nice airplay in their day, but people seem to have forgotten about them. You may hear “Black Metallic” or “Waydown” on a “classic alternative” show on Sirius or XM or maybe even on terrestrial radio, but that’s about it. For me, they were one of most consistent rock bands of the ’90s, meandering through shoegazer, hard rock, space rock and pop rock, all while eluding mainstream pigeonholing. Led by the smooth, warm pipes of vocalist/guitarist Rob Dickinson (cousin of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson), Catherine Wheel featured Brian Futter on lead guitar, Dave Hawes on bass and Neil Sims on drums. They weren’t a pretty-boy guitar band, but they weren’t a scuzzy bunch of ragamuffins either. Though the band hailed from England, Catherine Wheel found itself more welcome on American air

I ain't got no crystal ball

I've never been a big fan of Sublime's reggae-punk-ska, but I feel bad for their hardcore fans. Billboard reports that a four-disc box set featuring previously released and unreleased material is on the way. How is this a bad thing? Well, the number of posthumous vault-raiding collections greatly outnumber the band's proper releases. That usually isn't a problem, but the quality of them is very suspect. When they were together, the band recorded three proper albums, Robbin' the Hood , 40 Oz. to Freedom and Sublime . Sublime would be the band's breakthrough record with the mainstream, but that success was very bittersweet. Shortly before its release, frontman/guitarist/songwriter Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose. In the following years, the effects of apparently a bad record deal have yielded compilation after compilation. Here's the rundown so far: Second Hand Smoke (1997) Stand By Your Van -- Sublime Live in Concert (1998) Sublime Acoustic: Br

Best of 2021

  Last year, my attention span was not wide enough to listen to a lot of LPs from start to finish. Too much went on in 2020 to focus on 10-15 albums, so I went with only a couple to spotlight. Well, 2021 was a little better, as I have a list of top four records, and a lot of individual tracks.  (I made a lengthy Spotify playlist ) So, without further ado, here’s my list of favorites of the year: Albums Deafheaven, Infinite Granite (listen) Hands down, my favorite album of the year. I was not sure where Deafheaven would go after another record that brought My Bloody Valentine and death metal fans together, but they beautifully rebooted their sound on Infinite Granite. The divisive goblin vocals are vastly pared-down here, as are the blast beats. Sounding more inspired by Slowdive, the band has discovered a new sonic palette that I hope they explore more of in the future. It’s a welcome revelation. I still love their older material, but this has renewed my love of what these guys do.  J