Record-store Clerk Blues

FEEDBACK: Working Retail Leads to Misanthropy. Here’s Why

1] Guess-that-song.Customers who don't know exactly what they're looking for often decide to sing you the tune. They also give half of a song title and let you know they heard it on the radio late last night. Lucky for customers, I have a magical database of every radio station's playlist.

2] Customers who get a little too comfortable.We have a listening station where customers can test out their music before they buy it. Some people take this as an opportunity to showcase their dance moves and singing abilities. Our favorite mother-and-daughter team come in regularly, put on their favorite hip-hop or R&B CDs, and demonstrate what they've been practicing all week.

3] Customers rearranging CDs.There's nothing wrong with browsing, but if you don't know where a CD goes, just hand it back to us, and we can put it away. I don't understand why people think it's better to just jam CDs into places they don't even fit. If you can't alphabetize, then leave it to the professionals.

You need Jeff's help. Photo by Tim Melideo.
You need Jeff's help. Photo by Tim Melideo.

4] Questionable material.Our store has a small collection of pretty tame adult DVDs—stuff like Girls Gone Wild and Playboy. One day, I got a call from a man who wanted to know if we bought adult DVDs. I told him yes, but only very tame stuff. He told me that his stuff is so tame that he would show it to his family. Within 15 minutes, the man plopped down a huge box of the raunchiest porn I have ever seen. We didn't take any, and I later washed my hands raw.

5] Customer miscommunication.A woman came in looking for "that taxi movie." I presented her with Taxi Driver and quickly got back a dirty look. "No," she said, "that movie's terrible. I want the one with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon." I went to the other side of the store where we carry our "really good movies," a.k.a. the budget bin, and brought back the classic film Taxi.

6] Selling bad music.Sometimes customers don't understand why we won't buy their CDs. Sorry, but we don't want your old Backstreet Boys album, and neither will anyone else. Then customers get angry when we won't take their one-hit-wonder discs. "This is a great CD," they whine. If it's so great, then why aren't you keeping it?


Jeff Lehton hosts Soup of the Day on KUCI-FM 88.9; www.kuci.org. Every Mon., 6-8 p.m.

 
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