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Re: Music Descriptions

Sorry in advance if this thread is inching away from 100% topicality.  
Still fairly interesting nonetheless, I think...

On Fri, 4 Jul 1997 BlkSwan03@aol.com wrote:

>> <<The problem is that just about all the employees at the local branch 
>> now probably know me as "the guy who's always listening to stuff and 
>> buys it."  Oh well -- not my fault that Best Buy has the stuff for about
>> 30% cheape>>
> How can any record store make it if this is the outcome?   Price isn't
> everything.  

No, but when you're talking about an average price of $16.99 - $17.99 at a
chain like Blockbuster as compared to $11.99 - $13.99 at Best Buy, Circuit
City, or most indies, it can start to add up. 

> Service ,
> imagination, and genuine care for the customer is the only thing that can
> distiguish a  small, struggling shop from the megachains.    

I'd agree, though I'd hasten to add that Blockbuster isn't even romotely 
close to a small, struggling shop, so I'm disinclined to feel guilty 
about not buying something there.  

> If someone
> employs people to take care of you (ie: load your selections into a 
> rewrap and restock the CD if you don't buy etc.) don't you think they 
> the sale?    

Not in and of itself, no, because in the case of Blockbuster, I don't feel
that the above service justifies a 25% to 30% increase in the cost, nor do
I believe that the extra cost stems from any sort of rationale regarding
extra services provided to customers.  Keep in mind that it's not as if
that extra four or five bucks is going into the personal pocket of the
employee who restocks the discs, or that they collect an individual
commission on each CD sold that they personally unwrap and/or restock. 
They pocket the same amount regardless of whether or not I purchase it
there, so I don't feel guilty about doing any of the employees a specific
(or non-specific) injustice. 

I definitely feel that the cost of CDs is unrealistically high in general. 
But so many of the music chains take it to a gross extreme: if you go into
a Sam Goody, Wherehouse, or Barnes & Noble, the average cost of a disc is
going to be $17.99 or higher.  That's simply too much money!  Especially
when I can get the same exact disc elsewhere for significantly less 
cash.  If a mega-chain like Best Buy or Circuit City can sell the stuff 
cheaper, I want a good reason why other mega-chains can't.  

You're absolutely right in saying that record stores need to provide
consumers with a way of being able to hear things before they buy them. 
(How many other examples can you think of where a person is expected to
buy something without trying it out first, which they cannot return if
they don't like it?!) And if I were dealing with an indie shop that
stocked a lot of releases I was interested in, which also offered
Blockbuster-style (or better) listening stations, I would likely be more
inclined to justify an extra expense (though not in the $16.99 - and - up
range).  As a matter of fact, I buy from indies at least as often as 
from a major chain.

But in the example I mentioned, it's not as if I'm robbing an independent
of a sale so that I can save a few bucks by selling out to a corporate
giant -- I'm choosing one corporate giant over the other in the name of
not getting charged an unreasonable amount of money. 

And as an aside, I've never ordered a disc from some place just to get a
better price, nor do I frequent mega-chains for all my listening.  If I'm
looking for something on CMP, Alchemy, or DGM, for example, I'm not going
to be going to Musicland.  But to tell you the truth, a lot of the Best
Buy's I've seen have a much deeper and more adventurous catalog than many
indies I've been in, let alone a record chain.  Their prices are cheaper
than Blockbuster and their selection is better; if Blockbuster wants me to
buy their discs, they'll have to expand their catalog and lower their