My buddy wasn’t up for food this noon so instead of heading over to the Chinese buffet I frequent when in lonely lunches I decided to hit the record store. It’s a little ways away but today is Friday and us 9-2-5’ers know that lunch breaks on that day can be twice as long without fear of any repercussions.
Waiting for me at the counter was the man with no soul. This time, as he saw me walking in he said really fast, ‘hey, how is it going?’. He seemed to be hiding behind three piles of CD’s and was scribbling in a notebook. NOFX was playing in the speakers. I went directly to the book section which is huge but found nothing worth my money so I headed to the vinyl section.
My budget was $12 and while I was driving to the store I still had the Skid Row vinyl in mind. A few months ago I had seen an old Anvil record there so I started alphabetically but the Anvil record was nowhere to be seen. Whoever manages this store has to stop buying crap because its shelves are so packed with vinyl your fingers can barely shuffle thru them. This makes buying difficult and missing hidden gems easy. As I got to the letter C a black and white cover struck me. The girl on the cover reminded me of Jean Seberg. It was by a band called Contaminators, the label was called Going Underground and its price was affordable. $5.99. I asked the man with no soul if he knew what it was. He said he didn’t and asked me if I wanted him to play it. ‘How nice!’. I thought to myself and handed the record to him.
The music started playing but he never bothered to push Stop on the NOFX CD, which was playing on a small boombox. Still, the volume of Contaminators overcame. It was punk rock. Decent punk rock. No pop pretensions. No budget either. Just kind of how I like it. So I kept on searching for records but my stream of consciousness processing was then interrupted by the annoying shifting between 33 and 45 RPM’s. Back and forth. Back and forth. What the fuck was he doing?. Maybe he didn’t know how the music was supposed to sound like but he did this for about a minute and then lifted the needle.
‘Do you want hear more of this?’, he asked. He looked annoyed by the noise.
‘No,’ I said. ‘Not if you are going to be such a dick,‘ I thought.
Maybe it was not intentional. Maybe he truly did not know how to tell whether this record had to be played at 33 or 45 RPM’s so he just played it at both. For like a minute.
I really wanted to get out of the store by then. I was the only one there and wanted to leave the man with no soul alone. Maybe he needed to think. He needed to clear his mind. As I got to the letter E, I found a double vinyl titled Network of Friends Vol 2. The price was $8.99. It looked good. It looked obscure. Bands such as Raw Power, Kafka Prosess, Neuroot, Negazione and about twenty-seven more were included. I couldn’t go wrong, right? The record shopaholic in me wanted more though so I headed to the S section where after a couple of minutes of shuffling I found the Skid Row record. Shrinkwrapped. Virginal. Tight. Price? $9.99. I really did not want to spend more than $12 but I was tempted. Then, I looked at the counter. The man with no soul was looking down. Maybe drawing dicks on his notebook or something. The thought of spending more money there made me put the Skid Row record back on the shelf.
As I was paying I pulled out my punch card and handed it to him.
‘No,’ he said. ‘Spend ten dollars and I punch one hole. Get ten holes you get ten dollars of discount on any item in the store.’
The total price including taxes was about $9.80.
‘Fucking prick,’ I thought. ‘Can’t you cut me some slack and just punch the fucking thing? I only have five more holes to go’, I thought.
‘You don’t want the Contaminators record?’, he asked.
‘No,’ I said. Now I was annoyed.
‘Need a receipt?’, he asked.
‘No, thanks.’ I responded.
Then, I walked out. Quietly.