Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Vulture Tour

I had an unusual agenda for my spare time today: Visit a couple of places that are in the process of going out of business in the hopes of getting some really good deals. My two targets were Tower Records (the demise of which I discussed earlier) and the LBJ store of Brook Mays (the onetime print music headquarters), in the hopes of finding some cheap CD's and either solo/ensemble music or Aebersolds, respectively.

But since I was headed towards downtown anyway, I had to make a little detour to CD Source, as it had been a few months since my last trip there. After lunch at the Panda next door (where I randomly ran into Eric, who was grabbing a bite on his way to work), I hit my favorite used CD place and, as almost always, came out with some new treasure. (If you're interested, I got the following: Clayton Brothers, Siblingity and Astral Project, Elevado, along with two other "replacement" CD's [i.e. ones I used to own but somehow were permanently "borrowed" by somebody or another]: Ed Petersen, The Haint and Kevin Mahogany, Songs and Moments.)

When I arrived at Tower, I had a little trouble finding a parking place, which I don't think had ever happened to me when the company was thriving. I got a kick out of the signs plastered all over the store: "If You Don't Buy It Today, It Might Not Be Here Tomorrow." It must have been longer than I thought since I'd visited there, because I had no clue that jazz had been moved to the basement with the classical and world music.

And the general verdict? I need to come back again when the markdowns are up to 40% or so, because, even though they still have a pretty good jazz selection, far too many CD's still have the same $18.95 list price that helped sink the company in the first place, and with the discount just being 20%, that's still more expensive than Amazon. I did pick up two things: Chris Potter's newest, Underground, which I got for an Amazon-ish fourteen bucks, and the self-titled U.S debut from Steps Ahead, which I'd never seen on disc before.

I did have to deal with a rather snotty employee at the checkout counter. I have one of those cards that could be used for credit or debit, so they gave me one of those little keypad devices to enter my PIN, but it didn't work even when I did everything correctly. As I calmly explained that I'd done what he and the machine had asked me to do, he seemed to get aggravated with me rather quickly, saying "Well, you're still gonna have to enter your number again!" with a raised voice. I made the universal "calm down" sign with my hands as I said "OK, easy now." I did realize at that moment that, yeah, in a few weeks that guy would be unemployed, but still, that was no excuse for acting like that to a customer, especially if he'll be job-seeking in the near future.

After taking the long way up Preston Road and gawking at all the huge houses in Highland Park, I arrived at Brook Mays. Much to my dismay, I found that the vulturing would be over for today, as there was a sign on the door stating that all the print music had been sold (my guess is that they sold it to a large retalier like Pender's, which I'm sure netted them more money than selling it at 40% off like they'd done at the smaller stores).

So I guess my search for carrion was half successful today. And while it's never good to see a company go under (especially one that employed me for so long), it was nice to catch a bargain or two in the process. More Tower vulturing later, I suppose.

RELATED READING: Another take on the demise of Tower.

Still under the gun: I'm still getting comments on my post from last week about whether the shoot-to-kill policy is a good idea for police officers, especially when kids are involved. It's only a three-way conversation at the moment, and the other two aren't agreeing with me, but I'm standing my ground; join the fray if you'd like.

A Scout is loyal, respectful and trustworthy. He also doesn't use LimeWire: There's a new activity patch for Boy Scouts in the Los Angeles area who learn about the evils of downloading movies.

This new flick is flimed in RAZRvision: Speaking of movies, there was a film festival held recently in Paris that was devoted strictly to films shot on cell-phone cameras.


Eric Grubbs said...

Running into you at Panda was a sign. Details to follow . . .

Kev said...

Ooh, I'm intrigued now. Do keep me posted....

Shawn said...

Ah man. CD source is awesome. I went there with $30 and grabbed 6 CDs. I was so happy.

Yesterday I was downtown. That is absolutely amazing place. . . I really like it. I bet I'd like it more if I was 21. It's neat - now I've driven over the spot where Kennedy was shot.

But I'm sure all you here think "woo-hoo."

I need Aebersolds. My improvisation is not that great at all.

Kev said...

Shawn--it's funny about downtown; those of us who live here almost never do the tourist-y stuff (for example, I've never been to the Sixth Floor Museum, and during the whole time I lived in Houston, I probably went to NASA twice). I bet it's like that in most people's hometowns.

And CD Source is very cool, isn't it?

BTW, with the demise of Brook Mays, the best place to get Aebersolds in the area is right down the street at Pender's. That's where I'll be going from now on...

SuperanonymousJP said...

Indeed, I have confirmation from my sources from within the company that Brook Mays sold Charles's entire print music inventory to Pender's.