deep dives

Here's Every Customer You'll Ever Meet in a Record Shop

The record store is the domain of the maladjusted, here's your guide to the ten dudes who rule it.

by Josh Baines
22 March 2016, 11:15pm

As you'll already know, we're living through one of those moments when everyone's obsessed with vinyl again. You can even buy it in the supermarket! Imagine that! Buying consumer goods from a huge shop which sells an absolutely massive array of of consumer goods! Mad, isn't it?

While most of us prefer to live our live our lives as digitally as possible, occasionally we'll make a foray into the world of physical. Which means that every so often, you'll find yourself in a record shop. Record shops are sort of great, because they sell records, but also not because they're full of the kind of people who go out and buy records.

Unfortunately most of the people you'll meet in record shops are people you'd never want to meet anywhere else. They're the home of the maladjusted and the awkward, the confrontational and the uncomfortable. If you're planning on spending time in them now you're in the midst of a vinyl phase, here's a field guide to the 10 kinds of dudes you're definitely going to meet in every shop you step in.

1. THE DAD WHO WAS QUITE TRENDY IN HIS DAY HE'LL HAVE YOU KNOW ACTUALLY BUT IS NOW DESPERATE TO MAKE HIS FORMER TRENDINESS OBVIOUS TO THE POINT WHERE IT'S REALLY EMBARRASSING

He's wearing a parka, brogues, selvedge jeans with a turn up. He's buying a Soichi Tereda record. He's not had an erection in two years.

2. THE CONSUMMATE PROFESSIONAL

Now, for most of us, record shopping is a little Saturday afternoon treat—something to do to while away the hours before we can meet our mates in the pub again. Not this guy. No, this guy does things properly. Yep, that's a fishing stool he's brought with him. Yep, that's a portable turntable. Yep, that definitely is a change of clothes and a packed lunch and a thermos flask. The Professional is a strange creature, taking ownership of whole areas of the shop for hours at a time, emitting a strange buzzing sound if anyone comes that bit too close to the avant garde/experimental section while he's trying to pick between a Wolf Eyes repress and a Blectum from Blechdom compilation. He's been known the flail wildly at potential assailants in the noise section. You've been warned.

3. THE FRESHERS WHO DON'T ACTUALLY BUY ANYTHING BUT JUST LOITER AND LEAVE WITH THE FREE MAGAZINES

You can get Vice on the computer now lads, don't fret.

4. THE BLOKE WHO DEFINITELY MAYBE MIGHT HAVE ACTUALLY JUST PISSED HIMSELF

There you are, on a Sunday afternoon, popping into an old record shop you used to visit every week before you moved out of the area. It looks just like it always did and the staff haven't changed and you're pretty certain that the same battered John Denver LP's sat next to the same battered shity King Street Records 12" just the way it was all those years ago. It smells the same too. There's mildew and disappointment. Stale coffee and plaque. Piss. It absolutely stinks of piss. Thick orange piss. The culprit? He's the bloke who looks like the kind of bloke who stinks of piss, and he's usually found rooting around the VHS section, deliberating between Chucky and a Blockbusters bloopers tape.

5. THE NEW CUSTOMER WHO REALLY WANTS TO IMPRESS THE LADS BEHIND THE TILL BUT GETS BRUTALLY REBUFFED AND NEARLY WALKS OUT CRYING

One of the best things about going record shopping is that it equips you with the ability to handle being treated very, very badly by people with next to no social skills while paying for the privilege for said maltreatment. Think about all the times you've proudly walked your pile of picks over to the greaseball with the weak chin and teeth like peppered Quavers, and he's looked at your booty and pulled the kind of face that positively screams: "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? DO YOU ACTUALLY THINK YOU'RE GOING TO EARN MY RESPECT WITH THIS ASSORTMENT OF NEVER-GOOD-IN-THE-FIRST-PLACE DISCO EDITS AND A GERD JANSON REMIX EVERYONE WHO CAN ACTUALLY DJ STOPPED PLAYED OUT FIVE MONTHS AGO? DO YOU?" It's not fun, is it? But you learn from it. You grow a thicker skin. You level up and after a few years you start getting the slightest of nods when you walk in and a "Cheers, mate," when you leave. That's what we're all waiting for. But it doesn't come easy. I guarantee you that every time you've been record shopping, if the shop's actually any good, you'll see some poor beleaguered soul on their first visit, getting their first little dressing down, leaving a few inches shorter than they were when they woke up.


Photo by Sara Wass.

6. THE SLIGHTLY PANICKED MAN WHO'S TRYING TO OFFLOAD AROUND 500 BADLY DAMAGED PROMO CDS STRAIGHT FROM A MASSIVE LAUNDRY BAG, REPEATEDLY SAYING "YEAH YEAH MATE I'LL TAKE WHATEVER FOR THEM, DON'T CARE MATE, WHATEVER YOU WANNA GIVE ME," WHILE LOOKING OUT OF THE SHOP WINDOW WITH AN INCREASING SENSE OF URGENCY

Don't make eye contact—whatever you do.

7. THE YES-I-AM-A-DJ-DJ

He's the prick buying everything on offer and making sure everyone knows just how much he's buying and how often he DJs. He's a cunt of the highest order.

8. THE STOCKY CHAP WHO GETS IRRATIONALLY WOUND UP THAT THE NEW JUNIOR BOYS RECORD HASN'T COME IN YET

"What do you mean you haven't got Big Black Coat in? What are you playing at? No, seriously, what are you playing at? This is a record shop. Your sole reason to exist is to have records in stock to sell. I would like to buy a certain record. Why don't you have that record?" His face is getting redder and redder, his blood pressure rising, his temples throbbing, lips pasted with thick white foam. "All I bloody wanted to do today was buy Big Black Coat by Junior Boys and I can't do that. I'll tell people about this, you know. I won't forget it. I shan't. I promise you that. As the lord is my witness, I promise you that. I shall have my revenge. I'll haunt you. When you sleep at night you'll see me. I'll be there. I'll always be there. I'm going to be there, inside you, for a long time. Just you wait and see. Just you wait and see."

9. THE GUY WHO WORKS IN ANOTHER RECORD SHOP AND IS GREETED WITH A REALLY STRANGE MIX OF SCORN AND AND JEALOUSY

Andy can't help that he works at a shop that's doing a bit better than this one. Andy can't help that he's a fundamentally nice bloke who really loves his music, and gets on with customers well. Andy can't help that he's been gifted with the ability to communicate with other people without feeling like he's got a vise cradling his skull and a bowling ball nestling in his stomach. Andy can't help that your customers prefer him to you.

10. YOU

You're just as bad as everyone else in there, and don't forget it!

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