Tower Records: Rest in Peace

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Ralph
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Tower Records: Rest in Peace

Post by Ralph » Sat Oct 07, 2006 4:51 pm

Los Angeles Times

October 7, 2006 Saturday
Home Edition

SECTION: BUSINESS; Business Desk; Part C; Pg. 2

LENGTH: 359 words

HEADLINE: Tower Records to Sell Off Inventory;
Liquidation specialist Great American Group, which bought the bankrupt music retailer for $134.3million, plans to close all 89 stores.

BYLINE: Alana Semuels, Times Staff Writer

BODY:


The new owner of Tower Records will begin liquidating the music retailer's 89 stores beginning today, just hours after a 29-hour-long bidding war.

"We're going to have discounts for consumers to enjoy as they've never been seen before in the history of Tower Records," said Andy Gumaer, president of Great American Group, a Los Angeles-based firm that won the auction and plans to liquidate the company.

Great American, which specializes in liquidation, paid $134.3 million for Tower -- $500,000 more than the bid by runner up Trans World Entertainment, which had hoped to keep some stores open. The bidding started Thursday morning and lasted through the night. The offer was approved Friday by a judge in Wilmington, Del.

Tower store managers who were contacted Friday had not been informed of the liquidation sale. "Really?" said one staff member answering the phone at Tower's flagship store on the Sunset Strip. "I had no idea."

Calls to Tower's corporate offices were not returned.

Great American Group is deploying representatives to Tower's 89 stores to facilitate the liquidation, which is expected to last about six weeks, said Gumaer, who used to shop at Tower. "It's sad to see a dynasty like Tower be liquidated," he said. "It's emotional for all of us."

The chain has been struggling for years. It filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2004, recovered, and then filed again in August 2006. At least three major music companies stopped shipping CDs to the chain in August, saying the retailer had not paid its bills. Tower owes creditors about $210 million.

Founded in Sacramento in 1960 by Russ Solomon, Tower isn't the first beloved music store to close: Others such as Camelot Music, Musicland and Strawberries have closed as shoppers migrated to the Internet or to discount stores. Retail music sales fell 17% from 2000 to 2005, according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

But Tower's demise is not a death knell for traditional ways of buying music: More than half of album purchases are from retail outlets, said Geoff Mayfield, an analyst at Billboard. "That would be an obituary that is too early to write."

alana.semuels@latimes.com

LOAD-DATE: October 7, 2006
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Fugu

Post by Fugu » Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:01 pm

I wonder if this means the stores in Japan too? They're owned separately I think.

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Post by miranda » Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:14 pm

Tower was often damnably expensive , but I found some great music there--including a cd that I have not been able to find online, at any price.

Too bad. But not surprising.
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

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Post by RebLem » Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:25 pm

I'm still on Tower's e-mailing list. And, I'm telling you, I'm going shoppin'.
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Post by Ralph » Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:42 am

ABC News
Group Plans to Liquidate Tower Records
Judge Approves Sale of Tower Records to Group That Plans to Liquidate the Music Retailer
By RANDALL CHASE
The Associated Press

WILMINGTON, Del. - After a lengthy auction stretching over two days, a federal bankruptcy judge on Friday approved the sale of California-based Tower Records to Great American Group, which plans to liquidate the music retailer.

After almost 30 hours of what attorneys described as "robust" and "vigorous" bidding, Great American won with a bid of $134.3 million, beating Trans World Entertainment, which had hoped to continue operating at least some Tower stores, by a single bid increment of $500,000.

Peter Gurfein, an attorney representing Tower Records, said the company will be sold for an aggregate of $150 million, including the sale of various leases and properties.

Gurfein said Great American plans to begin the liquidation process and going out of business sales on Saturday, which eventually will result in the elimination of the jobs of some 3,000 Tower employees.

"This is not an easy decision," said bankruptcy Judge Brendan Shannon, who nevertheless noted that the Tower debtors and other parties had agreed the bidding process was conducted fairly and in good faith.

Tower Records, which has 89 stores in 20 states and owes creditors about $200 million, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in August. In its filing, the company said it has been hurt by an industrywide decline in music sales, downloading of online music and competition from big-box stores such as Wal-Mart.

Tower's Chapter 11 filing came two years after initial reorganization that resulted in bondholders forgiving millions of dollars in debt but taking an 85 percent stake in the company, leaving founder Russ Solomon and his family with 15 percent.

Solomon founded Tower in Sacramento, Calif., in 1960, starting by selling records out of his father's drug store and eventually opening the company's landmark store on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard in 1969. As part of the bankruptcy auction, the Sunset property will be sold for $12 million.

Michael Bloom, an attorney representing Tower's secured trade creditors, urged Shannon to consider the closeness of the bids and the effect that liquidation would have before deciding whether to approve the sale.

"We can save this company or we can liquidate it," Bloom argued. "... Sometimes, the highest bid is not the best bid. In this case, your honor, we believe the best bid is the Trans World bid."

Trans World, which has about 1,100 mostly mall-based stores nationwide, has recently acquired other music retailers such as Sam Goody and Wherehouse Music, consolidating most of its acquisitions under the FYE name, which stands for For Your Entertainment.

Tim Pohl, an attorney representing Trans World, asked the judge whether $500,000 was "a material enough difference" to liquidate a company, as opposed to keeping thousands of people employed.

But Jay Indyke, an attorney for Great American, said Trans World and its bidding partners had discussed liquidating inventory and closing about two dozen Tower stores, and that they would not say how many stores they would continue to operate.
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Re: Tower Records: Rest in Peace

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:00 am

Ralph wrote:L"Really?" said one staff member answering the phone at Tower's flagship store on the Sunset Strip. "I had no idea."
Probably a cousin of the imbecilic clerk who did not want to take our picture with Werner. And yes, I know I still have to post it, and will. I have not lost it.

If this is true, Ralph, and not one of your elaborate jokes, then I am truly sorry, because I know how important that place was to you, and I myself have never been in a better recording store. And while I might understand someone taking over Ford Motor Company in order to sell off the inventory, it is rather difficult to understand with a company that sells CDs.

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Re: Tower Records: Rest in Peace

Post by Ralph » Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:23 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Ralph wrote:L"Really?" said one staff member answering the phone at Tower's flagship store on the Sunset Strip. "I had no idea."
Probably a cousin of the imbecilic clerk who did not want to take our picture with Werner. And yes, I know I still have to post it, and will. I have not lost it.

If this is true, Ralph, and not one of your elaborate jokes, then I am truly sorry, because I know how important that place was to you, and I myself have never been in a better recording store. And while I might understand someone taking over Ford Motor Company in order to sell off the inventory, it is rather difficult to understand with a company that sells CDs.
*****

The clerk you refer to is a very nice guy and he was simply unsure of how to take pictures. I know him well and regret his impending unemployment.

I will save a lot of money because I enjoy browsing and I only order online when I have a specific item in mind.

And Tower was the perfect place to meet out-of-town friends.
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Post by Reed » Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:40 am

I spoke to someone in Tower Cambridge Friday night. He said employees had received an email about 1:00 that afternoon, saying their jobs were safe.

Then, about 6:00 that evening, they found out the liquidators had bought it instead of the group with the smaller bid. Then the second email said, we're closing.

By Saturday, a man was standing in Harvard Square with a big signboard on, saying Tower is closing, all stock to be liquidated at low prices. Reminded me of one of those doomsday guys with the signs saying, "The end is near," that you see in New Yorker cartoons. Which I guess is appropriate. In one weekend, we had to have our cat put to sleep, creditors went after me for a 25-year old debt, and Tower died. Not the best weekend I've had.

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Post by johnQpublic » Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:14 am

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Post by Ralph » Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:42 am

Reed wrote:I spoke to someone in Tower Cambridge Friday night. He said employees had received an email about 1:00 that afternoon, saying their jobs were safe.

Then, about 6:00 that evening, they found out the liquidators had bought it instead of the group with the smaller bid. Then the second email said, we're closing.

By Saturday, a man was standing in Harvard Square with a big signboard on, saying Tower is closing, all stock to be liquidated at low prices. Reminded me of one of those doomsday guys with the signs saying, "The end is near," that you see in New Yorker cartoons. Which I guess is appropriate. In one weekend, we had to have our cat put to sleep, creditors went after me for a 25-year old debt, and Tower died. Not the best weekend I've had.
*****

Very sorry about your cat.

A 25 year old debt? It's almost certainly past the statute of limitations so collection is not possible. Check with a local lawyer before you pay anything.
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Post by Ralph » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:13 am

latimes.com
http://www.latimes.com/services/site/pr ... .intercept
A time to mourn, a time to bargain hunt
Tower's demise saddens many loyalists. Some not-so-loyal shoppers are also left upset.
By Chris Lee
Times Staff Writer

October 11, 2006

The sign outside Tower Records' flagship store on West Hollywood's Sunset Strip underscored the mixture of disappointment and disbelief greeting the announcement on Friday that the giant music retailer would be liquidating its inventory and closing all 89 stores across the country.

"It's the end of the world as we know it," the sign read, deliberately echoing the title of a hit song by R.E.M. "Thanks for your loyalty."

A vigorous going-out-of-business sale was underway Monday, part of an effort by Tower's new owner, Great American Group, to offload the foundering record-store chain's assets over the next six weeks. Merchandise has been marked down 10% to 30% (with deeper discounts promised as the weeks go by), and foot traffic in the store was up by about a third, according to one employee. Despite a snaking line to the register, a somber mood prevailed — an atmosphere conjured, in part, by a baleful ballad by indie rock quintet the Decemberists on the sound system.

But the imminent shuttering of the 46-year-old chain of megastores, one of the largest in the country, was front of mind for many customers, including West Hollywood musician Brent Heller, 37. He said he had been a regular shopper at Tower for the last quarter of a century and recalled bygone days, before the chain's music sales were eroded by the Internet and competition by big-box discount stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, when Tower was a meeting spot-cum-hangout for teens: a non-virtual version of Myspace.com.

"I remember buying Bob Dylan's 'Blood on the Tracks' here, a lot of my favorite records," Heller said. "I probably make music because of what I bought here. It's an institution. I'll miss it."

Members of Tower's sales staff have long been known for their encyclopedic knowledge and outsized critical appraisals of music. Workers at the West Hollywood branch, however, weren't talking — under an apparent gag order by store management. But in the view of Jon Lau, 18, a visitor from Seattle, morale appeared to be low. "Everyone here seems pretty bummed," he said.

Across town at the chain's Santa Monica store, four people positioned around the Third Street Promenade wielded large cardboard placards advertising the liquidation sale. According to Mike Martin, 30, the store's receiving supervisor, longtime customers had been responding to the news with sadness and anger. "Some of the regulars are mad," he said. "We have a lot of customers in their 60s and 70s. They can't believe it's closing."

Further, Martin said Great American has not won karma points among employees — many had hoped the Los Angeles-based liquidator would not place the highest bid in last week's auction for Tower's assets. Soon about 3,000 people will be out of jobs. "Now they're just trying to blow everything out and make a quick dollar," Martin said.

Some consumers, anticipating such a pricing blowout, were disappointed.

"The first sign I saw that something was wrong with this picture was the sign an employee was holding up in the parking lot of the Buena Park Tower, as I pulled in on Saturday afternoon," said Dave Schmerler, of Westminster. " 'Up to 30% off,' it proclaimed. Already, my hopes for half-off, and then some, were dashed. And that pesky 'up to' had me worried."

On learning that the initial discount for CDs and DVDs was 10%, Schmerler said, "I realized that, even with the 10% discount, I would be paying way more than Amoeba prices. I mean, the average disc price was an astronomical $17.98, so it was still over $16 — before sales tax — per CD! I put back seven and bought one…. I left thinking that Tower doesn't even know how to go out of business properly. No wonder they went out of business."

In a download-happy, file-swapping era, the discreet joys of browsing among record racks and losing oneself in reverie while pondering album cover art — the boilerplate experience of shopping at a brick-and-mortar outlet operated for and by music lovers — seem lost on a generation of young shoppers like Marisa, 13, and Teddy Louden, 15, from Mar Vista. They decided to check out the sale in Santa Monica after seeing the placard-bearers, motivated by curiosity rather than brand allegiance.

"I don't really even like to buy CDs," said Teddy. "Usually I just buy songs on iTunes."

chris.lee@latimes.com

Special correspondent Steve Hochman contributed to this report.
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Post by Ralph » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:16 am

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/ne ... es-entnews
AN APPRECIATION
Ann Powers remembers Tower Records
The store's "deep catalog" taught a deep love for music.
By Ann Powers
Times Staff Writer

October 11, 2006

Chain stores supposedly have no soul; they're the watering ground of conformity, luring shoppers lemming-like to the same sweater, the same refrigerator, the same musical soundtrack. Tower Records was different. It was a chain, yes, its vaguely Stalinist red-and-yellow signage instantly identifiable, its blockbuster hits stacked high on the end racks; but something made it a shelter for would-be individualists wandering the malls of America, for whom pop music was not just a diversion but the key to fulfillment.

The something was "deep catalog," an extremely broad selection of product that attracted musical obsessives and helped novices evolve from casual fans to connoisseurs. Deep catalog was the commitment Tower made to the regular shopper: the jazzbo looking for that weird fusion project on the American Clavé label, the dreadlocked hippie browsing the Jamaican imports, the hard-core punk looking for anything with speedy guitars and a shouted chorus. By allowing its product buyers — a motley crew of aspiring musicians, bohemian lifers and undergrads willing to accept retail wages just to be near all that music — to stock the shelves with virtually every pop derivative imaginable, Tower created a physical space where the music's variety came alive, where the snobbish geek and the casual listener were equally served.

For this critic, Tower — first the one on Mercer Street in Seattle, where I shopped as a high school New Waver, and later the San Francisco flagship at Columbus and Bay, where I worked during my college years — provided a sentimental education. As a kid I was too intimidated to talk to anyone at the hip independent stores, but a clerk at Tower Mercer turned me on to Elvis Costello and the Clash and changed my life. Then, when I moved south and became that clerk, I tapped my co-workers' knowledge — and that deep catalog — to go far beyond rock, into Coltrane, Schoenberg, bluegrass, whatever added a new color to my expanding palette.

Tower's demise may be inevitable given today's schism between mainstream consolidation and the fragmenting of the underground. Stores aiming at both sides of this divide seem destined to fail. Deep catalog, though still available in rare spots like Amoeba Music, now feeds the "long tail" of the Web, where low overhead allows entrepreneurs to sell just one of many things and survive. The selection is better than ever on the Web's myriad retail and subscription sites, not to mention MP3 blogs. And the virtual conversation among fans seems inexhaustible.

But I mourn the bodily encounters Tower offered — with those beautiful vinyl albums of my youth, but mostly with the people whose fingers tripped through them. Tower was where music nuts, not a socially adept breed, had to face each other in the flesh. It was good for us; it brought us into the light and gave us a place in the ordinary world.

ann.powers@latimes.com
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Post by Haydnseek » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:03 am

The Song Remains the Blame

http://www.fool.com/news/commentary/200 ... 101014.htm

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMFBreakerRick)
10/10/2006

I hate to rain on a eulogy, but why is everyone blaming this week's demise of Tower Records on the proliferation of digital downloading?

Don't get me wrong. I'll mourn along with the best of them. I'm a music fan, and as the middle brother wedged between a pair of shopaholic sisters, I spent countless weekends killing time at the mall by thumbing through vinyl at the record stores. This week's sale of a bankrupt Tower Records to a liquidator bent on dissolving the company stings. How can it not?

The problem is that even if there were a Tower location near me, I probably wouldn't be shopping there anyway. It has nothing to do with the existence of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes Music Store, RealNetworks' (Nasdaq: RNWK) Rhapsody music subscription service, or any of the remaining peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. The emergence of consumer electronics is what really dealt the traditional record shops their most savage blow. It's silly to argue otherwise.

Hot for bleacher

Last week, I knew I wanted to get my hands on the new CD from the Killers. My choices were pretty clear. I could go to Circuit City(NYSE: CC) and pick it up for $8.99, or I could go to Best Buy(NYSE: BBY) and pay $9.99 for the CD along with a bonus disc containing two additional tracks.

The superstore chains began selling dirt-cheap CDs years before Napster's Shawn Fanning disrupted the scene with digital piracy. Best Buy and Circuit City were willing to take a hit on CD gross margins for the same reason that a local grocer is willing to sell you a gallon of milk at cost: It drives traffic into the stores. If I go to the supermarket for cheap cow juice, I might as well load up on bread, eggs, and dinner from the deli.

Likewise, if I go to a consumer-electronics shop to buy a CD, I may wind up buying a video game, a computer peripheral, or a satellite-radio receiver.

The record stores were slow to adapt when they were exposed. They didn't have the computer peripherals -- or the eggs -- to help offset the suddenly overpriced Yanni and Van Halen CDs.

Someone had moved the retail record store's cheese, and the store's only response was to sell CD cleaners and band posters. The same originality and creativity that it relied on from the artists lining its racks was strangely absent from the retail reinvention process.

Killing me softly with the same old song

CD sales have fallen for most of the past few years. Ratings for the Grammys and other music-awards programs continue to plummet. Is it any wonder that you can't even find music videos on MTV anymore?

We can all point fingers. The record labels are to blame because the product hasn't been compelling enough. Terrestrial radio is to blame for spinning formulaic drivel. The consumers are to blame for burning CDs at home.

The problem is that they are all flawed arguments. How could Apple have sold more than 60 million iPods if we weren't passionate about music? How could satellite radio providers Sirius(Nasdaq: SIRI) and XM(Nasdaq: XMSR) combine for more than 12 million subscribers if the desire to hear commercial-free music didn't exist?

The truth is that we're crazy about music. We just haven't warmed up to the way that the music has been served to consumers.

Maybe it'll be an unlikely source -- like Starbucks(Nasdaq: SBUX), with its Hear lounge concept -- that will save the day for the remaining music retailers sifting through the wreckage. Maybe the savior will come in the form of a company that was originally seen as a threat, like Apple -- even though it's going to have to do a lot more than give us iTunes kiosks.

There is a solution out there. How can there not be? If an entire niche is going to go Obit City, whether it's specialty toy stores, video-rental chains, or prerecorded-music retailers, it's going to be at the hand of self-inflicted wounds that it chose not to overcome by thinking innovatively.

Let the bodies hit the sales floor

Earlier this year, the nearest major record store to me, a Virgin megastore, closed its doors at The Shops at Sunset Place mall. In its place at the moment -- and I'm not making this up, believe me -- is an exhibit where actual cadavers have been transformed into works of art. Bodies -- The Exhibition is either a crowning achievement in artistry or a macabre exploitation of human remains. I don't have an opinion either way, but I do know one thing: This isn't the first time that that building has been housing the dead in the name of art.

I'll miss you, Virgin, locally. I'll miss you, Tower, worldly. Let's see which of the few remaining music retailers make the choice to finally get it right.
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

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Post by dirkronk » Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:36 pm

In skimming the above articles, one thing struck me perhaps more vividly than any other: the name of the group charged with selling off the Tower inventory spells, in acronym, the word...

GAG.

I'd like to see this as an overtly humorous element, but the basic story is too darn depressing.

Dirk

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:41 pm

I didn't do that much business with brick-and-mortar Tower after I started buying on-line from Amazon and Music Boulevard.

James Jolly, editor of Gramophone made the astonishing prediction last weekend that CDs would not be around in 10 years based on his emotional investment in downloads. I find that hard to believe.
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Post by Wallingford » Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:55 pm

johnQpublic wrote:Image
Oh, I should mention--

The great Sergio Aragones did that joke first in a 1970 issue of MAD Magazine (one of his teeny-weeny "drawn-out dramas" found on the sides of the pages).
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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Post by Ralph » Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:54 pm

I was in the Lincoln Center Tower today for the first time since the liquidation was announced. The mood was as dismal as the outside downpour. Clerks I know were visibly depressed.

The first part of the sale offers everything in the store for 10% off, precisely the discount Tower used to give to season subscribers to the Philharmonic and Great Performances. I bought nothing.
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Post by MaestroDJS » Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:35 am

Tower Records, which has 89 stores in 20 states and owes creditors about $200 million, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in August. In its filing, the company said it has been hurt by an industrywide decline in music sales, downloading of online music and competition from big-box stores such as Wal-Mart.
One of my "old faithful" record stores closed a few years ago for similar reasons. In 1978 while I was a student at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Figaro's Classics opened. My wallet never stood a chance. Most other students thought I was crazy to spend so much money there, but I would probably have most of my purchases for the rest of my life, whereas all the beer they bought literally went down the drain. Figaro's Classics was owned by Phil Strange, who had begun Record Service when he was a student in 1969. He was an almost accidental store owner, because he had begun his record service simply for groups of students to buy records (mostly rock and pop) directly from distributors at quantity discounts. It was so successful that he opened a store on campus in Champaign, and stayed in business for 35 years with Record Service and later also with Figaro's Classics. After I graduated, I continued to visit Figaro's Classics once or twice a year on campus visits. Here's an account of its final weeks in February and March 2004. It sounds fairly similar to Tower Records but of course on a much smaller scale, and the owner paid everyone.
Street Pulse, 2/23/2004 wrote:Let me speak of one specific example as Phil Strange, owner of Record Service in Champaign, IL will be closing his store on 3/5 after 34 years of business. In Phil’s mind, this is something he could see coming down the road for at least the last three years. He has always dealt with every possible adversary thrown his way…whether they be disturbing issues like the loss of MAP, changing label/distribution policies, the daily battle of competing with the local “Big Box”, and the downloading of free music. You see Record Service is located next to a major college and Pat noticed a disturbing trend in his business. Over the last four years, music sales have been down 20% a year…mainly due to the students access to downloading using the school’s T-1 line. Nice if you’re a student, but devastating if you make your living selling music.

These are huge ramifications that we have yet to see impact our business, but Phil made a good observation regarding the state of music. Says Phil, "There was a time when people came into our stores looking to buy something new or different and consumers relied on myself & my staff to direct them to the right sounds. You see, we had very regular customers that came in to add to their musical knowledge and collection. Today, kids don’t anchor themselves to the music, they just look for the song or sound they want to download and burn onto CD. Thirty years ago we would have 50 new releases a week, with maybe 20 of those considered ‘good’…now we have 300 releases a week, with maybe 20 of those worth a retailer's attention. Back then, record companies used to heavily support their priorities & developing artists, while today we continued to promote new artists and releases, but now all we get is a random phone call from a label salesperson acting casually interested in what we are selling and offering very little in support for their own projects. Combine the lack of concern from the manufacturer with the consumers hunger for their IPOD and it confirms why I must close Record Service…I could always compete with anyone or deal with any situation, but no one can compete with free." Phil will spend the rest of the month paying his staff, vendors, and the $1500 monthly electrical bill.
Dave

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Post by karlhenning » Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:58 pm

Ralph wrote:I was in the Lincoln Center Tower today for the first time since the liquidation was announced. The mood was as dismal as the outside downpour. Clerks I know were visibly depressed.

The first part of the sale offers everything in the store for 10% off, precisely the discount Tower used to give to season subscribers to the Philharmonic and Great Performances. I bought nothing.
You are probably prudent to wait for Phase II.
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Post by Lance » Thu Oct 12, 2006 4:11 pm

10% off is all? Not good. I thought they were going to liquidate stocks as quickly as possible - and at prices that would move merchandise fast. If you bought nothing, no doubt others followed your path. I suppose the new owner has to recoup investment and they know they aren't going to do this by offerin 50% or higher markdowns.

It's a great shame to see them go under. They have been around for such a long time. But then, years and years ago, I used to trek to NYC to Sam Goody's 46th (or 47th) Street store and take advantage of LP discounts of up to 60%. It was amazing to walk in there and have all the sales people know you! Then Goody's were bought out and the new regime quickly dropped 99% of the classical.

Where, oh where, are the days of Willy Lerner and Music Masters of NYC? I have fond memories of buying LPs in NYC during the 1960s- and 70s.
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Post by Ralph » Thu Oct 12, 2006 6:14 pm

Liquidation sales of large companies are often planned to run for about four-six weeks. Prices progressively go down and there's a scramble as the best items become more attractive. I expect classical and opera prices at Tower to be half-price or less within two weeks.
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Post by Ralph » Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:36 pm

Today the sale discount is 15%. Lower next week.

It was worth it for me to pick up a few items including the Brodsky Quartet's Shostakovich string quartet cycle.

Very somber in the classical/opera department.
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Post by Haydnseek » Sat Oct 14, 2006 8:45 am

Music fans mourn loss of Tower Records
By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer
Fri Oct 13, 3:33 PM ET

The news that Tower Records is going the way of, well, records struck a dissonant note with customers as the news sunk in this week that the 46-year-old music retailer has been sold to a liquidator that will close all the stores.

"I feel very sad about it," Ladd Fraternale, shopping in the country section at Tower's East Village store in Manhattan, said Wednesday. "I think they have a great selection here and the service is good."

On Oct. 6, a federal bankruptcy judge in Wilmington, Del., approved the sale of Tower to Los Angeles-based liquidator Great American Group for $134.3 million.

While no firm date has been set for the stores to close, "Going Out of Business" signs went up this week at Tower's 89 stores in 20 states and the chain's 3,000 employees have been told they will be laid off.

The company owes creditors about $200 million and filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in August. In its filing, Tower said it has been hurt by an industrywide decline in music sales, downloading of online music and competition from big-box stores such as Wal-Mart.

CDs were 10 percent off this week, still not a bargain. At 10 percent off the list price of $18.99, Beyonce's "B'day" was selling for $17.09, compared with $9.99 on Amazon. Great American President Andy Gumaer said the discount will increase over the six to eight weeks it takes to close the stores.

At the New York store, Larry Kirwan, lead singer of the Irish band Black 47, was scouring the rock bins and mourning Tower's imminent loss.

"It's a bad day for music," Kirwan said. "It's a bad day for independent bands. ... Right from the beginning, even before we were signed with labels they carried us. They've been good to musicians."

Kirwan said taking music off the Internet is not the same as buying a vinyl LP or even a CD.

An LP or CD is "something real that's not virtual," he said. "It's like music itself. I'm not sure music is virtual. It's real and it's powerful, and I don't think you quite get the same thing from downloading."

Russ Solomon founded Tower in Sacramento, Calif., in 1960 and opened the company's landmark store on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard in 1969. As part of the bankruptcy auction, the Sunset property will be sold for $12 million.

Outside the Sunset Boulevard store, a marquee with a message and REM lyrics said it all: "It's the end of the world as we know it. Thanks for your loyalty." A mock gravestone and Halloween decoration had a single word scratched into it: "Tower."

Norman Labby, who for 20 years drove across town to go to Tower for jazz and classical albums, said he was "frustrated, angry and depressed" that Tower was closing.

"I don't own a computer, I don't know how to work one and don't plan to buy one," he said, holding a bag full of CD's and tapes. "I'm disenfranchised for the umpteenth time."

News of Tower's sale to Great American plunged workers into "immediate sadness," said Ramsey Jones, manning the third-floor cash register at the New York store.

"Business hasn't been great," Jones said. "Downloading, competition from Virgin and your Best Buys and your Wal-Marts. But the thing that people will miss is the deep catalog that Tower has. They can come here and find anything they want."

Jones, a 15-year Tower employee who also plays the drums and has worked with musicians including Vernon Reid of Living Colour, said he has made connections at Tower and met famous customers like Carlos Santana and jazz great Ornette Coleman.

"Customers are going to miss walking into a store and speaking to someone that is knowledgeable," he said. "It's like losing a family member, working here for so long."

Rock critic Robert Christgau said Thursday that Tower often attracted workers who knew about music because they were musicians themselves.

"It doesn't make me happy to see places like Best Buy and Circuit City selling records," he said in a telephone interview. "I'd much rather records were sold at a music store."

___

Associated Press Writer Noaki Schwartz in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press

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Post by Haydnseek » Sat Oct 14, 2006 8:56 am

Ralph wrote:Today the sale discount is 15%. Lower next week.
Please keep us posted on the discounts. The nearest Tower to me is in Rockville, about 45 minutes away by car. A sizable portion of my classical collection was bought when Planet Music went out of business in Baltimore and the discounts went to 25%, 50% and then 75%. Quite a lot of good stuff was still available although that sale didn't have the publicity this one is getting and the classical department was larger to begin with then than you see in most stores today.
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Post by Donaldopato » Sat Oct 14, 2006 9:05 am

Maestro DJS: We must have crossed paths one time or another, I was a student at U of I graduating in 1979 with BA in Industrial Psychology. I took all the music courses I could however, and spent every available cent I had left over on records at Figaro's. Thanks for the memories!

As for Tower, it is strange that it seems almost business as usual on their website.

praestant

Post by praestant » Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:50 am

[quote="Donaldopato"]As for Tower, it is strange that it seems almost business as usual on their website.[/quote]

According to my son, who works (soon to be worked) at Tower, the web site is a separately run operation with it's own warehouse stock unrelated to the brick and mortar business.
While the stores are closing the website will remain.
It has not been sold to liquidators.
It has been purchased by parties who intend to keep it running.

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Post by Donaldopato » Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:10 am

praestant wrote:
Donaldopato wrote:As for Tower, it is strange that it seems almost business as usual on their website.
According to my son, who works (soon to be worked) at Tower, the web site is a separately run operation with it's own warehouse stock unrelated to the brick and mortar business.
While the stores are closing the website will remain.
It has not been sold to liquidators.
It has been purchased by parties who intend to keep it running.
Interesting, thanks for the information. Since we have such lousy classical music selection in our retail market here in KC, I have ordered frequently from Tower.

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Post by Alberich » Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:34 am

Recommend on-line ordering from
CD Universe.
Much better prices, wonderful selection and
excellent service.

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Post by pizza » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:19 am

Ralph wrote:Today the sale discount is 15%. Lower next week.

It was worth it for me to pick up a few items including the Brodsky Quartet's Shostakovich string quartet cycle.

Very somber in the classical/opera department.
Was that their first or second cycle? I bought their first about 15 years ago and hardly listen to it anymore as I have since obtained the 2nd Borodin cycle. I'd be curious to see how they changed their approach over the years.

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Post by Ralph » Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:19 pm

pizza wrote:
Ralph wrote:Today the sale discount is 15%. Lower next week.

It was worth it for me to pick up a few items including the Brodsky Quartet's Shostakovich string quartet cycle.

Very somber in the classical/opera department.
Was that their first or second cycle? I bought their first about 15 years ago and hardly listen to it anymore as I have since obtained the 2nd Borodin cycle. I'd be curious to see how they changed their approach over the years.
*****

Second cycle and I haven't had a chance to listen yet. Will report back when I do.
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Post by Ralph » Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:43 am

The discount is now 20%.

*****

http://www.calendarlive.com/printeditio ... l-calendar
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK
Mark Swed: For audio lovers, yet another blow
Tower took seriously its mission to be the world's most important record outlet.
By Mark Swed
Times Staff Writer

October 22, 2006

There goes the free parking.

The choice spot off Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood behind the Tower Video/Classical Annex has been for years a closely guarded secret. An hour for Tower shopping, no validations needed and most of the time no one checking. That couldn't last forever. Neither, apparently, could Tower Records.

Two weeks ago, Tower was auctioned off for $134.3 million to a liquidator, which is a tragedy for music and particularly for classical music. The gallingly named Great American Group will go down in infamy. It beat out Trans World Entertainment by $500,000. Trans World promised to keep many of the Tower stores open. Now all the stores will close in a few weeks, after the stock is sold off at discount.

"Sometimes the highest bid is not the best bid," the attorney representing Towers' creditors argued unsuccessfully before the bankruptcy court. Instead, the court ruled that one measly increment in the bidding (less than half of 1% of the total) must be valued above the good of culture and society, to say nothing of music.

Now, New York City will no longer have a decent classical record store. Neither will Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle or many, many other cities. London will certainly feel the loss of its Piccadilly Tower. Tokyo will get by, but nothing compared with the multistory Tower stores in the Shibuya and Shinjuku districts; their acres of deep-catalog CDs — stuff you never even imagined existed — once offered the best selection in the world.

Tower ran the CD department in the gift shop in the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Last week the Los Angeles Philharmonic released its first commercial disc recorded in Disney, which features a spectacular performance of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. At the moment, the orchestra is scrambling to figure out how it can sell its own disc in its own hall, since the major labels, in this case Deutsche Grammophon, are not supposed to ship product (the business term for music) to Tower any longer.

Tower is not blameless. It was, in its heyday, a great record store, but it was not a good one. Tower all but invented the model for chain book and record stores, which have been eliminating independent retailers.

As a freshman at UCLA in the 1960s, I hung out in a wonderful independent record store on Westwood Boulevard, where its grizzled clerks knew a lot better than my music professors did in terms of what direction to point a young enthusiast, what Beethoven quartet, played by whom, I was ready for. The conductor and Stravinsky intimate Robert Craft might swing by to pick up some LPs he wanted to play for the old man. I dutifully bought the same ones.

When Tower Records came to town, it opened a store in Westwood directly across the street from the independent and undersold all competition (undoubtedly at a loss). Once the independent was forced out of business, Tower's prices went up. This scenario was played out often.

But Tower did take seriously its mission to be the world's most important record outlet. It tried to stock everything (I think it actually succeeded in Tokyo). During the early '90s, Tower published a not-half-bad handout record magazine. I wrote a few pieces for it and reviewed some records, never pressured to promote anything.

The Tower Records next to Lincoln Center in New York has been an important institution in the city's artistic life. The classical room was always a good place in which to schmooze after concerts. The hours were fabulous — open until 1 a.m. It was there that I got to know Susan Sontag, who was a record freak. It was there that I discovered that, despite disagreeing about nearly everything else, John Simon, the outspoken theater and film critic, and I like many of the same recordings.

You will still be able to find classical CDs. They are on the way out but not gone yet. Just about everything is available one way or another online. Ever since it started selling CDs, Amazon.com has been a godsend for those not in the vicinity of a Tower or in want of something obscure.

But you lose the whole social dimension of spending time in record stores, meeting like-minded music lovers, making discoveries, developing passions. I doubt I would have had the courage to change my major to music in my sophomore year of college and move up to Berkeley (where there were — and still are — better record stores) had I been ordering over the Internet.

Record stores are good for the record geek community, and good for the community at large as well. We don't pay sales tax when purchasing out of state, and the savings is often seen as an attraction for buying online. But these are the taxes that typically fund local schools, roads, hospitals, police, parks and playgrounds.

*

The trouble with downloading

MANY culprits contributed to the demise of Tower. It got out-chained by the likes of Wal-Mart and other mass retailers who now promote bestselling CDs, probably under cost. It got hit by the big record labels' indiscriminate releasing of junk in all genres. The downturn in DVD sales hasn't helped.

And the ever-infuriating iTunes came along. Once Apple marketed its cute players as objects of lust, the CDs became prehistoric media.

Downloaded music isn't inherently bad. But in its quest to rule the world, or at least become another Microsoft-ish monopoly, Apple can be.

Like Amazon, iTunes serves as a useful adjunct to retail CD stores. But with its insufficient catalog and its pop orientation, Apple's download service is a long way from being able to replace them.

You can, in fact, find the new Los Angeles Philharmonic "Rite of Spring" on iTunes, but in inferior sound to the Super Audio CD. If you already have the disc, you can purchase separately from the site Salonen's exclusive 3 1/2 -minute interview about the "Rite" for $3.99. It is also broken into four sections, each 99 cents — and one lasts just 36 seconds! Do you really want these folks running the sale of classical recordings?

So what's to be done?

Los Angeles is luckier than most cities, thanks to the Bay Area's Amoeba Music, the massive new and used store, having opened a branch in Hollywood. But there isn't much else. Virgin Records once had a classical room. Last time I looked, classical was but a shelf or two hidden in the back of the store. Two of my old haunts, Aron's and Rhino, have closed in the last year. Barnes & Noble and Borders have music departments, but they are basic and seldom staffed by knowledgeable clerks, which is one of the necessities for all classical stores given the bewildering choices.

Dutton's Books has small but extremely well-chosen CD departments in its Brentwood and Beverly Hills stores that come closest to the old-time independent retailer. These are among the last places where you can talk about music.

When the CD replaced the LP, the two shared shelf space for a few years, as the CD gradually took over. The same happened with the transition from videotape and laserdisc to DVD. But with the abrupt liquidation of Tower, we are now faced with the possibility of an alarming vacuum. So please support your independents, if you can find one. And don't forget to have plenty of quarters handy when parking off Sunset.

mark.swed@latimes.com
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Post by Ralph » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:31 pm

The discount is now 25%.

A funereal air now pervades in Tower's classical department at Lincoln Center. Clerks are moody, shoppers almost apologetic for sweeping the shelves bare. The opera room is virtually denuded although to my surprise I finally got the CD of Perry Como and Dinah Shore singing Wagner duets.

Signs say new stock arrives often from the warehouse but I doubt it - at least in the classical area distributors and labels cut cash-starved Tower off a while ago.
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Post by Lance » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:39 pm

Ralph wrote:The discount is now 25%.

A funereal air now pervades in Tower's classical department at Lincoln Center. Clerks are moody, shoppers almost apologetic for sweeping the shelves bare. The opera room is virtually denuded although to my surprise I finally got the CD of Perry Como and Dinah Shore singing Wagner duets.

Signs say new stock arrives often from the warehouse but I doubt it - at least in the classical area distributors and labels cut cash-starved Tower off a while ago.
Soon, you will be enjoying 40-50% Their web site still works, however. I understand that is a separate entity from the stores.

I have been SEARCHING for the Como/Shore Wagner duets for a couple of years. You were lucky to find this now very rare CD. It must've been hiding in the corners somewhere, or fell behind one of their shelved cabinets. I am so glad you put me on to the opera arias of Dittersdorf annd Rossini with Patsy Cline with Jim Reeves in some of the duets, making it their first "classical" music album together. The digital transfer makes it sound like it was recorded just yesterday. It's a collaboration to die for. What will it take to get a copy of the Shore/Como, Ralph?
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Post by Ralph » Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:54 pm

Lance wrote:
Ralph wrote:The discount is now 25%.

A funereal air now pervades in Tower's classical department at Lincoln Center. Clerks are moody, shoppers almost apologetic for sweeping the shelves bare. The opera room is virtually denuded although to my surprise I finally got the CD of Perry Como and Dinah Shore singing Wagner duets.

Signs say new stock arrives often from the warehouse but I doubt it - at least in the classical area distributors and labels cut cash-starved Tower off a while ago.
Soon, you will be enjoying 40-50% Their web site still works, however. I understand that is a separate entity from the stores.

I have been SEARCHING for the Como/Shore Wagner duets for a couple of years. You were lucky to find this now very rare CD. It must've been hiding in the corners somewhere, or fell behind one of their shelved cabinets. I am so glad you put me on to the opera arias of Dittersdorf annd Rossini with Patsy Cline with Jim Reeves in some of the duets, making it their first "classical" music album together. The digital transfer makes it sound like it was recorded just yesterday. It's a collaboration to die for. What will it take to get a copy of the Shore/Como, Ralph?
*****

Come visit me (finally) and we'll search for it together!
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Post by Wallingford » Wed Nov 29, 2006 3:39 pm

'Just wanted to say: CD's are now 50% off. (DVD's still 40% off, though.)
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Never mattered we were always ok
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Post by Febnyc » Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:32 pm

50% off?

Well, as of last week there wasn't much from which to choose, at least at the Lincoln Center store. It was a sad sight, for sure. The classical department consisted of about 20% of the usual stock - and the place appeared devastated. Other genres - not sure exactly - world music, or such - are in what was the exclusive classical section. Even at half off I'd despair of finding anything I need.

Tower is, to paraphrase the Monty Pythons, an ex-music store.

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Post by Barry » Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:48 pm

I checked out the classical section in the main Philly Tower late last week and it was also down to slim pickings. Oddly enough, they got in a huge shipment of Russian Revelation discs. In fact, it seemed like they didn't have much at all of interest beyond the RR releases. I held off because they were going for $17, and even at 40 percent off, I didn't think it was such a great bargain. Maybe I'll stop back this weekend and give it a second thought at 50 percent off.
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Post by Febnyc » Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:51 pm

Sad, Barry - that Philadelphia Tower classical store always was a favorite of mine. It was so well stocked - overflowing bins. And the "birthday" sale. A shame.

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Post by Ralph » Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:55 pm

I bought some of those Russian Revelation discs.

The classical sections of both large Manhattan Tower stores are devoid of anything worth buying. There seems to be a huge supply of DVD movies and rock/pop CDs. Perhaps those distributors didn't pull the plug as fast as the classical labels did. I got some great KINO silent film DVDs for 40% off.
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Post by Wallingford » Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:00 pm

Barry Z wrote:Oddly enough, they got in a huge shipment of Russian Revelation discs .
I've had a little extraordinary luck finding those in the Half-Price Books outlets here--oftentimes going for $2 a pop, unopened. I've made a tidy little profit on those in my sideline internet business. Had LOTS of copies of the Rozhdestvensky Shostakovich Fourth.
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That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
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Post by Barry » Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:13 pm

Has anyone heard the Rozhdestvensky Bruckner recordings on Russian Revelation? I'm curious about the eighth and may pull the trigger on it this weekend.

Frank,
That old Tower classical annex on South Street closed probably a half dozen or so years ago. They moved the classical section over to the new Tower that was built in the heart of Center City, but it was never comparable to the annex at its peak.
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Post by Febnyc » Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:52 pm

Barry - Thanks. I seem to recall, perhaps from your info, that the South Street classical annex had closed. It's been some time since I've been to Philly - used to get there at least once a month, when I was working. I'd always leave time after my last appointment of the day to zip down from Center City to South and 9th (?), browse around, and then grab a cab back to 30th Street just in time for the northbound metroliner. It was a pulse-pounding ride to the station - got my blood pressure to interesting levels I'd bet - and I usually jumped aboard just as the doors were closing but at least I had a few CDs in my bag! Good old days.

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Post by Modernistfan » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:49 pm

The Tower website is indeed operating and has new releases. They have some very good deals; if you signed up as a Tower Insider, they will give another 15% off, and that comes on top of a 25% discount for box sets. They also have free shipping on most orders. I just ordered the Jansons Shostakovich box set and the Runnicles "Tristan und Isolde" for a total of $93.41 including shipping and tax; I got an e-mail message indicating that these have been shipped and I should get them very soon, probably tomorrow. This is by far the best price I have seen on these box sets, easily beating ArkivMusic.

I don't know who took over the website, but they seem intent on keeping it running.

The whole Tower debacle caused me to reflect on how much the record industry has changed. If this had happened ten years ago, or even five years ago, I suspect that some classical record companies would go out of business as a result. I don't expect this to happen now because Tower has been so erratic on stocking the independents for several years anyway, and most consumers are far more Internet-savvy than they were a few years ago, so that they have found alternative sources for these recordings. Maybe the majors, who extended very generous terms to Tower, will be hurt, but their committment to classical is now so marginal anyway that it really won't matter in the long run.

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Post by Wallingford » Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:49 pm

Y'know, in view of the thought these guys canned me 3 years ago over a false theft-at-the-till charge, I really should be feeling some catharsis from the above news. Lord knows I've been bitter & befuddled enough about it 'til just recently. Maybe I'm really feeling this release, but just don't SENSE it as yet.

I hafta say, anyhoo--since news of the first (impending) bankruptcy blew up five-and-a-half years ago--these guys were like chickens with their heads cut off (both the corporate heads and my immediate collegues). There was NO WAY you could predict what went on in their heads, or if they were your real friends.

And by mid-2003, there was little I could say for a work environment that degenerated from a job where I could share my knowledge & expertise, to some generic (and drastically pared down) mall-hangout where I was pestered continually by snotnosed kids buying candy bars (one even had the nerve to ask me for $5) and, in general, having to watch everything I did or said for fear of being rude to anyone (I increasingly and mysteriously ran into flak with the managers about this during my final year there).

In any case, the Bellevue chain (Store #187 for the books) was a chain doomed to fail from the start. Our original manager, Dave Coker, retired/resigned right after the new store was put up around the corner in June '99. Apparently, the corporates from Sacramento were harassing & pressuring him quite inordinately to make this store a smashing success, and poor Dave felt this was an ideal time to cash in his chips (he was one of the original MTS employees, back in the late 60s), and simply devote his time to being our soda-pop-machine man.

At any rate, I bid au revoir--for good this time--to the nice/not-so-nice folks who once were my most immediate social circle (and which I lost overnight), some of whom pulled stakes & went into other fields, others who became among the oppressed at the remaining two (now soon-to-be-defunct) Seattle chains:

.....to Tamas, perhaps my greatest friend there, intelligent Chilean from South Dakota who shared some of my liking for the classics & was virtually the only one who shared my liking for old B&W movie comedies.....somehow, I KNOW you didn't swipe that $10 bill when you were alone in the countout room to even out your till, Tom--despite what everyone said; anyway, I've missed you ever since they fired you;
.....to Eric, dutiful head of both classics AND jazz (even tho' you butted heads with poor ol' Phil who RAN the latter dept. before he resigned).....you weren't the greatest when it came to letting me have first pick of those discarded classical promos, Eric, even tho' I was your right-hand man (you even sent me a nasty e-mail about it once--Geez!!), but I'm not holding that too much against you;
.....to Dennis, our beleaguered manager during most of our store's too-brief life.....you did what you could, Dennis, even though I never could understand your viewing me as some mental defective, not even sticking up for me when I said I didn't take that money from my register;
.....to Kevin, itsy-bitsy Asian who always scurried about, getting underfoot rodent-like &
muttering, "C'mon, Man, outta my way!" while my lumbering 220-lb. frame wondered just what you were busy trying to do.....you were constantly stopping me in the middle of any chore I was doing just so you could ask me peculiarly about the specifications on my turntable (that is, when you weren't busy running "Shrek" on our screens for the millionth time). Is it true, Kev, that you really scalped those tickets from our Ticketmaster outlet, thereby getting you fired?;
.....to Sandra, overworked, overstressed supe now at Seattle's U-district chain; you always were our most hardworking & conscientious employee, Sandra, even tho' you'd bug me periodically about why I occasionally went upstairs to the Hooter's for lunch (& were ALWAYS the first to bitch to the managers about my bad armpit smell).......you were a grade-A whiner, Sandra, even if you meant well;
......to Nat, tall, gaunt gent who sang bass in the Seattle Symphony Chorale & who helped me in classical...I have fond memories of you, Nat, even tho' your breath often smelled of booze and/or stale pot smoke, and even tho' you'd ask me about every hour if you could step out momentarily for a smoke and would leave the entrance unlocked before opening time;
......to Richard, forever dressed in Goth: the strong, silent, skulking type--our mag buyer whose professionalism shone thru the way you dressed (& who dutifully ripped for me each new issue of
American Record Guide, Classical Collector, & Fanfare.....in addition to Cat Fancy, Hustler,etc.);
......to Christina, sharing with Richard a love for Goth dress, always giving me a decent deal on the used vinyl/CDs I brought in for trade at the U-district chain;
.......to T.J., head security dude in California: the
bâtard responsible for my cataclysmic fall from grace with my colleagues over here; the be-all & end-all when it comes to monkey business at all these northwest chains.....that was $60 I KNOCKED OFF the countout table inadvertantly, rather than pocketed.....y'know, T.J., I bet ol' Dubya's gotcha workin' for him now, proving to the world why homeland security's all one gigantic joke.....I dares ya ta Google dis, T.J., I dast ya, I dast ya, I dast ya, nyah-nyah-nyah!!!!!!!!!!;
.......to Karen, our general manager, staying on two sinking ships, our store & the Tacoma chain which shut its doors a decade ago. I never minded taking orders from you, Karen, you always explained things to me in a calm, rational way, even when you lost your head (even tho' you ran a distant second to Sandra in the whining dept.)......you always alerted Dennis to my jobs-well-done & helped me win 2 Sony CDs of my choice in one Northwest division competition;
......to Stacy, longsuffering supe who hopped onboard the downtown Seattle store after the fall of our store; somehow always keeping your head (even tho' your favorite phrase--only used in the employee's area--was "f***in' retard!");
......to Rob, now bravely going down with the ship as manager at the Downtown store; the region's classical expert--even if my dear departed friend Jim Monahan, after you interviewed me 10 years back, called you an a-hole for not hiring me;
......to Fred, our associate manager--tall, round black dude who always dubbed himself "Frederick the Entertainer" in our office e-mails; I know you probably shared with Dennis your low regard for my overall acumen at this store--but did you have to work on me any & every chance you got? My biggest visual memory of you, Fred, is that wicked grin when you knew you got the best of me; and that thick-lipped blank look when you refunded me my money on all those unopened store purchases I now desperately had to return upon getting canned (you didn't even say a single word thru the whole transaction...talk about cold)....it was the same look you gave me when Dennis first got the word from T.J. about that supposed incident.......;
.....to Chuck, our former supe & resident potty-mouth; you always looked the coolest, Chuck, even tho' you went day after day in the same black outfit (& smelled it, too); you always were pestering me in countout, Chuck, for never wanting to use the "f" word....and you finally were canned by harassing one of our female supes (Dennis was extremely reluctant about it, since you were "good for our store");
.....to Casey, our video buyer & head receiver--incurable "Star Wars" nut who always planned his vacations around camping outside the theaters for the latest episode to premiere; were you trying to imitate ME, Casey, whenever you paged the whole store?;
.....to Alex, Stroy, Nick, Angela, and especially Tod (our longtime security guy)--you guys all got out when the gettin' was good, which is why I have only fond memories of all of you;
.....and lastly, to the Solomon clan--you started with a super company, then plotted your own ruin by letting your shareholders deal in junk bonds, then made up for it by slashing our health benefits with each passing year. Hey....you can all leap off the ninety-ninth story, for all I care.


Ciao, Tschüss!
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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