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Re: Dissin' Dischord

}Mike (Catano) writes:
}>Never once have I been asked the question "Can I Help
}>You?" at Dischord.  Many people feel the same, in fact my girlfriend is 
}>afraid to even go inside. 
}My experience is exactly the same.  No one there ever seems to 
}want to go out of their way for a customer.  No one has ever
}asked me that question there either.  All the people who hang
}there seem to be nice people when you talk to them -- elsewhere.

Andrew writes:

>I agree, this is a definite problem.  The attitude of Frank and his clerks 
>is "This is our place" as opposed to the consumer-friendly "We're here to 
>serve you".  But, I think if you ask them about something they're 
>reasonably helpful.  I think the attitude partly breeds from the fact that 
>the place isn't constantly busy, and the clerk is generally rather bored 
>apart from when he/she has a friend hanging around, in which case the 
>clerk pays almost no attention to the customers.

well, i personally have no trouble with saying, "hey, can i _buy_
this?" in order to get one of those guys' attention when they are
talking or staring out the window.  i agree with mike, though, that
it's offputting and would be a lot more intimidating for others.

>One note on your first letter, Mike:  If Frank indeed does keep all the 
>good stuff for himself, then that's his privelege.  It doesn't make good 
>business sense, but if he wants anything off the rack, I'm sure he gets it 


Mike wrote:

}>I think saying the store sucks was a little harsh, and I
}>apologise for that, but I had just mailed off forty bucks to the States for
}>records that would never see the light of day in Halifax, and I was feeling
}>especially bitter.  Sorry if I offended, but when Sam the record Man has 
}>more obscure records than Halifax's Indie Store, than something weird 
}>must be going on.

>I disagree with you calling Dischord "Halifax's Indie Store".  It's a used 
>record (CD,tape) shop, primarily, and as for Indie it really only carries 
>local stuff.  I think his local selection is generally pretty good, but 
>guys like you and Cliff and Waye are better qualified to comment on that.  

i think mike called it that because it's the closest thing we've got.
most indie stores that i've been in _do_ carry used stuff, that's how
they survive.  and i have bought a non-local indie in there before.
("pest plays no. 817 the visibile trout" cassette)   although i suppose
derivative is as local a non-local as there is.  :-)  

>I think it's great that Sam's Barrington carries such a wide selection of 
>Indie and major-label alternative music, and that they take the "Friends 
>of CKDU card", and I think that's why so many other record-store chains 
>have folded in Halifax (witness Kellys/A&A right across the street).  

i wouldn't quite say that their selection is "wide" but it's sure better
than dischord, and better than any chain store i've ever been in (including
sam's/hmv locations in montreal and toronto and musicland in chicago).

>at least to some extent recognize what the public wants to buy, rather 
>than just carrying a record selection that looks like a top-40 station.


}I agree 100%.  It's ridiculous that Halifax does not have a decent 
}indie store.  We have the radio station, we have the nightclub,
}we just don't have a record store.  Unless you count Sam's, which
}as Mike says at least carries more indie stuff than Dischord.

>It is certainly ridiculous that we don't have one, but what can you do?

>A) Open one!  I've heard Mike rant about his financial situation so I 
>doubt that he's up for it, but someone out there with capital, guts, and 
>entrepreneurial skills should go for it.  SMU doesn't pump out all those 
>Commerce grads every year so they can become bank tellers and department 
>store clerks.  The number of vacant commercial spaces in downtown Halifax 
>is increasing at a scary rate.  We need some bright ideas from the 
>business-types.  Not me, I'm a chemist!

>B) Order stuff yourself.  Like Mike and his $40 US.  If you're really into 
>it, you can start ordering for friends too.  If you see a big enough 
>demand, you can then proceed to option A) or C)

>C) Persuade Frank to start ordering stuff.  Convince him that folks here 
>want to buy indie label releases at his store.  Convince him that he can 
>pull down a profit, which you've hinted he isn't accomplishing with his 
>current selection of Elvis Costello tapes.

>I just don't know if you can make a profit selling indies.  You obviously 
>have to mark them up, unless the record company will sell cheaper on bulk 
>orders, so anybody with a postage stamp can do like Mike and order the 
>same merchandise by mail for less.

i don't really know much about the business end of it, but it's my
impression that labels will ship records for less if they're for

>I like Dischord because I usually find a used CD that I want every time I 
>go there.  Then again, my tastes and the volume of my collection may not 
>match yours.  I don't buy a lot of indies because I like to hear a band 
>before I buy their stuff, and I unfortunately don't listen to CKDU as 
>often as I should in order to hear indies (or, when I hear a great tune at 
>the Deuce, I never know who it is unless I ask Waye or whoever is DJ'ing)
>I guess I'm just a poser :)

don't worry, we're all posers.
you should listen to my show, andrew!  :-)

Mike Price writes:

>	As far as the last few comments go about dischord...and those of you on
>the Chapel Hill list will see the irony of this discussion...I'd like to throw
>out a few cents...

>The thing I like about places like Dischord, the Mokka and other sort-of
>alternative businesses around Halifax is that the employees are just hanging
>out, and aren't in your face with some corporations customer service 
>excellence handbook at the ready...Who cares that they're always sitting
>in the front window--hanging out. If I owned a record store you wouldn't 
>see me spending my days washing walls and standing quietly behind a counter
>waiting eagerly to "help you". Buying music isn't all that difficult...too
>bad there isn't a store with more indie labels...but if you can't find
>what you're looking for at Dischord...then look somewhere else.

well, geez, mike, our complaint is that there really isn't anyplace else!
i personally find that evanston, illinois is a good place to shop for indies,
but i find that it's a long commute...  and the ideals of "friendly service",
last i checked, weren't handed down by some corporation, but come to us from
the finest tradition of _independent_ shopkeepers...  and generally i find
that i get better service in most independent stores than in corporate chains,
maybe because they have to compete against those big guys.
there are a few exceptions.  like dischord.  :-)
i got really friendly service at every indie store i went to in chicago,
including this really great guy at vagabond music, next to the lounge ax.


     _                                  _     James R. Covey <jrcovey\!/ac.dal.ca>
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