In the meantime, let's talk a bit about the event itself. In my last post, I mentioned a nasty store experience that Rhea and I had - and even called out the store itself for those savvy enough to click my hyperlinks. Fortunately for Rhea and I, that store wasn't our primary stop. We've tried a bunch of different places over the years, generally ranging from awful (NYC's recently late, otherwise-lamented J&R Music World) to mediocre (several, really). For the last two Record Store Days, however, we've found a great place to begin the day's adventure: a great store with a great staff that gets a good fill-rate on their orders and runs the entire thing in a completely fair manner. These days, I wouldn't dream of going anywhere else, and that's where the Blogger's Dilemma comes in: do I let everyone in on the secret, or keep this awesome bit of knowledge to myself?
Actually, the decision's not all that hard: what the flippers, snobs and stinkers I mentioned above all have in common is selfishness, and since that ain't the crowd I'm looking to hang with it's time to come clean. If you are in the NY/CT/NJ tri-state area, the place to go for your Record Store Day needs is Scotti's Record Shop in Summit, NJ. Everything about the experience is as good - and fair - as it can possibly be. The staff are polite and friendly to a person, the free coffee, cookies and live music are wonderful, and the way they run their show - folks let in a manageable few at a time and then given time to adequately browse, with a one-copy-per-customer limit upheld - couldn't possibly be improved upon. Scotti's atmosphere and policies, in turn, attract a fun, well-mannered crowd: no pushers-and-shovers, just fans there for the same reason you are. It's everything that RSD is supposed to be about; you know, the kind of experience that makes you want to go to the record store more often. This line video, shot just before opening on Saturday morning, gives you a little taste of what I'm talking about. (Oh, and Rhea and I are in this: she's the one in the Muppet shirt; I'm the guy in the Replacements hoodie talking about Joe Strummer and Cheap Trick.)
The pros and cons of Record Store Day have been beaten like a dead horse on the intertubes, and I'm happy to let those discussions exist elsewhere, after this quick Cliff's Notes version of my thoughts on it: it does far more good than harm. Yes, there are things that could be improved by the event's national organizers - and there are things that have been improved as the years have worn on - but it does bring a sense of excitement to a hobby and scene that was more or less left for dead a few years back. That as many people as you see in that video would line up early in the morning in 2014 to go to a record store is a wonderful, amazing thing - and if it helps to keep great local businesses like Scotti's a going concern once the lines die down, then may both RSD and the stores it benefits continue to thrive for years to come.
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ETA: I've never been to the store it promotes - Darkside Records and Gallery in Poughkeepsie, NY - but a former employee of Rhea's (back when she ran a Sam Goody's; see, all roads really do lead back to the record store) passed this along to her - and her, in turn, to me. Looks like these folks "get it", too; looking forward to checking this place out sometime soon.