A record-sitting day, or Why We Waited in Line on National Record Store Day

The store owners thought we were a tad overzealous, perhaps even a touch crazy.

I cannot dispute either of those claims.

Last year’s National Record Store Day offered the allure of limited edition albums from Wilco (my favorite band, non-Springsteen category) and The Hold Steady (my friend Cory’s favorite band, non-Springsteen category). How limited? In the case of Wilco, we were told the store would have, at best, three copies, with The Hold Steady holding steady at one, if at all.

The store, CD Central on Limestone in Lexington, opened at 10 a.m., leaving us with no choice but to be there at 8, at the latest. Our friend Nathan, who is always one to tag along on an adventure, particularly when it involves something he can sell on eBay, joined us, and there we sat outside the store, checking off in our heads our wishlist of records. Wilco, The Hold Steady, maybe a special Springsteen single, some John Lennon, a reprinted REM, anything and everything that came with a “limited edition” tag. The doors would open at 10 a.m., and away we’d go, pillaging the store and collecting our loot.

If only it were that easy.

For reasons never clearly explained, CD Central lacked any organization whatsoever when it came to displaying the special Record Store Day releases. Sure, the tried and true alphabetical order filing system might have proven useful, and even the much-maligned (at least by me) Dewey Decimal System would have provided a level of structure, as opposed to CD Central’s apparent method that day: oh, just put them wherever they’ll fit.

This completely defeated the purpose of arriving early, as we soon learned upon entering The Store That Has No Regard for Those Who Arrive Early To Such Events. This might not be a problem, save for the fact the stores’ employees had talked to us while we were waiting in line, going so far as to express admiration (perhaps it was mocking admiration but admiration nevertheless) and take our picture. At some point in the discussion, you’d think someone from the store might have casually mentioned something about the randomness that awaited us, but no, instead we were left to fend for ourselves.

And if that meant pushing aside a 7-year-old boy in order to reach the Wilco album, then so be it. (Note: that did not happen. I’m simply saying that if the situation presented itself, I would have had no qualms doing so).

As it turned out, we left fairly happy, having secured most of what we wanted – Cory had no luck with The Hold Steady record, but I’m pretty sure only about three were released worldwide.

I fully plan on taking part in National Record Store Day again, but with a new mindset. We learned was that we no longer had to arrive so early to take part in the fun (I say that only because there are no special releases that have caught my fancy this year; otherwise, I’d be there at 8:30, which isn’t as early but still avoids the Oh My God We’ll Miss Buying What We Want panic).

I hope to see you there.

And if some special Wilco ends up being available, I strongly suggest you step aside.

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