Skivvies and CDs

If you read last week's column, you'll remember an offhand (though long-due) dig at the guy with much indie attitude who works at Orpheum Records on Broadway. The second the issue hit the stand, folks ran to their computers to fire off e-mails recollecting their dealings with "Mr. Indie-Pants." From Brody: "Preach it! Some of those clerks there can totally suck. You are right on." From Bing: "I predict that you will probably receive an assload of e-mails regarding that polyester-highwater-wearing, mop-topped shitsucker who works at Orpheum, as I doubt that there's a single music buyer on all of Capitol Hill who hasn't been confronted with the bile-inducing indignation that is his unique brand of customer service." From Daniel: "Thank you, Ms. Wilson, for saying something I have thought for a long, long time. Orpheum's employees are the sole reason I don't shop there. I'd rather shop at any other record store in Seattle."

An e-mail sent from an employee of Orpheum informed me that the guy, who was an obvious liability to the store's popularity, no longer works there. However, Orpheum consignment manager Matt Evans got his skivvies in such a knot over my claim that he went back and checked to see just how long it had been since someone had come in and purchased a copy of Nirvana's Incesticide (the album I used purely as an example to make my point), and claimed that the last time anyone bought a copy of the CD was sometime in 2000. (Is that supposed to be a good statistic?) "I think people have come to expect ridicule and snorting and such when they come in here," he commented, "and frankly, I don't know what the fuck they're worried about. [Working in] a CD store on Broadway allows me to sell the shittiest dance music you've ever heard to queens all day long. Queens who don't even get the slightest snort out of me. Why? Because they are generally friendly, nice people. I refuse to judge anyone for what music they are buying, because after working here for over two years, I've sold so much shitty music that I've become jaded. Talk shit about Tower Records, throw insults at, but don't criticize any local independent business, no matter how much snorting or ridiculing you are exposed to, because PEOPLE HAVE BAD DAYS." He also claimed I hadn't set foot inside the store in years, but when I told him to take his skivvies and go back and check the date a certain album was inquired about and then bought, Evans became quiet as a church mouse.

Now, longtime readers of this column should remember a bit I wrote eons ago comparing the year's album sales for Up Records and Sub Pop (according to Soundscan)--and I meant no personal attack by reporting that the Makers hadn't done well that year. Talk about skivvies in a bunch! I believe that, to this very date, I am still public enemy number one at Fallout Records after I surmised--in response to much hate mail from Makers fans and independent outlets such as Fallout--that these days, the term "punk rock" can only be defined as "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Just like people continue to patronize their favorite independent coffee shops, people still buy records from independent stores. This past Xmas I combed Broadway for an old Slowdive album before giving big, bad Borders a shot--and not only did they have a copy, but their selection of local music was exemplary. Don't say I didn't try, guys.