So, just got back from doing a little CD shopping at Tower Records...with Ron Kirk. OK, well, sorta. See, I was there scoping out the deep discounts and happened to bump into the former mayor, who was looking for some gospel and Christmas music (me, not so much). He accosted me while I was taking a picture of a display rack filled with dozens of copies of the Dixie Chicks' latest, Taking the Long Way, available now at 40 percent off. He wanted to know why in the world someone would take pictures of a CD display in a CD store. I mentioned the blog. He said, "Why in the world does someone want to get up first thing in the morning and blog anything?" I couldn't come up with a good reason--except you, dear Friend of Unfair Park.
Anyway, I insisted the former mayor buy a deluxe-edition copy of Charlie Parker with Strings (at half off the $18.99 sticker price, it was one hell of a good deal). He resisted, then relented, but not before sharing tremendous tales of how the Supremes and Miles Davis and other jazz and R&B performers used to stay at his parents' house in Austin, back when African-American performers stayed at ordinary folks' homes since they had trouble getting decent hotel rooms. I really miss Kirk; if nothing else, the man's not short on stories.
So, back to Tower. As you read here first, it's going outta business any day now, and it's being liquidated at a quick pace that's getting quicker every day. Yesterday, everything in the story was 40 percent off--save for hip-hop, which was 70 percent off. Today, rock and pop's 40 percent off, plus an additional 20 percent off on top of that--but only for today, which means you might wanna stop by on the way home. (By the waym that comes out to 52 percent off, if my friend Chris does his math right.) Really, you must go today: Titles I thought about picking up yesterday--when Tower had people working street corners with flashy signs advertising 40 to 60 percent off everything--were gone this afternoon, and the place was relatively packed during lunch. Like I said, saw the ex-mayor, and he was holding.
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As it turns out, the entire place is 40 percent off--everything from expensive and hard-to-find Criterion Collection DVD boxed sets to brand-new releases by the likes of The Rapture and Pearl Jam to back catalog standards to Japanese versions of Bruce Springsteen albums to Jimmy Olsen action figures to blank-page journals. (Uh, Christmas presents, anyone?) Even the CD racks themselves are for sale, for between $50 to $100--though I am sure you can get them cheaper than that. Just talk to the manager. Thinking of opening a CD store? Nothing better than one going out of business.
Several employees I talked to said the discounts are fluctuating fast and furious as Tower tries to ditch all its product before Christmas. There's no word when the Tower will close for good--word is, they wanna lock the doors before the year's end--but the place is emptying faster now than when it was only offering 20 percent off product. Entire sections of the store are barren now; there are but a few boxed sets left, for instance, where once the section covered half a brick wall.
You will need to spend at least a couple of hours to find the great stuff, so be patient. I was almost out the door when I spotted the last copy of the recently released Monsieur Gainsbourg: Revisited compilation, for which I paid $8.63. The girl behind the counter wasn't thrilled. "Shit," she told a fellow employee. "I wanted this." Hey, really, I offered to let her have it; even offered to buy it for her, since, ya know, she could be out of work any day. Felt bad about it. But, no, she demanded I take the thing and go. Sound advice. You'd best hurry. --Robert Wilonsky