Elvin, Record Bar Guy

When inside a mall, any mall, I’m happiest when I’m in the record bar. That’s why you can never lose me inside a mall. If I happen to vanish at any time, you can find me in the record like it’s a lost and found counter for myself.

In college, I wanted to work for Odyssey, part time (in addition to my many other jobs). I browsed through the yellow pages and called each branch to ask them if they can hire me. Nobody seemed interested. It’s ok, I said. I let go of my record bar-tender dreams but never the habit of lounging around their stores, flicking my fingers through the CDs on display, memorizing the titles ranked 1-10 in the bestsellers rack, sampling the CDs in the listening stations and checking out the lighted posters of each record label’s new releases. I spent most of my idle college hours at SM North’s Odyssey and Radio City branches, being followed by the sales person who knew nothing about music, witnessing shoplifters being apprehended and being screamed at by the public address system that the store will be closing down in ten minutes so If I’m not buying anything, I better leave ASAP.

Why did I want to work in a record store? Well first, I love albums. There is more to them than just collections of songs and pictures of the recording artist. Every time I check out a new cassette or CD, I imagine the process of producing and recording all the tracks, writing for and designing the CD labels and marketing the final product.

And also, I would like to really assist the customers inside the bar, especially those who are confused and overwhelmed by the magnitude of titles. I would like to be the one who can help them find the exact album they want, the exact one they are looking for. I would like to recommend artists they haven’t heard of, but they might also like. I want to inform them about basic information like this artists’ latest release or what album of this artists contains this particular song. I want to be more than just the record bar attendant who, when asked about the title, would look for it exactly in the same spot where you have been looking for for hours and then after a few minutes will just nonchalantly declare that what you’re looking for is “out of stock”.

Yesterday, I was at SM Makati’s record bar to buy Jason Mraz’s Beautiful Mess CD-DVD (A wonderful live album/concert, by the way. You gotta have it too) and one guy was led by one of the girl attendants to where I was, because he too, was looking for a Jason Mraz CD. The guy just wanted his “I’m Yours” and poor girl didn’t know what to give the guy. She just handed out the “latest” of these CDs, and the guy was once again confused because two of the CDs look alike, but with different costs. And then their conversation is getting longer and longer.

At this point I butted in. Those two are the same album, I said. The other one’s just a repackaged version to include the DVD and some bonus tracks. And so the guy left with his “I’m Yours” and I, with my partially fulfilled dream of assisting a customer. But it didn’t end there.

I transferred to Astroplus and browsed through the DVD collections (Still 50% off Magnavision titles). A pop-R&B version of Rivermaya’s Himala was playing over the store’s stereo. The lady beside me asked, “Do you know who’s singing this?”

“It’s Jay-R,” I said. “It’s from his new album right there in the New Releases section.” And after a few minutes, the same lady asked me if the Barney movie she’s holding is in VCD or DVD. I said “VCD.”

And then suddenly, I’m a character on High Fidelity, but friendlier.


Bernizzya said...

i can so relate, :D. but my dream was to be a sales assistant in a bookstore. as in serious dream ko talaga.

berg said...

dude, 2 entries in a row na naka-relate ako. can i copy-paste this one to my blog? this is/was exactly how i feel/felt! its kinda annoying that most of the record bar attendees in our country are clueless about the music they're selling. yung naka-impres lang sakin one time were the crew at tower records glorietta back in the day (i dont know kung same pa rin ba now, may TR pa ba sa glo?) they KNEW their music! made recommendations and had opinions about albums. i was in heaven that time, surrounded by like-minded people sharing the same passion. oops ang haba na ng comment ko hehe!

Elvin said...

Bernice: It's never too late to be who you want to become. Haha.

Berg: Yeah, that branch was one of the biggest and the best record bar back then. Now, if you get to come here, I recommend Fully Booked's music section at The Fort. Re: copy paste, are you serious?!! Go right ahead! Lol.

Erik Belbis said...

i love the high fidelity reference. its so appropriate.