Crazy Random Happenstance

Billy: So good... Hey, this is weird. I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?
Penny: I love it!
Billy: You're kidding? What a crazy random happenstance!
-Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thank you for shopping at Record Town/FYE...

When I was a 17 year old shift manager working at the Pretzel Peddler in Westland Mall, I had a crush on "the boy with glasses" who worked at Record Town. One day, when he came to buy a large Pepsi from me, I asked him if he had What's Eating Gilbert Grape on VHS. He said he would hold it for me and I nervously went and picked it up from him after my shift was over. I'm sure we made some small talk and I giggled like a dumb girl at a lame joke he made and left the store feeling all giddy. That was the first "real" conversation Jeff and I ever had and the rest, as they say, is history.

Record Town (which later became FYE) is where mine and Jeff's relationship began. When we first started dating, I would hang out in the store for hours while he worked. Just talking to him, watching him help customers, probably annoying his employees. On the nights when we both closed, I would usually finish before him and sit on the Peddler counter waiting for him, while he and Ryan listened to Social Distortion or Dave Matthews. He ended up hiring my best friend, Carrie as his assistant manager, so that gave me even more reason to hang out there. I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though I never worked there and was never officially employed by them, I feel like I worked there by default. I have spent a lot of time in that store and the fact that it will no longer "be" after this weekend breaks my heart.

Sure, it's no secret that the music industry has changed A LOT in the last 15 years. With the internet, there really is no reason to have to go into a store and physically purchase a CD anymore but you don't get the atmosphere of a record store when you are shopping on Amazon or itunes. You don't get to ask the sales person what they think of a certain CD or movie and you don't get the casual conversation that comes along with that. I know it sounds old fashioned but there is something to be said about discussing your favorite band with someone in the middle of a store, surrounded by CD's and merchandise. It's fun.

Through the years, a lot of really great people worked there. Loyal people who would come back to the store and work Christmas after Christmas. A lot of wonderful relationships and friendships were born there. Lasting relationships and friendships that blossomed over conversations about music, movies or just pop culture in general. They had some incredibly loyal customers (and some crappy ones but we'll focus on the good here). Customers who would bring them donuts or candy on a weekly basis. Customers who enjoyed coming in and just looking around at their product. Customers who went out of their way to talk to Jeff about his family and even on occasion buy him lunch or bring in gifts for Charley. FYE was part of their weekly routine and believe me when I say that these are the people who are going to miss the store as much as the employees themselves. He has received such an overwhelming amount of support from these customers and for that, I can't thank them enough. Some of them, Jeff didn't even really know but it's so wonderful that they took the time to let the workers know that they appreciated them. That doesn't happen too often these days.

I'm so thankful for the friendships I made there. Without that store, I never would have met some of the most important people in my life and as much as the situation of the store closing sucks, I'm so grateful for the opportunities that it gave us. Opportunities like the Twilight Midnight release party where tons and tons of fangirls showed up (that will go down as one of my most favorite memories of all time). Opportunities like in-store signings with barely known bands and having the fortune of meeting new, very cool people.

I'm hoping that instead of sadness all around, some good will come from the store closing. New adventures for Jeff and his employees and they'll be able to look back on their experiences working there with fondness. Though it is merely a store in a mall and things like this happen every day, it's a big deal to a lot of people. As our friend (and former employee) Tim said, "it really is the end of an era".

 For now, just remember there was a lot of love that came from that store, a lot of laughter, a lot of good music and a little bit of Raspberry Sweetness.

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