This morning I started down to the KHSU music sale with little expectation of finding any serious gems. After all, I know that their vinyl collection has been picked through extensively by station members and at music sales in recent years. I had also seen the condition of their records. For the most part they are beat up, rubber stamped, magic markered, and somewhat abused. One can find good records, but they aren't going to exactly add much value to a vinyl junkie's collection. It's an exercise in record flipping for the love of the genre, for the sake of discovering some new sounds, and for the opportunity to offer some dollars to an organization I feel (felt?) deserves support.
Surprisingly, it didn't take long for my piles of potential purchases to start adding up. I had my eyes on a bunch of cds and gathered up an impressive stack of albums. It was while checking out the seven inch records in back that a few of us peeped our wallets and cast inquiring glances at our horde of goodies. We all wondered how much the seven inches were, so I volunteered to inquire on the price and see if discounts were possible for those with large purchases. Long story short, I was sternly rebuffed in my efforts to make any sort of deal. I was told that the prices were fixed and there were no exceptions.
At what kind of sale like this does a stack of 35 records not deserve some sort of price break? Even the most hard nosed of sellers at record shows are willing to haggle and bend their asking prices. It's not always easy, but it is done. It's not like the station was offering mint condition collectibles. I wouldn't even grade this stuff VG+. Last month's charity rummage sale in Arcata offered better for less. Granted, the prices being asked by the KHSU (dis)organizers were low. I cannot argue that. I just can't find any logic in the refusal to accommodate a buyer who is committed to dropping a fair amount of dough for the benefit of a public radio station.
So, after spurning my request to deal, I whittled my potential purchase of lps, cds, and seven inch records from 100 or so dollars down to 15. Who loses? Certainly not me, for I have no regrets about anything I left behind. KHSU certainly loses, for these people are a reflection of their organization. They also don't have my money and lost a significant amount of my respect and ultimately, my support. That can't be good for an organization already dealing with recent chaos and upheaval. And don't think I did not report my dealings to others in the room who then immediately reconsidered and adjusted their own purchase plans. I assure you I was not the only unhappy camper that left with less money spent than intended.
Perhaps my tale of complaint is justified. Perhaps it is adolescent. You get to decide. In my mind, music sales like this are always a good idea, especially for something as vital as public radio. I'm sure a respectable amount of cash was raised for the station, but shame on the "organizers" of this event for failing to take advantage of the opportunity to raise even more.