But I've been jonesing for new music after a long stretch of listening to the same tunes on the iPod. So this evening, as I walked past a hip little independent CD store on my way to grocery shopping, I decided to take the plunge.
I made my way to the Ms. Started scanning. And scanning. And scanning.
Ah yes. I'd forgotten.
The hip little independent CD store, like so many other CD stores, doesn't alphabetize its CDs. Or, rather, it does only to a point. All the Ma bands and artists are together, but within Ma it's a total free-for-all.
The result: It took much longer than it should have to discover that this store does not, in fact, carry anything by Barry Manilow.
* * *
I have a theory about why filing is so sloppy in these places. The longer customers have to flip through CDs to find what they're looking for, the more likely they'll be to stumble across something else they wanted, but hadn't been thinking about. While looking for Manilow, for instance, I saw the Dave Matthews Band and combed through their stuff for a song I liked.
It's a clever strategy, but one that ought to be retired. Music retailers, please take note ...
#1: There has been a tremendous drop in CD sales over the past 10 years. I don't need to tell you this. If you're managing to survive now, it's largely because so much of your competition has died.
#2: Gen-Xers (and people older than Gen-Xers) like CDs. We like digital downloads too, but we're more likely than Millennials to crave a product we can hold in our hands.
#3: One of the draws of digital music is that it takes no time at all to find what we're looking for. Enter your search term, hit return, and there it is.
#4: Traveling to a brick-and-mortar store, poking around to locate our selections, and then walking back to checkout is already a greater time commitment than we absolutely have to invest. It annoys customers to spend many minutes on top of that, attempting to dig through your inventory, simply because no one could bother to shelve it properly.
#5: Gen-Xers are grown-ups. Have been for quite a while. We've got obligations, responsibilities, places to be. We're going to be even more annoyed than your average high school student (who probably doesn't want your CDs anyway) if we're delayed for no good reason.
* * *
The above rant is mostly pointless. In 10 or 20 years, I'll reread this and get all nostalgic about how people were still actually buying CDs. But just for grins and giggles, give my words some thought. Maybe with enhanced alphabetization, you'll be one of the few retailers that survive long enough to occupy the coveted collector's-item niche.