SARA SHERR REPORTS: With just four days left to go, the Avenue of the Arts Tower Records isn’t even a shell of its former self. It’s the Pennsauken Mart.
The second floor is no more. It once housed DVDs, Jazz, Vocals, New Age, Folk, Blues, Comedy and Kids. What little of it is left is now on the first floor. Before this everything-must-go transformation, the Jazz guy and the Goth kid from the DVD department were working side by side, a sitcom waiting to happen. The Classical department consists of one bin in the front of the store, much to the dismay of our loyal classical customers, who have few brick and mortar alternatives.
Our mighty R&B section, the first to go, is now an afterthought in a bin next to Latin CDs and DVDs. R&B fans still approach the section thinking, “No comprende, it’s a riddle.” All that’s left in the rap section are unknown West Coast gangsta CDs for a dollar. Celly Cell, anyone? Keak Da Sneak? How about Chuck Nutt for grandma? The idea is to slowly move the product to the front of the store. But for now, shoppers jostle one another for Operatica and George Strait Christmas CDs and straight-to-DVD titles.
Since it’s Christmas, there are always those customers who never set foot in a record store until family members send them in with incomprehensible lists. Not only do they have no idea what their children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews want, they’re shocked that we’re going out of business. It used to be my job to explain their children’s musical tastes, now I’m just Dr. No — as in, “Do you have this?” “No.” One woman came in over the weekend, and I felt sorry for her. She asked, oh so sweetly, “Do you have any nice music?” And I said, “No, I’m sorry, we’ll never have nice music again.”