Customers? They say the funniest things....
Welcome to our first Harbour Records blog!
When our Webmaster Lloyd told us to write a blog, we wondered exactly what we could write that would be both interesting and entertaining, and wouldn’t bore the pants off ya! Well we all know it’s been really hard for everyone the last few months for a variety of reasons, and here at the shop we’ve also experienced some unwelcome downtime from our favourite pastime - selling records and meeting and talking to our brilliant customers, old and new.
One of the things that makes this job so rewarding (and it’s certainly not the money - haha!) is YOU, THE CUSTOMER! Yes that means you, reading this right now! Just connecting with someone on a musical level is what makes the stressful times more bearable - there is always an artist, band, gig, album or song that we all can make a connection with. Trust us, we’ll always find that mutual musical love.
And it’s often the case that someone will completely catch you out of left field - like the 80 year old customer enquiring if we had Kraftwerk’s “Man Machine”, or the customer banging on the door just before we opened, and on opening asking us if we’d be able to cut his hair as the barbers was closed!
However, none can quite compare musically (at the moment!) to our Dickie’s experience. Now spare a thought for the fella - it was his first day working in the shop, and I can totally understand why he phoned up later and asked if we’d sent someone in to wind him up…but here in his own words is the story that still makes us laugh to this day….
When I said I’d help the boys out in the shop I thought I had a fairly good knowledge of music; sure there were some gaps in my knowledge but I’m a blagger it will be fine. I grew up on glam rock and punk and most of my music knowledge was spawned from there through Indie, Post Punk, Grunge and Brit Pop. In latter years it’s 6 Music that has kept me up to date with new music and the resurgence of great alternative indie bands.
So I’d been in the shop, been shown how to use the till, had a quick run through of the stock, checked the ‘Wanted’ Book and the ‘in for valuation’ book. I was ready to go. Bring on the customers.
Now Harbour Records customers are many and varied but on my first day in the shop I had one request that nothing could have prepared me for. Our footfall is made up of Emsworth locals and also many folk visiting the village for a walk around the harbour, or to visit the farmers market. We do of course also get people travelling to the shop as they’ve heard of our love of music knowing our collection is curated by music lovers for music lovers.
We’ve helped people remember the title of songs or artists of songs from their childhood. We’ve helped people find music for funerals but one request sums up the variety of questions we get thrown at us.
So on my first day a lady stepped into the shop, maintaining an exit route with one foot still on the pavement. People do this, they don’t know if you’re up for a chat. “I don’t know if you can help? “ She started. “I’m trying to get a record that [Aunt/Grandmother...can’t remember that bit] used to play me in the late 60s.”
Now, as I said my music knowledge is pretty broad, over the years I like to think I’m pretty ok with 50s and 60s. Bring it on. What are you looking for?
She starts an ever more specific request and by this time has ventured further into the shop realising I don’t bite.
Q. Do you sell spoken word records ?
A. We have a few
Q Do you have a record of Alfred Lord Tennyson Poems?
Q. Read in a Lincolnshire dialect ?
Q. On 10 inch vinyl?
At this point I did have to admit it was my first day. I didn’t know all the stock but I did feel confident advising that I didn’t think we carried that in stock.
She told me about this record being played every time she visited her Aunt/Grandmother and we chatted. Whilst we were chatting, I found the record on Discogs...many versions of it and gave her the online details. I said we could order it in for her but it would be easier for to buy direct online. She went away happy and I had my first ‘Funny Requests in Record Shops’ anecdote !
Ken, Rob and Dickie
And in the next blog “Ere guv, you’ll never believe who I had in my record shop the other day…”!