January 25, 2004

Serendipity doo-dah

For the millions of nanopeople who get their music news from reading my blog, Cure fans will be ecstatic to find out (if they haven't already) that a new box set ("Join the Dots") which compiles all their b-sides and many rarities is coming out in a few days, which means you can finally stop shelling out all that money for the climate-controlled chamber you've been keeping your cassette copy of "Standing on a Beach" in all these years.

It's a great set, and one that's obviously designed for fancollectordorks like myself. Like, much as I loved XTC's "Coat of Many Cupboards" box, why bother putting so many album tracks on something that's mostly going to be purchased by the obsessive XTC fan anyway? "Join the Dots" doesn't have that problem. It's all rarities. Disc 1 is essentially all the b-sides from "Staring at the Sea" (plus a couple other tracks from that era), and seeing that there's enough material for three more discs really makes you realize, wow, their career certainly has had a lot of acts, hasn't it.

And even better, I only paid 20 bucks for it, through being in the right place at the right time. Read on if personal anecdotes are your bag.

See, I made a trip back to the East Village to take the photographs in the previous entry, and while I was in the neighborhood I decided to stop in another one of the many used CD stores on St. Mark's. I spotted the new Cure set at the bottom of a pile of CDs on the counter (I have a good eye for that sort of thing) and asked to see it, but was informed that it wasn't for sale yet.

As I browsed, it became clear that the reason it wasn't for sale yet was that the store hadn't bought it yet. Someone was trying to sell a big pile of CDs and DVDs, and the guy behind the counter was lowballing him and giving him some sob story about how he couldn't pay more because business had been bad ever since Christmas and the cold snap.

Sensing an opportunity, I kept an ear on the conversation while idly picking up CDs and pretending to read their tracklists. They'd gotten to a point where the guy from the store was offering $100 for a subset of the CDs and DVDs, and the guy selling them wanted $120. A few minutes of haggling raised the price to $110, but it just wasn't budging from there.

The $110/$120 standoff went on forever. This was the basic dialogue: "Well, I can't go higher than $110." (Long pause.) "I kind of want $120 for it." (Long pause.) "Yeah...but that's the best I can do." (Long, long pause.) "Hmm. I just don't think that's enough for me." (Incredibly long pause.) (Repeat for five minutes.)

After a while of that, I breathed easier; at first, I was worried some compromise would be reached. (Because, you know, under the normal rules of haggling, if one person starts at $100 and the other one starts at $120, generally they will both modify their opening amounts and meet at $110.) But at a certain point when they'd both spent so much time holding their ground, it was clear that male pride was going to overrule haggling, and the deal was not going to happen.

Sure enough, a couple minutes later the guy was packing up his stuff. I collected my bag from the bag check and followed him out the door and asked him how much he wanted for the Cure box, and he (apparently not having any idea what I was talking about) quoted an ungodly low price: $10. I couldn't quite believe he was going to go so easy on me after being so intransigent with the guy in the store, and I was like, "Hell yes! Are you serious?"

He quickly realized he had probably come up with way too low of a price, so he made some excuse about how "Oh, well, this friend of mine said he was interested in it, so maybe I should just give it to him." I said, "Are you sure? Because I'll give you $20 for it." "Now you're talking," he said, whipping the CDs out of the bag.

So now I'm in mope rock heaven. Thanks, fate!

Posted by Francis at 01:35 AM