For the Records

Man, do I loooooove Record Store Day.

If there’s one thing to take away from this past Saturday’s RSD, it’s that there’s a strong and rabid group of record buyers willing to wait in line for hours and hours to willingly spend lots and lots of dough on physical product — and that’s incredibly encouraging in light of what many see as an ever-shrinking tactile music marketplace.

Bottom line: Give them a reason, and they will come. And spend.

And that’s what I did. My original plan on Saturday was to get to my favorite record store, Vintage Vinyl in Fords, New Jersey around 9 a.m., about a half hour after it opened. Having been to the past few RSDs, I figured that was plenty early to get in and get all the goodies I’d marked on my official RSD list (duly printed out from the official site) and in hand for proper during-shopping reference).

Boy, was I wrong.

As I pulled into the parking lot in the plaza that VV resides in just off Route 1, I noticed a line of people outside — hmm, never saw that before... waitaminnut. It’s all the way to the end of the plaza! Really? Wow. W-O-W. Pulled into a parking spot near the front — oddly closer than I’m usually able to park during my regular weekend visits! — and did a quick headcount. Seemed to me there were at least 500 people lined up — and I couldn’t even see the end of the line. What to do? Maybe, I theorized, a lot of them are here for the John Leguizamo signing (for his Freak DVD) that’s scheduled for 1 p.m., but that’s still a few good hours away. But I also see that no one’s being allowed in the other door. This line is the only entry point, and it ain’t moving.

I sit and wait a bit. Tick tick tick. And think some more. If I get in this line, how long will it be before I get inside? I observe a few people coming out with yellow VV bags clearly full of vinyl — but the flow of the line inside continues to be molasses slow. Ugh.

So I make a game-time decision. I know that the Princeton Record Exchange (a.k.a. PrEx) isn’t having any performances — there’s not enough room inside for any bands to set up — and I’m pretty damn sure I can get down there in less time than it’ll take the line to get into VV. I figure I’ll take a chance that the line at PrEx won’t be as long as VV’s. Plus, I also know my fellow S+V’er, entertainment editor Ken Richardson (read about his RSD finds here, will be there since he lives nearby, so I’ll text him to let him know I’m coming once I’m close.

I get to Princeton just before 11 a.m. Driving on Nassau Street, I look left down South Tulane Street and spy only a handful of people in line outside — good! (And, uh, WHEW!) I head to my usual parking lot spot (I pop down to PrEx every month or so) and pump enough quarters in the meter for about 2 hours’ worth of time (er, hope that’s enough!). I hotfoot it over to PrEx, figuring I’ll text Ken once I get to the line.