Thursday, February 25, 2010

On Salvage Shops

I wanted to follow up on something I referenced earlier: how worthwhile salvage shops can be. In this case? Pictured above is something obviously and simply called "VARIETY STORE" located in South Indianapolis. (I spent last summer there working for the Indianapolis Star newspaper.)

It doesn't look like much, what with its junk-yard/yard-sale look outside (you should see the back) and the "Playboys, $5 sign" that -- trust me -- is sitting in one of those front windows. Granted, it wasn't much on the inside either, and the casual crate digger might have just up and left. Frankly, it was dirty, dusty, about 90 degrees (in the front, toward the back was more of a warehouse) and a little creepy in a Dueling Banjos kind of way. But, to the persistent goes the spoils, or something like that.

In this particular case, I walked in the door and was immediately greeted by a few very South Indianapolis-looking men heckling over a moped or something. All around me were Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo games, cheap bikes, hubcaps, car parts and whatever else that existed in that "we-sell-everything shop." Shortly after entering, I was (seriously) offered 10,000 records for $300. The catch? The guy running the shop had no idea what kinds of records comprised said collection that took up a warehouse wall's worth of space, and I had no idea either. I also, as an intern, had no place to store 10,000 records, let alone transport them, so I passed.

After that ridiculous, but strangely tempting offer, I took to working my way through shelf after shelf and palette after palette of records. Some were completely destroyed -- the kind of records you know wouldn't even play, and just might ruin your needle. I saw Jefferson Airplanes, The Beatles' Revolver, a White Album, the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers and a couple Led Zeppelin albums that were in terrible shape. As tempted as I was to buy them anyway (at $5 a pop) I passed and kept digging. To wildly understate it, that was difficult.

After an while -- that while, of course, being a few hours of digging through crates holding thousands of records in a 100-degree warehouse -- the digging started to pay off. Before I knew it, I found gold. By the time I made my way out of the warehouse and back to the cash register, I had a Johnny Cash Greatest Hits 2xLP, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (Great for going to sleep by), Eric Clapton's Slowhand and the Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed. Each and everyone was $5 a piece and in good to great condition. If that doesn't make your day as a crate digger, well, nothing will.

This just goes to my old point, and something that I think has become and will continue to be a trend in this blog. DO. NOT. PASS. ON. ANY. STORE. WITH. RECORDS. EVER. Garage sales? Check 'em out! Country-looking variety stores? Why not!

If I could find those four records -- and god knows what else is there in South Indianapolis' 'Variety Store" -- any crate digger worth their weight in album covers should be willing to spend some time digging in a hot, dirty, sometimes creepy warehouse. Chances are it'll pay off.

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