My computer mouse decided to die over the weekend. I have three plastic file cabinets down in the basement full of old computer equipment. If I had needed a CD-ROM or a spare keyboard, I would have been covered. But I was fresh out of USB optical mice. I suppose I could have ordered one on-line, but I figured it would be faster to just drive to Rockford and pick up a mouse at Best Buy rather than try to navigate a website using only the keyboard.
I used to spend many a weekend in the aisles of our local electronics giant, but I hadn’t visited the store since sometime before Christmas. The mouse hunt turned out to be a bust. They had plenty of Bluetooth enabled wireless mice, running about $50 each. I’ve owned entire computers that didn’t cost me $50. Best Buy did offer a cheap wired mouse, but – of course – they were out of those. I wandered around the store a bit, looking at various technological items: digital cameras, MP3 players, high-definition televisions. I was walking down past the media towards the front of the store when something caught my eye one aisle over. The entire row was plastered with stacks of large flat squares. I found myself wandering over and picking one of them up to make sure I was really seeing what I was seeing: a 12 inch vinyl record album at Best Buy in the year 2009. They had a number of classic albums. I found familiar copies of Beatles albums, Michael Jackson and Elton John. But Depeche Mode’s new album was out… as an album.
I remembered when record stores actually had records in them. You could save fifty cents and buy the popular hits at K-mart. My first compact discs came in long cardboard boxes because they were being stored in spare record bins. By the time I graduated high school though, most stores didn’t carry records anymore. Achtung Baby from U2 was the first CD I bought that didn’t have the extra packaging; the first of many. By the time I got out of college, records were relegated to a single aisle in the back of the store with the dusty Beta videocassettes. I distinctly remember buying a new copy of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. and thinking at the time I was buying my last new record.
Actually, it’s still my last new record. The albums cost a dollar more on record than they did on CD at Best Buy.