Anyone who’s been at a record show in the past half decade knows all-too-well how quickly they can degenerate into a mosh pit. Our Groove Vinyl Record Show Survival Guide shares some tips and tricks to ensure you leave with more than just bumps, bruises and broken dreams. Enjoy!
Knowing what you’re looking for before the flood gates open will give you the best chance of leaving with something you want rather than leaving with something you saw. After all, how many copies of Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits do you really need in your collection?
Chances are, you’ll have some competition for what you’re looking for and while a marginal head start in line might not seem like a lot, it can make all the difference between whether you’re flipping through classic rock or thumbing through the country (unless you like country, in which case you’re “Sitting on Top of the World”).
Aside from being a great track, cash is also generally the only accepted method of payment at these events. Better to have it when you need it than to come back from the ATM to find that someone else has made off with your rare find.
If you’re there for Beatles, then go through all the vendors looking for Beatles first. Once you’ve determined there are no more Beatles LP’s you want, you can go back through a second time looking for anything else of interest to you. Rest assured you’re not the only one looking for Beatles albums and if you spend all your time at the first vendors booth there’s a good chance by the time you get to booth two, three and four any Beatles albums they may have had are now in the parking lot with someone else.
If the sticker says ten bucks, there is a good chance you can get it for nine, eight or seven. Hell, maybe even five. Your bargaining power goes up with the number of records you’re buying from the same vendor. If you’re holding a hundred and twenty dollars worth of albums, chances are they’ll take a flat hundred. You never know unless you ask and that extra twenty can be parlayed into more albums.
Let’s face it, handling your business is a two-handed job (still talking records, get your mind out of the gutter). If you’ve made a purchase and you’re carrying it around without a backpack or bag, you’re going to have a hard time flipping through the rest of the collections one-handed. Not every vendor will have bags either so don’t count on that. Bring something from home and laugh maniacally as you thumb through Classic Rock while the guy beside you tries to keep his records pinned beneath his armpit.
I learned this lesson the hard way when I made the mistake of asking the guy selling the records if he had any Megadeth albums to which he replied, “Yes, Rust in Peace.” Almost immediately, the girl to my right pulled out said Rust in Peace, flipped it over, surveyed the back and then promptly handed the vendor payment and disappeared into the crowd with my prize tucked under her demon wing. This could have turned into a major confrontation however she was legitimately there before me. You just need to appreciate that sometimes luck is with you and sometimes it’s walking out the door.
We could stay at record shows until they forcibly remove us however once you’re reasonably confident you’ve scoured the place and there is nothing remaining that jumps out at you, it’s probably best to call it a day and save your scratch for another day. If you stop searching for the “what you needs” you wind up with a lot of “what you don’t have’s.” That’s not always a bad thing however if you didn’t drive to the show in a Rolls Royce, it’s never a bad idea to keep your mad money for the next record show.
Your laser like focus is commendable however that dude beside you just saw the Bob Dylan album you are looking for two stalls down. He’ll tell you exactly where if you ask. If not, cross your fingers it’s still there when you get to that stall. Self serving interests aside, you’re at a record show. Enjoy the camaraderie with fellow vinyl enthusiasts because you never know what you might learn.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve let a few F-bombs fly (see #7 above) but at the end of the day just remember, you’re there for a good time. Since there isn’t a record show every week, you might as well enjoy it while you can and if the worst thing that happens is that you go home with some money still left in your pocket, then consider it a bonus for the next show.
Have fun and happy hunting!
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