Sunday, January 08, 2006

Another retail holiday season survived! I'd like to thank my friends and family, all the little people who made it possible, and of course, my agent Morty. You're the cat's meow, Morty!

The oddest person I had this year was definitely the Persnickety Woman in mid-December. She came in one day with the air of someone who requires constant high maintenance when shopping.

"What is your name?" she demanded first. I stalled for a second but couldn't dodge the question so I made something up. "I'm Jack." She grinned insanely. "Well Jake, I have a question to make your day more interesting!" My heart sank into the floor. This was not good.

Every question I answered about an album produced three more questions that required several minutes of internet searches, which in turn produced even more questions. In a nutshell, she had just had dinner at a Chinese restaurant in neighboring state Massachusetts and heard an album of Christmas flute music that appealed to her. She harassed the poor Chinese waitstaff into opening up the multi-CD changer machine amidst their evening rush, and they'd told her it was called "Magic Christmas" and was on the Laserlight record label.

Laserlight, for those of you who don't know, is one of the largest makers of "budget" albums. They put out cheap, generic-looking collections at bargain basement prices with little to no booklet information and fairly hideous cover art. Persnickety Woman demanded I look up the album for her, which I did. I even managed to find some clips online, but when I played them over the computer speakers she declared it to be the wrong album. "No, this was actual flute I heard. That's not a flute it's a synthesizer." I calmly corrected her: "Actually ma'am, it's not a synthesizer, it's a pan flute. And it's the only 'Magic Christmas' listed on Laserlight Records."

She huffed and puffed annoyedly. "Well it's not the right album. Will it help to get more information about the release?" she asked.

Eagerly I replied, "Yes! Come back when you have more information," hoping she would leave and I'd never see her again. Think again, buddy. She look around and spotted a pay phone downstairs, assuring me she'd be right back. For the next 25 minutes I saw her through the window on the phone downstairs, apparently haranguing the Chinese restaraunt people once again. I've no idea what kind of hell she put those poor people through but she came back with a release date and not much else.

"What's your name again?" she inquired.


"Well Ryan, let's search again, shall we?"

I'll spare you the agonizing details of the rest of my searching. I finally managed to convince her that if there ever was a CD like she wanted, it no longer exists in earthly form. She instructed me to get 3 copies of the "wrong" version of the disc, "But only if you can't find the flute version I'm looking for!" Oh yeah, you macadamia nut. I'm sure gonna spend three more hours looking for this nonexistent budget CD from 1988. You bet! Anything for a frosted flake like you.

In the end, of course, my distributor was out of Magic Christmas entirely so I had to order three copies from three different places and the shop barely managed to break even on the whole deal. I still think she dreamed the whole Chinese restaurant incident. Hell, for all I know she spent 25 minutes holding a dial tone up to her ear and chatting with herself. Wouldn't be the first time I dealt with someone like that.


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