Life is filled with surprises, sometimes good, sometimes lousy. This “thank you” post is about a lousy surprise that came through my email box this past Christmas weekend. My neighborhood f.y.e. store is closing. Closing. Could it be? Is this some sort of vile prank? No, unfortunately, this email came directly from f.y.e.’s online marketing department… just letting me know that there were to be closeout deals to be had, due to the Allentown/South Mall store being eventually closed. Deals. I think it is a RAW deal whenever any store closes, especially a store that is notoriously known for stocking the best assortment of Metal CD’s this side of the Atlantic.
Deals. What about the store employees? Their losing their jobs is no deal… and being notified on the Christmas bulls eye, right during the heart of the Christmas holiday, is no damn deal. Plus, this will now be one less store that record companies can have their CD’s and merchandise stocked at… no deal. Maybe for the “casual” customer, the one who buys two CD’s and/or DVD’s per year at f.y.e. will see this as a “deal”… where they can walk in and stock up on the six CD’s that they would have purchased throughout an entire year… at 30% off. This is NO deal for the customers, like myself, who spends quite an impressive amount of money throughout the entire year, on dozens of CD’s.
Factor in the relationships a customer like myself makes, with the employees of this f.y.e. over the years and this store location closing – is no damn deal. The employees of this f.y.e. store were and still are world class when it comes to professionalism and knowledge in their product. Never did I encounter a situation where any employee at this f.y.e. did not know what I was asking for… or talking about. Besides knowledge of music, these employees I dealt with here, also bestow something else that is not commonly found in retail this day and age… they were all (gasp) friendly.
It is a sign of the times, that CD sales are dipping and the mp3 is celebrating it’s dominance upon music fans. I can’t dispute any corporate entity for having to cut costs and make their bottom line look appealing to investors… it’s a cyclical force of capitalism. What I can point out, however, is the lack of vision that giant retailers have towards the music industry as a whole. There is a product out there to sell, CD’s and DVD’s along with entertainment merchandise will never go away, (unless CD’s and DVD’s are no longer manufactured)… some other retail location “somewhere” will have it for sale. In the meantime, with all of the “shrinking aisles” of CD’s and music store closings happening in realtime, I don’t want to hear anyone balk about Super Walmart carrying the goods… and having CD’s for sale at competitive prices too.
Where I live, there is no abundance of independent CD and record stores. There’s flea markets during the non-winter months. Then, there’s Super Walmart. Sure, Best Buy still carries CD’s and limited vinyl releases… only their aisles are shrinking with this product too. Forget Target… it’s the flavor-of-the-month when it comes to their CD aisles. Super Walmart never had an Extreme Metal selection as an f.y.e. does… and they never will. If there was/is any competition between an f.y.e. and a Super Walmart, it is for the Walmart “only” titles of CD’s and bubble gum Pop Music. When it comes to Metal, forget it… f.y.e. has the biggest selection. Apparently, having the biggest Metal selection is not enough, if your not selling at a level where the corporate profit margin is not making the rich happy… and richer.
I will miss my neighborhood f.y.e. and without question, miss the interaction I continuously had with their employees. Each one of them made Stone feel like he belonged in their store… each one listened to what Stone had to say. I wish I could say that about every store I frequent, only I can’t. I have to grin and shake my head, while realizing that f.y.e. has NO CLUE as to the quality people that have worked very hard for them at this location… working diligently to make f.y.e. rich. So, f.y.e., it’s no deal for me to save 30% on my CD purchases I made today… it is an important and sad deal though, to have to say goodbye to these following exceptional employees:
Whenever a company or store closes it’s doors, PEOPLE are affected… and employees are people. I wish the above named employees of this f.y.e. store all the very best that life can bring them. They all made my shopping experience at this f.y.e. store worth my time and money, as well as memorable. Thank you, my Metal Buddies at the South Mall f.y.e., YOU ROCK!
LONG LIVE THE CREW OF SOUTH MALL’S F.Y.E.