Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bemidji Burn Out


I visited Bemidji once before not long ago.  As I returned it was warmer out and again I had some free time.  This would be a recipe for a solid hunt if I didn't feel like I had already dug pretty thoroughly.  But that is always a lie! You have never dug sufficiently! Get back into the trenches you child!

I ended up finding an array of spots all along the same main drag.  I started in my old haunt, Books N More.  Again, it seems they generate the most of their income by duplicating CDs on the numerous units behind the counter.  As they whirred, I checked out their bins but wasn't impressed.  Didn't look like anything had turned in there since my last visit.  So I got ready to walk west on 3rd down to Economy Shop, a second hand store that looked like it might have vinyl.  But before I could get there I encountered another spot just across the street which hadn't shown up on the map (as it was not listed as a thrift store).  This is Secondhand Splendor!

As I stepped through the small foyer I was greeted with an odd sign.
Can't imagine being homeless in a place that gets quite this cold.
Inside, I found a crappy bin of 78s.  I figured all was lost, there was nothing more to see here.  Maybe they have some Pyrex at least.  And then....

Never before have I seen a record rack of this proportion outside of a record store.  They were actually even individually priced, and outrageously so! It only added to my fun as I sorted through each and everyone.  I found some real gems and others that were just, well...real.  I had to look these guys up, the cover is trying so hard to be edgy and failing, I wasn't surprised to see it was a Christian oriented group that fancied themselves as 'punk'.  I checked out some of their music on YouTube.  'Hard rock' would be almost a stretch but far more realistic than 'punk'.  If you can't see from here, that guitar neck has a bunch of knock off Swatch watches on it (in their own defense, this was 1989).

Just one quick example to illustrate just how ridiculous the prices there were.
You can find this in many Goodwill stores for a buck or maybe less.
Even sealed, I think you'd be hard pressed to get $10 for it.
And before you cry foul and say that is just a sticker from this records previous life in another store long ago,
this was NEVER selling for that much, and that is the same sticker I saw on all the releases.
But if you think those prices are gnarly, you still haven't checked out the 'premium section' at Secondhand Splendor! They had one small rack and then this weird screen thing that held some more vinyl.  No doubt these were some classic records and some are worth a few bucks.  I should have checked the prices more closely, but when I zoom in on the original hi-res shot of the screen, the only two I can make out are the Zepplin records in the lower left hand - both are $129 each!

I've seen my share of defaced records before but this one might be tops.  Even more wild is that it actually did contain a Buddy Holly 2xLP greatest hits.  And for all this, only $7.99!
My work done there, I finally trudged westward to my original destination before I was sidetracked.  And just within spittin' distance was the Economy Shop!

This place specialized in country music it would seem, or it just worked out that way. For a moment I was astounded that a thrift store could have so much Johnny Cash and I entertained thoughts of buying it all and immediately selling it for triple.  That was until I quickly figured out that it was a carefully strategized move to take some cash off some suckers.  They were all individually priced and while not quite as bad as their neighbor, let's just say it wasn't thrift store prices.  They probably bought these on ebay or from a record store with the sole idea of marking them up and reselling.

And just a few yards from there I found a tub with some more bogus old vinyl with questionable prices.  And a few yards from there, the door.  And a few hours from there, back home in Chicago with another trip under my belt.

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