Now that I am dabbling in records again, I am reminded of the good old days of the Record Club.
You remember these?
They had me the first time. I sent in the card with my selections, enjoyed the glut of records and then started getting the mailings. It never seemed like I got them out in the mail on time. I got all sorts of crap I didn’t want. Sometimes I was able to send them back and sometimes it was just too late. I didn’t have money to buy myself out of the club by finishing off my required purchases. Ugh. I was no different than a lot of people back in those days. The lure of the big box of records for almost nothing was too good. I seem to recall mom buying out the last of my selections to end the madness. Sad to say, I can’t even remember what albums I got that first time. So, on top of being a brutal lesson on “on approval” or “auto-send” subscription deals, I don’t think anything I got during that time was particularly memorable. Largely due to the fact that I was also hooked on forgettable pop music that didn’t stand the test of time.
The second time around though, I was ready for them. Knowing my own personal fortitude and slothiness, I determined that the only way to do the record club was to save the money for the records you had to buy before getting in. It took a while, but eventually I had enough money saved and sent in my card with the little code numbers for my selections scrawled on it. A few weeks later I got a big cardboard box with all my albums in it. It was magical. It was sitting outside the door when I got home from school and I burst out with a little squeal of glee and ran to my room and tore it open. The smell of celophane was incredible. All those albums, mint, still all static-y when you pulled them out. Only the very faintest noise when the needle hit the outer groove.
I don’t recall them all, but I do remember a few. I got “Dire Straits – Love Over Gold”, “The Clash – Combat Rock”, “Cheap Trick – At Budakon” and one that changed me forever… “Jimi Hendrix – The Essential Jimi Hendrix” and “Jimi Hendrix – The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two” which came with a 45 of “Gloria” tucked inside. That was the last 45 I ever had.
Hendrix. I will always have Columbia to thank for finally bringing Hendrix into my life. I had several friends try and turn me on to Hendrix and it didn’t work out, but, I picked both of these as selections in my first wave and listened to them when I was ready and had an open mind and was hooked for life. I wish I still had that 45!
Also in the Columbia House box was the first mailer with the selection of the month. I didn’t want it. I did however have a list of the ones that I did want to order that were enough to fulfill my contract. I wrote in the code numbers, had mom write me a check for the cash, stuffed it in and sent it off in the mail.
I later got the records AND a mailer that indicated that I had finished my contract and that I could now reap the benefits with special offers and discounts. I wrote CANCEL on the card and sent it back. Boom. The end.
I probably ended up for all my saving and planning only really saving a little money. The regular prices and shipping were high. However, I had learned my lesson, strategized, and made Columbia serve me this time. It was the last time for record clubs. I knew myself too well to stay in it.
BMG came on the scene with CD’s.
This was actually a good deal.
I was in again!
I did it the same way as I did the Columbia House. I ordered, bought 1 and cancelled. Ordering the 2 free ones and writing CANCEL on my card was awesome. BMG was a actually a good deal and I probably would have joined again later, but suddenly I was into bootleg tape trading and then MP3’s happened.
I found this on YouTube. Classic. These were the top albums they wanted to highlight?
and by this time it was 12 for a dollar, not a penny. Though there was the Gold Box.
Remember… it’s our secret.