Once you pass the door of a record shop, you enter a unique world filled with music, history, culture and creativity. A store often is an ecosystem on its own, where several parties come together: owners, store clerks, regular customers, accidental customers, record freaks, those who are just looking for a gift for a friend, ... To keep things structured, every shop holds on to a set of house rules. Although some of these guidelines how to behave well in a record shop differ from store to store (for example: the maximum amount of records to take to the listening booth), there are a few common etiquette rules. We sat down with Pim & Jakob from Crevette Records to hear what they think is important when you enter their shop.
1. Meet & greet
“We like to welcome everybody who enters our shop, so we appreciate the effort of a customer to greet us, to make contact. This definitely goes a long way to get us to help you out, for example with recommendations that you would maybe not find by yourself. When you go to Ikea I can understand that you don’t say hi to every salesman, but in a small business it’s rather polite to greet the owner. I do the same when I go to a small clothes shop for example.”
2. Ask questions
“We are here to help, so we try to be available for everybody. Our goods are all out there in the shop to touch, hold in your hands and even listen to on a turntable. We trust all our customers to handle our records with care, because as long as you haven’t paid for them, they aren’t yours. But unfortunately we often notice that someone has no clue how to use the gear or hold a record. Instead of asking they just try until we have have to intervene. Picture this for example: a man comes in with his girlfriend and wants to behave like a pro, but he has no clue how to really handle a record player. You can imagine the look on his face when we come to the rescue…”
Don’t get us wrong: everyone is welcome here, also if it’s your first time buying a record. But please talk to us when you don’t know what to do. We’ve had people who removed the slipmat when placing a record or even someone who tried to listen to the slipmat.”
3. Never open sealed copies
“It’s again a matter of communicating: when a copy is sealed, just ask us. We often have more copies of a record in stock but we want the same records to be used for listening, so we’ll give you an open copy. This is a Crevette rule, maybe it’s not everywhere part of the etiquette, although I know that in many other shops sealed copies are sacred.”
4. Always put records in the return box
“This is probably our most important rule: never ever try to put a record back in the crates. The reasons are multiple: we know where all these records have to go; we position them with the sleeve opening sideways in order not to collect dust; we stay updated on the location of records we only have one copy in stock; we stay informed about what our customers are listening to.
We have so many records in stock that we go crazy when our structure gets messed up. This means we risk not to find a specific record when someone is looking for it.”
5. Hold a record with your fingers on the outside
“There is music in the grooves of a record so best is to keep dirt and dust out of these grooves. The first step to do so is not to put your fingers on a record. Let a record gently slide out of the inner sleeve and hold it on the outside, easy!”
6. Don’t try to process too many records at the same time
“Some shops have a maximum amount of records to take to the listening booth, which is not the case in our shop, but keep it reasonable. If one person takes out 100 records, obviously no one else can listen to them. Also, our listening stations are built for easily and safely storing records while you listen to them, so use these features.”
7. You are allowed to stay for hours without buying anything
“Record selecting is a very personal thing that depends on your mood of the day, your finances, your state of mind, ... We want you to feel free to not have to buy something when you aren’t feeling it. Sometimes people apologise when they leave without buying, which we find adorable.”
8. Find it here, buy it here
“What we don’t like though is people who come in for hours to use their smartphones to take pictures of records or write the titles down, and then leave without buying anything. The records we offer are the result of a lot of work we invest in selection and research, and you are maybe taking the spot of someone else who is waiting to listen."
9. Food & drinks
“Food in the shop is not allowed, although you can eat a sandwich or snack at the bar in the back of our shop. You can use drinks at the listening booths though, because we love it ourselves to have a beer while checking out new music. I know many shops where this isn’t allowed, but we want to be flexible. So far only one small accident with spilled liquids on a record occurred.”
“The toilet in the back of our store is free to use for customers. Just don’t forget to flush!”