Strict Discs in Wisconsin: Dealing with Delta

How did Record Store Day go?

Much, much better than in June. It wouldn’t take a long time, but everything turned out fine. There were very few hiccups. There were a few June titles that got pushed back to July that the distributor missed, but I figured that out pretty early on thanks to some of my coalition friends who I quickly asked, “Do you have these titles? And they all answered categorically yes, so I realized I had a problem and they were able to fix it. So it was good. And compared to June, it was a small incident.

Looks like everything went really well. Were you able to do some sort of full enchilada, in the sense of giving all the fun things to the people in line?

For the June and July dates we poured beer and had either donuts or bacon outside so it was definitely back to normal. One of the benefits of some of the changes we’ve made due to the pandemic, and I know we’ve talked about it, is that we’ve made this menu [for Record Store Day titles] outside, and we respond to requests from people, and then they check outside. At this point, I don’t think we’ll ever come back from this system. People love it, it goes really well, it goes fast, and then people can come in here and shop in the normal way. Usually we had a line all day. And now we can cross the line and deliver their product to everyone within hours. So that’s kind of one of the advantages, just because we’re a small store. So some of these types of changes have been good.

The Delta variant is becoming a thing of course, and has been for quite some time in fact. Do you know what is the vaccination rate in your department?

I think we’re just under 70 percent. Just a few check marks below.

It’s rather good.

He is. It feels good. I wish it was higher, it looks like we’ve kind of plateaued everywhere. But that’s at least a good number.

How do you feel right now with this more contagious variant circulating now? We hear all of these stories in the news about breakthrough infections. I know it’s rare, but I think the cumulative effect of hearing all of these anecdotal stories is anxiety-provoking for some people. Are you worried?

I think a little of both. I am worried, but I am also optimistic. I have some concerns about going back to school and the fact that young children could not be vaccinated and what that will mean in terms of the concerns of their parent groups. I think the fall is the real problem. So far, I feel like we’ve come to the right place. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen [in the fall]. If we don’t improve immunization rates nationwide, I feel like the Delta variant may just be the start, because I think it will continue. I guess it’s my fear, of being on this roller coaster. I think we are very lucky to be in the county we are in, but obviously this disease doesn’t care which county you are in.

I know you stopped demanding masks in the store. Do you plan to require them again?

I know some of the stores in Texas that I contact they now require masks just because their outbreaks are on the rise. I haven’t considered any changes yet, but I would be surprised if we don’t see any at some point.

I had heard rumblings that the Without fear (Taylor version) vinyl was coming out soon.

It arrives the first week of September. We have another color variation of Folklore in the house for tomorrow.

Looks like Taylor really inspired a lot of other artists and labels to lean more into vinyl. Do you think this is the case?

I think that’s certainly the case with some of the artists who appeal to this younger demographic. I think it proves that this band will buy vinyl releases, and not only will they buy it on vinyl, but they will buy it on several different color variations, because they’re very interested in collecting what ‘She goes out.

The last time I think you mentioned that you’ve seen more younger women especially in the store recently, I guess because of Taylor but also probably other artists, right?

It’s just a growing trend. One that I think would be impossible to ignore, but it’s really nice to see.

Is there anything else you wanted to mention?

Not really, Chris. That’s enough. [Laughs] He’s been busy. We’re all anxious to get back to our standard a bit. We have guys on vacation coming out of town to see family that they haven’t seen in a very long time, so we’re just hoping to get through that and sort of come back into what we do every week, which will do good.

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