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» Friday, January 13, 2006Farewell to Media Play
Oh, man, I remember when this store openedit was a dream come true.
You walked in and there on your left was gaming stuff and computer games. Never been much into computer games, but did know folks who loved them. On your right were VHS tapes. (Yes, this was before DVD.) They had more videos than I had ever seen anywhere. Later, when DVDs became cheaper (as well as the machines to play them), it was interesting to watch how DVDs turned from a small collection in a corner to a tidal wave that overwhelmed the VHS versions and relegated them to a back corner.
In the back left corner there were storage units and CDs. It looked like the music departments I remembered from the stores in Harvard Square, especially the top floor of the Coop. And they had everything, not just rock and pop, but soundtracks and cast albums and comedy albums, stuff you could barely find in those small mall music shops.
And then there was the right rear corner of the store. They had books, hundreds and hundreds of books. The shelves were up past my capacity to reachin fact, even James couldn't get a book off the topmost shelf. They had things I'd never seen in the narrow little mall Waldenbooks and BDaltons. They didn't carry just best sellers and all the latest self-help books, they had history and transportation and religion and sociology... Plus they had a great selection of bargain books in all the same categories.
Books, movies, and music...everything you could ever want.
It was joyful for a while, then as always it began to erode. As the VHS tapes disappeared, so did the books. The shelves got emptier. Then they brought in shorter shelves. Then they started putting the books in with cover forward instead of spine to fill in space. The shelves got shorter again. And were set further apart. They started selling used CDs and then used DVDs, but the selection of new ones got more and more scarce. The racks in the the CD area were suddenly set further apart, too, and then they canted them diagonally to look like they were taking up more space.
Some good did some out of it: they started selling games and children's toys, and added to their magazine choices. And then that stopped, too, and reversed itself, and the stock got smaller...and smaller.
There's nothing to miss about what it is now...but how I miss those halcyon opening years.
(They're on their final eight days. The store is pretty well stripped. Most of what was left were schlocky horror moviesand what I estimated were about 250 copies of the first season of The Cosby Show. It was unbelievable; there was one or two of everything else, and an entire rack of solid Cosby Show.)