End of Sam (photo essay)














6 comments:

  1. Allan
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 9:37 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    That’s Bobby Sniderman at the hatchback.
    We shook hands, but just standing near him you could feel this strong, calm, gentle spirit.

    In the final moments, I noticed someone holding a “50% off” sign, and realized it was maybe time to take a souvenir.
    Something better than that sign.
    But the walls were bare, except for one picture, still nailed up, of Sam with some big shot nobody.
    I crouched down to take the picture.
    Looking at it now, it seems strange that someone would actually find reason to touch the store.

    For the last half hour, the staff had prepared a tape of songs.
    I wandered as the Guess Who sang “No Time…”
    I don’t mind telling you that this was a little tough on everybody. The throat tightened just a bit.

    Even the gnome in black was there.

    The crowd that was there – biggest bunch of total losers ever!
    Imagine sitting on the floor sorting out crappy old rented VHS tape.
    I mean, give it up.
    And all the obscure “world music” you could want – at 50% off!

    I looked over and saw that the senior staff had congregated at the curved counter in front of the silly bank vault (where I would often get surly service) and were quietly staring out at the losers milling and digging for worthless bargains.
    It was their last moment in business, though it had actually ended some time ago.

    The tape ended as you’d expect … “and in the end …” from Abby Road.

    The floor manager picked up the phone and announced it was time to make your way to the cash register, and … goodbye or something, because she clearly had not prepared for this specific moment.
    When she finished, I applauded, gently and clearly amid the silence, but the one or two that followed me stopped right away, and it went nowhere.
    With a whimper.
    The empire was no more.

    At least, for one family anyway.
    Could Sam have been saved?
    Yes.
    If only they had asked me.
    They were in the perfect place and the right kind of private ownership situation that had they embraced the digital age, they could still have been the mecca of musical entertainment media.
    All they had to do was start selling iPods, and Apple computers.
    And get on the internet, as human beings.

    And tell the gnome to get a real job.

  2. mike
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 5:59 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Maybe they wouldn’t have been shut down if they were so consistently more expensive then every other music chain out there.

    Sam is retiring a rich rich man.

  3. Dwight Williams
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 4:22 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    As for “Anonymous”, are you feeling apocalyptic overmuch of late? I’m still watching and listening regularly. Granted that the radio arm’s gone into “summer reruns” mode recently, but Newsworld and the “general entertainment” channel still hold up well.

    Yes, I can be bribed with Doctor Who episodes. Most efficiently, too. I still have that idea for a space opera of our own, though, and Galactica won’t be on the air forever to wipe the floor with the competition…

  4. Dwight Williams
    Posted July 1, 2007 at 3:56 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I visited the store a couple of weeks back – that comics convention thing – for several reasons. I have to admit that for all that I’ve never lived in Toronto, I too am going to be sorry to see it go.

    More: there’s a couple of places here in Ottawa that I plan on plowing a lot more of my music dollars into, specifically with the goal of saving them from this kind of fate. Granted, they’re a few decades younger than Sam’s but it’s worth a bit of effort.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted July 1, 2007 at 3:41 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    They already have closed the CBC down, what you are witnessing now is the winding up of the operation. Outside of some morning radio it no longer has a constituancy. Have you watched or listened lately? It is over and why not.

  6. Enik Sleastak
    Posted July 1, 2007 at 11:48 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Gee, I wonder if this is what it will be like when they close *us* down.


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