Friday, October 27, 2006


Place: Ruby Tuesday
Lunch: Ruby's Triple Prime burger, fries, garden bar salad, strawberry lemonade

Ever seen the commercial for the Triple Prime burger? It's a ground beef patty made from premium beef cuts. Therefore it must be a premium burger right? It's a nicely seasoned beef patty on a kaiser bun with a leaf of lettuce, two tomato slices, and garlic mayo sauce. No pickles, no onions, no cheese. You know what it is? An overglorified Jumbo Jack. When Jumbo Jacks were made with mayo-onion sauce. A Jumbo Jack that costs ten dollars.

Not to mention a four dollar strawberry lemonade. FOUR DOLLARS.

I did manage to make a rather tasty salad on the garden bar thingie.

Is it snowing yet?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Farewell, Tower

Place: Perkins
Lunch: Steak and Mushroom Omelette, home fries, pancakes, water

Waitress delivers the food and asks if I need anything. I am unwrapping my napkin, which is wrapped around the silverware, and there's no fork. "Yes, I need a fork."

"You're supposed to bring your own fork. I'll get you one this time, but next time you'll have to remember."

She looked dead serious as she said this too. As did I. Then she burst into giggles and brought me a whole new napkin wrapped around silverware, which did include a fork this time.

News broke today about the liquidation of Tower Records, and I am sad. Tower was once the holy grail of record store chains. They were the supermarket of music.

Think back to the seventies and eighties when the majority of America was limited to record stores that fit in a mall slot. There was a selection of hit albums of the day and little else. Most would special order something for you, but it wasn't terribly exciting.

Tower WAS exciting. Their stores were massive. Nobody came close to their in-stock selection. They'd have hundreds of copies of big new releases at the ready and on sale. They had imports. They had 12-inch singles. They had the most extensive collection of music magazines anywhere (the REAL ones like Billboard). They even carried cool accessories. They were open until midnight. Everybody who worked there looked the part of music freak. No music chain ever reached the cool factor level of Tower. Not even close.

Music buying today has changed dramatically. You can go to online retailers and not only browse, but easily purchase music and download it with a click. You don't have to go anywhere. But Tower didn't just get hurt there...Big box electronics and discount retailers hurt too. Especially on price point.

As a result, people quit going to Tower. And now they're being liquidated.

The sad part is, a lot of people seem to be taking the "Oh yeah, I love that store. I don't know why I quit shopping there" stance.

My excuse is that I haven't lived near one in close to two decades. I was in the Denver store a few years ago. You know what? Something felt wrong about it. It just wasn't as special as it once was. Maybe because it used to be I'd find something amazing quite by accident, and it didn't happen then. Maybe it was price...they were pretty much doing MSRP. Maybe it was that, in comparison to the ease of finding something new online today, it just wasn't that special anymore. I did walk out the door with a purchase. It turned out to be a lousy purchase.

Still, I can close my eyes and see myself in the old Beaverton store, circa 1986, browsing the rock section, looking for nothing in particular, and loving every minute of it.

Farewell, Tower.