Imagine if you will Orlando, Florida on a Saturday night. Downtown Disney is packed. I have to park in the farthest-away row in the entire parking lot. This is fine, because I am now a fit, trim, walking Bear. I head over to the Virgin Megastore, said by locals to be the only decent record store in town. On the outside of the building is an enormous advertisement for the new Elton John album, which Dave has asked me to buy for him. However, I am bent on finding copies of the following three albums: Drukqs, Blue Jam, and Fear Of Pop. So, I walk past a police car with a sullen teen in the back seat, with his three strongly-reminiscent-of-Repo-Man friends taunting the woman cop in the front seat from outside the car, and on into the Megastore. Figuring that if they have a huge Elton John ad covering the front of the building, it'll be easy to find that album, I start going through all the usual promotional areas: the Big Sellers racks, the Top 10 racks, the end caps at the registers... nope, nothing. Turns out you have to go to the John, Elton section and search through all of the CDs there for the one remaining copy of his new album. Yuck.
Over in "Electronica" (shoot me now), there's nothing in the Aphex Twin section save for copies of Windowlicker and Come To Daddy. Hm. And there's not even a Chris Morris card. Fear Of Pop, back in Rock, seems not to exist either.
Up at the checkout register, a young woman offers to help. It takes a while to explain how to spell Aphex Twin, but she finds him. And then it takes longer to explain how to spell Drukqs. She finds that as well. It's... on order, but they don't know when it will be in. Funny, it was the #1 album in Shinjuku, but you can't find it here at the biggest record store in the biggest tourist resort in the USA. Blue Jam is of course totally out of the question - it's a new release, she says, and they don't know if they'll order it because they don't know if there will be any demand for it - and Fear Of Pop has been out of stock for a while because no one knows what it is. (Rockin' the Suburbs is however available.)
So, they ring up the Elton and I laugh that I'm embarassed to be buying this because I don't like it, it's just that a friend asked me to. And the counter staff laugh that oh, sure, well, when they bought the Backstreet Boys album, they were just buying it for a friend, too.
I can't wait to get back to California.