What was this weird thing they used to have in music stores?
March 11, 2012 8:03 AM Subscribe
Can anybody fill in the gaps in this memory I have of shopping for cassette tapes in the mid to late eighties? Memories involve a plexi glass wall and conveyor belt contraption used to prevent theft.
posted by shushufindi to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This morning, I woke up thinking about an experience I had while shopping for music with my parents in the Boston area sometime around 1986-1989. I was eight years old at the time. The memory of this particular store has come back to me a few times over the years. Any help in providing facts would be very helpful.
The way this store sold cassette tapes was odd, and I can't ever remember ever seeing anything like this before or since.
Cassette tapes were placed on these little shelves on the wall of the store. There was a big piece of plexiglass with holes big enough to put your hands in front of the wall separating customers from the tapes. In order to get the tape you wanted, you had to drop it onto a conveyor belt that ran at the bottom of the wall (perhaps there was some kind of packaging around the tapes that made them too big to fit through the holes?). This conveyor belt perhaps lead to the cash register where they would receive your tape and ring you up. This odd set up was supposed to prevent theft.
I believe I bought a Technotronic tape, but I may be wrong. It would seem that this happened sometime around 1986 or 1987, before Pump Up The Jam came out. This music store may have been a Strawberry's located inside of Boston Garden, or it may also have been located in Chestnut Hill mall.
Can anybody tell me about how common this method of theft prevention was? Was this popular all over the country? When did it start being used? When did it's reign end? Why didn't they just put those big plastic things on the tapes to make them too big to put in your pocket? Why didn't they just have them behind glass? Why did they stop doing this? Wasn't this an incredibly expensive method of theft prevention to implement? It must have taken a ton of work to install, then a ton of work to get rid of. Are there any 80's movies where people buy tapes from these things?
Maybe everyone remembers this and there's a name for it. Maybe nobody remembers this and I dreamt it. Any help would be appreciated.