Remember the Columbia House Record Club?
I realize I'm showing my age a little here, but I've never worried about it before so I guess I won't now. Before iTunes, iPads, mp3 players, Pandora and all the ever-changing technology that consumes us as we consume it, a lot of people got their music from a very different place. An old school place as it seems now... but what a wonderful place it was.
The "place" was the Columbia House Record Club. It was a simple and simply awesome concept. For 1 cent you could pick 12 "albums" from the booklet you got from them in the mail or a flyer in a magazine. Each album had a code number and all you had to do was write that code into the boxes on the card provided, literally tape a penny to it and mail it back. Then in a matter of days a box would arrive at your house with the 12 albums, or cassettes, you picked out from their library. How cool is that!? One penny got you enough new music to take a whole week to listen to! It was the epitome of awesome.
The days between mailing your membership card/order back to them and when that box arrived at your house seemed like eons. It was torture. Then one day that box would come and the world literally became a happier place. You just couldn't wait to tear in and find your treasures.
To return the "favor" to the good folks at Columbia House all you had to do was agree to buy a certain number of albums, cassettes, cd's (later down the road) over a certain period of time. They'd send you monthly lists of what was available and automatically send you their "pick" album each month from whatever genre you had marked as your favorite. Now to opt out of receiving something you didn't want you needed to send back your monthly "thanks but no thanks" card because once you got it you owed them money, whether you wanted it or not. That's how they got ya.
That's why my mother always hemmed and hawed when I'd ask AGAIN if I could join. She knew a bill for something was going to come later and my lawn mowing money may or may not cover it. She knew her checkbook was the co-sign on my promise to pay. Still... she let me join. About 4 times as I remember. I don't think she got stuck with a bill more than a couple times. At one time I was even responsible for 2 memberships at once. How? P.O. boxes work well for those things. I still wonder if mom knows about that to this day... (Note to self; make sure mom doesn't read this blog. I may still be groundable)
The whole reason I bring this up is due to this. I was going through some old stuff last weekend and I found an old familiar little white box buried in a much bigger box of "stuff." It said Columbia House Record Club on it. Inside was a still unopened George Strait cassette. Somehow that thing has traveled to college with me from college back to my hometown and from my hometown to Illinois and it's still around a good 20 years since that last move. I should unwrap it from the plastic film. I should see if I have a working cassette deck. I wonder if I ever paid for it.
I wonder if that's why Columbia House isn't in business anymore............