our best customer.

We had, as I’ve mentioned, a little mailorder catalog.  It contained all our own stuff, but also records from a number of other labels, including Ratfish, Merkin, Pravda, Re-CORE-Ds, and a couple of smaller ones.

One day, we received an order from a guy named Joe, who was from New Jersey.  It was an order for the busy work ep, and contained a payment of $3.50.  As with any other mail order we received, we packed up a record with some toys, stamped the hell out of it with our camel rubber stamp, and shipped it right out to him.

Within a week or two, we got another order from Joe, for Elizabeth and another one of our seven-inches.  

I thought that was really cool – our first repeat customer.  So when we shipped this one out to him, I included a little handwritten note, thanking him for his second order.

A few weeks later, we got another order from him – this one for everything else in our own catalog, plus a few records from other labels, if I’m not mistaken.  It also contained a nice letter, were Joe explained that he was also in a band.

The band’s name was Balloon Squad, and they were quite good.  They were a neat little pop band, with clever lyrics and catchy melodies.  I liked them a lot.

They were probably too close to cuppa joe in terms of overall sound for us to ever consider talking to them about possibly doing something with Dromedary, but they were good nonetheless.

Joe ordered everything we ever put out.  We stayed in touch with him right up until we released our last record, sending him catalogs and receiving orders.

Joe was our best customer.

I found Joe’s sister on Facebook when I first started this blog.  He’s doing well.

Hi, Joe, and thanks for being our best customer.  Even fifteen years later, I appreciate it.  You’re that guy who validated what we were doing.

In the movie High Fidelity there’s a scene where the main character puts out a record by some kids who hang out in his record store.  At the release party, he kind of shrugs it off, as if putting out a record was no big deal.  His girlfriend admonishes him, saying something to the effect of “Hell, no – you made something.  You put something out there in the world, and somebody is going to listen to it and its going to move them.  They’re going to like it and remember it.”

When I saw that movie, that one scene really moved me, because that’s exactly what we were trying to do with Dromedary.  And Joe was probably that one guy who actually got what we were trying to do, and who enjoyed it.  I like to think that for at least a short period of time, we were doing something that was meaningful to Joe.

And maybe that’s another reason why we never contacted him about Balloon Squad.  Because as long as he was a customer and not one of our bands, we could feel like we were having an impact on someone’s life.

It was a pretty cool feeling, even if it was only in my head.

So here’s “Axe to Grind,” which was my favorite Balloon Squad song.  Fifteen years later, as I was writing this blog entry, I realized that Joe put something out there, too, and it did move someone and they did remember it.

That guy was me.

~ by Al on April 16, 2009.

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