Your used CDs for a fist full o' chump change

By Fen Hsiao
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 10, 1996

Arizona Daily Wildcat


I can't count the number of times I've searched my wallet or pockets, wondering where all my money went over the weekend. I know as well as anyone how inconceivably easy it is to blow half a paycheck over three days, while trying to remember exactly wher e it went. Hopefully, you've stowed away at least enough money in the bank to make one last withdrawal, but in times of need, one has to learn to be resourceful. So, a friend and I got together what we thought to be a representative collection of your ave rage college-alterna-rock compact discs to see exactly how much lunch money could be made by reselling them.

The stack was comprised of Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Velvet Underground White Light White Heat, Hole Live Through This, Misfits Legacy of Brutality, Pavement Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Orange an d New Bomb Turks Information Highway Revisited.

The first stop was Zia Records Exchange (on Speedway, just east of Country Club). Zia is probably the first place students think of when they want to sell CDs, and it gave pretty much the average price, both in cash and trade (they don't take records). Ho wever, if you're hoping to quickly run in and out, you should not come here. It took about 15 minutes for the pseudo-retro employee (complete with plaid shirt and Buddy Holly-esque glasses) to get to us, but with the Funk Essentials CD playing loudly abov e, it seemed twice as long. What the guy offered us was $26 in trade or $20 in cash for four of the seven CDs. He refused the Blues Explosion, New Bomb Turks and Pavement CDs, saying they already had too many of those. But, a hint given to us by a season ed CD seller, was to peruse the store's inventory of CDs you're trying to sell and hide the ones they already have, therefore tricking them into thinking they need yours! Ha-ha!

"So, you wasted my time," was the response the PDQ (Grant and Dodge) worker gave me when I "decided" I wasn't going to sell my CDs. Approaching the counter after 15 minutes, I was just in time to salvage the CDs from being distributed onto the selling flo or, even though I hadn't made any sort of deal with the store, nor had they even looked at the CDs. PDQ Employee offered me $25 in trade or $22 in cash, without the Hole CD. He also acted like he was doing me a favor by taking the Jon Spencer and New Bomb Turks CDs for $3, all together. (OK, they had slight scratches on them). Whatever.

The music selection of Yes or Rush (I'm not embarrassed that I can't tell the difference) was probably his choice. "Don't let her come in again," was the last thing I heard, while walking out the door, as PDQ Employee turned toward his co-worker and snick ered. Perhaps the last thing he saw was my shaking fist.

By far the most pleasant visit, not only in customer service, but also in cash and trade amounts, was Bookman's (Campbell and Grant).

Within seconds of entering, Bookman's music buyer, Justice, was quoting a whoppin' $43 in trade or $35 in cash for our goods. He did admit he considered himself to be a little more generous, in general, than other buyers, but he said Bookman's is always l ooking for good stuff. My friend said he didn't notice any distracting music and, don't forget, you can also get books with your trade.

The last stop was Loco Records (Broadway, just west of Country Club), which is under the same ownership as Zip's (University and Park). Upon entering, we were greeted with some sort of jingly new age music, which was far from soothing on the nerves. The l owest in price quotes, we were offered $18 in trade and $13 in cash, which was without the New Bomb Turks or Blues Explosion CDs. The service wasn't lacking or extraordinary, but I thought it was nice that the clerk apologized for a door I had tried to op en, but was locked.

Oh, by the way, PDQ and Bookman's take records, but Loco doesn't.

If these quotes aren't in your ballpark, perhaps you can attempt to build some kind of camaraderie with your local resale worker, and find it to your advantage. Also, some other resale stores we didn't check were Wherehouse, Toxic Records (which doesn't b uy major labels), and Last Wax.