A while ago, I had done a mega-run on thrift stores (28 of them!). Last Saturday, I made another full day of shopping – 8+ hours. Unlike my previous run with netted 4 CDs, I ended the day with, oh… 35. Ok, wait. Let me explain. Of those, I really only wanted less than 10. The majority of them were purchased for their cases.
The CD jewel case is, in my opinion, a wonder of industrial design. The fact that its design has gone relatively unchanged in 30 years is testament to its perfection. However, it has changed over the years. The primary change has been to make it lighter by using thinner plastic. A modern CD case is pathetically thin and brittle, which does little for the case of presenting a CD as a premier product. The thin, cheap case instead affirms that CDs are cheap and disposable.
Early CD cases were heavier and instilled a sense of quality. You can identify these cases because they have smooth sides instead of the ribbed sides of cases today. Of course, you could also easily tell just by picking up a case. It is a noticeable difference.
So, that’s what I was after. The first stop was a pawn shop where I found a couple of CDs I would enjoy. I asked how much they were. “25 cents.” Well, that changes things. I’ll take every smooth-sided CD there, including Willie Nelson and Ray Stevens. That was all of $2.75. At a later thrift store, I pulled out 10 smooth cases, mostly of classical music, for $1 each. I was a little bummed because they offered 50% coupons on a mailing list and I didn’t have one. Maybe next time?
The final stop to end my day was at a non-thrift store – my local used record store. I treated myself to a collectible CD, a 24k gold disc for $20. You usually can’t go wrong with these because they typically sell for $$$. This CD has two current listings online for $94 and $133. They haven’t sold for that amount (I’m not dumb), but still.
Sunday was spent cleaning cases and swapping out some of my more prized CDs into smooth cases. My fingers are so sore from using my nails to pry apart cases. Then the ripping and cataloging… My new CD tower from not too long ago is filling up at a dangerous pace. Soon, I may need to bring the old one back into service. And, I also need to start selling the CDs that have been replaced or upgraded to better editions. I must have about 30 of those.