Tower falls; codswallop analysis prevails

October 11th, 2006 · < mtheo >

In 1967 it was worth the hassle of a long Greyhound ride to San Francisco and an interminable Muni ride to Columbus & Bay if you were 14 and stuck in Redwood City. Right from its opening the bins at Tower Records had LPs for $2.99, but more important, they held unparalleled depth — especially if you were a classical nerd discovering R & B. Tower lasted 46 years; not bad.

But please, could we have common sense enough not to swallow the hogwash about how da innernet and da ipods and da big box stores done put Tower in the grave? A chorus of stories peddled the same nonsense about Cody’s a couple of months ago, ignoring the blindingly obvious: Cody’s is surviving on Fourth Street and in SF — the Telegraph store was done in by my hometown’s abject inability to deal with reality. The city’s ideological rigidity won’t let it lift more than a cursory pinky to help see that people might actually be able to get into and out of the Telegraph neighborhood quickly and safely, and in Cody’s itself the same sclerosis — as apparent on the shelves as on the surrounding sidewalks — didn’t help. As contributing factors, ecommerce and Wal-Mart probably rank well below the dollar price of gas and the psychic price of relentless assault.

If Tower had paid just a little more attention to reality, and while doing so paused opening up new stores long enough to revise the existing ones, they might have avoided succumbing — not to the net, but to little Amoeba.

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