I was at the La Jolla location of Tower Records on Tuesday, December 19, the day before the chain was set to shut down for good. About one quarter of the store was filled with merchandise while the remainder of the store was cluttered with display racks and fixtures (which were for sale at $35 each).

Some people examined the remaining CDs and DVDs that could be had at 80 percent off their retail price (for example, many copies of ex--Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee's recent album, Tommyland: The Ride). Also left over were Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figures and posters and magazines.

After scouring the racks, I walked away with a copy of the Big Star tribute CD Small World ($3.40), a disc by a Guided By Voices--related project called the Takeovers ($3.60), an in-store-listening copy of the latest Golden Smog album ($3.40), and a copy of Bastardsong ($3.40) by Superconductor, a disbanded Canadian act that included musicians who would eventually form the New Pornographers. With tax, the four albums cost $14.87.

While checking out, I asked the clerk what would happen with the remaining discs; he said a buyer in Arizona would purchase them for 95 cents apiece. I told the clerk "good luck" because he would be losing his job five days before Christmas.

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