A Lou’s Records mystery box would make a fine white-elephant gift.
  • A Lou’s Records mystery box would make a fine white-elephant gift.
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Lou's Records

434 North Coast Highway 101, Leucadia

Looking for an off-the-wall gift for your white-elephant holiday party? Get to Lou’s Records in Encinitas and pick up one of their random mystery boxes. Each box costs $5 and contains around 30 compact discs. In 2014 iTunes dollars, that is about 300 songs for the price of five downloads. The one I picked up clocked in at 33 discs, with the five most-recognizable titles being The Bodyguard Original Soundtrack, k-os’s Joyful Rebellion, Celine Dion’s One Heart, and Sting’s Brand New Day. The best of the rest? How about the Pier 1 Imports country compilation Travelin’ Crossroads, Nia Peeples’s self-titled second LP from 1991, 4Way!’s Love & Peace (1990), and Shy Child’s Kill Rock Stars release Noise Won’t Stop.

Lou’s has been creating the mystery boxes for over a year now, according to staffer Aaron Willhite.

“There haven’t been any sidewalk sales for a while, so I think this kinda came from that...what do we do with all this old, leftover stuff?” Willhite tells the Reader.

And apparently Lou’s has plenty of leftovers.

“Lou used to have dollar sales outside and would have five-dollar sales sometimes. It would be from that...from backstock, it would be from people donating things, it would be from local artists that did consignment that never picked up their stuff within the 10 or 15 years that we’ve had it,” says Willhite.

Unless you have the most eclectic musical taste in the universe, you probably won’t enjoy most of what you will find when you pop open the box, but that is somewhat by design.

“Usually, the people that buy it are curious,” Willhite said. “They’re not really looking for anything good, they just want the surprise of it.”

Willhite fills the mystery boxes and says that although the boxes are packed randomly, he has been setting aside some of the discs with the funniest covers for a special, greatest-hits-style mystery box.

“I always thought it would be funny to make a blog about all the stuff I find. There was one CD...on the cover it had a sandwich, and it’s on top of a tornado, and the name of the album was Bacon, Lettuce, and Tornado. Stuff like that I’ve been holding on to for the super-special mystery box.”

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