“I’m sorry, sir or ma'am, but you did not sell a first press of the Offspring self-titled album.” So began the most punishing exchange in my history as a record flipper.
I still remember staring at the record in a shop just outside of Okayama, Japan. The $60 price tag seemed daunting at first, but I knew I could get more for it. I just didn’t expect the punishment it would take to get there.
There exists a special class of humans in the world of record selling. We industry pros refer to them as “punishers.” A punisher is someone who makes what should be a really simple akin to pulling teeth. They will expect so much more from you than is necessary, fueled by an incomprehensible strain of OCD, and it always hurts.
A mark of the punisher is a complete lack of awareness of his own special taxonomy. To the punisher, asking for double padding on a $4 LP makes complete sense, as does demanding detailed hi-res pictures of all the corners of the LP jacket to insure mint condition. A punisher will email you less than 24 hours after buying a record, demanding to know if it has shipped. All of these are classic forms of punishment.
For some reason the worst punishers always seem to be Germans. Damn entitled bunch, those Krauts. None of them ever seem to believe it actually does cost $21 to mail an LP to Europe from the states, and they always seem to start to sweat after their prize has failed to travel across a fucking ocean in under 72 hours.
The biggest punishment I’ve ever received came with that god damn Offspring LP. This lady bid it up to $200, paid, and I shipped it to her. Literally an hour after I shipped out the prize, I got the aforementioned email. I’ll spare you all of the details, let’s just say I was right and she was wrong. She seemed convinced that a small logo on the back of the jacket negated its status as a first press, despite the fact that every single copy was pressed at the exact same time. To this person, paying $200 for something and immediately backing out (despite all the information needed to make this decision being found in the eBay listing) was an entirely reasonable course of action.
This headache lasted about two weeks. I refunded the buyer’s money and got the record back. I then relisted it and dreaded further punishment, convinced it was what I deserved for not choosing a real career path, doomed forever to bend to the will of future punishers.
Oh, and it turns out there is a Marvel Comics character named The Punisher. People like him enough to get tattoos of him, so here’s some of that.
So, take heed of the words above. Strive to be more self-aware. No one likes a punisher in any form. Except this The Punisher fellow, he seems to have plenty of fans who yearn to have him permanently tattooed on their bodies.
Oh, and for those of you who were worried about my Offspring transaction, a friend went into Discogs and edited the description of the self-titled Offspring record to make it appear that I had a copy that was only given to band members. When I relisted it, it sold for $20 more than the first time.