29 April, 2008

I'm in the hi-fidelity first class traveling set

So here's the thing.

I'm waiting at the supermarket tonight, looking at the DVD stand they have standing by the checkouts. And I don't really understand their selection. Sure, they have a lot of new and newish releases - some films good, some not. But if they're going to sell DVDs, those are the titles they would have on sale. They have a number of classic films - some of the great Disney films, for instance, or copies of the new 2-disc version of 2001. I'm okay with those - especially the Disney films, since people take kids shopping, kids see 101 Dalmatians and want a copy, so I can see that the supermarket would sell those. (Plus, the more kids that grow up watching classic Disney films the better.) But they had a number of films that were old releases, films that had been available for years, films that aren't great (or even good films) just sitting there as part of their selection. And I can't ever see these stores selling these films. They're a waste of space. I mean, really, even if they are selling it for $12.95, is anyone going to see a copy of Men In Black 2 and pick it up it as an impulse buy? Let alone enough people to sell the multiple copies of Mrs Doubtfire they had in stock. Incomprehensible. With a limited amount of space for DVDs, why would you decide to fill the space selling titles like those?

And one other question. This is not a slam on Pink Floyd - I love Pink Floyd, and personally (as a person that never listened to rock music) found Dark Side Of The Moon to be completely revelatory regarding rock's potential as an art form. So I have no problem with supermarkets selling Dark Side Of The Moon, which is an incredible album. But why is it that every supermarket I go to is selling that album, and it's always a copy from Asia, with track titles listed in some Asian characters rather than English. None of the other albums they sell have any indication of being sourced from Asia (one time I actually checked every other CD they were selling), it's just this one album that seems to be being sold at every supermarket I go into. Strange.


eT said...

The wonders of parallel importing, eh? After years of sifting through CD bins in Real Groovy trying to find the obscurest of releases for next to no money, I came to the view that NZ is relatively fortunate when it comes to choices of such material. What we lack is the loss-leading and consistent under-cutting that goes on here in England.

Generally NZ distributors manage to lay their hands on a decent selection of discounted or remaindered CDs from overseas, so if you look long and hard you can find some good stuff quite cheaply. Another good source are the ever-popular review copies that journos listen to once and then flog second hand. But the explanation for your Asian-language sale discs isn't particularly prosaic - it's just a cheap job lot off the freighter from Asia.

Matthew L said...

I've probably not been as clear on my point. I realised they were parallel imported discs. It just seems odd to me, for several reasons.
(1) I've seen these discs in both Foodstuffs supermarkets (New World) and Progressive supermarkets (Countdown and Woolworths). Do the two companies source their discs from the one supplier? Probably - it wouldn't surprise me - but still it seems odd.
(2) DSOTM is a great album, but I've started actively checking the CD selection every time I go to a new supermarket, and no matter how big their CD range is, they always have DSOTM.
(3) Why is this album the one that is being parallel imported. Like I said, I have actively checked other discs on occasion, and I have never come across any other discs with obvious signs of parallel importing. Yet DSOTM is always a parallel imported copy.
It just amuses me.

I remember when the parallel importing restrictions were lifted. For me, the most exciting thing was when I suddenly discovered every video store suddenly had US-sourced copies of A Clockwork Orange. (I know the film had been banned in NZ, but I think that had been lifted by 1990. However, it was still impossible to get a video after the ban was lifted, since the film was never released in Australia until 2000. Suddenly they were legally allowed to buy copies of the film from elsewhere, and it seemed like the film was first on the list for every video store.)

eT said...

I can picture the scene now: a dimly-lit room in a video distributor's warehouse in Wiri. The distributor is phoning his US contact:

'Yeah Ramon? G'day, it's Barry. Barry. Barry from Nyazillun. Yeah. Got anything cheap for me? A sh-tload of something called A Clockwork Orange, eh? What's that, some kinda new age diet guide? Righto, bung it in the container and I'll flog it to the hippies - plenty of them round here. How much you reckon - buck fifty each?'

Matthew L said...

You've been away from New Zealand too long. Your Kiwi accent is starting to read more like an Australian accent.

Still, very funny.