Flashback: The Hempstead TSS Record Department

The best job I have ever had was working in the record department at TSS in Hempstead, NY. During my high school years, and school breaks when I went up to Buffalo State College, I could not wait to get back to work. My love of music was fed in the same manner that you would pour lighter fluid on a barbecue pit to ignite a flame! 

The record department was a magnet for the store that was reminiscent of what Walmart is today. We would crank up the latest r&b music so that patrons could hear it as they walked through the front doors. The town’s cute guys would stop in to see what new cassettes we had in stock. Those were the days when you had to own a Walkman if you were down! (Ha!)

The benefit, for me in addition to being to follow the local cuties around the store was to preview promotional music before the record was hot enough to come in a major shipment. The promos quickly became a source of contention in the store because heated debates would ensue amongst those of us who worked there. We all wanted the hottest sounds going home with us when promos were cleared to leave the store!

I distinctly remember vying for Troy Johnson’s single, It’s You and I was prepared to go heads up with anyone ready to challenge me for it! 

Not only was Troy adorable, but I instantly fell in love with the ballad. I loved it then, and I love it still — today!

My years of working in the record department helped me to build my music collection. The promos, the discounted purchases, the preview of songs and albums that the public would never embrace was my personal blessing. My treasure!

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