Sept. 25 2012 08:57 PM

Retail chain at Horton Plaza is closing its doors for good

smoking2
Photo by Peter Holslin

I've always hated Sam Goody. For me, the retail chain has embodied everything that sucks about mainstream music. The stores I'd visit years ago at Fashion Valley and UTC were big and noisy. Top 40 blared over the sound system. CDs were packaged in clunky plastic containers. The stores' employees wore uniforms, just like the folks serving pizza and corndogs over at the food court.

Thankfully, the last Sam Goody location in San Diego—a sprawling store in Horton Plaza that's been open since 1994—will close its doors for good at the end of October. As I reported last year, the building it sits in will be demolished as part of a city project to expand the mall's adjoining park. The store won't re-open at another location in the mall, U-T San Diego reported.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I was taking a stroll through Downtown and decided on a whim to visit this corporate relic. What can I say? I get a fun little thrill from shopping for music. I love chatting with the clerks about new releases, and I always seem to dig up unexpected gems. I usually don't feel like a customer who's buying something; I feel like I'm part of a community of music listeners.

When I stepped into Sam Goody, the store was packed with shoppers. Everything was being sold at discount prices, but I still found a decent selection of indie-rock and hip-hop, including a used Digable Planets album for $4.99. To Sam Goody's credit, not all of the music it sells is bad, and its prices aren't too shabby, either.

But as I perused the CD racks, I soon felt a deep, almost primal aversion to the whole place. It wasn't just the employees' black, uniform-like outfits or the pop music blaring over the speakers. It was something about Sam Goody's very DNA. Whatever sense of community I might've felt had been stripped away. My crude, ugly customer-ness was laid bare. I felt gross. I left Sam Goody without dropping a dime, and I never turned back.

Email peterh@sdcitybeat.com or follow him on Twitter at @peterholslin.

Calendar

  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • The former local boy and creator of the highly influential blog, Advanced Style, will be signing and discussing his third book, Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, which features inspiring pictures and stories...
  • C.J. Chenier and Bonsoir Catin headline this annual Cajun inspired festival. Also enjoy 10,000 pounds of crawfish, dancing and cooking demonstrations. Held at Spanish Landing Park, across from the...
  • A Cinco de Mayo party featuring $2 tacos, cocktails and live music from Bostich+Fussible, Javiera Mena and Gepe
  • A spoken word showcase hosted by English instructor Karla Cordero and her City College students. There will also be a special reading from poet Mercedez Holtry, as well as an art and photography show....
  • Widely known as host of "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live and for his role in the Showtime dramedy Weeds, Kevin Nealon brings his unique humor back to the stand-up stage
  • New works from over a dozen UCSD undergraduate students. Participating artists include Charity Algarme, Richard Lin, Joseph Maas, Ignatius Nguyen, and more
  • This video art exhibition from UCSD MFA candidate Stefani Byrd features two installations that explore the themes of breath, mediation, and the nature of time. Takes place in the VAF Performance Space,...
See all events on Thursday, May 5