I don’t think they’re still in business anymore, but Eucalyptus Records and Tapes was a store in Spokane, WA that I had heard about and wanted to check out. By this point, The Music Box was still around, but I needed to try out more of the stores in the area.
One afternoon in the mid-summer of 1979, I made a trip to Spokane to spend my money, and headed up to north Division St, almost up to the Northtown Shopping Center. I pulled into the store, a free standing store, the first I’d ever been in that wasn’t part of either a strip or a full shopping mall. I walked in, and there were two clerks on duty – both were in their early 20s, I’d say, and both were dressed very nicely. Probably college students somewhere in the area. They smiled when I walked in and said “Hi”. I was one of only two or three people in the store at the time, as it was only mid-morning, and I had several other record stores to visit that day, including DJ’s Sound City in the new “Mini” Mall area of Northtown.
Eucalyptus Records and Tapes was set up a lot like the Odyssey Records store downtown, except it wasn’t nearly as crowded. I was able to leisurely stroll through the store, checking my list, and perusing the bins in search of a discovery or two, as opposed to getting pushed and shoved by 100 people all doing what I was doing.
By this point, I was heavily into disco, and was buying more and more 12-inch single remixes, and I found one of Chic’s “I Want Your Love” on pink vinyl. Ok, had to have that. Also picked up two or three more 12-inch singles, including one of Leif Garrett’s “Feel The Need”, which was the current single from the teen idol at the time. Then I hit the motherlode – well, for me at least – the store actually had a copy of the new album by The Keane Brothers, “Taking Off“; it had come out three months earlier and NO ONE had it – and it couldn’t be special ordered at that time because the album was one of the last released on ABC Records before MCA bought them out, and MCA had declined to pick up their contract in the buyout. So I snatched it up. I picked up a few more 45s, and then headed to the counter.
The tall lanky dark haired clerk snorted as he went through the pile ringing my purchases up…”Hey, better make sure you don’t get whiplash, going between this kind of stuff.”, he chuckled, obviously amused at his little joke, as did his other friend, the blond clerk, who intoned with a serious voice, “I don’t know, do you think you can handle it?”
I smiled, and told them I could, as I’d been writing about music since I was a small child, and that I had a wide range of tastes. They continued their condescending attitude until the purchase was rung, and I handed them the money.
I was so mad I could scream, but I didn’t show it. I kept the smile glued on my face until I left the building and I never went back to Eucalyptus Records and Tapes again. I found their attitudes completely unacceptable, and I found DJ’s in the mall much more hospitable to my eclectic tastes…