New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones has been hosting a lively conversation in response to the New York Times article mentioned on this blog earlier in the week. While some of his readers have been chiming in about the state of health of the brick-and-mortar record shop, an equal part of the discussion has focused on the notorious attitude that afflicts so many record store clerks. I know about that condition first-hand; I did time at the now-defunct Inside Track as well as at Dr. Wax and the Jazz Record Mart. My civility certainly waffled during those years, and looking back I’m sure my arrogance was nothing more than a mask for my frustration. When you’ve been selling records for six years hearing yet another person say, “Oh, you’ve got the greatest job, listening to music all day,” can make a mild-mannered person turn murderous. As a consumer I find Reckless Records to be the guiltiest purveyor to hipper-than-thou ‘tude–never mind that plenty of the staff seems to know less about music than its customers.

Anyway, what do you feel about the shops in Chicago? Too much attitude? Not enough knowledge and selection? Are you headed toward a download-only collection or do just buy music from Amazon from the cozy confines of your desk? Me, I still love the old-fashioned record store; sadly, they don’t really exist here any longer.