To the Editor:

Bill Wyman must be either a masochist or a New Yorker if he thinks Tower Records has a friendly and knowledgeable staff competitive with Rose Records (Hitsville, September 16). He writes that Tower welcomes employees with body piercing. Apparently only customers who resemble the staff get friendly, knowledgeable service. I have no pierced body parts but have had several bad experiences at Tower.

On one occasion I was looking for a book there and asked a young, hip Tower employee for some assistance. He literally shrieked “I don’t have the time!” and dashed away. Last year I was shopping for a recording of L. Mozart’s “Toy Symphony” for a Christmas gift for a young niece. The friendly, knowledgeable help asked us for the number of the symphony. We explained that it doesn’t have a number, that it is simply known as the “Toy Symphony.” They haughtily and condescendingly told us that if we didn’t have the number, they couldn’t help us.

Fortunately, we went to Rose Records on Wabash, where the clerk within moments had four different CDs of said numberless Toy Symphony and was discussing their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Tower’s strength, at least for me, is it is so damn convenient, in terms of location, hours, and selection. McDonald’s is convenient, too. Both should be avoided, if possible.

The problem with Tower is it employs young people who are apparently greatly impressed with themselves for landing a job there. Wyman sees friendliness and knowledge, I see self-absorption and vacuity. The folks at Rose may not have multiple artificial hair colors or pierced noses but they do have in-depth knowledge of their business and a willingness to share it without subjecting customers to “attitude.”

Tower should go back to New York. Long live Rose Records.

Peter J. Vilkelis

W. Jackson