Lee Flinn's memories of The Record Exchange revolve around its customers—the good, the quirky and the bad ones.
"[There was a] customer who had a split personality and we never knew, until he started talking, which personality, he was at the moment," said Flinn. She also remembers "the mother who used to buy her daughter tapes with the provision that when she got home, she had to mow the lawn. That 'kid' is now grown up and living in the Midwest with her family. [Or] the guy who tapped me on the shoulder while dancing at a club, to ask me 'did my special order come in yet?'"
Occasionally, customers were the worst part of her job.
"The ones that would try to haggle on the price of a CD, claiming they only cost us a dollar or two," Flinn said. "They cost a lot more than that."
One of the more memorable experiences for Flinn happened when 2 Live Crew released their album As Nasty As They Wanna Be. After a Florida judge ruled the album obscene and illegal to sell, people bought the album as an act of protest to show support for free speech, she said.
"People would come in and buy it on principle. They were like, 'I don't like this music, but I am going to buy it,'" said Flinn, now the executive director of Conservation Voters of Idaho. She recalled college professors and business types buying the tape. Luckily for Flinn, the Supreme Court eventually overturned the obscenity ruling and she never had to go to jail.
Flinn also got to meet the occasional hero.
"I remember listening to Ben Harper practice for his in-store in the back office," said Flinn with a grin. She worked at The Record Exchange for 10 years.
"I remember when I first started working there, and I thought, 'This is the coolest job in the whole world.'" At one time, she managed the Broadway store, the Franklin store, and then, the store on Cole.
"I remember, in the 1980s, Gene Harris would bring the downtown store cookies ... I think Janie made them. No one ever brought the other stores cookies," Flinn said.
"I had the pleasure of working with very creative people who all had a wicked sense of humor and were really fun to work with," she said. "Had it not been for this work experience, my musical tastes might really be bad."