[I wrote this for GlobalNews.ca for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday crowd. -AC]
If you’re of a certain age, you probably went through a phase when you spent an unholy amount of money on stereo equipment. Yes, we wanted it loud, but we also wanted accuracy and clarity. Everyone was an audiophile, be it for the stereo system in the bedroom or in the car.
This time of year always reminds me of those days.
When I was growing up, Christmas break was reserved for a family trip to the Holiday Inn in Fargo, a couple of hours south of Winnipeg. Several afternoons were set aside for shopping at the nearby West Acres Mall with its dozens of American stores featuring goods so coveted by Canadians.
While mom went shopping for clothes and white goods, I’d spend hours at the Team Electronics store, looking at the hi-fi gear of my dreams, all of which was featured in their awesome glossy catalogue.
Back home, when teachers had one of their professional development days, a group of friends and I would hitch a ride into the city where we’d spend a big chunk of the day touring as many stereo stores as we could. We’d pose as customers looking for new gear (especially speakers) and ask the salespeople to demonstrate the equipment using our favourite albums. Not only was it an education in consumer electronics, but it was also super-cheap entertainment.
Team Electronics is long-gone now, first morphing into a computer retailer called FirstTech before closing entirely in 2012. So are many of the local stereo shops I used to frequent. Some were single location independents like Ron’s Stereo and TV…
… while others had a wider footprint. I bought my first stereo gear (a 12-watt Sansui receiver, an Akai turntable, and some no-name speakers) at one of Krazy Kelly’s locations.
Keep reading. There are many memories coming up.