Last night I was talking to an old hippie friend, who is also a longtime record collector, about the fate of all the record clerk dropouts who got cut loose in the '00s. Prior to teh internets, there was a certain stratum of folks who chose a career as a record store clerk (also: bookstore/video rental shop clerks, too), but then as many record stores closed these folks found themselves not just unemployed but LOST!! Many of these clerks had been in retail for years and didn't think shit would ever tank. But, then it did, and, rather than rallying with a "WHAT'S NEXT?" they just stood there wondering, "WHAT HAPPENED?!"
UGH. I get it, being a cloistered nerd living happily hand-to-mouth worked, till it didn't, and being SO DEEP in record nerddom having to come up with a new life trajectory, perhaps as LESS of a record nerd, did not compute!! Thankfully, it's been a while since the great retail extinction and I know most of those who lost their jobs did get new, and prolly better, jobs, but occasionally I'll run into a glassy-eyed former record store clerk who's still looking for work and still wondering, "WHAT HAPPENED?!"
Oh, I also wonder about the HUGELY important industry guys like Rodney Bingenheimer or Randy Now, the former booker at for the (sorta famous) club City Gardens who have outlived their relevance...and savings. I reckon you can't bank on pop-cultural influence as retirement.