-To Whom It May Concern,

Francis L. Stewart here. If you’re reading this I guess you found it. I couldn’t go on anymore. I knew what I was doing was pointless. I knew no one cared anymore, especially me. Day after day waiting around for someone to say something, waiting for someone to reach out and tell me to keep going. It never came and that is why I am writing this letter. That is why I had to end it all. Yep. It’s time to stop working at Columbia House.

For a long time we were on top of the world. We really had it all. 10 compact disc or 15 tape who a penny. We tricked them all. Sure it seemed like a good deal. Ha, fools. It was too good to be true. Once we had them in the contract it was off to the races. Month after month of Spin Doctors, Hootie and the Blowfish, and of course Eve 6. Goddamn did I mail out a lot of Eve 6 CD’s. But then the fucking internet happened. Who saw that coming? Everyone but us and Bill Gates.

We tried DVD’s but the bottom dropped out on that faster than the CD’s did. About six years ago I had to start laying folks off. As of last year it was just me. Mailing CD’s out to the only people we could still hoist them on, senior citizens and residents of Northern Florida. It wasn’t hard for me to keep up. We would get eight maybe nine orders a month. Then last November it all stopped. My first thought was it must have been Barack Hussein Obama’s fault like everything else. But after the new year I realized maybe our time had just passed.

For the last few months I have been wandering the warehouse trying to pass the time. I thought maybe I could make some money selling CD’s from the warehouse to the Sam Goody at the mall. Turns out the Sam Goody had been closed for three years and that the mall had closed last summer. Then I tried going to Warehouse Records out on route 12. Turns out they had gone out of business sometime after 9/11. I think maybe the two events are related but I can’t prove anything…yet.

About two months ago my paycheck stopped showing up. To be honest I was shocked that kept coming as long as they did. I mean no one ever called. No one ever checked in. I haven’t heard from anyone in corporate for a year or two. Once the checks stopped coming it wasn’t long till I was kicked out of my place. I moved into the warehouse last month. I figured that no one would notice. I guess I was right.

I built a crude shelter out of Rob Thomas CD’s in a corner near the water heater. When the heat was shut off two weeks ago I started burning Chris Gaines and Garth Brooks CD’s to stay warm. It worked but the smoke and the smell from all that burning plastic started giving me a headache something fierce. But if the choice is between a headache and freezing to death I guess…well that isn’t much of choice at all, is it? I tried to trade the boy who works at the 7/11 down the road some P-Diddy and the Family CD’s and a DVD of The Craft for some of the doughnuts they throw out at the end of the day. He told me he didn’t know what a CD was. That’s when I knew the jig was up.

So it’s time for me to move on. I hate to abandon my post but I don’t know if anyone would even notice. If you’re reading this, know that I worked hard. Know that I loved sending people The Soundtrack to Romeo and Juliet knowing full well that they would write “Return to Sender”. Oh, the game we played. Back in the early 90’s there wasn’t a single teenager in America that we didn’t trick into joining the club. They always thought they were going to get over on us. Well, I guess they finally did.

Whoever finds this letter please tell the world about Columbia House. Tell them that we didn’t mean any harm. Sure you can get all the music you want off the internet for free these days but the internet won’t send you the latest Incubus CD, or The Doors Greatest Hits. If you wait for Pirate Bay to send you The Toadies “Rubberneck” with it’s hit single “Possum Kingdom” you’re going to be waiting a long time. I packed up some of favorite discs and have hit the road. My cousin tells me he can get me with a new up and coming internet company in Chicago. If you need Francis L. Stewart you can find him answering phones at the hot new start up Groupon. All the best and I hope someone can find a good home for all this music. Maybe we can start a record club of our own in the future.

 

Douglas L. Adams