Nostalgia and music for many are impossible to untangle, but even so, we’re still scratching our heads at this one.
Once upon a time, K Mart’s background music was provided on pre-recorded cassette tapes (remember those?) that were mailed out to all franchise stores. These tapes, which eventually became weekly releases, were played on a custom auto-reverse tape player running 14 hours a day, seven days a week, right up until they were replaced with “satellite programming”.
And now, thanks to one light-fingered ex-employee, we can enjoy roughly thirty hours of these 20 year old tapes in all their wonderful glory.
Mark Davis worked behind the Service Desk in an Illinois K Mart in the late 1980s and 1990s, and rather than follow instructions to trash the tapes he collected them, where they’ve now been uploaded and immortalised here.
The tapes document the changes in background music: parading through wallpaper muzak, royalty-free covers of commercial songs, ghastly Christmas “favourites” and eventually, “modern hits”, with regular in-store sales announcements intact. Included in the collection is the 30th anniversary K Mart program, which came with the instructions to play “at a much higher volume”, and included “all sorts of fun facts about 1962”.
Yes, the internet is a truly strange place.