On this day in 1962, the first Kmart store opened.
The chain is not what it once was, but when I was growing up, it was where a lot of us shopped, or at least tried to stop by when they set off one of their signature “blue light special” sales.
Today we have a story about a guy who ended up preserving a little bit of retail history that was literally going to be thrown away.
Mark Davis worked the service desk at a Kmart store in Naperville, Illinois starting in 1989.
Back then, K-Mart played its music and announcements off cassette tapes.
They’d run on a loop all day, every day, and new ones would take their place each month, or later, each week.
Some of them even started with a sign-on from a fictional radio station called KMRT, Kmart Radio.
Davis decided that instead of letting the old tapes go into the garbage, he’d take them home.
Even he admitted it was a weird collection, but eventually he digitized them all and uploaded the files to the Internet Archive.
And along the way, others who had cassettes, or even reel to reel tapes, added those sounds to the collection, some going back to the early 1970s.
Listening back to these tapes isn’t quite the same as finding a long-hidden score from Mozart or a print of an early silent film that was thought lost.
But it certainly gives you some idea of what life, or at least shopping, was like decades ago.
And yes, people have already used some of the tapes for music remixes.
March 1 is National Pig Day, and the site Weird Universe recently wrote about a pig from the late 1970s named CP, which stands for Canadian Pig.
But the most notable thing about this pig wasn’t its nationality, it was its job: its owner trained it to be a 150 pound guard pig, for a 3 month old baby.
Does a guard pig always squeal on perpetrators?
Hear that? It’s the sound of Kmart’s glory days, saved from the trashcan (Detroit Free Press)
Attention K-Mart Shoppers (Internet Archive)
Guard Pig (Weird Universe)