A strange time capsule of 1989 – 1993 via discount department store ephemera.
Attention, Kmart shoppers: here’s one for the oddity file.
Mark Davis worked behind the Service Desk at the Naperville, IL Kmart in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Every month, the corporate office issued a cassette to be played over the store speaker system — canned elevator-type music with advertisements seeded every few tracks. Around 1991, the muzak was replaced with mainstream hits, and the following year, new tapes began arriving weekly. The cassettes were supposed to be thrown away, but Davis dutifully slipped each tape into his apron pocket to save for posterity. He collected this strange discount department store ephemera until 1993 when background music began being piped in via satellite service.
Nearly 20 years on, Davis has digitized his whole collection, 56 cassettes in all, and just recently, made the recordings available at archive.orgaccompanied by some more background on this bizarre treasure trove. For a taste, listen below to the sweet, sweet sounds of October 1989
Not your thing? Maybe you’d dig the extra special 30th birthday program from March 1, 1992, which they were instructed to play at “a much higher volume.”
God, the internet is a wonderful place.