Ever since I began buying records in the 1970's, record stores have played a significant part in my musical education. I have often purchased some of the gems of my record collection after hearing them played by a savvy record store employee. Given the sorry state of commercial radio these days, a good record store is probably the best place outside of the internet to hear new music!
So, next time you wish to purchase a physical product such as a CD or DVD, don't just mindlessly head to Wal-mart, Best Buy, Borders or Barnes & Noble, and please don't order it online. Instead, patronize establishments such as Vintage Vinyl or Euclid Records in St. Louis, Newbury Comics in Massachusetts, or (my personal favorite) Waxtrax in downtown Denver. Listen to what the employees are playing in the store, and maybe even ask them what new releases they might recommend. Chances are, you'll discover something new every time!