Best Place to Buy Embarrassing Albums

Let's say you want to purchase a CD that is generally considered to be less than hip — Billy Joel's The Nylon Curtain, for instance. Or maybe you've just discovered Fatboy Slim, three years after the rest of your peers, and you don't want anyone to know just how behind the times you are. Perhaps your barely teenage nephew's birthday is coming up and he desperately wants the new Mariah Carey record (for her singing abilities, natch). For you, trudging up to the counter of your local record store can be as unnerving as a walk to the gallows. Oh, the withering smirks that await as you hand over your blush-inducing purchases — unless, of course, you head to the out-of-the-way oasis of the jazz and classical room at Amoeba. There you will find not only a shorter line but more overtly forgiving sales attendants as well. No sneering, no snorting, no roller coaster eye-rolling: just Zen-like calmness and good cheer. Of course, you may not want to test their patience by buying some Chick Corea.

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