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TK's MORNING BUZZ -- LIVE DAILY FROM THE VSDA SHOW IN LAS VEGAS! <BR> Day 3 -- Long Live Long Lines; Bezos Balks at E-Mail; a Freshly Shorn Scherer; Rockin' Doors Party

8 Jan, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The VSDA convention opened yesterday and for awhile there, it seemed the good old days were back. The badgeholder pickup line stretched all the way out to the ballrooms, where the Opening Business Session proved a surprisingly strong draw -- until keynoter Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com turned the podium over to the Home Entertainment Awards presenters. Someone briefly turned the houselights on, and before they went back out more than half the room had emptied.

My favorite Bezos line: "There’s something weird about e-mail. It turns off the politeness genre in human beings." He was citing the importance of customer feedback to retailers, noting that Amazon.com has opened special online "shops" after receiving lots of customer requests for certain products, such as Disney videos. The Amazon Web site’s top 5 "searches" from Jan. 4: Gladiator, Disney, exercise, Benny Hill and John Wayne. "Sex" was way down at No. 20.

Video Oyster owner and radical independent-retailer advocate Norman Scherer showed up in our press yesterday more shaven than ever. The long locks are gone, replaced with a more business-like ‘do. Fatherhood will do it to you -- Baby Jake Scherer was born Dec.8, weighing in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces.

It’s a kinder, mellower Dad as well -- no nasty signs or campaigns. "Without the independents," he says, "I’m no hero anymore. I’m just some schmuck trying to mess things up." In addition to selling collectable videos, Scherer now maintains an "auction watch" on his Web site, http://www.videooyster.com, monitoring top video auctions on Ebay, Amazon and Yahoo.

Artisan Home Entertainment's party last night at the Venetian's C2K, in which original Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger played a great set of vintage Doors classic to celebrate Artisan's release of Oliver Stone's Doors movie on DVD, was a bona fide hit. The line to get in stretched way out into the lobby. And the show was high-caliber rock 'n' roll all the way, although it was a bit eerie to see Krieger -- sixtyish and balding -- playing his way through the Doors hit parade while right above him, a projectionist was showing clips from the original Doors, including footage of a boyish Krieger, 35 years earlier.

How easy is it to get into the Consumer Electronics Show? Retailer Marc Oringer of New York City's Champagne Video, who I ran into at the Doors party, proudly showed me two passes he had just obtained at the CES registration window. One was for George Bush of West Palm Beach Video. The other was for Monica Lewinsky, a "service professional" with Lifestyle Video.

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