Scot Pearlstein, a traveling music and movie salesman. Photo By Gregory Connolly

Do you want to own a Tower Records?

“That’s the best line in ‘The Social Network,’” said Scot Pearlstein, a traveling vendor who spent part of International Week at George Mason University selling used CDs and DVDs. “The Internet has ruined my business. There are a lot of people who like to have the physical version of the media, but people aren’t willing to pay anything for them anymore.”

Pearlstein began selling media 15 years ago after he realized he could make a lot of money doing it. At the time, he was a working as an acupuncturist in California.

“I’ve probably been in this business eight years longer than I should,” Pearlstein said. “I’ve rolled with the changes. I mostly sell collectable stuff on Amazon. I don’t do too many college campuses anymore.”

Pearlstein said he travels to campuses near his home in Florida and Mason twice a year. Like he does at Mason, he sets up several tables outside and covers them with thousands of DVDs and CDs—everything from You, Me and Dupree to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Nickelback to Bob Dylan bootlegs.

“I really enjoy coming to Mason because I feel like I’m well supported and there are plenty of students here,” Pearlstein said. “I don’t get ripped off here.”

“Unlike many campuses, people here don’t look at me like I’m crazy for selling these for $5,” he said. “Some people think $5 is a lot of money, but they don’t understand that I have to buy these things and that I put a lot of work into this business.”

Pearlstein carries a resurfacing machine so that the inventory he sells is in good shape.

The biggest sellers are classic rock, 70s soul and Christian music, Pearlstein said.

“Gospel in particular sells great,” Pearlstein said, “both on Amazon and on the campuses.”

Pearlstein said International Week 2011 is likely his last trip to Mason.

“The traveling is not cost-effective too much anymore, with hotels and gas,” he said. “I have a minivan to carry everything up here. It’s a lot of work, and I’m getting old.”

Pearlstein’s visit to Mason last week was cut short by inclement weather, and he was only able to open shop for two days.

“I didn’t work for a few days because of weather-related reasons,” Pearlstein said. “That really puts a damper on things. I’m up here staying in hotels, and they’re not cheap. It did give me the opportunity to go around and buy inventory.”

Even though he has thousands of DVDs and Blu-Rays around, the temptation to take out movies to watch isn’t strong.

“I go to Red Box or stream it off Netflix,” he said. “I generally don’t go to my inventory to watch movies. If it’s something I haven’t seen, I’ll pull it out ahead of time, but now I’ve seen everything. I’m a big movie buff. If it’s not horror and it’s a good movie, chances are I’ve already seen it.”