One main problem with recording in stores or just about anywhere these days is that music is ominpresent in public spaces now. Every store, every restaurant, even every bathroom seems to have canned music piped into it and this makes getting clean recordings of our world damn near impossible. But every once in a while you can luck upon a great recording and avoid capturing the music along with it.
I recently got my hands on a Sony PCM-D50 (see review after audio samples below) and the day after i got it, I took it along on a shopping trip with my wife. Luckily on this trip a few things conspired to let me get a really great recording at Honest Ed's. For those outside of Toronto Honest Ed's is a bit of an institution, located at a major intersection in the city the store has been in operation Since 1948.
Ed's is huge its four stories covers a full city block and it sells just about everything you can think of and everything is massively discounted. There are hand painted signs all over with "zany" sales pitches like "Honest Ed's is for the Bird's - Cheap Cheap" or "Honest Ed is Repulsive - But his Prices are Appealing!" and a big sign over the exit reading "Wasn't That Fun!" This one store does over $65 million in sales a year on dime store fair, so it is a massive success.
One section of the store is for groceries and there is a strip of large very, very old freezers containing all the frozen foods, but unlike a traditional grocery store, this is a row of individual two door units instead of one huge aisle long unit. So there is a humming chorus of all the compressors working away. Thanks to the portability of my new recorder I was able to get in-between the fridges and record the ancient compressors from the back of the units. Luckily they were so loud and located a bit away from the ceiling speakers so that the music playing within the store was completely drowned out and a clean recording was possible.
Here is a sample of the refrigerator compressors, followed by some quick manipulation to transform the fridge into some sci-fi -esque sounds: