Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chess Adventures: Shopping for a Chess Set

A rather interesting short piece from the out of Oshkosh, WI (yah, my home state!) Posted April 5, 2008 Streetwise: Sometimes you need to shop outside the box Streetwise has a story for you this week. Not sure if there’s a moral to it, but maybe we will just use it as an indicator of how screwy commerce can be in this town. Or, maybe just how screwy Streetwise can be. The object of our pursuit: A small chess set, which we were willing to reasonably pay for. Beginning after work on Monday, Streetwise spent a total of two hours and waaaay too much gas driving around to every store we thought could possibly have a small chess set so we could set it on our desk and play our Minneapolis friend Gerg (EDS – NOT a misprint. He goes by Gerg instead of Greg) in a move-a-day match. We started downtown with a call to House of Heroes and a look through the Paper Tiger. No such luck in either case. Big boxes were next and yielded some results. Target had a few cheap-but-not-small ones, Hobby Lobby was a bust and surprisingly, so was Shopko. Admittedly, Streetwise did not try Wal-Mart. Next, came an epiphany. Hobbytown USA on Oregon Street. A solution and a way to shop local! Check and mate, to use the preferred nomenclature. Not so much. Yes, they had chess sets, but none cheaper than $60 and no small ones. At this point, friends, we hadn’t expected such a battle for something so simple as a chess set, but our resolve had also hardened as we again drove back out to the frontage roads. Streetwise was going to find a chess set if it took looking in every dang store out there. Alas, we returned to Target after stopping at, of all places, OfficeMax in the hope they might have an “executive” chess set. Bought the $4 chess set with a laminated paper board and prepared for the start Tuesday. Got into work, proudly set it up – also weighted it down to get the board to lay flat – and went to work snapping shots of all the changes happening downtown for “Public Enemies.” The assignment took us into Satori Imports where, as we turned to walk out, there sat a small, glass chess set and glass board for $8 in a glass case. Of course, Streetwise thought, this could only happen in Oshkosh.

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