When at the mall, check the Internet – Warwick Beacon

Posted: January 3, 2020 at 10:47 am

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I had a mission and less than six hours to accomplish it.

Obviously, I shouldnt have waited until Christmas Eve to conduct my search for a chess set for my granddaughter Sydney. Chess sets are not exactly rare, and I figured I would find what I was looking for at Barrington Books in Garden City.

Indeed, they had a set, but I wanted something substantial that would endure with time and years from now she might use to play with her grandchildren.

Thus, what I thought would be a simple task transformed into an adventure and an education in shopping.

My initial tactic was to ask others who were likewise engaged in a last-minute escapade to find Christmas gifts. There was no shortage of suggestions, starting with FYE (For Your Entrainment) at Warwick Mall and Target.

The next stop was the mall. The lot was jammed, and after finding a spot in the hinterlands and grabbing a bottle of water for the hike, I arrived at Macys.

Might they have chess sets?

I looked around for an associate but only saw shoppers. I would have tried a checkout counter; however, there was a line there. So, I made FYE my destination.

Shoppers were intently looking over CDs, and there was nothing that remotely looked like a chess set.

With a feeling of defeat settling in, I decided to head for Target. I hadnt taken 10 steps before hearing my name called. There was no mistaking the voice of Debbie Rich, who worked as press secretary for Lincoln Chafee when he was mayor and went on to the Division of Motor Vehicles after he became governor.

Debbie regularly walks the mall with friends before roosting in the food court for coffee and catching up on the latest scuttlebutt. Shes a news junkie and follows Rhode Island doings with zest.

Where are all the people? she said, looking down the expanse of the mall. I hadnt noticed it, but she was right. Surely people were walking from shop to shop, yet it wasnt packed, especially considering these were the final hours before Christmas. With all those cars, people had to be somewhere.

I told Debbie of my quest and suddenly it became her cause and that of her companion, her cousin Betty Ann Berk. They both took out their cell phones and started tapping furiously. They took turns showing me photos of chess sets ranging from less than $15 to more than $280. I found a classic set with a wood board that had a built-in drawer for the pieces.

Debbie and Betty Ann went to work.

I found it, Betty Ann announced excitedly as if shed discovered the Holy Grail. Its at Home Depot.

Home Depot? I never would have thought there.

As Betty Ann searched nearby Home Depots to see if they had one on the shelf, Debbie surfed the Internet for other possible outlets. She scored hits at Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohls and Target. Then Debbie dug into the nitty gritty. Were they similar sets, as the prices were all over the board? Most importantly, did anyone have a set in stock or would there be a wait?

Debbie and Betty Ann teamed up. Debbie made a call to Kohls as she wanted to verify the information she was getting before sending me there. Bed Bath & Beyond was out of the running and, according to their collective research, Target had a set just one although it wasnt exactly the one I had wanted.

When Kohls came up empty handed, Debbie went on the Target site and clicked on the single set they had found within a couple of miles radius of the mall. She wasnt going to let this slip away before I had the chance to walk to Target.

Then the thought occurred to her if she had reserved the set, would I be able to pick it up?

I told her I doubted chess sets are in such demand that someone would scoop it up before I had the chance to walk the length of the mall. She canceled her order and I hightailed it for Target, but not before agreeing with Debbie and Betty Ann that they should form the They Can Find It shopping company.

Yes, I secured the only set available at Target.

On Christmas Day, Sydney was intrigued by my story. She opened the gift and smiled. Then she warned me she would be honing her chess game, so I better watch out.

I couldnt have asked for more.

Thanks, Debbie and Betty Ann, for making my Christmas.

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When at the mall, check the Internet - Warwick Beacon

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January 3rd, 2020 at 10:47 am

Posted in Chess