I forget, sometimes, just how blessed I am to be living where I do.
This last weekend was Steph's and my 11th anniversary. So we did what we do: We went out.
There were a couple of places I'd been meaning to check out, and a couple of places I'd been meaning to drag Steph to, so it all turned into a fantastic day.
We started by stopping at Blue Max. My parents have been going there for a while, and they're really fantastic. There's a good selection of game-fuel, too, in the form of pepperoni sticks and "trail mix" which is sausage and cheese.
From there, we headed to Capitula Uno Libreria, a brand-new Spanish-language bookstore that isn't terribly far. The proprietor was friendly and enthusiastic, and spoke English (I don't speak Spanish - Steph does). We spent a few bucks there.
From there, we headed to Game On! in the South Hill Mall. I'd pre-ordered a copy of Shadow Wars: Armageddon, and I wanted to pick that up ASAP. Now this was a second chance for us with Game On!. They'd had a location in Southcenter, and I had not been even a little impressed. The staff ignored me when I walked in, and when I went to spend money, they gave an attitude as though I was somehow putting them out by pulling them away from sorting Magic cards or chatting with their friends. And that hadn't been a one-time thing, either. We gave them a number of opportunities to steal some of our custom away from Phoenix. And the Puyallup location ... was different. When we got there, there were a dozen or so customers milling about and browsing. The cashier greeted us promptly, and we spent a few minutes browsing before spending our money. There was one employee who was standing in the middle of the store playing Ice Cool with himself and not really interacting with any customers, but he seemed to be the exception and not the rule. We picked up the game and got out of there.
We then headed towards South Hill Games and More. We had time to kill before they opened, so we stopped at the Games Workshop store that is about two blocks from their location.
Our experience at that GW store was a complete reversal from the last time we'd been to one (more than a decade ago). We were greeted promptly, and the staffer wasn't pushy, but she was available as soon as we had a question. Not only that, but when I mentioned that Game On! and The Game Matrix both had received copies of Shadow Wars: Armageddon, she looked up the phone numbers for one of the customers who was there and looking for a copy. That, by the way, was one of the most stunning customer service moments I've seen in years. From anyone.
After GW, we headed to South Hill Games and More. They're in a terrible location, but the shop is clean and organized and the staff is enthusiastic and knowledgeable. And friendly. We picked up a Guild Ball starter, because several friends have been raving about the game of late and the gentleman who demoed it for us made it sound fun.
After that, we were a bit torn. We could go to The Game Matrix for paint, or we could head home so I could start on dinner and take a nap. We headed towards home, stopping at Happy Donuts on the way. Happy is not a fancy donut place. They don't have bacon maple bars or any of the new "hip" donut flavors. They have traditional twists and bars and cake donuts. But their donuts are really good. And I'd never taken Steph there before (despite mentioning it every time we drove past).
Then Steph napped and I cooked dinner, and then headed to Beer & Board Games at Fantasium.
In one day, I visited four game stores. The furthest one out is about half an hour from the house. This area is blessed. It's an embarrassment of riches, even.
I can't wait to get these games to the table, either.