Game Theory.

I went out the other night to the industrial waterfront of San Francisco to be plied with all things French by the perfect little family game company, BlueOrange. One of the strong benefits of our industry is that business meetings are often more fun than most people’s leisure time, and this was right in line with that idea. The plan: a little local inside exposure to some secret new games and a visit to the BlueOrange warehouse, where they would ply us with cheese, meats, and a sampling of their own new, branded Cabernet. Then, off to a Giants game at the incredible AT&T Park. Well, it’s no secret that neither Andre nor I are baseball fans, but the company was excellent and it was like being six again, so on with it, and with an open mind.

I’m sad to report that I won’t be writing up a review of the BlueOrange Cab in grapes_traipse because it very nearly killed me, but that wasn’t the real point of the night. The Bay Area has an absolutely massive congestion of game and comic stores, and many of these owners and ops managers were there – both pleasurable and notorious. It was a great opportunity to schmooze a bit and find out how our industry is doing in different parts of the Bay – unofficially, of course. It’s funny how we all mingle around and look for other proprietors with similar management and presentation styles, breaking off into small groups of like-minds and clucking and cackling like hens on the feed. Quiet obloqies are exchanged about certain reviled local figures, mountains of praise on others, just like any other social group. We can only hope we truly reap what we sow, but it seems pretty clear that, at least amongst this industry, people do remember if you’re kind or asinine.

After a couple of hours comparing customer influx, hits and misses, and how much alcohol we actually keep under the counter at our respective stores, most of the group took a long walk along the dilapidated docks where liberty ships go to die, archaic, monstrous cranes sit rusting in the salt air behind chain-link fences and razor wire. A head turn to the north is the best city in the United States, aglow in finery as dusk set in with lights winking on faster than we could count. The South Park area of San Francisco is in a state of amazing development right now, and only getting better. Between the ball park, the Embarcadero and ferry building, views to Treasure Island and the SF Yacht Harbor, and of course the legendary piers, we were all treated to some of the very best parts of this place. We forget about this sometimes.

Usually in baseball, nothing really happens, and this was also the case here. But we stuffed our faces with thirteen different colors of cotton candy, hot dogs, pretzels bigger than my head, and perhaps the best garlic fries ever made. And then a handful of us strolled back to the warehouse, where some better vintages were poured, and the group slowly trickled off as people played a bit of pool, hacky sack, and compared cultural notes about gaming, food, and leisure time, all around. It was an education to see how natural the French were at popping the footbag around, and though they had never seen one before, it must clearly be blamed on their inherent football skills. We made a point of banning the headbutt, though.

It would be appropriate to say a few good words about BlueOrange here: on their quality of production, on their excellent customer service, most definitely about their refusal to adopt a corporate facade. It’s a small company doing big things and bringing some much-needed Continental business acumen to an industry flooded with ‘the next big things’. But really, I’m pleased that Andre and I made some new, quality friends in San Francisco, and we played pool with two of their finest ambassadors until the wee hours of the next work day, sipping wine and sharing cultural paradigms all the while. This is the game, and this is how we play it.

2 Responses to “Game Theory.”

  1. kittynitro Says:
    August 28th, 2006 at 11:24 am

    Usually in baseball, nothing really happens, and this was also the case here.
    I disagree. A lot happens: beer is drunk. I am drunk. Public singing in the middle of the 7th inning. Dot racing! If you're with Jeff, there's a good chance you'll hear naughty words and you may even get beer thrown on you. Babies are there, their little eyes glazed over. I am there, wearing a bucket hat. Yes, there are garlic fries. And peanuts! And Crackerkack! And weak mai tais in a big plastic cup!* At AT&T you even get the Chicken Dance! It's America, man. Total Thomas Pynchon stuff.**
    Anyway. It sounds like a beautiful day. Perfect San Francisco.
    * Weak? There is no weak when you carry a flask.
    **See how I tried to make it seem all intellectual there? and failed?

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 1st, 2006 at 10:09 am

    Yes, but you might be confusing something here: you care about baseball because you're husband is the world's biggest fan. That's awesome, because his enthusiasm rubs off on all of us. I, however, would be happy if every baseball stadium in America closed down and we spent the gajillion dollars that is effortlessly thrown into such an institution (and its millions of free towels and t-shirts) into more pressing expenditures. Like finding the cure for cancer. Or feeding the poor. Or buying us more bombs and planes and dead babies. Or getting me that new Hummer I've been wanting for years, now.
    Thomas Pynchon ROCKS! Go Ruggles!

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