When I got into the hobby ten years ago and learned about Big Al’s place, making my first visit became a top priority. This was around Thanksgiving 2010. A snowstorm was brewing for the upcoming weekend, but I had some free time and was determined to make the pilgrimage. I called ahead to make sure they were still going to be open. Al answered and said he’d be there.
The storm turned out to be pretty bad, but I went. Nobody else was there, which was nice because I had the place to myself. Al was friendly and gracious. He offered me a Swisher Sweet, so we both burned one as he walked me around to show me the games.
I was more interested in his EMs, so he led me down the back hallway to his other unit where those games were kept. We were still smoking our cigars, even though we were in a commons space for other tenants. This was four years after Minnesota banned smoking in commercial establishments. I asked him if anybody complained about the smoke. He grunted, “Nobody complains to me.”
The satellite unit with the older games was like the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark: it was dim, cavernous, and had row after row of dusty games standing on end. I took some pictures and came back next week to buy one of them. Negotiating with Al was an exercise in futility, but I did get him to shave $50 off because I brought cash.
$450 for a Williams 3 Jokers. I still have it. Thanks Al, and happy trails.
Cabinet Right (resized).JPG