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Yes, it is a dive, something akin to a Tuscaloosa swap meet on hillbilly heroin. But take heart, because beyond the grabby bitches, both male and female, there is still a majority of civilized bargain shoppers. The Last Chance experience can be fun if accepted as camp, or slumming, or even whoring for the greater good. And dangit, for a Mr. Metrosexy, looking this good for $59 may be the greatest good there is.
And then we stumbled into Here on the Corner. We love the fact that this little space just north of campus is packed with the work of local designers, but our favorite part is that you can find super-cute accessories for $10 and under. There's a huge selection of trendy sunglasses, all priced at $10. Many bracelets and rings are just $5. Some things are a little pricier, but obviously worth it: You can find a hand-embroidered pair of jeans, something that might cost several hundreds of dollars at a ritzy joint in north Scottsdale, for under $100. The friendly staff didn't mind when we picked through just about everything in the shop, finally landing on a $5 toe ring.
Now we can only hope for more cute boutiques. Last time we looked, there was space for rent across the street from Here on the Corner, in the new ASU Foundation building. Any takers?
Sometimes, there's no substitute. Yep, we did something so wrong, we were forced to go all the way up the ladder to the Jeweler of Jewelers for a make-up gift. Okay, okay, we admit it, damn it all; what you think we did doesn't even compare to the offense in question. We had no damn choice. Anything short of Tiffany's, and we'd have been up the canal without a bobble.
So, tail between legs, we headed to the Scottsdale branch of the jeweler to the rich and famous. Once inside, we had one question: "How much do I have to spend to get one of them blue boxes?" A nice lady behind the counter looked sympathetic, as her haughty colleagues glared at us with that "Well, if you have to ask . . ." look. The Queen of Compassion pointed to her own earrings, which resembled Tahitian pearls but were really stainless-steel jobbies for a mere $65. "Of course, we have items like money clips for less, but that won't do, will it?" she said, clicking her tongue three times. No, it wouldn't!
To put those tight-assed colleagues of hers in their place, we blurted: "What's the most expensive item in the store?" It was a $250,000 diamond engagement ring. We settled for something on the low end of in-between -- a $486 crystal heart on a platinum chain -- and got the hell out of there!
Fortunately, the locks on the doors hadn't been changed by the time we got home with our little blue box.
So we weren't surprised when, on a recent trip to the store, an employee helpfully suggested that we rename the Best of Phoenix award for Best Bookstore to "The Changing Hands Best Bookstore Award," recognizing that CH has certainly won its share of BOPs over the years.
Good idea, we said, as we struggled to the cash register with our stack of new and used books. But usually, when you do that, the award is given to someone else. Why would we give Changing Hands the Changing Hands Award? Leave the "Best of" business to us. We'll leave the book business to Changing Hands. And the "Best of" for Best Bookstore. Again.
Business has been so good, Moryha and Mike are in the process of opening a new location at 107th Avenue and Indian School Road. Looks like the underdogs sometimes win out in the end after all.