It’s day three of post-election/pre-inauguration, and people are still flocking to the Tribune Tower like we’re selling iPhones. We’re not. The folks in the lobby are selling commemorative Chicago Tribune papers announcing Barack Obama’s win, and there are lines nearly every time of the day. I leave for lunch and have to cut through the line. Leave after work and have to cut through the line. Dr. Beat Soltermann (yes, that is a real name) is a Swiss radio reporter who was in town covering the election, and he couldn’t find his paper anywhere, so he was standing in line. So were Betty Hall and Tiesha Walker, two South Siders who had visited every newsstand they could think of and still had no luck. “I always send historical papers to my father in California,” said Hall, who had an armful of Sun-Times papers she had just purchased.
I’m amused by this phenomenon for a few reasons:
1. I work for Chicago magazine, which means I work in the Tribune building, and I still had to stand in line to buy a Tribune. (It cost me 75 cents.) It didn’t occur to me how crazy this was until the day after election. I left for lunch on Wednesday and walked through a fairly empty lobby; when I returned an hour later, it was packed, and I got yelled at by some woman who thought I was cutting in line. I was, in fact, just trying to come back to the office. I ran upstairs and got some money and came back and stood in line. Funny.
2. The price of the Tribune has gone up in the past three days: Wednesday, it cost 75 cents. Today, the same paper is $5—but you get a commemorative plastic bag to put it in!
3. The entrepreneurial spirit that this is coming out of some of my colleagues is impressive! They’ve bought printing press plates ($25) and stacks of extra papers, all in their effort to make some cash on eBay. I have a feeling this is going to be a trend among Chicagoans.