BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE (1998)
True story: A man bought his wife a $100 gift certificate from Play It Again Sports last Christmas in the hope that she would get herself either cross-country skis or a pair of ice skates. After two hours in the Southtown store, she walked out with exactly the size and style of used skis ($34.99) and skates ($24.99) she'd been looking for--plus his-and-hers ski poles that fit their respective heights ($5.99 for each pair), a used pair of ski boots ($14.99), and a brand-new pair of warm mittens (8.99). Final tab, plus tax: $101.59. With spring upon us, used inline skates are selling for as little as $19.99, or about what you'd pay for four hours of rental time. And if early-'90s skating technology doesn't cut it for you, PIAS outlets also sell the latest high-tech models brand new at competitive prices. Can't stand the thought of winter sports? A set of used golf irons goes for as low as $34.99. And don't forget that sometimes, used is better than new--think already broken-in baseball and softball gloves for $24.99.