I’ve been repairing cafe scrabble sets for over a year now, but this is the first time I’ve gone back to a set that I previously topped up. Last March I fixed up the set at Bloc 11 cafe in Union Square. When I checked the board again in late June, I found it was missing one of the four tile racks and also the tiles E E F G J R T. From that I can calculate that this set lost those 7 tiles in 445 days, a tile loss rate of about one every 64 days. And from that we can calculate the half-life of a cafe scrabble set, in this case, about 8 years and 8 months. I didn’t replace the tile rack, that seemed outside my mandate.
Later in the week, I was having a soup lunch at Bloc 11’s sister, Diesel, and I checked their scrabble set. The box was in much better shape so I assumed it would be more complete, but it was down ten tiles (A EE J L O P R S Y) which spells LEPROSY (with AEJ left over) and implies that the set is about 1 year and 9 months old. I returned to my cache of spare letters and found that I had recently deployed my only J, so I topped up the other nine letters and went back to ebay to buy more tiles.
Since I started this odd little project, I have replaced 24 tiles:
…plus the additional J owed to Diesel.
It’s a rare pleasure to find a boardgame you enjoy at a cafe, let alone to find one that’s complete. I don’t know how long I’ll keep this up, but I hope cafe patrons in the greater limeduck listening area are enjoying slightly higher-fidelity scrabble sets.