Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Trip to the Local Brick and Mortar

I was on my way to the post office this morning to mail yesterday’s Amazon sales, when I realized that I needed some 600 count boxes for the mailing the trades I am preparing.  Luckily, just around the corner from the post office is my local card shop, which is enticingly only two blocks from my office.  Having not been to a card shop in eight years, and having scoured the internet for deals, which usually mean mass bulk, I thought I’d check out their prices.

Now, my last trip to a card shop in 2002 was a complete disaster.  The shop was located in a mall (bad sign), and since we were already cruising the mall, I stopped in for a peek.  The first thing that caught my eye were three 3,200 count boxes full of the easily recognizable ’90 Donruss.  I had just finished hand collated sets from ’73 through ’85 over the previous two years, so I thought it might be fun to do a cheapo set (I already had about 50%) before I began tackling 1971 Topps.

Before I went home and dusted off the want lists, I asked the owner how much the ’90 Donruss commons were and he coolly replied 25 cents each.  I couldn’t believe it.  Maybe 25 cards for 25 cents, but surely not a quarter of a dollar per.  I laughed at him, turned around and walked out.  That was my last visit to a card store, until today.

As I walked to store front, I looked at the door and saw the posted hours as 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.  Not exactly the best window timeframe, as I’m sure the dreaded Out to Lunch sign gets posted quite often, but thankfully it was 11:05, so I was in luck.  As soon as I walked in, the door chimed and the owner looked up at not the door, but the chimer, as if he thought is was malfunctioning.  I reckon business is slow.

I said “hello” and then he finally looked at me standing in the doorway.  I expected a “Holy cow, a customer” greeting, but only got a muted “Hey,” thus setting the mood perfectly.  The owner went back to the computer (probably eBay, as I cannot fathom how he manages to keep the store open with such short hours), and I began my search for supplies. 

While looking, I noticed the place was lined on three sides with display cases, had a massive 5-shelf double sided storage/book case in the middle of the room, offshoot tables with old wax, and the obligatory wobbly book shelves behind the display cases.  Immediately I knew this dude was a lifer, so maybe there was something worth finding in there besides supplies. 

Eventually I found the boxes and noticed they were all $1.25 from the 100 count to the 800 count.  Go figure that one out.  So I picked up 8 of them, and then began perusing the cases.  My eyes focused on the vintage and then the prices, which were surprisingly low, until I realized it was ALL Heritage crap.  Frustrated, I looked through all the cases and found nothing prior to ’70.

Keep in mind, the entire time I was talking to the owner, trying to engage him and get a feel.  I was trying to establish that long lost dealer/collector bond I had from when I was a kid.  Nothing there, he was too busy watching The View now.

However, I still kept on.  As he checked me out, I noticed some nice vintage early 80s wax.  Most of it was Donruss, but still nice to see the pre-87 wax.  He even had some late 70s, early 80s Hockey wax, but the prices were outrageous for those ($15 to $20 per pack, prior to the Gretzky era).  Anyways, I remarked on how nice it was to see the older wax, and got a blank stare in return.

By this time, I could not figure this dude out.  He was my age or a little older, so he has to have to some sort of feeling about The Cards, but I still got little feedback.  Again, I turned to the massive bookcases in the middle of the room lined with tons of 3,200 count boxes jammed pack.  I grimaced, then asked him “Don’t mind me asking, but what sort of system do you have for your boxes?”  He replied “Oh, those? Those are common cards I buy off of people when they bring them in, and there not in any type of order, but you may find a brick of one year in there.”  Not likely, I thought.

The commons were completely mixed up and therefore useless.  I saw some 25 to 50 card bricks of 88 Fleer, 92 Donruss, etc., but nothing worth searching through.  My stance is if the cards are not organized by year and maker, how in the world can you expect someone to search your common boxes to fill want lists? 

So, I paid my $10 for the boxes, gave him my unrequited thanks and left.  And no, I did not ask him how much the commons were for fear of the “25-cent reply.”

I hope it isn’t another 8 years before I enter a brick and mortar.


Captain Canuck said...

that's too bad.. too often that's the case. I wish this hobby didn't appeal so much to the reclusive types....

Joe S. said...

That sucks. I'm incredibly fortunate that my shop is fun to visit, well stocked, and has friendly owners who price everything fairly! They're not much into ebay other than "what they can't sell in store"... refreshing. I should go more often while it's still around.

AdamE said...

My guy in town is way better than that but I knew him before he started his shop.

The other shop I go to when I am in Springfield is littered with boxes and the cards are all 25 cents each also. But an 800 count box full of cards all of one team (on the plus side none are older than 1995) are $20. That makes them a .025 each. So figure that one out.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...