Tony Reid chronicles the happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania store where he works.
One of the things that caught my eye this week didn’t happen in our shop but it has heavy hobby-wide implications and has for quite some time now. I’m talking about the hobby wide car wreck that is the redemption process. One story on social media caught my eye. Good friend, fellow collector and former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte tweeted about a pretty unsavory redemption replacement he recently received.
Last year, he had pulled an autograph redemption card for a Ja’Marr Chase autograph, but instead wound up with a pack of specially created 2022 Mosaic Sparkle. He opened the pack and pulled two cards of the same player, Lewis Cine– along with a Jaylen Waddle.
Yes–the Cine cards are different parallels but…really?
At our shop, we have more and more customers comment on a regular basis about their disappointing exchanges and how these redemptions really play out. In many cases, collectors just aren’t getting anything close to equal value in replacement for a card that they were extremely excited about when opening the pack. It’s probably not Panini’s fault that Ja’Marr Chase apparently won’t sign what he was supposed to but collectors’ patience alone in waiting in vain for months–or in many cases, years– to get what the pack promised should be worth more than just a token gesture. The ‘Valued Collector” verbiage and the “equal or higher value” promises are just kicking the collector while they are down.
Big Ticket Rolls of the Dice
We have a customer and her significant other who regularly visit the shop who are known to sometimes drop pretty large amounts of cash on current football boxes. The two were in earlier this week and spent over $3,000 in cash on 2022 and 2021 hobby boxes. She was in again on Friday and dropped north of $4,000 on multiple boxes of 2022 Prizm Football Hobby, multiple boxes of 2022 Phoenix Football Hobby and even some higher end 2020 football product with that seasons’ terrific draft class.
Let’s just say that these transactions are, at the very least, notable in a shop our size. The woman mentioned to me on Friday that this is better than gambling because there’s virtually no return in gambling. I know over the course of the past few months and years I have equated sports cards to scratch off tickets with your favorite athletes on the cover but I guess she has a point. With sports cards you at least get something for your money. We definitely appreciate the business and would love to see some of their hits (and hopefully no redemptions).
Of course, the big release of the week was 2022 Prizm Football. Although the season has been over for some time now, it’s always great to see Prizm hit the shelves.
We were selling hobby boxes in store for $650 while they lasted, which was only a few days. Over the years this has been one of my favorite ultra modern products but I just can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on a box of cards to open for myself. My gambling has its limits.
Make no mistake, it wasn’t only about Prizm Football this week. We also got the 2022-23 Elite Basketball hobby boxes as well as 2022-23 Donruss Basketball blasters and, not to be left out of the mix, we also got 2022 Elite Extra Edition baseball products.
Elite basketball hasn’t been very hot out of the gate. The five card Elite EE baseball blasters we are got are reminiscent of the potato chip bags we buy at the grocery store. They are light as a feather and 90% empty. Five cards is barely a pack, let alone a blaster box. As always, the Donruss b-ball blasters (nearly 100 cards) are selling while the Elite EE has been riding the pine for us so far.
My $1 and $5 shoeboxes and local team boxes have been on fire, with solid sales from each box every single day this week.
Its impressed fellow employee Felix so much that he said he is going to start buying and selling cards. I’m pretty sure he was joking, as he knows as much about cards as I do about remote control cars. I think we will both stick to our respective lanes and keep this thing moving down the road.
This week flew by. It was fun, productive, organized and smooth sailing. With that being said, I was ready for a day off Sunday before we get back at it again to see what the next week brings.