The people that walk in our doors each day and our interactions with them are an interesting aspect of the daily life at a real life brick and mortar sports card shop. Our interactions with our customers, some novice, some casual, some die hard and some flat out rabid, make our little shop’s world go ’round. As I’ve said numerous times before, it is probably my favorite part of the job. That and leafing through boxes of cards that customers bring in for us to purchase.
This time of year, when it’s do or die for our customers’ favorite teams and collectors look for cards of players who are enhancing their hobby status, every day is a blast.
We have customers that are affected by nearly every single playoff game each week in one way or another, which definitely makes for a colorful time at the shop. Ultimately, there will only be one group of fans that are truly happy when the dust finally settles in a few weeks.
It didn’t start well at all for our owner Jason, who is a big Patriots fan as he had to watch the Buffalo Bills and more specifically Josh Allen slice and dice and thrash the Pats in the Wild Card round to the tune of the 47-17 loss. I don’t know if I will be seeing his famous Patriots hat much anymore this year. He seemed to take the loss in stride, so all is well at Sports Zone.
We have a number of local Eagles fans, so to watch them get beat by the G.O.A.T. in round one made for a few unhappy faces walking through the door this past week. Most of our customers, no matter how big of Philly fans they are, didn’t expect the Eagles to beat the Bucs. We have been actively buying (and selling) a lot of Tom Brady graded rookie cards as of late, even though we now know he won’t be winning an eighth title.
As I mentioned we are nestled right between Pittsburgh and Philly here in Central P.A. and the Steelers fan base is strong in our store. Again, in no big surprise, Patrick Mahomes did what Patrick Mahomes does and put it on the “Stillers” which made for a lot of unhappy Pennsylvania football fans. Not surprisingly, Mahomes cards have been really selling for us as of late as well.
We see more Chiefs fans in the area that you might imagine, some due to the fact that there will always be bandwagon jumpers and some due to the fact that their GM Brett Veach is from our neck of the woods.
We can’t even joke with our friend John Simpson anymore about his namesake on the offensive line of the Raiders as they got bounced by the Bengals on Saturday of Wild Card weekend.
Maybe the toughest loss to swallow was our good buddy Jeff’s Cowboys losing the way they did in the final seconds against the 49ers in the opening round. As I watched that game play out, I couldn’t help but think of Jeff and how he must be yelling at his TV screen or what I might hear from him the next time he comes in the store. Have another great customer, Damien, who is a Diehard Cowboys fan, so I’m sure he will have a lot to say when we see him this week. I will be all ears for both gentlemen.
On the flip side of that Dallas San Francisco coin, Jason’s wife Briana is a huge 49ers fan, so she was one of the few people in the area that were happy with that game’s result.
As this past weekend’s games played out in the divisional round, other customers were hoping for a different result than they got. We have a few Packers diehards including our local police officer and huge Aaron Rodgers fan Brandon and our long time customer Steve, who is Packers super collector. Both are understandably disappointed with the result of the 49ers game Saturday. We have a weekly conversation with Brandon about the state of the Packers, his thoughts on Rodgers future and everything else under the sun. I’m sure he will be in to vent.
With Cincinnati continuing to advance, we see an immediate impact on the cards we have listed online and new foot traffic in the shop. We have Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow rookies just flying out of the store with orders online and walk ins. Joey B looks like the genuine article and collectors are really taking notice.
With the Los Angeles Rams taking out the defending champion Buccaneers Sunday afternoon, we saw an immediate jump in Matthew Stafford cards. We are still finding solid Cooper Kupp cards in our 5,000 count boxes we have in the back. This just gives me more reason to keep going through them.
As you can imagine even more Mahomes graded rookie cards have been flying out the door bright and early Monday morning after their wildly dramatic win against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night. As I mentioned before we sell hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Riddell mini helmets and we had a virtual online sellout of our Kansas City Chiefs helmets and various styles when we walked in on Monday morning.
It’s quite enjoyable to be that sports therapist for people, for better or for worse, as their teams reach new heights, sink to new lows or end up somewhere in between. I feel like we’ve developed our own sports card barbershop talk and I love that fact as much as anything we do on a daily basis. I may not be able to give you a dope cut or do a very good job trimming your sideburns but I can talk sports all day long.
As someone who works at a card shop it’s so much fun and so interesting to have your pulse on live sports and then to see the reaction, good and bad, from our customers in store and around the globe. I love my job.