Tony Reid offers his weekly dose of happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania shop where he works.
This week at the shop saw one of our newer part timers become a full timer.
Felix went from working 10 to 12 hours a week to big boy hours at 40+ per week.
Our store is a true “hobby” shop so unlike a business that deals only in sports cards, we’ve been known to hire a wide range of folks. He came on board with an extensive knowledge of remote control cars, parts and products. That an area of our shop that I am severely lacking in knowledge. Some of his time will be spent on the sports side of things, however, greeting customers, fulfilling online orders, stocking shelves and things of that nature.
Unfortunately for Felix, he’s not very well versed in sports…at all. Although he’s been making an effort to acquire some basic sports knowledge, it’s still very early in the game.
One of the funnier moments of his first full week was when we sent him around the store to pull various NFL mini helmets to fulfill online orders. I guess we weren’t totally aware that he literally had no knowledge of the league or its teams, logos and insignias. For someone like me who has had that ingrained since darn near birth, it did take a minute to figure out exactly how to help him.
The answer to that, we decided, was to start from the beginning. I sat down with him one day when we had some downtime and actually printed a chart that had the full color logos and names listed for each NFL team. (Yes, the printout cut off the Commanders and Dolphins but we will work around that.)
I tried to step back and look at it through his eyes as I ran down the various NFL team logos and while some make perfect sense, some definitely don’t for someone who’s new to the sport. My conversation with Felix reminded me of the young man who had his dad (who also is not a fan of the NFL) try to guess the names of the teams based on the logo itself. There are three or four hilarious videos that show how some just don’t make sense to someone on the outside of the game.
That chart and other info I’ve tried to help Felix with have really moved him in the right direction. He’s been able to shave some time off order fulfillment and I’m fully confident he’ll get this whole logo thing down in no time. It’s been fun to see him grow and become more comfortable by the day.
Breaking Bad and Good News
Late last week we had a mother and someone who I assumed to be her teenage son stop in with a Ziploc bag full of cards that they were looking to sell. I could tell right off the bat that the bag was filled with, for the most part, 1990 Fleer and Score football cards. Anyone that has been in the hobby understands there is really no value there and that fact was more than solidified when the cards were pulled out of the bag with creases and rounded corners. She pulled a Junior Seau rookie card out and was surprised when I sadly informed her that this could be purchased all day online for less than a dollar.
It’s a little tough to break the news to people who really truly believe they have something special when in fact they just have common, near worthless cards. We ran through eight or 10 of her cards including a 1987 Topps Leslie O’Neal rookie, which I actually pulled up online and showed her that it, indeed, can be had for a few nickels.
Hopefully they weren’t counting on a payday to help with basic necessities.
On a positive note, the 1953 Topps Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige cards that we sent out for grading on behalf of a young customer about a month ago came back 100% legit. The Robinson was given a 2 and the Paige came back a 3.
The customer was anxious to get them back and CSG got things done and back in our hands in just a few weeks. The cards are exceptionally nice for the technical grade and should easily bring $600 to $800 apiece. Not bad for a random shoebox find.
You never know what type of material is going to walk in from one week to the next and whether it’s good stuff or not so great, it’s always a fun part of the job.