As you can imagine, we are in full swing leading up to the fast approaching holiday. There are times throughout the week where I’m mentally compartmentalizing topics to eventually discuss here but, in all honesty, there are weeks where I feel like I do nothing but ship and receive freight. There are times I really have to stop and think about what really happened at the shop that week other than shipping.
New Arrivals, Fast Departures
Speaking of receiving freight, we’ve been getting a ton of products in over the past few days including multiple cases of 2020-21 Mosaic Basketball, which we list as individual boxes. They sell for north of $700 per box.
We also broke a case of Panini One and One Basketball, (a fancy name that just tells you that you get a single card per box) and it sold almost immediately online. One online customer bought four boxes and the rest of the case sold to another online customer within minutes.
The crazy piece of this whole puzzle is that we are still getting 2020-21 basketball products in. Much of the 2021-22 product has been delayed so we are getting, for all intents and purposes, last year’s stuff that includes LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards rookie cards from last season. This year’s newcomers, like Cade Cunningham and Jaylen Green, have rookie cards that are very few and very far between at the moment. I understand there are some extenuating circumstances with the pandemic fallout but this has been an ongoing thing for a few years now, where companies are releasing products from the previous season well into the new season. As an old school collector and traditionalist it all just seems very weird.
End of an Era?
Being in Central Pennsylvania surrounded by Steelers fans and a 24-hour news cycle, the whispers of this being Ben Roethlisberger’s final season in Pittsburgh have been getting louder and louder recently. I hear it all in the shop- the good, the bad and the ugly. Then as icing on the cake, my in-laws and extended family are huge, huge Steelers fans. His cards have been big sellers here over the years.
Coming from a lifelong Chicago Bears fan who arguably hasn’t seen a franchise quarterback in his entire life, please, Steelers fans, appreciate what you’ve been able to achieve and witness over the past 15 years with a rock solid, first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback winning multiple Super Bowl championships and rarely having to be concerned with who’s taking snaps under center. Look what’s happened in Pittsburgh on those rare occasions when Big Ben wasn’t able to take the field. It wasn’t pretty.
On average, there are less than 30 people on planet Earth that can truly excel at that particular job, so be thankful when you have one of those rare athletes that can.
If this is it, it’ll be odd not to see his cards in next year’s football packs. I mean, he’s been in them since 2004.
Don’t Be That Customer
Speaking of being thankful, we are beyond thankful for all of our customers. I just wanted to preface my next little story by saying that.
I had a gentleman come in a few days ago who was buying single sports cards. He seemed to know a bit about sports and the hobby but had a large number of questions about players, sets, products, serial numbering, the color of cards and everything under the sun. That’s right in my wheelhouse. I really do love interacting and helping folks learn. This particular encounter, though, became a matter of common courtesy.
To lay it out blow by blow, the customer started a growing pile of single cards. I would dig through each showcase and pull out all of our Jonathan Taylor cards, for instance. Then it was on to Lamar Jackson. Then it was on to every single Philadelphia Eagles card we had. He would go through the player stack, pick two or three cards out after asking questions and add to his purchase pile.
That went on for literally an hour and a half and we went from player to player from sport to sport, back to sport, back to player. As we went to the checkout with 40 plus cards (that I rang up individually and removed from our online inventory one by one), he decided the amount was far too much, so we put cards back one by one… by one.
I then had to relist each of those on eBay and our other online sites.
Meanwhile, we had 8 to 10 people who had entered the store and I was the lone employee in the store at the time. I did my best to juggle other customers in and out of the middle of this transaction but he was doing a pretty solid job of monopolizing every second of my time. Luckily, about halfway through the interaction the owner came back from lunch. Then at some point the customer wanted to start making a deal when he realized his grand total was more than he had planned on spending. We pride ourselves our the fact that our prices are always– I mean always—lower than eBay (which I actually even showed him on a few random cards in his stack), so we weren’t really willing to offer any deeper discounts.
His significant other was in and out of the store at least five times to see if he was ready to go and I had other customers kind of giving me the side eye as I tried to help this gentleman. Once he again took multiple cards off of his stack he realized the grand total was lower than he expected, so then we went back into cases to add to his stack again.
This is what I do for a living. I love it as much as anything but as a customer, at some point, please be cognizant of other customers around you. I had his total put into the register probably three or four different times and had to remove it because once our owner came back from lunch he was helping other customers who were ready to check out in the meantime. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating. Again, as a public service announcement, as a customer in an obviously busy retail establishment this time of year, just be mindful of those around you so we can have a great shopping experience for all.
Thanks for listening to my rants. Have a wonderful rest of your week and I’ll check in again soon.