A collector’s dilemma

Ok cyber sports card guys and ladies, i have a question. Do you feel guilty when you purchase boxes or packs of your favorite cards online verses your local card shop?

As of late, i’ve been making most of my purchases online at Checkoutmycards.com, Dave and Adam’s Card World and the online Panini store…neglecting the two VERY local card shops. The main reason for this shift in my purchases has been cost and lack of time due to our new human and my work deadlines. I get significantly more cards for the money by shopping online and can have them delivered to my house with free or minimal shipping costs…can’t really beat that huh? I do love my two card shops (The Sports Room and Hoopla Sports). They are within 5 miles of my house and are always a great place to spend an hour or two on Saturday mornings. Both shops know me and often have new Redskin cards waiting for me when i drop by…which is awesome, not to mention they give me a great price on cards. The personalized service with a shop you frequent just cannot be beaten…but the prices aren’t always the best for boxes or packs. For example, i pre ordered a jumbo box of 2013 Topps Baseball from Dave and Adams Card World for around $90 and stopped in to my LCS where they had it on sale for $120…that’s a $30 up charge…and a lot of money that could have gone to cards to fill my empty binder pages…or simply some binder pages!

The great thing about the LCS is the instant satisfaction with a purchase, but i think i’m over that at this point in my life. I kind of enjoy ordering something and waiting a few days for it to arrive on my doorstep while continuing on with my life and spending time with my family on the weekends.

I have also been frequenting the card shows here in town. Recently there have been two a month, one at the Cedar Hills Mall down the street from me and the other one about 20 minutes away. I tend to spend a fair amount of money at these shows, so that helps cure my cardboard cheating tendencies.

Do you find yourself purchasing more cards online or in person?

5 responses to “A collector’s dilemma

  1. Ha, that’s crazy. I guess I figured you lived in DC. But I live out here too – Tigard actually. I’ll go to the Sports Room if I’m in the neighborhood when I’m done shopping at TFAW for comics down the road a bit.

    But, to your point, I’ll basically shop at the LCS if I need toploaders or sleeves. I work hard for my money, and it gets harder to justify spending extra to support guys who are part of a broken business model – even if they’re really nice guys.

    If you’re ever in Tualatin, Heaven Sent Sports Cards is NOT a nice guy. Just thought I’d throw that in there. The hobby made him bitter because he didn’t know how to change to adapt.

    The hobby shop still runs on ‘book value’ for singles, so unless you ABSOLUTELY need a rare card they have, you won’t buy those at the LCS. And they have to mark up the hobby boxes to pay their overhead.

    Good industries adapt. Ours haven’t. Look at electronics, for example. If I need a wall charger or a movie, I can go to ebay or amazon. If the Best Buy down the road didn’t create an online marketplace, and just expected us to come in person to pay extra for the same things, they’d have closed the doors by now.

    But with hobby shops, we afford them a fairly wide margin of error as business owners. I make enough money to buy cards when I want them. But I don’t make so much that I can throw it away.

    I like the guy at the Sports Room. And I’ll try to buy a few packs out of a box if I’m there – but cheaper Heritage type stuff. I just can’t stomach paying 15-20 bucks more for a box I can get cheaper online.

    And the kicker is, THEY CAN CHANGE if they want to. They ought to follow The Hobby Box youtube model and go to boxes only sales and get rid of all the singles on the web. Use the internet to build your business and show off hits pulled in their stores. But they don’t. I can’t understand that mentality.

    Next time you go to a show, leave me a note, maybe we’ll meet up.

  2. Hey, first off, thanks for the link today to my ‘dilemma’ post. I really appreciate it as I am attempting to get involved in the card blogging community. Any exposure really helps. I’ve been a wallflower for the past couple of years and attempted to start blogging a few times only to sputter out as life got too busy. The last couple of years I have been reading your posts as well as the other major posters in the community and really wanted to be a part of the group. So thank you.

    I’ve been in Portland for about 10 years now after growing up in San Antonio…not a whole lot of Redskins fans their either. I’ve always been a football outcast i guess. I will definitely let you know the next time i stop by the card show. I believe the next one isn’t until March though…as of now, my calendar is free.

    As for the response to my post, i really appreciate your insight and think you are dead on with everything. The internet isn’t going anywhere and it’s difficult for the folks with an old school mindset to embrace it and find ways to lead the pack but stay relevant locally. I think this terrifies them. I talked to Rick at the sports room a couple times about this and he seems to really dislike the way the internet has taken over the community and undercutting the locals. As a consumer, i need to go where my money can be stretched without breaking the bank. I work near to the Powell’s downtown and they just opened an area for e-readers, which is imminent death to the good ole’ bookstore. I think it’s great the local independant bookstore is finally embracing the impact these things have on our society. I’m hoping they will find a way to coexist with the digital books as well as the print versions.

    I have visited Heaven Sent a few times and that guy is very jaded. The last time i stopped in, i purchased about 40 Heritage cards to complete a set and he looked up EVERY SINGLE CARD. I knew i wasn’t going to be happy with the price when he gave me the bottom line. I ended up taking half of what i wanted and he was pretty put out after looking up every card…haven’t been back since. Speaking of Heritage, i have quite a few singles left over from last year. If your list is updated and you are interested i can pull the cards you still need and see if i can help complete your set. I’m thin on the SP’s but have a good amount of base cards left as well as the sub sets and chrome cards.

    • Yeah, my list is updated. Any help…helps. I should erase that and form that sentence better, but I’m on a roll and I’ve got to get to bed pretty soon, lol.

      Heaven Sent is the worst of the examples for sure. One time when I was in there he was talking to one of his friends about ‘charging admission’ to see his shop since he had so many relics in there. He really just needs to be punched in the face. But that’s me being bitter for overpaying for his stuff way back when.

      I like Rick at the Sports Room. But his stuff is overpriced and he knows it. He’s basically relying on impulse purchasers. We had a talk one time about his best customers being the guys that make him run their credit cards five times in one visit. But I’m guessing 95% of us have enough patience to wait three days for a package to arrive in the mail.

      There has never been a card purchase I couldn’t wait a few days for. Hell, I pre-ordered boxes of Inception that aren’t due to ship until June still. We’re adults, right?

      In all honesty, kids don’t buy cards anymore. Adults do. I’ve often though that what sports cards shops need is beer and liquor. The model for card shops needs to cater to adults. It’s that simple. Now that Targets sells Pokemon cards, there is zero need to have sports card shops be accessible to children. Sports cards shops should have beer, wine, sports and only hobby boxes. People would buy a box or two at an internet price if sales were being picked up on the ‘sports bar’ side.

      Someday, I’ll invest in that idea. I really would. Right now sports bars only have slot machines to offer a patron when the game ends. Imagine a sports fan with the option to pull out a hobby box of cards with that same money. I know that card collectors would do that given the option.

      But that’s me.

      Hey, I’ll stop yapping your ear off. I’m nodding off, lol. I wake up at 4am for my workday. Let me know when the next card show is. I’ll try to show up.

  3. I only go to my LCS for supplies. The guys who work there are awesome and friendly. But the fact is, I have to stick to a budget and count my pennies. That means, I usually buy all of my cards at card shows and online.

    • Now that I think about it, I really got some help completing a set from a card show once. I need to go more often.

      But plastic holders is really what the LCS is about. And even those are more expensive then they should be. Can you imagine how pissed the LCS would be if Blowout and DA Cards just shipped free plastic sleeves with all orders? Million dollar idea there.

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