*got up early this morning I guess to write a post for you guys or maybe wanted to infuse myself with extra coffee today. or maybe just wanted to get a few things done before my sister-in-law arrives from TN. regardless of why, here I am, and here is a new post*
In this new segment, I want to tackle a few sections of the hobby that have drastically changed since the pandemic. As we all know, life has changed in many ways since Covid.
First up, the most notable one, retail products.
Before the pandemic, I could find all of the retail product I wanted. Packs, blasters, hangers from every product that was released from every sport. Heck, there were even clearance packs of 2018 Prizm football. It offered a wonderland of options and I got excited about taking a trip to Walmart never having to worry about being able to find cards to open.
Then came the pandemic.
I think a lot of people got bored or taken in by an influencer, because that's when a big influx of money appearing in the hobby from flippers. Week by week, retail product started to disappear until the shelves were bare on a weekly basis leaving actual collectors distraught and frustrated like myself. The flippers knowing they had cleaned out real collectors fun, found their own fun by trying to charge twice what they paid. There was no way basic collectors, especially myself, was going to pay two times the price for something I could have opened a week or two prior for regular cost.
Retail product than became a hunt for collectors and a celebration would occur if you got there first before the flippers. Especially if you ever spotted basketball products.
The only real shot you had, is if you timed it right when the vendor was there. Otherwise, you were out of luck as the flippers came in and cleared off shelves like vultures. It looked like a scene from Jingle All The Way with Turbo Man when flippers saw the shelves full.
I went many months without opening up any retail product to the point I had started trading away decent cards to people on Twitter just to get something to open. Occasionally, my father would time it right with the vendor and was able to grab me a pack or two. Otherwise, one of my favorite things to do in the hobby was gone. Ripping packs was no longer an option and I needed to find another favorite thing to do. So instead, I enjoyed the cards that I already had by sorting them again....and again....and you guessed it, again.
I had actually gotten to the point where I hated going to Walmart when the trip was just about finding laundry detergent and clearance items.
*takes a sip, coffee is getting a bit cold. better take another sip or two before continuing on*
Fast forward to the summer of 2021, I started to notice a little retail back on the shelves again. The only problem, it was only the products the flippers couldn't flip and were some of my least favorites. Topps Heritage, Topps Update, Chronicles Draft and Topps Gallery. There wasn't much of it as I think they were still trying to flip it, but there was some at least if I chose to grab it. Not that I wanted this to come across as a complaint as it was nice to see some product again, but it wasn't exactly what I would have personally spent money on.
But, there was still no basketball, no Prizm, no Topps Chrome, Mosaic, Optic to find in sight. I am not sure if it ever hit the shelves or if the flippers used a wand and said Evanesco making all of those products disappear before anyone could get to them. If you don't get that reference, you must not have seen Harry Potter.
*takes another sip, may need a new cup soon with the coffee getting quite cold from this long post*
*gets up, brews a second cup, sits back down and continues on with today's post*
By this point, I never expected to see retail shelves full again. Then came the fall/winter of 2021 where product started to appear more on the shelves giving collectors more options. But, those options didn't come without a price.
Card companies got wise. They saw flippers making a killing off of their products so they figured, why are we allowing them to make all of the money when we can be making more. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out.
Price increases were across the board, especially for more popular products. Most blaster boxes jumped between $28-$36. Hanger Boxes were hanging around at $20. Hanger Packs jumped to $15 while Fat Packs made their way to $8. Then there was the Mega Boxes jumping to $50-$60.
This now put real collectors on another sad level. They could actually find product, but now had to pay twice for what they want.
My last two trips to Walmart actually looked like this. There was even Optic and Mosaic basketball to find. First time in two years I have seen basketball, especially popular basketball on the shelves. The one thing you can't see though as I picked up an Optic blaster to go home with, was the $40 price tag for it that made me return it to the shelf. There was no way I was going to pay twice what I would have two years ago.
The other sad reality of retail product are companies also putting less in. Most now don't have any guaranteed hits. Not even a player worn relic. Most just have blaster exclusive parallels which don't seem worth the price tag for to me.
*takes a sip before finishing up today's post*
I will admit I have overpaid for some of the products on the shelves just for some retail therapy. But, I didn't like it. At least though I wasn't supporting the flipper community.
Retail is just one part of the sad reality of today's hobby and how much things have changed since the pandemic. As I continue this series, I will dive into many more topics. Some, you might not even realize until you think about it.
I know you, the readers, must have some thoughts on today's topic. Make sure your mug is full of joy, and you let me know your comments on this.
Have a great Monday.
*Coffee Card Blogger Out*