Thursday, May 29, 2008

Diamond is a Wax Buster's Best Friend

Okay, ill admit, I worked at a card shop in Minnesota one summer in 2006. Every day, I would come to work and sit behind the counter until our delivery came, usually around 10am. I would sort through the boxes of Magic and Pokemon cards and see what the new products were, then venture out into the store to place them in the correct places. Around noon each day, a guy would walk into the store and hover over the basketball and football case looking at the packs through the plexiglass. After about 10 minutes, he would come over and ask me to open the case. He would pull out 2-3 boxes, all Upper Deck products, and bust them with me while we bullshitted. Steve, is a lawyer for one of Minneapolis' top firms, or so he said, and I knew he had tons of extra cash to spend on whatever he wanted. No wedding ring, rolex watch, drove a Mercedes. He was a VERY nice guy and always made sure to toss me some Twins, Timberwolves and Vikings cards when he pulled minor stuff.

One day, after busting 5 boxes of 2005 Reflections Baseball, I noticed the stack of redemptions he had pulled. He laughed and told me that he had over 1300 pending with Upper Deck and had been waiting on some for a long time. Now, I knew he busted a lot, but just didn’t know how much that was. He said he only comes into the shop because he likes to talk to people and he hates waiting for his UD shipments. On average, he said he broke at least three cases of product per week, hence his massive amounts of cards on wait. He also mentioned something that I had forgotten about until now. Every week, along with his cases that are delivered straight from the manufacturer, he got a special care package of cards to make up for his wait on his redemptions. He showed me four Jordan Autos, Seven LeBrons, 3 Favres, a Jeter/Griffey dual auto 1/1, and 10 Reggie Bush's that he had gotten over the past month or two that he was bringing to his safety deposit box across the street. Steve said that he was a member of the Diamond Club, but I had no idea what that meant. I was just shocked by the cards that he had in his possesion.

A Picture of the 2007 Diamond Club - From UD's Website

Yesterday I received an email from John, a reader, talking about the Diamond Club and all the perks they get for busting the wax they do. His shop has 2 members, and they always come in with bags full of stuff they had gotten from Upper Deck. He thought it was a little out of the ordinary and thought it was something that the general public should be aware of. Basically, these invitees to the club are given stuff based on how much they spend, and are invited to the international meeting of the 110 or so members every year in San Diego. There they participate in focus groups, talk to the execs, and most of all, get free stuff.

Personally Im not surprised that this happens, you gotta reward your best customers. On the other hand, I cant understand why UD would have all these cards laying around that are supposed to be in the products. That’s a little fishy. Also, why are the biggest buyers the ones that get to speak for the general collecting public? Either way, these people get a lot of perks that make me wonder how much of a chance we actually have when buying product. The odds of a big pull are already miniscule, but could it be that it is tougher than we thought?

Hey, if UD wants to give their best customers bags full of UDA memorabilia, please go ahead, that is available to everyone, and its only fair that they get some rewards for spending thousands on wax each month. If UD wants to give these guys bags full of Jordan, Bush, Favre, and Jeter autos from product that the public is supposed to have a shot at per random odds - that’s where I draw the line. Everyone deserves a chance at those cards when they bust, not just a select few. I pray that I am wrong here, but something inside my brain thinks I am closer than most would care to believe.

After doing some research, I have come to a conclusion on this subject. Hopefully manufacturers will realize over the next few years that their customer base is a brand loyal bunch. Some day, bad stuff is going to leak - more so than the Beckett Box busters - and the fit is going hit the shan. At that point, the brand loyal collectors will simply choose another brand, as I have already.

Good luck UD, you're going to need it.

1 comment:

  1. I don;t have the money to buy the highend stuff and it kills me sometimes, espacially when I hear about things like you've just mentioned. Kinda makes me sick that I won't have the chance at some of that stuff even if i can save up and spend the big bucks once in my life!