Friday, June 5, 2009

One More Inspired Post On Retail Versus Hobby

Its been a while since I have covered the retail versus hobby discussion, and I want to revisit things. This is mainly because its been brought to the forefront of my mind by some guy who complained about his latest retail purchase he bought for hits. For those of you who don’t know, I hate retail packs and blasters. They are a complete waste of money and should never be bought unless they meet one of the exceptions. When I say complete waste of money, I mean you should go to a strip club and buy a 20 dollar lap dance instead of purchasing a blaster or, god forbid, retail loose packs.

Just to show you what I mean, ill give you an idea of what you are up against when you buy retail. First, if you buy loose packs, you are dealing with every person who has already gone through the packs for the 2 dollar jersey cards. In fact, for most of the retail products, there are actually special crap jersey sets they create just to give the products some content. If you are lucky to hit anything, you have just beaten incredible odds. Instead of putting your money in a pile, dousing it in lighter fluid and torching it, go buy something else at Target. I mean, there are a lot of wonderful things to choose from instead of cards. Even if you are just there to buy diapers and condoms, stay as far away as possible.

For Blasters over loose packs, its not much different, even though most of them are now guaranteeing hits per box. At 20 bucks a piece, you will end up with a bunch of base, numbered inserts, and a 2 dollar jersey card. If you like the base, that’s one thing, but if you are looking for hits, you buy a blaster, and then you complain, you deserve to be thrown into a bath of sun warmed pig urine. Its like buying a Kia Spectra and complaining you didn’t get a Caddy. God damn.

For the record, if you say that you buy retail because there isnt a shop around, you are an impatient little brat. Go to blowout or ebay, and wait three fucking days before you go throw your money away. For 80% of the country, blowout can get you a box in 3 days, and then you have a nice hobby box to break with actual chances at hitting something good.

There are exceptions, no doubt, to the rule, but they are very limited. Of course, if you like collecting sets and you don’t care about hits, fine, buy the retail stuff. I hate base cards, I don’t set collect, and I think it’s a waste of money to buy pack after pack when you can buy the entire thing with short prints for half the cost and a fourth of the opportunity cost. That’s another post all together, though, however it’s a reason people can buy retail without feeling bad.

Another exception is anything with Chrome in the title. Blasters of Topps or Bowman Chrome will usually provide the same cards from hobby packs, but the auto odds are much more against you. This should only be a last resort, as the hobby packs are still better. However, for football they do have other parallels that are worth some, thus making Chrome Retail not TOO bad. Ginter cards usually fall under this as well, but most people use this exception to build the set cheaper than box breaking.

That’s about all the exceptions there are. Because the hobby has moved FAR away from valuing memorabilia cards, the guaranteed hit has lost its luster. Don’t let that guarantee fool you, the product is not in anyway superior to hobby. Also, manufacturers have to pay more for retail packaging and anti theft, so for what you pay for, you usually get astronomical odds, less cards, and more susceptibility to searchers.

EDIT: okay, now that I am going over my past posts and seeing resposes from people who buy retail on the boards, I think its still better to buy hobby even if you only collect the base. Most of the time, the hobby packs contain more cards, more chances at SPs, and better bang for your buck. Therefore, if you are going to pay 20 bucks for 7 retail packs of 3-4 cards you are going to get 21 cards, some of which may be numbered inserts. Hobby, for twenty bucks, you can get 5 packs of 6-10 cards each and end up with 30-50 cards with some being the same numbered inserts, autos, and all the other promised hobby exclusives. Please someone tell me why anyone would buy retail knowing that every pack will give you LESS for your money. Retail sucks.


  1. Well, I come into this hobby from a completely different mind-set than you do.

    I care about the base. I'd much rather enjoy the chase than buy a whole set in one shot, and, yes, I'm an impatient little brat.

    I see your point if you're all about the hits. But I am so not about that.

  2. Yeah, if you collect the base, then its much different. This guy was complaining because he got nothing in his UD Draft Blaster. All I could think was how dumb that mindset was.

    Patience IS a virtue my friend. I have learned that four times over in this hobby.

  3. I have to admit, i buy blasters from time to time. Mostly its something from topps - mayo or chrome - and its just because sometimes i want to break something while i watch a game or cause my wife wants to open some packs. But I go into it with my eyes open, i know that $20 is pretty much wasted - though I did have some good luck with them this year hits wise. I really can't fathom someone bitching about a lack of hits in retail, thats just dumb.

  4. If you're buying packs and boxes just for the hits, you shouldn't be buying packs at all! Buy the card you want on eBay and be done with it. Save the money and hassle. If you're in it to pull a superduperfracter 1/1 die cut press plate auto MOJO so you can flip it for a profit, go to Vegas, you'll get better odds.

    Like you said, some packs should only be bought hobby, some are fine to buy retail. Goudey, for example. $5 a pack Hobby, $3 retail. Same amount of cards in the pack, the only difference is a little better chance of getting a jersey or auto. If you want the jersey or auto, buy it on eBay. If you just want the cards, buy a blaster. It's not complicated.

  5. Yeah, Goudey is one of those products like Ginter.

  6. I was working for an NHL team when I started selling cards on the side. I ended up making more money with cards than I was at my "real" job, and it only made sense to quit my job to focus full time on my business. I make a very comfortable living doing it.

    1/3rd of my business is prospecting, 2/3rds of it is selling singles, lots, sets, etc.

    I almost never buy hobby. When I do, it's for something fun to break for myself (but always something where I'm going to make money on it).

    Retail is much much better than hobby. It's cheaper, there's more money in it, and I can rest easy knowing that my money isn't going to fund some piece of shit hobby store doing everything they can to ruin the hobby for everyone.

  7. After a trip to Target yesterday I had an epiphany. You primarily collect football cards, right? Retail football card packs are ABYSMAL. Pretty much everything you say about retail packs are true in football: crap hits, no value and anything good is cherrypicked long before you have a crack at it. I've been more or less primarily focused on baseball for the past few years and there are a few retail baseball products you can have fun with (Topps, Goudey, A&G). Football, blech. I think for the first time I really get where you're coming from on this.

  8. Yup, retail football is gross. Maybe its different with the baseball products outside of Goudey and Ginter.

  9. I started on retail, I'm sure many people did. I don't buy retail with the expectation of hits. I buy it with the expectation of -cards-. Since I'm completely non-sports now, it's easier for me to pick up stuff to put sets and chase sets together if I go to Wal-Mart or K-Mart (especially when blasters are discounted). If I want an auto or costume card, I'll either buy it outright or buy hobby. *shrug* Some people though, don't mind paying $20 for a blaster just to get their wax fix, as they otherwise work PCs through buying and trades.

  10. See thats the thing, with few exceptions, hobby gives you more cards and more bang for your buck. Dayf showed an exception with Goudey, but most of the other products have less cards but cost the same or more due to the need for anti theft and different packaging.

    I just dont get it. Hobby is such a better way to go, even if you are building sets.

  11. Is it? Even when said packs retail for $3 and at a hobby store they are $7+? I'm with Dayf. If I'm building, I don't know, Topps American Heritage, I can do it cheaper via retail if I don't care about Betsy Ross' pubic hair relic. Same with Star Wars Galaxy 4, if I don't care about sketches and just want the base set/lower end chase stuff. The amount of cards are the same, just longer odds for the harder chase sets. Of course, you're talking to the same guy who'll enjoy boxes of 1990s Comic Images stuff where the only 'hits' are randomly seeded prism cards. To each their own!

    Yes, this is the exception to the rule.

    I have a question. Wouldn't you prefer kids to be exposed to the hobby via retail at the checkout in some store, rather than the small chance they walk into a hobby shop? Therefore, doesn't retail serve a purpose? I know you aren't really arguing against the existence of retail... But hey, if people buy it, they buy it and they have their reasons. Not all people buy for investment value. Those that buy anything new (hobby or retail) for investment value are morons, in my opinion. For me, it's all entertainment. Cheaper than other vices, for sure.

  12. RETAIL UD 2 BOX---
    Stephen Stratsburg USA insert set
    Stephen Stratsburg USA Game Used Jersey

    2 of the 3 Cards i wanted from UD series 2.

    I'm happy I bought it.