This past Saturday, I was bored. By bored I mean I was pacing around the house just to give myself something to do. Eventually I decided it was time to get out of the house, despite the fact that my pregnant wife was not happy about it. I ended up at a show near where I live, and all I can say is that I think it was my last one I will ever go to.
First off, the people who set up at these shows are rarely the dealers I consider to be informed collectors. All they care about is making more money than it cost them to come, and they will stop at nothing to make sure that happens. What that means is that many tables were like the phone kiosks at the mall, where the workers shout at you to come over and look at their wares. Most of the tables were filled with junk jersey cards and autos, some had wax, others had vintage. Some guy had Ultimate for 75, but I knew what would happen if I bought in, just from looking at his booth. He had about 30 Ultimate autos and 60 Ultimate 6 and 8 jerseys, and I had a feeling that the two boxes he had left were not going to get me more than what he missed.
Secondly, I quickly got the feeling that shows had become the sleaze of the hobby. Fakes were EVERYWHERE. Every other table had fake rookie premieres or a fake patches littering their case, and I was debating whether or not to stop. I saw three or four fake chrome auto stickers, and two fake quad Peterson rookie premieres at one table, and I made a bad decision to talk with him. He had bought a lot of the stuff off eBay or from other patrons, and he was not going to accept that he had fakes because his looked "just like" all the others he saw on eBay. Well, no fucking shit, dumbass, as the fakes greatly outnumber the real ones. After about 10 minutes of me trying to show him what was what, I referred him to the site and walked away as someone came up to trade him for one of the fakes. Sucker.
I know, I know, im too much of a crusader, and no one in their right mind would ever try to do what I did. Either way, I wanted to see what they would say as kind of an experiment, but there was nothing even close to a rational thought that he conveyed as a reason the fakes were real.
Funny enough, I was recognized three times by readers of the site at the show, but wasn’t able to talk much due to how I was feeling. I was not in the best of health, and I hope they did not take that as a snub. Regardless, it was eerie and weird to have people know me, and yet, somewhat satisfying. I guess I should have expected as much with how many people have seen my ugly mug.
When it came to the prices of the cards, I think I only asked for price on one card. The sellers were obviously charging a whole lot above eBay as not many people were buying more than commons and junk cards. The vintage booths looked busier than anything, but I guess it was because the modern people had nothing to sell. I saw very few pieces out of Ultimate Baseball, National Treasures Football, or even SPA, and I just couldn’t understand why people were avoiding selling singles of the new hot products. When I was standing at one table, three people were asking about both ultimate and SPA, and the guy said, "oh, sorry, those usually don’t sell well." Umm, are you fucking kidding me? You just had three people ask you, and I am a fourth keeping silent. Nice job, idiot.
Basically, there are no need for card shows anymore, as selling with an overhead is pretty much an unsurmountable chip on your shoulder. When customers have eBay on their iPhones and can compare prices, selling by book value is ridiculous. I don’t think I saw any card there that I couldn’t get on eBay, and the people who were available to chat about cards were way below my comfort level. Thanks to message boards, I can get more interaction with informed people than at a show, and I don’t need to pay 50% more than eBay just because someone needs to make money. Yeah, I know how much these idiots have into their cards, but that is their fault, not mine.
I drove almost 45 minutes to get to the venue and it was a complete waste of my time. I was expecting at least something I would want, but the dealers made that hard to get past. There are surely exceptions to every rule, but this show seemed to be without one person who made me want to go to their table. Disorganization, high prices, shady ethics, all of which were present at the show, some tables had all of those in one place. Its like going to a dingy strip club, as you know that most of the time the girls are girls, but the place kind of makes you feel bad for the true customers. That’s exactly how I felt, as I really felt bad for the people who came there with backpacks full of cards. They were the true victims of this outdated bazaar, and after 35 minutes of walking through the show, I left them to their distopia.