The holidays are always difficult for me. I'm away from my family. Work is much more stressful. Free time is scarce. From Halloween to New Years' there are seven events that take up my weekends, and they are all at the in-laws. Most of them can't stop talking about politics, and I'm so done with all of it. I need a break.
I need some time to rest, relax, watch a movie, watch some football, write a story (or a blog post), crack open some cards. Retail therapy in the year of the 'rona is so much more difficult. I tried going to Target this past weekend. The sports card aisle has been my LCS for the past 5-7 years. It's always there for me.
Oh, the card aisle was fully stocked with cards. Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon and MTG and other non-sports things. Not a single trading card depicting a human, much less a pro athlete. The last time I bought cards at Target was when 2019 Topps Update was released. They were on an end cap where the action figures were found. So I checked the toy aisle and... nothing. My LCS is gone.
You all know about the problems at COMC. Black Friday on that site was my Christmas. I got excited about it every year. I made a shopping list, woke up early, and jumped to my computer to see what was waiting for me. Checking the list to see what sales 'popped' was like unwrapping presents. Pure joy.
That's gone, too. Oh, COMC is still going ahead with their sales this weekend. But I'm not participating. Well, I shouldn't say definitely not. There is one card on my watch list that I might be tempted to buy if the price drops.
So what if it does though? Let's say I add $20 to the site and buy the card. I'll then have one card in my COMC inventory with no intention of buying more. I'd have to spend $5 to have it shipped to me, and lord only knows when it would arrive. I'd be better off buying it on eBay for full price. At least then I'd get the card in my hand sometime this decade.
I really thought that COMC would get me through the holidays this year. The timing of my order seemed to work out perfectly. I requested shipment on July 26. My estimated ship date was October 26. Obviously that was too optimistic. But! Even if they were one month behind and my cards shipped today there's a good chance I'd still get them this weekend.
Nope. My cards still have not shipped. And you want me to spend more money at your site?
I've been ordering singles and set fillers all year so it's not like I've been unable to acquire any cards. But it's Christmastime. I needed something to open.
And so I checked the "big three" online retailers to see their Black Friday deals, knowing all too well that the price of everything has tripled. Another great gift in this godawful year. Those blasters you can't find at Target or Wal-Mart anymore? Blowout has 'em. For $50.
Want to take a shot at some Panini Prizm? Hundred bucks. A pack. Ugh, this is gonna be tough.
Lucky for me I'm a hockey card collector, and no one on this side of the border is hoarding Upper Deck products and reselling at 3-4x the sticker price on the off chance that they might pull a hot rookie. Dave and Adam's had some decent deals so I filled my cart with two hobby boxes - which I'll open this weekend - and the cheapest football packs I could find.
I was able to choose "random football pack" as my free gift. And here it is:
Not too bad. I can work with this. Let's see what's inside:
Jeremy Hill hot pack. No Packers but I did get a Beast Mode base card, a couple nice inserts, and a Scorecard parallel (not numbered) of Danny Amendola. Apparently Danny Shelton's nickname is "Feast Mode"
Now for the Score pack I paid for:
I like the 2019 Score design more than most years, and $15 wasn't a huge markup from the pre-Covid price. (I think they were $10 at Target last year?) Let's see if there are any purple parallel Packers - an admittedly odd combination but I'd still like to see it :)
Eight of the 23 base cards in the box. That's right - there are 37 rookies, inserts, and parallels.
Here are the purple parallels, along with some Signal-Callers that look a little purple but aren't.
A double dose of DeAndre Hopkins, along with two cards each of current and former Patriots QBs. Lots of trade bait, including the Nick Bosa which I already had and traded to someone on TCDB earlier this year.
I got one Packers card in the box, and it was a dupe. But that wasn't the only card of a Wisconsin team:
I wasn't expecting a relic, so that's cool. There are no odds posted on the box, and I didn't look before opening anyhow.
Part of the reason why I've been so reluctant to order packs and boxes this year is that the price per card works out to $1-2 or more. Doesn't seem like a worthwhile gamble when we can trade for half the cards or buy them for a dime each at the Baseball Card Store. And yet I had to roll the dice on something new:
This pretty pink pack cost $30, or $2 per card. Let's see if there are any keepers in here.
Here's the first pack:
Three legends including a cool insert and a rookie card of a guy who just caught the Covid.
Pack #2. Any Packers in here?
Nope, but the Watt family is well represented. The Parker parallel is awesome. No rookies though.
Finally, here's the bonus pack of pink parallels:
Boom! That's what I'm talking about. A new Brett Favre for my thousand-card quest (I'll have some thoughts on him next week) and a RC parallel of Football Team stud Chase Young. Not bad at all.
I'll crack open the hockey boxes this weekend. Perhaps I'll scan up both boxes but I'm leaning towards leaving out 2018-19 Upper Deck MVP unless I pull something really special (a stamped buyback perhaps?)
Thanks for reading, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!