This is my least favorite post on the site. I do not recommend starting your collection based off going to Target in today’s market. I did not know what the card market would become when I posted this. The people who go their and wait in line, in 2021, are pieces of work. I have heard stories of fights. I have heard and verified stories of some of the same people who are in this story, actually are people who have stalked the Target stockers. If you do anything support your local mom and pop card shop. (4/19/2021)
The other day, I was at Target while the card aisle was being restocked. I am not one to jump in on this new fad of raiding Target’s for blaster boxes. With having asthma, and being on 3 inhalers of it, I am not taking Covid lightly. I might prioritize shopping at Target instead of a grocery store for groceries because they have cards but that is.
So I was at the tail end of one of the trips with my girlfriend. I had ice cream in the cart. It took the guy restocking an hour. My girlfriend is amazing and found stuff to do because she knew how much it meant to me. First thing that he puts out is rack boxes of Topps Chrome. Not knowing what will be put out next or the price, I grab all I can. The other guy takes 2. My intention was to trade if more people came as this looked like it would take a while.
Optic Baseball blasters and Prestige football mega boxes were next. The other guy didn’t like either. I take the Prestige boxes leaving Optic baseball there. Chrome cello packs were next. I initially pass thinking that they were $15. By this time another guy arrives. He lets me take what I want. By this point, my girlfriend checks in on me. I use her to scan the prices. Rack boxes of Chrome were $15, and the packs were $10 she says. I thought that they were reversed in price with packs being $15. I switch my strategy and grab half of the packs. I figure that exclusive parallel cards would hold more value than the rack boxes that gave you a pack of Topps Fire. I left a ton up for anyone else because I have an embarrassment of riches at this point.
I make conversation with the guy restocking and he seems to like us. We treat the people around fairly, offer to help him at times, and overall treat him with respect. He tells us that he has seen some stuff and yesterday he felt like he got molested a little. This is not this crew. We chat about how we enjoy the hobby, and make sure that we all get a piece.
The first guy checks out and leaves just in time to get 1 of the 4 Chronicles basketball boxes. We don’t know that there are 4 as the person stocking only takes out 3.
By this point, we were able to see that what was left. I grab Topps Series 2 fat packs and check out. I told him that he could have the Chronicles box we saw by peeking, if he didn’t sell it to my hobby shop.
I was surprised at how the other collectors didn’t understand the value of cards. I am of the thought that I want to sell high. He was going to sit on stuff for years or open Chronicles. He was bragging about how he got a couple of Zion’s in one rack pack. I was explaining to him that Chronicles does not hold individual value the way that others do. If Zion is on the checklist 10 times on a 400 card checklist, they won’t hold as high value individually. I pointed out how Luka Doncic’s cheapest rookies are from Chronicles. I worry that I broke his heart. I also reminded him that this is a hobby first. If people are lucky, they can make money but that boxes fluctuate on whims of what is hot. How value always peaks when the product is new. I told him that it was important to me to leave stuff for other collectors by not taking absolutely everything.
It was kind of draining explaining this when I just wanted to get out of the store in the Covid environment. I had to explain things like basic scarcity and eBay sold listings to these guys.
I felt obligated to stay because chances like this never happen to me.
Overall, I spent $400. I am probably only going to open a couple of the Series 2 packs. I am debating opening my Chronicles mega as I am just happy to have the choice at opening something basketball at a reasonable price. I love the Memphis/Vancouver Grizzlies and was expecting to get a player like Ja Morant’s autographs under $50 like I would before the card boom took place because the Grizzlies historically don’t sell well. My ice cream did melt and by the time that I left my girlfriend’s house 6 hours later, it was not done freezing.
As draining as it was, being able to share this experience with my girlfriend made it special. She sees that I am taking a risk on our future. If I break even on this, I can at least help my credit score.