Saturday, May 14, 2011

My LCS is an uninviting rip-off

I want very badly to like my local card shop here on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It's called Alex's MVP cards and it's only four blocks from my apartment, and in NYC that's especially close. I'd love to go there, open some packs and look through some bargain bins, but each time I go there I leave even more frustrated. Listen to this: hobby packs of 2011 Topps Series One are $4. Hobby packs of 2011 Heritage are $5. I could literally go one avenue over to Modell's and get each for $2 cheaper per pack. Even as product becomes outdated, they aren't marked down. They have so many packs of cards from the 2000s that will never sell because they remain the same price as when they first came out. That's bad business.

The old woman that works there is nice enough. She doesn't have much interest in speaking to you, but she'll at least ask if you need help. The guy that works there - a chubby man who always wear sweatpants - is in the same spot each time I've been there. He stands at a counter sorting cards and doesn't look up. Ever. Never once in my four trips there has he acknowledged me.

In the glass display case, I looked at a few Yankee cards. 2011 Topps Series One Mickey Mantle was for sale for $5. The base card. Not a Diamond Anniversary or Gold. The base card. $5.

I then looked in the "bargain" bin of Yankees. The cards all are marked by a color. Yellow = $50. Red = $1. Blue = $1.50. Green = $2. Every Robinson Cano card was $2. 2009 Bowman base card of Cano? $2. Joe Girardi 2011 Heritage? $1. Mark Teixeira 2010 Topps? $2. Come the F on. How am I supposed to support local business of the hobby I love with this ridiculousness? Not to mention, the guy was in my way, and when I went to grab the bin of Yanks, he made a sound like he was annoyed that I was trying to look through them. He grunted. Never offered to move or give me, a customer of his store, some space to possibly look at and buy some cards from him.

I ended up spending $1.50 for no reason other than not wanting to sit there and feel like it was a complete waste of my time. I bought  2006 Upper Deck Tino for $1 ($.18 on SportLots) and a 1972 Topps Jerry Kenney that is badly off-centered for $.50. I got this because I know he is a good TTM signer. I'll tell you this - no Tino base cards should cost $1, especially in 2011.

I hate bad mouthing this shop, but I can honestly say I'm not surprised that only once have I ever seen someone else in there when I was there. It's not an inviting store. The prices are high. The services are bad. Part of me wishes I asked why they charge so much for packs, but alas, I said nothing. Maybe I'll print this blog entry out and send it to them. In all likelihood, I probably won't go back unless I need a 450 ct. box or some other supplies. But I won't be excited to go back. And that's a shame.


  1. The silly prices could be partially explained by the NYC rents, I guess. There's no excuse for the unwelcoming atmosphere.

  2. I got one of those shops down here in Va. The 10th Inning, in Hampton. His prices on things are high, enough that I feel like what I'd offer to pay for a card would probably just piss him off. I've gone there 3 times, twice looking for different binder pages for postcard sized cards. I finally had to ask where they were. He then tells me the price, .69 cents each or he'd give me ten for $4. Ok, I'll take the ten for $4. with tax, $4.20, I give him $5.25. He gives me back a nickel. I tell him that's not right, he then tries to give me .75 more. I'm like, no, you owe me $1.05 (I'm thinking simple math dumb^%$$, but I'm not saying it). He grudgingly gives me the dollar, looking at me like I'm trying to rip him off!!
    REALLY!! you just over-charge me how much for pages, then try and keep my change!! Last time I'm going there!! I'll gladly pay three times that amount plus shipping from the bay. Bad part, I still need pages for the mini-cards!
    I did notice the regular 9 card pages, he charges $12.99 for 50, I pay $12.50 for a full 100 page box from my comic guy.

  3. The packs are too expensive...but I say that about all packs even if they are marked at SRP.

    The singles, though, I can understand. The Yankees are the local team, you are going to pay a regional premium for them. I can't find any current Reds for less than 50c-$1 here in Cincinnati (at least not at the shops, sometimes at shows). The stars will cost more. That's just the market value here. If I happen to go to a card shop on vacation, I will stock up on current Reds there.

  4. I'm pretty much done with the LCS. I keep hearing stories about these mythical LCSs with great bargain boxes and friendly service and all, but I've never had one that I thought was great. When I was kid, the owners of the various stores I frequented were mean and condescending. The stores I've hit since I returned to collecting in 2005 are all overpriced, and the staff just seem uninterested in my business. I haven't set foot in one with one exception, to buy a single screw down holder, in the past two and a half years. I don't see me going back unless someone can convince me there's one in the Atlanta area that us both friendly AND has decent prices. (You don't have to beat the online price, but I need more than the convenience of simply getting my box immediately to justify the markup.)

  5. Truly sorry you had such a bad experience in my store. That OLD LADY is my Wife and perhaps you could have asked for me " Alex " and I would have tried to satisfy your needs. After being in business for over TWENTY YEARS at the SAME LOCATION (quite an achievement in NYC)I must be doing something right! Good name you choose " The Lost Collector " and I will use part of it in my reply, STAY LOST and do not return to my store. Do your business on the internet, I don't need yours.......

  6. Dear Alex-

    Thank you for your response. I certainly understand that it is difficult to a read a negative review of your store. I commend you on staying in business for over twenty years. As you note, that is no small feat in NYC, let alone anywhere in this day and age. Had I seen you in the shop in any of my visits, I gladly would have taken the time to introduce myself and hopefully had a nice conversation. The tone of your response certainly reflects the atmosphere and attitude of your store. As you note, you do not need my business, and I'll gladly continue to buy from Target, Modell's, SportLots and eBay. Best of luck for continued success.

  7. You deserve my tone. You don't say the lady behind the counter, but the OLD LADY behind the counter. I would really like you to meet the OLD MAN that owns the store, in person so I could express my feelings towards you face to face. Otherwise, STAY LOST

  8. Hi Alex- I said "old woman" not "lady", and I also said that she was nice. I apologize if that comment offended you, as the intention was to give an accurate description of the store. It was not meant to poke fun. As you have asked, I will stay lost and not wander into your store again. Thanks again for your response.