Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Youthful enthusiasm - a tale of 2012 Topps

Last night, I saw a young collector really excited about 2012 Topps. It felt good to see someone who wasn’t jaded about the various gimmicks or that 2012 wasn’t the game-changer Topps falsely predicted. He was just so excited for new cards. And it was refreshing. Let me explain.

I usually buy my blasters at the local Modell’s Sporting Goods on 86th and 3rd Ave. I’ve stopped by every day since last Friday in hopes of finding 2012 Series One. It’s incredibly annoying that this is where I have to go to find cards. They are weeks behind the big box stores. There is a Target in East Harlem that I go to once every blue moon, but after a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is schlep up there to look for baseball cards.

Anyhow, last night a little after 6:30, I was on my way home from work and popped into Modell’s. I really thought it would be my day and that they would have them. When one walks into this particular store, there is a security guard greeting customers, and you can either walk upstairs to sneakers and apparel, or downstairs to sporting equipment (and cards).

I walk in and start to head downstairs. I heard a kid behind me go to the security card, “where are the baseball cards?” And he said “downstairs.” Woooooosh! The kid flies by me in blinding speed. Literally. I get to the cards and I see him there, on his knees, looking through the crappy selection. His dad arrives right behind me, dressed in a suit and with a work bag. He doesn’t look like a d-bag in a suit though (ok, ok….I was in a suit too probably looking way douchier). I noticed right away there was no 2012 Topps. There was a worker close by, and the kid – probably 10 years old – says “do you have the 2012's yet?” And the clerk said “no, we probably won’t have them until mid-February.” And the kid goes “but they came out today!!!” and the clerk says, “sorry, that’s when our shipment comes. Mid-February.” The kid was dejected. I could tell. Now, I don’t know how he found out they released early at some stores. Maybe Twitter or Facebook or a blog or a friend at school. But he was genuinely sad. The dad didn’t say anything. I could tell he wasn’t interested, but he definitely supported his son’s collecting and didn’t act like it was a burden or hassle taking his son to the store even though he hadn’t been home from work yet. That made me feel good.

So I interjected. I said, “Sorry bud. I know that Series One is out in a lot of places. It’s one of the frustrating things about this city.” And that’s true. Literally you can get any kind of food, drugs, alcohol, sex (so I’ve heard), books, coffee, ice cream, candy, cigarettes, massages, etc. at all hours of the day or night within about a 5 block radius of my apartment. But I can’t find stinking baseball cards. I then said, “You know, there is a card shop just a couple blocks from here. It's after 6:30 so I’m not sure if they are still open, but it’s worth a shot. They may not release Series One until tomorrow, but you never know.” Now, if you’ll remember, I had an awful experience at the LCS that I referred them to…Alex’s MVP Cards. Read about it here. But the kid was so disappointed and full of hope, I just wanted him to get cards…even if that shop is basically the equivalent of Hogwarts after Professor Snape because Headmaster. I'd prefer not to refer business to them, but I made an exception.

The dad thanked me and said they’d give it a try. I hope he found cards, and something tells me that he is just interested in getting cards with his favorite players on them. He isn’t looking for autos or relics or squirrels or golden giveaway codes. He just wants some new cards, and I hope he got them. As for me, I’ll be stopping at Mo’s again on my way home from work. Eventually I’ll strike gold…Topps gold, that is.


  1. I'm happy to hear that there are some kids interested in collecting baseball card instead of Yahoo Yogi Yu and Pokeyourmom cards.

  2. Nice post. I took the link to your post about the LCS too. I had already read it, but I hadn't seen the comments from the shop owner. Now THAT'S a d-bag.

  3. Wow, I remember commenting on that post.
    It's amazing that the owner found and read the post, and his comments are indicative of the store's description.

    I don't blame his reaction for his wife, I would instantly defend my wife to criminal conviction and beyond, occasionaly even if she is wrong! For me, your comment evoked an older, friendly, librarian type that is not neccessarily very knowledgeable about the subject matter but will do what she can to try and help, though it also could illicit a different meaning for a husband that is already on the defensive about a negative review for his place of business.

    His thinnly veiled threats are comical at best, and I would chalk them up to general "Douche-Baggery".

    I applaud his longevity, especially with the current economy, it is nice to see the little guy surviving.

    With that said, I would also tend to agree with his sentiments, as we, the general collecting public, do tend to vote with our wallets, and would much rather deal with an appreciative business, even if it's a faceless, voiceless internet page that gives us what we are after without all the drama. I often pay more for things through my local friendly businesses when they show me the proper grattitude of someone that truly wants my business, and more importantly, shows me that they want me to return to their store for future business.

    As I pointed out on the original, I'd glady pay alot more to avoid someone that has deeply offended me in a past business dealing, and often recommend people against going there as word of mouth is a very powerful tool for us, the buying collector.

    If ever I am in Manhatten, I would gladly NOT patronize his establishment and join my Lost Friend!!

  4. Thanks for the comments!

    I really didn't mean to rehash any of the emotions from the original post, it was more or less just the fact that I wanted to help this young collector out because he was so disappointed that Mo's didn't get their usual shipment of blasters/packs. I hope he did in fact find some Series One even if it was at Alex's, as it was important to him and he was so excited to buy some new product. If it was an adult collector, I wouldn't have been so kind. Gotta keep the youngsters interested though.

  5. Great post man. If it makes you feel any better Topps 2011 hit stores about the same time as the big Chicago snow storm last year so it took me like three weeks past the release date to find it at Target or WalMart (my LCS had some, but was selling only boxes not packs). For three weeks I went to every different Target or WalMart I could find. This year I moved about 15 minutes north of my old place and found another LCS (just passed it in my car one day), so I am hoping that they will sell hobby packs.

  6. really nice post - i enjoyed reading it...

  7. Great post. I often wonder how many kids actually collect anymore.