Monday, April 25, 2011

Why I end up buying retail

I've had a couple of people, one being an old childhood friend who no longer collects cards, ask why I buy cards at Walmart and Target when I have a card shop so close.

For starters, the card shop isn't that close to me.

For finishers, you've read in previous posts on this blog that the prices at my local card shop are unrealistic. I'm well aware of the overhead required to run a business in a storefront that you don't own. I know it costs money to keep the doors open as well.

The guy I'm talking about has a fairly well organized shop. It's sort of a horseshoe design with him in the middle. He keeps a clean shop and he and his wife are the only employees. He's meticulous about inventory. He may not know off the top of his head if he has something, but he can find out. When I recently bought some overpriced 1984 Donruss singles for Night Owl, he made me write down the numbers of the cards I bought so he could remove them from his inventory. The problem at this place is pricing.

Those 1984 Donruss singles started at 50 cents a pop. No volume discount. When I questioned him on the price, he said I could get them on Ebay but I'd have to pay shipping. That's true, but you can get lots of '84 Donruss on Ebay for less than a nickel per card.

His jumbo packs of 2011 Topps are just a shade under $20. I've never bought a jumbo pack or box, but that seems like a steep mark up.

The kicker is this price. I bought more 2010 Topps Chrome than I should have and everyone knows the warping of the cards has sent the price of that product fairly low. Blowout has them right now for $44 per box. I've seen them as low as $35. He still has his marked at $79.95. I wouldn't buy one at $40 at this point, but that's a crazy price. I know one of the recent bloggers posted about the state of card shops and one thing they needed to do was not keep money tied up in old, unmovable inventory. Well that's exactly what a $79.95 box of 2010 Chrome is if you ask me. He could drop the price down to $40 and have pack wars with those boxes and they would all sell and he could get something out of them.

He has an entire wall of boxes going back to the late '90s and even though they are behind locked glass, they're covered with a very thin layer of dust and the same prices he had on them when they were new.

I know this isn't a big deal for most of you, but it sends me to aisle 10 of my local Walmart when I need a card fix. I don't normally have enough to spend at one time to buy a hobby box from Blowout or Dave and Adams Cardworld. So I pick up retail packs or a blaster now and then. I'd love to support my local card shop, but it would be like going to my friend's gas station to buy gas even though he charges $1 a gallon more. I just can't do it.

Anyone in the Dallas area that knows of a good shop, let me know. It might be worth the drive to spend my money at a card shop that I can walk out of without feeling like I got the shaft.


  1. The problem is that you have a card shop that doesn't get it. 50 cents for 84 Donruss cards id just plain rude, 95 percent of them dont even book that high. The first rule in retail is to keep the customer happy and by over charging you it does the exact opposite. I am very lucky to have 2 LCS's within a reasonable distance that get it with a third that has fair prices but a small inventory. They always cut prices on boxes when the next years come out and will always cut a deal on older inventory. My last trip in to one shop the owner gave me 60% off a showcase card I liked plus a nice deal on some other loose cards I picked up and even added in a couple of free loose packs when I bought four packs. He said it was just a thank you for being a good customer and the fact that we always have good conversations when I come in. Stuff like that keep me coming back and probably spending a little more money then I planned on so he makes it back in the end and I am a happy camper. It's like any type of store really, If you like the service you go back, if not you look elsewhere. It's a shame that you have to go the retail route but you have no choice but because of a crappy LCS you miss out on some hobby exclusive stuff.

  2. I feel your pain. I'm a retail guy as well. Not a lot of shops near me, prices aren't great, etc

  3. I can't even get singles at my card shop AND the prices are too high.

    Also, I have an issue with shopping in a card shop that's also selling NASCAR jackets. I know shop owners have to diversify, but it's annoying.

  4. Do you have flea markets or something similar in your area? They can be good resources for cards, older and current.

  5. I hear ya, that's why I buy retail too. Or sportlots and ebay for singles. The only card shop I really go to and not that often, I think you already know. Duane's behind six flags mall in arlington. By the way, the big card show is coming in a couple weeks at the arlington convention center. Here is the link.

  6. I went to this card shop in Grapevine one summer while I was visiting some friends in the DFW area

    it was a pretty decent shop, lots of wax a little pricey and lots of pretty well priced singles.

    Hope it isn't the shop you regularly go to (I have only been once, don't hold it against me)