The Pull of a Lifetime

***This post was written by Jason and you can follow him on Twitter @jasonw757.

It was a cool Virginia evening when I pulled into my local card shop to pick up a couple of boxes of 2017-18 Upper Deck Series One Hockey that I had pre-ordered. As I waited for the shop employee to finish up with the other customers, I spied a new release on the shelf, boxes of the brand new 2018 Star Wars Masterwork. I was intrigued by the appearance of the product because it was packaged like Museum Collection Baseball, which I have had good luck with in the past. I am generally not a non-sports card collector and stick mostly to Baseball and Hockey with a tiny bit of football thrown in.  I am admittedly a closet Star Wars nerd so I have read all of the books, seen all of the movies and love to have lightsaber battles with my daughter in the living room at home, so I kept looking back to the box on the shelf.  When I was paying for my Hockey boxes, I jokingly told the guy at the register that “The Force keeps calling me to that box” with a laugh. We discussed what was in it and the product details and he convinced me to try a mini-box of it. He picked up the pack and told me “The Force is Strong with this one” and we both had a good laugh at it. I told him that if there was a Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, or Harrison Ford auto in the box that I would treat him to dinner that evening (the guys in the shop love to order Pizza from the shop down the way in the shopping center).

Immediately I ripped into the pack of Star Wars, I was saving the hockey for later, and began to thumb through the cards. They were very high-quality cards and seemed to be well done by Topps. Then it happened. I got to the card in the pack that everyone anticipates.  I looked and first saw the serial number 3/5. I smiled a little thinking that this would be a neat card, but was probably the signature of some minor characters like random X-wing pilots, characters from the Mos Eisley Cantina or something like that. It never crossed my mind that this could be the big one.  Next, I saw the signature of Hayden Christensen who played Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy. I thought this was pretty cool figuring that the other signature would be Qui-Gon Jin, Jar-Jar Binks or someone else from the prequel movies.  Then I saw it.

dual auto

The top autograph was none other than Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself!  My hand began shaking and I was speechless! This card was signed by both Anakin and Luke Skywalker and was numbered out of 5! The shop worker quickly took it from my hand and put it in a one touch to keep me from dropping it.

After a little talking and congratulations from everyone in the shop, I got in the car to head home. As I settled in the driver’s seat, I took a deep breath and looked at the card once again just to make sure that it had really happened.  I got home and showed my wife and she was as excited as I was. She has always been a big Star Wars fan also. She asked what I planned to do with it and I told her that since the card was an autograph of father and son (in the Star Wars world) that I only thought that it was appropriate that I pass it down to my son one day. Hopefully he will be a Jedi like his father before him (wink, wink),  and will appreciate the Star Wars World and will be as excited on the day that it becomes his as his father was the day it was pulled.

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Upper Deck Makes It Right

I’ve always been a fan of Upper Deck, but recently I’ve written a couple of pieces voicing my displeasure.  This post is to tell you that they’ve made things right by me.

I’m not pulling down the posts.   Thought I’m not in the journalism field, I do have a journalism degree and like to maintain a level of integrity (and more than many actually in the field).  Upper Deck, and specifically Chris Carlin, went out of their way and listened to my concerns.  I respect that.

Mr. Carlin took non-office time to talk with me via phone.  In response to one of my complaints, Carlin gave me an answer that I certainly understand.  I’m a skeptical person, but it was an answer that also occurs in occupation.  I understand and believe exactly what he said.

My other complaint was about how ePack free packs no longer contain cards that can be combined to make physical cards.  He gave me a couple of reasons why the change was made.  I don’t agree with the decision that was made, but I understand it.  If you’ve been in the forum on ePack, it’s something that many users predicted before it happened.

Something I don’t like about customer service employees are the generic, almost automated replies that we so often receive.  During my conversation with Mr. Carlin, I never felt that he was toeing that line.  He was honest and straight-forward.  As a person often pegged as negative, I really appreciate the honesty.

At the end of the call, I was happy.  I felt he did listen to my concerns, which weren’t just for me.  I felt that I was speaking for other collectors as well.  Whether anything might be different next time or not, I can’t speak to.  I do felt listened to and can’t ask for more.

He mentioned that they had sent a package to me as an apology for the Laine situation.  I never received it, but he mentioned (without me asking) that it was sent to an old address (the one on file with Upper Deck).  Unfortunately, I haven’t lived there in over a year.  Hopefully at some point the company will get that package back, or hopefully whoever elected to open it will decide cards are fun and join the hobby.

Upper Deck sent ANOTHER package, this time to my current address.  Inside was some product, apparel, and a few singles.  If you’ve seen #UDRAK, you understand the sort of package I am referencing.

Mr. Carlin said that he saw I am a Blackhawks fan and my lady is a Stars fan.  That is correct.  Those were the single that were included and it was a fantastic personal touch.  It wouldn’t be a card post without a card, so I present to you one of the cards…

img191

Jeremy Roenick was my favorite player as a teenager and still one of my favorites, if not my number one.  It is a wonderful addition to my collection.

In closing, I want to point out that at no time did anyone at Upper Deck ask anything of me.  They didn’t ask me to remove any posts or write a follow-up.  All discussions were about the situations I had written about.

Even before that, Upper Deck hadn’t lost me completely as a customer.  I’ve been trying to find O-Pee-Chees locally because I want to put the set together.  I haven’t had luck, but I’m still trying.

My concern is ePack.  I’m not sure how I will treat it going forward.  I know that I certainly won’t spend as much money as I have in the last 12 months.  I had planned not to spend any more money at all.  However, seeing today that Alex DeBrincat may make the Blackhawks roster means I may have to buy Series 2 so I can make a gold rainbow Young Guns.  Not many of them will reach the secondary market.

We will see what the future holds, but Upper Deck made this right by me.  If you shop online and haven’t signed up and used ebates yet, you’re missing out. I also use it on eBay to get money back from purchases there. Between referrals and cash back, I’ve gotten over $100 in about seven months. FREE CARDS! If you’re on Twitter, please give me a follow. Please check out my personal blog, I Feel Like a Collector Again.  Happy collecting!

Upper Deck Hoses ePack Collectors Again

Today, 2017-18 MVP Hockey came available on Upper Deck ePack.  Today, Upper Deck screwed ePack users again.

Previously, you could sign in daily and get free cards.  You could trade for cards, combine them and get a physical card you wanted.

Here is the information on MVP free packs from theie “News” page.

mvp1

It’s an entirely different set than the MVP cards that come in packs!  There’s only one way to combine, but getting every card in the Purple set.  So, what do you get if you get the entire set?

mvp2

Nothing.  You get nothing.  These cards are as worthless as the “virtual”  Topps and Panini cards on their platforms.

You had a great thing going, Upper Deck.  Congratulations on shooting yourself in the foot.

My Patrik Laine Auto, Not Signed by Laine

I’ve always been one of the people that loves Upper Deck.  All of the card companies have deficiencies but personally I’ve always felt that Upper Deck does the best job, until now.

I even gave them the benefit of a doubt a few months ago.  I had purchased some packs of cards and as I was opening them, the site crashed.  Once it was back up, all my packs were gone.  After about a week, I finally received a reply from Upper Deck customer service that even though I didn’t open the packs, the cards were there.  I highly considered being done with ePack.  I didn’t like their nonchalant reply.  I ended up spending more money with them.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have.

Last night I decided to buy three packs of O-Pee-Chee Platinum on the Upper Deck ePack site.  This card was in one of my packs.

chychrun

Once I went into my collection to look for it, this is actually what I saw…

chychrunlaine

WOW!  My card is actually marked as a Patrik Laine autograph!  WOOHOO!  For those not in the know, Laine is the best rookie one can pull from this class, outside Auston Matthews.

I was excited, but not sure what to do, so I asked in the chat room. I was directed to the “news” page of ePack’s site and found their “explanation” of the situation.

chychrunnews

To me, they are hosing people.  I don’t really care what their excuse is, they are wrong.  I work corporate retail and if we screwed over customers and didn’t fess up to our errors, we’d be out of business.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, here’s my other complaint.  See the date in the screen shot above?  That was six days before my card came out of a pack.  Why was this not corrected?  If you knew about it and didn’t fix it, that is a problem.  This comes across shady to me.

I tweeted last night about it.  A few followers chimed in that they hoped Upper Deck would make it right or that they thought Upper Deck would.  I wasn’t optimistic, as I had already seen their “explanation.”   Not long ago, this was the generic reply that I expected to receive.

chychrunresponse

I’ve been critical of other companies (particularly Panini) and because I love(d) Upper Deck, I might have gone a little easier on them that I should have.  I can’t see myself doing that anymore.  I’m also not sure that I will spend any more money on their products.  I haven’t spent as much as some others on there, but I’ve spent enough that I could have a really nice vintage card if I had all that money back.

Not happy.  Not sure what the future holds.

You can follow me on Twitter at @beansbcardblog.  I tweet out hundred of other bloggers’ post.   You can also read and follow my personal blog, I Feel Like a Collector Again.  I write much more there than here.

Have a wonderful day (hopefully much better than mine) and God bless!

Pitiful Panini

As I write this, we are about a week removed from the Dak Prescott autopen situation coming to light.  If you’re reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  The story has made the Washington Post, ESPN and other outlets.  I even saw a local opinion piece from someone that has no idea what he’s talking about in regard to this situation.

Panini hasn’t said a word.   It’s been reported that a Panini employee hung up on a USA Today reporter.  None of Dak Prescott’s representatives have talked.  Nor has the NFL or NFLPA.  I guess they don’t realize that the longer they let this go, the worse it looks.  Besides, something tells me that Panini knew about this before word got out.  To me, the silence is deafening.

Less than a month ago, Panini acknowledged that some cards signed by first round pick Takkarist McKinley were not signed by him.

This morning I saw a tweet regarding signatures from a Panini Country Music product that may have also been autopenned.

Oh, and we are just months removed from Panini being called out for using Mitchell & Ness jerseys and calling them “game worn” on 2016 National Treasures product.

LINK:  MISTAKENLY LABELED EVENT-WORN TAGS INCLUDED IN 2016 NATIONAL TREASURES FOOTBALL

Is the a doomsday scenario for Panini?  I don’t think so.

All of the major card companies have serious deficiencies.  Not once has the collecting community said “enough is enough” and stopped purchasing any company’s product.  It’s sad, but I don’t believe that even all of these situations will keep people from buying Panini.

There are too many in the hobby just waiting to pull that next “sick hit” or “wicked patch” and they will be giving more money to Panini in no time.  If only the consumer had an option of something else to buy…

They don’t though, thanks to exclusives.  We can add this to the list of reasons that exclusives are bad for this hobby.  If Topps was still producing football cards, I believe that shops would have a hard time keeping them on the shelves after this high-profile boner.

You have nowhere else to go.  You won’t stop buying.  Why should Panini care or change anything?

Within the last year I sent my resume to Panini.  They never bothered to contact me.  The sports card industry is very much a “good ol’ boys” network and unless you have a connection, it’s next to impossible to get it.  Thank God for unanswered prayers.

Good luck to Panini at the National.  You’re going to need it.

 

 

Let’s Help One of Our Own

Many in the hobby refer to it as a community or family.  I subscribe to this, as I have met some wonderful people because I collect sports cards.  I hope that you feel the same and that’s why I am writing this post.

Many of you know Rich Klein.  He’s been a part of the hobby for decades.  He’s worked for Beckett, works for COMC now, writes at SABR Baseball Cards and I believe has written for Sports Collectors Daily.  I’m sure that there’s more that I know of, but they are slipping my mind at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night.

I’m not going to share anything too personal, as I am posting this without him asking or even knowing.  He would never ask anyone to post something on his behalf.  His wife Dena recently spent a week in the hospital due to complications with a disease.  The have a Go Fund Me page to help with various medical expenses and I’m asking people in the hobby to step up and help out one of our own.

I’m not asking you to send $100.  Imagine what $5 per person that reads this could do.  That’s basically a pack or two of cards, depending on your tastes and budget.  Maybe instead of that blaster you think about buying on your next Walmart or Target run, what about helping out someone out and throw that $20 to help with someone’s medical expenses?  Reverse the roles.  How thankful would you be?

From Dena’s Go Fund Me page:

My name is Dena Medwed Klein and I have been struggling with a disease called focal segmented glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) for many years, which has caused chronic kidney failure. I have recently been placed on the kidney transplant list, and am currently trying to find a living kidney donor. Until I get a donor, I will be on dialysis .
My special-education aide salary doesn’t allow for much savings, and neither does my husband’s job. The money will help cover my time off work, the life-long medications that I will be taking, and the expenses that insurance won’t cover (both for dialysis and when I can eventually have the transplant). I have worked in special education for over 15 years and want to continue helping my students succeed.
In addition, if you are interested in being tested to be a match for a kidney donation, either check my Facebook page or go to http://livingdonordallas.org . I do not know exactly when dialysis will begin, but the doctors and I are hopeful that a living donor will be available soon. I am grateful for everyone in my life, and appreciate each and every one of you.
Every day is a blessing and I will continue to live each day to its fullest. Thank you for being a part of my life and for all of your support.

What do you say, card family?  Can we help out just a little?  I think we can and hope we do.   If you’re willing and able to help, you can click here or below to take you to the link.  I know that Rich and Dena will appreciate any amount that anyone can donate.

Dena’s Kidney Fund

Happy collecting!

-kin

Buying Cards on the Cheap

Recently I sort of stumbled upon a new way to buy cards cheaply on eBay. How cheap? For less than the price of a postage stamp in most cases and I didn’t  even have to leave the house!

If you’re in a similar situation (my closest card shop is about an hour away), you’ve probably explored new ways to purchase cards in a cost-effective manor. In my explorations, I began purchasing cards of Bryce Harper for my personal collection for $.99 with free shipping using the Buy It Now option. Then one day I thought I’d take a shot at some auctions that a seller had started at a penny but these also had the perk of free shipping. So, I bid $1 thinking that in a worst-case scenario I wouldn’t be paying anymore than normal but there would a chance of me saving a few cents if I won the card  for less than my $1 bid. 

As luck would have it, I won one of the auctions for less than $1. I don’t remember the exact price but this buying method struck a nerve. 

For whatever reason I stopped using this method for a little while. However, I’ve recently started using this again and I’ve expanded my searches to include other players I collect such as Frank Thomas, Brooks Robinson, and Manny Machado. 

It’s working, too! I’ve been able to get a few steals and I’m loving it!

Here are some of my recent purchases:

Bryce Harper: 35 cents

Manny Machado: 38 cents

Brooks Robinson: 17 cents

Frank Thomas: 30 cents

I was able to get all four of these cards delivered to my house for $1.20! That’s a bargain for any card collector with the way the card shops have dried up. 

Give this method a whirl. I’m sure you’ll get a few bargains here and there.