Buying the conventional way
Remember the days where you actually had to go out to buy the things you wanted? Clothes, music, video games, everything was right there for the taking at your local mall; but in our ever evolving society, the traditional shopping trip soon became outdated, and the situation is the same when it comes to getting cards and supplies for us collectors.
We do indeed live in a technological heyday, and many of us turn to the Internet for their regular box or card purchases. However, the Internet is not without its risk as previously discussed in other articles, and some people still enjoy going out to get some cardboard. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to have a card store near them. I, for one, cannot find a single card shop in the whole country; no, not even one that sells football (as in soccer for you guys on the other side of the Atlantic) card. The situation is somewhat different on your side of the pond, and one of our members is lucky enough to live near such a store.
The Bella Terra shopping centre in Huntington Beach, California, includes an Upper Deck store in suite 150. The store is fairly large and caters for collectors of all sports as well as for Warcraft type games fans. The decoration is rather appropriate including countless items of sports memorabilia, the main focus being on basketball and baseball items which makes sense considering that these are probably the most popular sports in California (70% basketball, 25% baseball and 5% football). As you can see from the pictures, there are few football items and no hockey related memorabilia whatsoever. The only trace of hockey on the walls is a manga style portrait of Sid the Kid, as the jersey number reveals (I most certainly wouldn’t have seen a likeness otherwise).
The most impressive memorabilia display is, hands down, the one dedicated to arguably the best basketball player of all time: Michael Jordan. In the display you can see an autographed ball, shoes, photo number, and, of course, jersey. Without a doubt, all these items would be a dream come true for any serious Jordan collector. Those impressive cases are however not the only treat for b-ball fans. Check out the pictures of the basketball displays including 3D effect showing real basketballs. Pretty solid baseball displays also contribute to make the store look like a true collector’s dream.
In case the impressive displays are not enough to make you feel right at home, the store also has four flat screens TV showing various sporting events all day long and an area at the back is reserved for Warcraft tournaments, including tables and chairs to make your session more enjoyable. To many people, the problem with buying online is the lack of human interaction, no one is there to answer your every question and make suggestions on what to buy. This is clearly not a problem in this store as the staff members are both friendly and knowledgeable. They can advise you on all release dates of Upper Deck products, however, they may have difficulties giving hockey related advice. That being said it is hardly an uncommon problem in Los Angeles.
Although it is all pretty good so far, nothing is perfect, and it is important to report that while the stock selection included something for every sport, it was still limited. The main issue being that the products on offer were only from 2007-2008 so forget about your dream to chase a Crosby RC in a box or a pack. As for which products were available, our member is a hockey man so he listed the following choices: Ice, Trilogy, SPGU, Mini Jersey, O-Pee-Chee, Upper Deck Series Two, and Hot Prospects.
That being said, this year is not exactly bad rookie wise, and our member got quite lucky with the pulls from the packs he bought in the store. He decided to invest in two packs of SP Game Used, one pack of UD Ice, two packs of SPX, and two packs of Trilogy. All these were hockey products, and the highlight of the day was no doubt the appearance of a Carey Price Trilogy rookie card. Its also interesting to note that the shop has a special: two packs of UD Ice for $10 and three packs of Black Diamond retail for $10. Other facts worth mentioning include the fact that during the Stanley Cup playoffs, hockey cards are sold with 20% off and in order to celebrate Upper Deck’s 40th Anniversary, preview cards were given with every five packs bought, and with each box bought, they are offering a three card pack which can potentially include buybacks of all sports.
Special thanks to CSSports for all the information about the Upper Deck store! How does your card shop compare to this one? For my part I cannot wait to go to Quebec this summer and pop in my favourite card shop, which not only has a huge selection of card collecting product but also a substantial collection of comic books.
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