Young Collectors: Show them Respect
By Brian Giaquinta aka Size17shoes
In the not-so-distant past, I was visiting a local card shop looking for some common football cards. I use these cards when I send away for through the mail autograph requests. While I was in this store, a young pair of teens came walking through the door. They brought along with them a box of cards. Upon further inspection, I realized these young men only had common cards from the early 1990s inside the box. As I stood and observed the interaction between the shop owner and these two young men, something became apparent: the shop owner does not like children in his store. These two youngsters were verbally toyed with by the shop owner and his colleagues for obviously not knowing the value of the cards they possessed. I was highly offended so I vacated the premises without even making a purchase.
Did those young men deserve the abuse they received for just being two uninformed sports card collectors? Where has the time gone when children were the centre piece of the hobby of sports card collecting? Nowadays, it seems to be non-existent. The hobby has gone away to the adults with the most cash, with packs being outrageously priced. I remember going to Ben Franklin’s and purchasing cello packs of 1981 Topps Football for seventy-five cents a pack.
Growing up, my grade school had a card trading club that met every morning before classes started. This was in the 80s before the creation of the Beckett or the Tuff Stuff magazine. We would just sit around a table opening packs until someone wanted to trade even up. Those were some of the best times of my life. I remember picking up Montana rookies by the hand full before he became huge. Too bad I never got to enjoy them because my late brother used to torment me by placing my cards in the spokes of his bicycle.
Back to these young men, I believe shop owners should become more sympathetic to our youth. Our youth of today, are bombarded with video games, Pokémon, and computer usage, making it harder for our hobby to grow amongst young collectors. There should be programs established to promote our hobby for young men and women, so they become knowledgeable about cards, players, and even proper storing techniques. The card companies should make more promotions geared towards children to spark an even greater interest.
I had planned to open a card shop with a club for youngsters to trade cards amongst one another. By doing so it would promote social activity, a passion for card collecting, and build lasting friendships. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the necessary resources to open my store. It will just take a little longer for this business idea to become official.
Over the years, I worked with many young people and I tried to implement a card reward system. When someone did a great act of kindness, or they did well in school, I would give them a card or an autographed item from my personal collection. To see these young people light up after receiving these rewards were some of the most priceless moments in my life. It was like it was Christmas and they received what they had on the list. I still get choked up thinking of these moments.
So, back to the store owner, why would you try to alienate young people from your shop? Does it come down to a greed issue? A wise man always said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Dealers need to realize because a young person comes into your store, doesn’t mean they can’t afford to be there or committing a crime.
Dealers please start reaching out to our youth, for they are the future of the hobby. When young people frequent your shop, treat them as well as an adult who would make large purchase. Word of mouth advertising will make you or break you in the business world. With today’s information age, one bad review can cost you customers.
In conclusion, we must assure that the young are incorporated into the hobby we all love, for they are our future. The dealers need to give breaks so more youngsters can enjoy card collecting. I’ve witnessed way to much age bias in this hobby. There’s no room for it and must be stopped.
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