Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When an LCS Pisses You Off, or Bargain Bins of Spite

Most local card shops I've been to are fantastic. There's a nice one in my hometown of Alma, Michigan, Cardboard Addiction, that's survived for decades because it cares about its customers, even if they mostly want Magic and Pokemon cards. There are two fine local card stores in Kalamazoo, where I live now, that have boxes of fairly priced vintage, and I can joke around with the guys that work there. One of the workers at Fanfare even met Joe Strummer once, so that ratchets that store up to a whole 'nother level.

But there's a LCS in Lansing, Michigan that I can't stand. The workers are bros, too cool for cards, and I've even heard them chatting about how they don't care about cards or appreciate collecting. Their singles are way over-priced--which is common for a mall store, and you can probably guess what mall chain I'm talking about. Last time I was in there, they had dozens or hundreds of this year's Prime Nine redemption cards in a box, and they wanted fifty cents a piece for them. I guess that's fine, but I wonder what Topps thinks about it. Should they be profiting off these cards that are meant to be redeemed? One of the LCSs in Kalamazoo gives these away after the redemption expires when you buy a pack. That sounds more honest to me.

Anyway, these guys in Lansing pissed me off, so when I found some dime boxes in the back, I was searching with discomfort, perturbed, with a mission to find some deals. I was on a mission to spite these guys by finding steals of good deals, and I think I did pretty good.

If they knew anything about cards, I imagine this Johan rookie, the Buehrle rookies, and the Vogelsong would be in their fancy mall glass cases for $159.99 a piece. But I snatched them up for a dime, thinking, Screw you, guys. Really, I might be the asshole for snatching these with spite rather than gratitude, but that's how I felt in that store.

They also had a ton of vintage that was drastically varied in being overpriced and being a bargain, but most of it was unmarked, and when I asked them what they wanted for a 1951 Bowman Granny Hamner, they went straight to their smart phones and told me they were selling on eBay for $20 or more, so they wanted $15. Not for beat-up vintage, bros. Instead, I snatched up this for 50 cents.

I also found the only other real deal in their vintage boxes for $3.99

OK, and now I'm starting to feel like a douchebag for all my griping, because this is an awesome card of Mr. Murder Irvin, hall-of-famer, Nergro League legend, first black player for the Giants. There's so much history in this card, and I love it. But, hell, I can still be pissed at the bros. The price was marked on this card; they had nothing to do with it, didn't look it up on their eBay smart phone app while having no idea who this Monte guy is. So, I'll hold onto my resentment for the LCS that doesn't even deserve this sacred initialism. More of a McDonald's of the LCSs, and I just snuck a few fillet mignons out the back for the price of a McDouble.

I know we have a lot of love for our LCSs, the good ones. But have you encountered some shops like this, that just leave you with a bad taste in your mouth? Have you hunted bargain bins with rage?


  1. Personally, I've only come across one card shop in my life that had a "bargain box". The owners were great people, my dad and I got to know them a little more after we kept walking into their store. (Sadly, that shop closed down a while ago.)

    I've never come across a shop run by jerks. There are definitely a huge number of "bros", as you call them, at every card show I go to. I know the type. But they never have dime boxes, so I could care less.

    Most dime box vendors are nice, gracious people, in my experience. So, no, I've never gone through a bargain bin with "rage". Judging from what you found, though, I might have to try it sometime.

    The Rose and Santana are definite steals, and I absolutely love that Vogelsong rookie you found. He's always been one of my favorites, even during his Pirates days. I'm jealous of that Irvin as well!

  2. You met Joe Strummer at a LCS? That's one of the most awesome things I've ever heard!!! What was he doing there?

    Only having been in search of bargain bins since returning to the hobby in the past year, the best LCS I've been to was the only one that had "bargain bins", and even then, all the cards were 50 cents.

  3. That's clown pricing, bro.

  4. My LCS is run by some guy who looks like a gnome and is always watching Fox News Channel. Overall, he's a pretty nice guy, good sense of humor, but I don't know him well enough to size up his hobby honesty. Most of the stuff in there is kinda over-priced, and the only discount boxes are of the $.50 variety. I mostly utilize it for buying supplies.

    Good job takin' it to the bros, though. LOL