When the Panini points system was first announced at the industry summit last year, everyone went fucking bananas with excitement. I was not among that group, because like some who can actually think about the situation, I was of the opinion that redemptions were not the problem. It was the task of getting an unfulfilled card replaced that was the problem. Now that we have reached a point where the system is a train wreck, I think its time for a big “I told you so!” moment.
Just for reference, here is what points sell for these days. Remember the price they used to sell for?
Panini thought they could revolutionize the whole situation with a fix that didnt address the real issue, and in the process, made people hate redemptions more than they already do. Again, having redemptions isnt the thing that people SHOULD be pissed about. Sometimes player generated logistics dont allow all cards to be signed in time for a product. That’s fine – as long as the eventually sign, the cards are still as nice as ever. That’s where the true product comes into play. Fixing the actual redemptions is the equivalent of realizing your car is going way too slow, and replacing tires instead of the engine. Its a fool’s way of approaching this problem. Some of my favorite cards in my collection were redemptions at some point, and I was happy to wait.
What Panini fails to realize is that collectors dont like opening packs and not being sure of what they end up with. They like being able to walk away satisfied with spending the money they did. That’s what made redemptions unattractive in the first place – not because they werent sure of the card, but instead of whether they would actually get what was promised to them. That question leads to frustration. To remove the item aspect and replace it with a nebulous point system, makes it even worse. Panini literally wants you to do the work for them, and pay to have it shipped when you do (not kidding). Its funny, because some of the best cards Panini has made would have flopped under this system.
Points cut costs, and that’s why Panini wanted to go that way. It has nothing to do with satisfying collectors, as we have seen that all products that are worth half a damn DONT have points in them. Basically, they dont want to spend the time to produce a card if its not able to be fulfilled, which is understandable. But to not give people the choice of waiting removes all desire from that program. Its like “Here is your card we couldnt be bothered with making for you.”
There is also a lack of understanding the way team and player collectors work as well. A scrub from a good team can still be valuable in some cases, even more so if they turn out to be someone like Austin Davis or Justin Forsett. People like having those things in the bank, even if they dont pan out. Taking that out of people’s hands just makes it all the more disappointing and enfuriating to pull these points cards.
I think one of my followers put it best:
@SCUncensored Takes a special kind of incompetent to make something that people like LESS than redemptions that take months/yrs to fulfill
— Wilson Valdez (@Wilson__Valdez) December 26, 2014
But the above notion isnt the only thing about this that is such a fucking joke, and that is just beyond hilarious. There is literally no support for this program what-so-ever. The inventory on the site is so bad that its hard to even find one thing that is relatively worth saving your points for. It would be one thing if they offered some nicer stuff, but the cards are either A) Overpriced for what they are, B) terrible players, or C) terrible sets that no one would ever want. There is a reason many of the available inventory is on there.
Bottom line, Panini needs to pull their heads out of their collective asses. If they have their way, they will eventually be the only sports card manufacturer with a league license for any of the major sports. From what I have heard, save some relatively powerless individuals, there is no one on the team that really can grasp what it takes to make a quality product or design a good looking trading card. Everyone is so concerned with keeping cost low, that it almost negates any true progress that can be made with any brand based equity.
Its almost paradoxical in nature considering how much they overpaid for each of the exclusives they own, as they are very happy to throw their money around in that fashion without any profit margin consideration. In their opinion, it seems like they want us to be stuck holding the bill while they dine and dash.
If I am Panini, I take every opportunity to start making amends with collectors for the shitty calendar of products that never seem to end.