Its been a while since I have covered the retail versus hobby discussion, and I want to revisit things. This is mainly because its been brought to the forefront of my mind by some guy who complained about his latest retail purchase he bought for hits. For those of you who don’t know, I hate retail packs and blasters. They are a complete waste of money and should never be bought unless they meet one of the exceptions. When I say complete waste of money, I mean you should go to a strip club and buy a 20 dollar lap dance instead of purchasing a blaster or, god forbid, retail loose packs.
Just to show you what I mean, ill give you an idea of what you are up against when you buy retail. First, if you buy loose packs, you are dealing with every person who has already gone through the packs for the 2 dollar jersey cards. In fact, for most of the retail products, there are actually special crap jersey sets they create just to give the products some content. If you are lucky to hit anything, you have just beaten incredible odds. Instead of putting your money in a pile, dousing it in lighter fluid and torching it, go buy something else at Target. I mean, there are a lot of wonderful things to choose from instead of cards. Even if you are just there to buy diapers and condoms, stay as far away as possible.
For Blasters over loose packs, its not much different, even though most of them are now guaranteeing hits per box. At 20 bucks a piece, you will end up with a bunch of base, numbered inserts, and a 2 dollar jersey card. If you like the base, that’s one thing, but if you are looking for hits, you buy a blaster, and then you complain, you deserve to be thrown into a bath of sun warmed pig urine. Its like buying a Kia Spectra and complaining you didn’t get a Caddy. God damn.
For the record, if you say that you buy retail because there isnt a shop around, you are an impatient little brat. Go to blowout or ebay, and wait three fucking days before you go throw your money away. For 80% of the country, blowout can get you a box in 3 days, and then you have a nice hobby box to break with actual chances at hitting something good.
There are exceptions, no doubt, to the rule, but they are very limited. Of course, if you like collecting sets and you don’t care about hits, fine, buy the retail stuff. I hate base cards, I don’t set collect, and I think it’s a waste of money to buy pack after pack when you can buy the entire thing with short prints for half the cost and a fourth of the opportunity cost. That’s another post all together, though, however it’s a reason people can buy retail without feeling bad.
Another exception is anything with Chrome in the title. Blasters of Topps or Bowman Chrome will usually provide the same cards from hobby packs, but the auto odds are much more against you. This should only be a last resort, as the hobby packs are still better. However, for football they do have other parallels that are worth some, thus making Chrome Retail not TOO bad. Ginter cards usually fall under this as well, but most people use this exception to build the set cheaper than box breaking.
That’s about all the exceptions there are. Because the hobby has moved FAR away from valuing memorabilia cards, the guaranteed hit has lost its luster. Don’t let that guarantee fool you, the product is not in anyway superior to hobby. Also, manufacturers have to pay more for retail packaging and anti theft, so for what you pay for, you usually get astronomical odds, less cards, and more susceptibility to searchers.
EDIT: okay, now that I am going over my past posts and seeing resposes from people who buy retail on the boards, I think its still better to buy hobby even if you only collect the base. Most of the time, the hobby packs contain more cards, more chances at SPs, and better bang for your buck. Therefore, if you are going to pay 20 bucks for 7 retail packs of 3-4 cards you are going to get 21 cards, some of which may be numbered inserts. Hobby, for twenty bucks, you can get 5 packs of 6-10 cards each and end up with 30-50 cards with some being the same numbered inserts, autos, and all the other promised hobby exclusives. Please someone tell me why anyone would buy retail knowing that every pack will give you LESS for your money. Retail sucks.