A Hobby Festivus Airing of Grievances: 2016 Edition

frank-costanza-1In the immortal words of Frank Costanza, I got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it. 2016 has had its hobby ups and downs but Festivus isnt about anything more than removing distracting tinsel, high strength to weight ratios, and my favorite part – airing of grievances. Its a time where you gather the family around and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you during the previous year.

Panini NFL exclusive is a huge disappointment

Holy shit, Panini got fucking lucky that the Dallas Cowboys rookie class can cure cancer, heal the sick and clothe the poor. Without Zeke and Dak, this year would be as bad as everyone thought it would be, with Goff sitting until Fisher’s ineptitude forced his hand, and Wentz starting hot but cooling off considerably. Panini’s new product lines are so fucking terrible that I dont even have any more adjectives that can describe the hobby equivalent of a cat coughing up a hairball it just licked from its ass. Product after product was terrible, save a handful of surprises. Coming soon we have the part of the calendar when everything costs 800 dollars a box, so it can only get better! Its clear the NFL made the move because Panini offered a laughable amount of minimum guarantees that no company would ever turn down. I cant wait to see what happens next year when the class looks to be worse than 2013.

Panini’s photo choices are a huge disappointment

I can only believe that Panini’s design team has never really collected cards, because there is no other logical explanation for why Panini continually chooses photos for their cards that feature players posing like they are nude in front of a mirror. You would expect that they would use the opportunity at the rookie premiere to get the top guys in uniform out on the field and running around, but leave it to Panini to actually build a structure on the field where they can do their vogue glamour shots out of the sun. To Panini, nothing looks better than a player acting like they are smashing a football in their bare hands, and for the rest of us, its nothing but a fucking joke.

Building products for group breaker formats is a huge disappointment

Im not saying that products provided any insane amount of value before, which is kind of how the group break phenomenon started. That doesnt give the card companies a pass from creating high quality products that wont be sold as slots. Its rare that a box will consistently deliver an ROI that gives a person any shot of making back 10% of their money, and its even less so with super premium releases. Topps took the opportunity this year to build the hobby’s first 25k per box product, and the top market for those boxes? Group breakers. Panini’s football release this week is so group break specific that the rest of the population is literally risking a 180 dollar loss every time they rip a box at a time. This is becoming a terrible trend, and its not going to do much to grow the hobby. The industry is not sustainable as it is, but catering to a group of collectors that literally are unwilling to invest in product without going halfsies kind of defeats the purpose of growing the business.

Panini Replay Basketball is a huge disappointment

I dont collect basketball, but I literally cant look away from this car accident in progress. Multiple casualties, and its been a long time since I have seen a card company release a product that was so bad, they needed to release a second product to give to the people who opened the first one. There have been production mistakes that have caused giveaway programs to be needed across every company, but this was a legitimate product offering that Panini tried to slip through the five hole. There was such a huge public outcry over the disgusting results people were seeing, that they are going to release a second round of Prizm that will be distributed in an effort to smooth over this train wreck. Its hilarious how terrible they are for the image of the industry, and this is a company that owns more licenses than any of the big three. Not a good state of affairs. Someone needs to pin their shoulders to the floor so we can end this holiday.

The lack of creativity in new products is a huge disappointment

Every week, new products come out. Every week, its the same goddamn shit over and over again. Mike Trout had like 5000 autographs this year, and very few of them showed that creative spark that would necessitate a whole product being built. Dak Prescott will have over 15000 autographs during the course of his rookie year, and every single one of them is a variation on a theme. Even worse, stickers still remain the favored way of delivering autograph content, although the shift to on card is more pronounced with Topps and its products. The issue is that I dont understand how the industry will create more interest in cards if every product that is released is just some version of another product already released. There are only so many cards that can be stomached before someone realizes this Tom Brady auto is just like every other Tom Brady auto, and decides its better to just walk away from the hobby. No wonder things have shrunk so significantly over the last 10-15 years. We’re all bored out of our collective fucking minds.

The slow crawl of product development in digital is a huge disappointment

Somewhere in upwards of 5 companies produce some sort of digital based trading cards. Since 2013, not much has really been created, despite some major advancements in technology. Panini digital is such a sorry state of affairs that they cant even figure out how to make their apps worth playing in the smallest possible way. Topps has taken a golden goose and made it so uninteresting that people are starting to leave digital all together. Product functionality in the apps hasnt changed since 2014, and even with a new build, the once promising medium seems like it needs a major facelift to remain a long term profitable venture for any of the companies involved.

The amount of scams that still remain in the hobby is a huge disappointment

I cant believe that some of this shit still exists with how many people have google searches at their disposal. Fake patches, counterfeit autographs and all sorts of other ways to take advantage of people still are a big money maker for scammers on the internet. Even more concerning is that people still place huge value in high grade cards, which is a giant scam in its own right. Its only getting worse, especially as more people find out how easy it is to take money off the ignorant people who refuse to educate themselves. The 2007 rookie premiere autographs from Topps still sell regularly on eBay, despite the first three pages on google being stacked with content telling people to stay away.

The amount of products that still consider single color relics a hit is a huge disappointment

I cannot believe that Panini can sell a box for as much as they do, when 3 of the hits are single color relics that no one gives a shit about. How is that still worth advertising on the side of the box? How does Panini get away with text that says “4 hits including at least 1 autograph!” Its misleading as shit, as its clear that these junk cards are barely worth the cardboard they are printed on these days.

The fact that Panini Rewards still exists is a huge disappointment

I dont care what the card replaces, its worse than a redemption. Collectors literally cringe at pulling points cards, and I have literally seen people throw them across the shop in anger. I have seen boxes of 500 dollar packs have points in them, and Panini should be ashamed of themselves. Its a complete fucking slap in the face that these are added to premium products, and that’s just the beginning. It doesnt matter that they still inexplicably charge for shipping, and have so few cards that are actually worth using the points on. I havent even begun to explore the false expansion of a print run due to points, something that still concerns me as it did when this was first announced. Bottom line, I could pull a 10000 point card, but if Im not sitting there hitting refresh when they load new cards into the system, im stuck with a choice from 100 different Devin Smith autos.

As we all know with Festivus, there has to be a better way!

4 thoughts on “A Hobby Festivus Airing of Grievances: 2016 Edition

  1. I particularly like Panini’s low end stuff but 2015-16 Replay Basketball may have been a game changer, everywhere I look, people are ripping these cards where a $230 box yields a James Jones autograph from 4 years ago as its best card.

    I thought I saw speculation that Panini was trying to rid its inventory and that Topps might be getting back into Basketball.

  2. This is all true…… Now could you do a follow up about the complete lack of customer service? I asked for replacements for 3 year old cards from Panini, 18 months ago. I got a response at that point saying I’d receive them within 4-8 weks. Since then I have sent numerous Panini reps friendly emails………..not even a response. Called numerous times and left messages………no response. An ok, we acknowledge your existence would be nice, considering the thousands of dollars that I have dumped into this company in the past. I guess they are to busy updating their stupid Panini propaganda threads, showing off the 5,000,000 sticker autos, that have absolutely no appeal.

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