Its been a while since I have discussed my personal hatred for everything Beckett, but after seeing a thread on FCB talking about whether or not people still buy it, I feel the need to bring up a few key points. For those of you who read the site on a regular basis, you are familiar with how I feel about Beckett and why I feel that way. If you are a newer reader, welcome to my world. The reality of the situation is that SCU was founded as a response to the constant misdirection that Beckett perpetrates on a regular basis, and I think that the way I feel has become more of a popular mindset over the last few years.
See, it used to be that Beckett was rarely the source of any controversy, but since the beginning of 2008, they have become a relative hobby meme for bad behavior in our midst. That alone should say something about the way they function in this hobby, and personally, it makes me sick the way that people have given them a free pass on other sites because they are “nice people in person.” Whether it’s the loaded box breaks that present products in a false favorable light, the incredible arrogance when presented with questions on their horribly unethical practices, or even the passive pot shots taken at other “non-official” hobby news sources, Beckett has done nothing but bad things to the hobby itself. Certain people like to say that they promote the hobby to the masses and that’s all that matters, but when you promote an unrealistic expectation of what is actually going on, that is where the positive gain stops.
A lot of collectors have come to understand that the values presented in Beckett’s price guide are more of a joke than than the squirrel card from 2007 Topps. However, almost all of those collectors who have the correct view on things are people who have been to a few rodeos, and know the tendencies surrounding card value. It’s the people who don’t really have a good idea that get destroyed by the way initial perceptions turn into negative experiences. Yesterday, a new reader named Jeff emailed me about his recent journey back into the hobby. He was at a mall and decided to check out a local shop because it brought back memories of his childhood. He still had most of his old collection and was shocked to see in Beckett how much the cards were worth. Immediately he wanted to buy a few boxes and get back into the swing of things, but decided to do some research first. What he found was devastating to his original perception of the hobby. After checking eBay and seeing the REAL value of his cards, he remembered why he left the hobby to begin with. He started searching on google to get some further info and stumbled on my site. He was so put off by the unrealistic portrayal of value in Beckett that it actually cost the hobby a returning collector.
Jeff is not a unique case either. His story is one I have heard a ton of times through email via this site. Aside from the inherant conflict of interest the price guide presents thanks to the ad money received via the card companies, it doesn’t reflect any real data pertaining to the actual worth of any card. People may scoff at the fact that people put so much weight on card value, but its an intrinsic part of our collections. Baseball cards wouldn’t be what they are if they werent worth anything. The question becomes, “So, what ARE these worth?” Well, since Beckett wants you to believe that they are the “#1 Authority,” you would expect that they can put out a bi-monthly guide explaining such things. Wrong. Just like with any commercial good, value is not a static enough number to put out even a daily guide. Its why the stock market changes each second, and not each month. Something is only worth what someone else will pay for it, and that is a concept to which Beckett and its readers are completely foreign to. When you also factor in that Beckett accepts free boxes from the card companies, ad money from the card companies, and there is no responsibility or regulatory body to watch over the results of said transactions, the guide becomes one huge conflict of interest. Oh? So you want to pull your ads, well we will just drop your product’s value by 25%. How will that do for your sales? When I first started writing this site and the venom I spewed daily was being picked up by the manufacturers I got a call from a person at one of the companies that really set the tone. “The people at Beckett are fucking retarded, and everyone knows it.” I wanted to get that tattooed on my arm like a tribal band.
So, if everyone who is anyone knows that Beckett doesn’t offer any redeeming value in the guide they put out, why do shop owners continually subject their customers to its hypocrisy? I mean this is a magazine that refuses to cover any of the necessary things that people NEED to know about. Fake patches, fake autos, fake cards? Forget covering that, it will scare people away. Plus, we don’t want to present our ad buyers in a negative light! Give an accurate representation of worth? Forget that too, we want inflated prices so people buy more wax! Go to the failing store and support them by buying our video boxes there instead of getting them free from the company a week early? Scrap that idea, we only open the boxes that have once in a lifetime pulls in them.
This is the reason I cant support anything they do. Its all bull. Every. Last. Word.
What happens when someone brings up questions on their business practices, you ask? Well, most of the time its shrugged off, met with extreme arrogance, or ignored completely. Sometimes the attitude is so piss poor, you get a post like this. Its ridiculous that the most recognizable hobby news source can address criticism in a way like they do. I remember when Beckett wrote that blogs were full of “uneducated ranting” and were “cesspools of misinformation” in their magazine and how that made people feel. Really? So Blogs are the misinformed ones when Beckett has a monthly release of 90+ pages showing 100% accurate pricing? Cmon.
I will be the first to admit that I take my personal vendetta to a level that most people wouldn’t even sniff, I feel as though it is necessary to discuss these problems. When collectors are becoming more of a rare breed because of a huge drop in disposable income, why exacerbate the situation with constant misrepresentation of the actual state of things. Everyone at Beckett wants to sound the “ALL IS WELL!” alarm as much as they can, but when people see the reality of the current situation, the only positive feeling produced is that they are POSITIVE that Beckett is completely disconnected from everything in the hobby.
I remember commenting quite extensively about the relationship Beckett has with Panini, which is even more evident thanks to some recent personnel moves. Its these types of situations that present the actual motives behind a lot of their moves. When you see that shop owners are pushing this agenda on new collectors by referring them to the magazine, you can see what I mean.
The best story I have from the past two and a half years of this site, was a shop owner who stopped carrying Beckett and used the money to buy a cheap laptop to keep on his counter. He put up a sign that explained his no more Beckett decision and that they were free to look their cards up on eBay if they were that concerned with value. Hilarious idea.
Although I realize that not everyone shares my views on Beckett, I think it definitely necessitates discussion on their place in the lexicon of this hobby. Only a magazine like them would create a scam like card grading, sell their own graded cards, and then laugh when people question them about publicity stunts related to said practice. That is Beckett in a nutshell, and I hope that as a community, we begin to move away from everything they represent.