Tuesday, January 11, 2011
In the dead of winter, in the dead of night
I was at Walmart at 2 a.m. the other day.
This is not out of the ordinary for me. I work nights, and sometimes the greatest part of my job is the fact that I can shop when no one else is around. This comes in handy particularly at Walmart, which appears to be inhabited by exactly 1,846 customers at every hour of every day.
The shocking thing to me is not the number, but how much each customer is purchasing. Their carts are perpetually loaded, in every check-out line, every time I walk in there. Picture little old me with a few toiletries and a rack pack of cards. Now picture someone so large that driving an SUV is a necessity. And they are buying twice their weight.
I hate entering Walmart between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. (sometimes you'll get lucky and there is a little window of unimpeded shopping around 5:30 p.m. Sometimes).
But a Walmart at 2 a.m. is glorious. Wide aisles devoid of screaming kids and cursing adults. No inane cell phone conversations to hear. No loud teenagers to ignore. Just the humming and banging of cleaning machines and employees loading stock. It is eerie, intoxicating, and best of all, the store is 100 percent MINE.
Only one register is open, but that's all you need. I know the guy who runs the register on a first-name basis. He looks like Borat. But he's much crankier. He has to stop what he's doing -- usually unloading a pallet of anvils or something -- to ring up my pathetic purchase. He doesn't crack a smile the entire time. There was a particularly cute young lady in front of me this time. Didn't crack a smile with her either.
But I don't care about employee-customer interaction. The best part is I'm in and out of that line in 90 seconds or less. I didn't think that was constitutionally possible in Walmart.
Leave it to cards to muck the whole thing up.
Unfortunately, the one part of my 2 a.m. visit to Walmart that remains the same is my mental approach in the card aisle.
There wasn't anything very interesting there, which I knew would happen going in -- it's the reason I haven't bought many new cards since early fall. Yet, my brain is obsessed with buying something NEW and DIFFERENT. There are card sets that have items that I collect -- for example More Tales of the Game in Topps Update -- but I won't touch them because it's not NEW.
And that is how I ended up with an $8.99 rack pack of Bowman Platinum.
I've been tempted to buy this stuff for months. Even after I saw what it looked like on the blogs I still wanted to buy it. I don't collect football cards, so the concept of Bowman Platinum was new to me. When I bought the pack and opened it at home, I was unimpressed.
Foil-board-ish stuff. Yuck. Why do they keep doing this? It should have died with Upper Deck.
I've read reports that these cards are "sharp," and "slick." I have no idea why they'd say that. I've also read people apologizing because the cards scan crappily and look better in person. No they don't. They look as crappily as they scan.
I've never been into the "silver" cards. I think it's a concept that should have stayed in the 1990s. It's another one of those cards that you have to tilt for best results. But unlike chrome it looks cheap.
I did get a Dodger (prospect). Yay!
Out of the three packs the rack pack, I pulled two doubles, including Fat Elvis here. Boo!
These cards, however, actually are sharp. They're the three exclusive refractors I pulled out of my rack pack.
All in all, this set is best avoided, just like everything that's sitting there on the shelves waiting for the 2011 cards to show up.
I don't collect USA team members, I don't collect prospects, I don't have much interest in Bowman period. So buying this pack was not a smooth move on my part.
Shopping at 2 a.m., however, is pure brilliance.