Sunday, November 4, 2012
Today is one of the best days of the year. I cannot overstate that enough, and I think more people need to make more noise about it. It needs to be a holiday -- but then most people are off on this day anyway.
The end of Daylight Savings Time means one, extra, glorious hour to use however you wish. I usually wish to use it sleeping. But at any rate, it doesn't matter how you use it, it's just fantastic that it's THERE. I spend maybe 300 days out of the year wishing I had an extra hour in the day. And today, damn, my wish be true. I've got a 25-hour day. I could not be more pleased.
It's probably my favorite example of the concept of getting something "extra." Who doesn't love "extra"? Getting a little more than what you are accustomed. Getting something more for your money. Sales. Discounts. Freebies. Gifts. Bonuses. Add-Ons. Samples. Bargains. We are conditioned to love "extra."
In fact, our entire hobby is based on "extra." Back in the early days of the hobby, candy manufacturers added picture cards to entice kids to buy their candy or gum. The cards were "extra." A bonus for selecting that company for their candy-purchasing needs.
Eventually, the cards became the primary target of a child's allowance. And the gum became "extra."
And that's how it's been ever since. Cards for sale, but always with the promise of "extra," however you wish to define "extra."
Logo Stickers as "extra."
Puzzle pieces as "extra."
Tricked-out cards as "extra."
Even an entire set can be "extra." The whole concept of Update is "here are some 'extra' cards of players you've already seen before in new uniforms and some players we forgot." Extras to the original set.
Of course, you have to pay for Update cards. There's nothing "freebie" about it.
And that's the catch to "extra" in an adult world. You really don't get something for nothing very often -- not when it's a money-making business that is trying to entice you with "extra."
We're very familiar with the "extra" that card companies throw at us:
Extra MASS confusion.
And extra "huh?"
And then there is this kind of extra, which is the evil side of extra. Adding a suddenly announced new card onto the end of a base set, in the hopes the set-collectors will run out and buy another product to find the "extra" base card.
There are many, many, many more examples of extras that aren't really "extra" in the traditional sense at all. Diamond Giveaway Site exclusive cards. Send-in-your-wrappers cards. Just about every insert card you've ever seen.
Sure, they're extra cards that you didn't expect at one point in time. But you're definitely paying for them.
Free lunches. They ain't free.
We all know that. Although with all of the internet promises of "free this" and "free that," I wonder if all of us really DO know that. The scams keep coming and somehow people keep responding.
Even with "Daylight Losing Day," one of the greatest days ever made, there is a cost. During March, when I am at my busiest, they will announce "Daylight Savings Time," and on a weekend when I'm so frazzled and in desperate need of sleep, they will TAKE AWAY an hour from me, and leave my sleep-deprived body with 23 hours to contemplate the cruelty.
There is almost always a catch to "extra."
But I don't want to leave you on such a downer.
There are areas in our hobby where you can enjoy "extra" without the hidden charges. Some ebay sellers are known to give out freebies. While some are hoping to build repeat customers, others seem to do it with a philanthropic spirit.
The auction site "Listia," which I've written about a few times and continue to enjoy, touts itself as getting items for "free." Technically, they're not exactly free as spending money is sort of necessary to build up the credits that are used to obtain "free" goods.
But I've received a package or two in which a card that I wasn't expecting emerged out of a Listia package.
This one arrived with a small assortment of Ramon Martinez cards the other day. A '94 Donruss gold foil of Greg Vaughn.
Yeah, it's a Brewer, and it's nobody I collect. But it is the definition of "extra" in its purest form.
We card bloggers deal with the cynical version of "extra" all the time, but the much more pleasant version of "extra" is what makes blogging worth it. The extra cards in a trade package that you didn't expect. The out-of-the-blue shipment of cards just because the shipper knows you'll like them.
That's the best kind of "extra."
I'll sleep to that.