Monday, December 20, 2010

Cheating the system

One of the great things about having a hobby is that it is usually devoid of the customary hassles of everyday existence. You rarely run into any of life's "big questions" in card collecting, unless you're the self-analysis type, which by the way, I am.

But I had never encountered a moral test in my hobby until yesterday.

And, unfortunately, when faced with the decision, I took the low road.

I'm a bad, bad man.

Here is the deal.

A little over four months ago, I received some cards in the mail from Chris of Nachos Grande. They included some very cool items. One of the items that he sent was a redemption for a Matt Kemp Allen & Ginter framed autograph card. You see the very redemption card here in this post.

I instantly redeemed the card, and Topps told me that I would receive the Kemp auto by December 18th.

Much to my surprise, it didn't take until December to receive my card. It took two weeks. Here it is:

OK, now, fast-foward to the very recent past, specifically the weekend that just ended.

On Sunday, one day after December 18th, I received an email from Topps. It was a "late notify" email. I'm sure you're all familiar with them by now.

"This email is to inform you that the Topps Company is currently beyond the 15 week processing time allocated for the following redemption card ...
"Our staff is working diligently to process and ship your redemption card as soon as possible.  Please continue to check your Online Redemption account for updates regarding the status of your card.
If you no longer wish to wait for the redemption card, please contact our Consumer Relations team in order to place a substitution request for a card of equal Beckett value."

The card that they were notifying me that was late was none other than the Matt Kemp A&G framed autograph, a card that I had received from them four months ago.

It took me awhile to figure this out. I kept staring at it thinking I was due some OTHER Kemp autograph card. Then I assumed that I didn't receive the Kemp autograph card, because why would Topps be sending me an email otherwise?

But I went and checked, and, sure enough, I have it already.

So, here comes the question:

What would you do?

I know what I did. I told Topps that I would like a substitute card of equal Beckett value.

I know. I know. I'm terrible. What's wrong with me?

I keep telling myself that it's for the good of the blog. It's an experiment to find out what happens when an autograph card that you shouldn't really have falls off the Topps autograph truck, and lands in your hands.

I hope that the experiment ends in me ending up with an A&G autograph, because if it does, I will be offering it up in a contest. I can't let that thing sit in my possession, not with my guilty conscience.

It's possible that I will get a response from Topps in two days that says, "we re-checked and we already sent you that card, dumb-ass. What are you trying to pull?"

Plus, I may have blown my cover already if Topps ever reads this thing and can connect the dots. And if that's the case, well, I had it coming. I guess Topps is never hiring me.

But the question remains:

What would you do?


  1. After 4 months, I wouldn't even remember that I'd gotten the card. So I'd be able to tell Topps to send me the replacement with a clear conscience.

  2. I feel your pain, a chance at another cool card from Topps (probably a Ginter)is hard to pass up. I would probably do the same thing and trade you the Kent.

  3. wow. with that kind of karma due, you'll probably get yadier molina or juan pierre. so i wouldn't get your hopes up.

    that being said, i'd probably do the same thing.

  4. The funny part of the entire scenario is that I doubt you could get Topps to even realize they made a mistake in the first place.

  5. I'd like to think that I'd do the right thing, and tell them that they sent me one already. However, being human, I'd probably do the same thing.

  6. I think it's pretty obvious that you're going to get a Giant of an autograph.

  7. I'd let Topps know that they sent it to me already. But, if they insisted on sending the "replacement" to me I could live with that.

  8. I used to get those all the time even after I got the card I was supposed to get or the replacement...quite a while after actually. I never got anything that was unaccounted for.

    Honestly I didn't know if I had received the card they were talking about because I had so many finest basketball redemptions and murad redemptions, the only thing I could do was go back and count the number of packages I had received.

  9. I get emails from some companies telling me something I ordered has just been shipped out the day after I received the dang thing. The good thing is it is just the way their system operates and I don't get double billed or duplicate shipments.

  10. I wouldn't have done it any differently...

  11. I think Topps has shortchanged enough of us enough times that it's not a big deal. My mother-in-law once ordered a Hulk comforter for my youngest son from Target. They shipped one. Then another. When she called to report they shipped too many, they apologized and shipped one more. When she called again, they shipped another one. Geniuses. I begged her to stop calling.

  12. This happened to another guy on one of the forums I use. He called Topps and told them that he had already reieved his auto card.The woman at Topps told him to keep his card and they would still send out the replacement,so kudos to Topps for being generous.Hope you get a decent card.

  13. Trade the second one to me, fellow Greg. :P

  14. In 1976 I ordered the 1975 Topps complete set. I don't remember if it was from Topps or a vendor. But whoever it was sent me two. I honestly thought as a 10-year-old that I did something wrong and that if I told anyone I'd get in trouble. I kept them both and in 1989 (when cards were peaking) I sold one of them to buy an engagement ring for my wife.