Friday, December 2, 2011

People of Walmart, do as I do

I will never understand how people shop at Walmart. The shopping carts overflowing with merchandise. The people pawing through the trough of discounted DVDs. The sudden stopping in mid-aisle while hunched over the cart with PEOPLE BEHIND YOU.

But the part I don't understand the most falls under the heading of "knowing your surroundings."

"Knowing your surroundings" usually comes up while driving around town. I cannot believe how many people will drive down a street and turn left onto a busy street -- waiting sometimes as long as 10 minutes to be able to turn left -- when they can just drive one street over and let a traffic light speed things along for them.

I don't know, maybe they don't care. Or maybe it's an excuse so they can talk longer on their phone. I know I'm preaching to the choir here. If I ever wanted to get back on Twitter, it'd be just for one minute so I could tweet -- GET OFF YOUR CELL PHONE WHEN YOU'RE DRIVING, YOU'RE GOING TO KILL US ALL!!!!! -- and then I'd terminate my Twitter account again.

But I'm not someone who is always in a hurry. In fact I am endlessly fascinated by how quickly people walk. Have you ever taken a moment just to watch people walk lately? I do not live in New York City. But everyone here between the age of, say, 25 and 50 and in relatively good shape walks like there's a perpetual emergency every time they're outside. Well, maybe not an emergency, or else they'd be running, I guess. But they walk like they think there might be emergency.

This happens until the point they enter a Walmart, and then I don't know what happens -- the store releases shopping gas or something -- because no one seems to be in a hurry to leave the store or even move. It's like they're turning left in their vehicle again. They're steering their cart in all kinds of odd directions. The check-out lines pile up and they stand there for two days without even noticing that the line hasn't moved.

Here is what I do:

I park near the side entrance. These days it's where all the Christmas decorations are stocked. During the summer, you find all your gardening stuff. I walk through that entrance with barely a customer in sight. The checkout person is just hanging out with two other employees. No line.

Then I go into the store, dodge all the customers loopy on shopping gas, find what I need, stare gawk-eyed at the jam-packed checkout lines at the front of the store, dodge all the loopy customers on the way back, check out by the side entrance where I'm the ONLY CUSTOMER, and drive off.

I did this today, as everyone was getting out of work. There was also an annual fundraiser going on at the front of the store -- as well as the usual Salvation Army kettle drive -- but I made it through unscathed (don't worry, I donate stuff). Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure there are customers in that store RIGHT NOW that were there when I was there.

Know your surroundings.

It's so much better than spending THREE HOURS in Walmart.

Now, I know what you're thinking: this blog is about CARDS, man. Wasn't that a Bowman Chrome pack up at the top? Show me some cards! I'm getting queasy!

Never fear.

I did buy a rack pack of Bowman Chrome. It's my first pack of Bowman Chrome this year. It's a card purchase that's very unlike me. But it's been so long since I've shown something current other than Lineage, Update or A&G on this blog, and I thought a pack break of something I habitually detest would be fun.

So let's have fun at the expense of BoChro.

First the pack wrapper again. This is the saddest card wrapper in the industry. Three cards in a baseball pack is the definition of disappointment. You know when you order a drink from a drive-thru and you get home and it's half-filled with ice? Doesn't that piss you off? Well, this should piss you off more. Three cards is an insult. Which is why I'll never buy any more of this stuff and why I am stunned that there were only 2 rack packs left. I know it says "value pack" on the top of the rack pack, but this is only a marginally better value than this 75-dollar pack.

OK, here are the cards. I'm featuring each pack in one scan. Because the cards don't deserve individual scans.

Pack 1

The cards from this pack are as warped as anything out of 2010 Topps Chrome. That's why I can't line them up straight.

Anyway, here is some Mets prospect I don't know even though he played last year in my old hometown. And two cards I probably won't be able to trade.

Pack 2 (yes, we're already at pack 2)

The first two cards will be going in packages to be mailed next week. Byrd will come in handy eventually. So this is the highlight of the rack pack, which tells you all you need to know.

Pack 3

Another White Sox, a catcher I've never heard of who is probably already better than Russell Martin, and my 491st Todd Helton card. And, goody, he's not wearing a cap.

Exclusive green parallels

(Brace for blank looks)

Jake Thompson, Anthony Ranaudo, Tyler Skaggs.

I THINK I've heard of Skaggs. But I could be confusing him with Dave or Ricky.

Now, that rack pack was a flat-out dud, as I knew it would be. The cards don't even stack nicely.

But this is what you do when you're buying cards in Walmart:

Know your surroundings.

If you take a gamble with something like Bowman Chrome, get something that you're going to like, too.

I bought one pack of Allen & Ginter, also, and while I didn't get any base cards I need, I did get this:


Do you know how difficult it is to get mini A&G cards of my team? I can't even arrange trades for them. Plus, this card is a short-print.

Commence happy dance:

Da-da-da ...

da-da-da-da ...

da-da-da-da ...


That is worth everything I witnessed in Walmart.

But I also nabbed a rack pack of Topps Update, you know, just in case the A&G pack was Bowman Chrome-esque.

I ended up with a bunch of middling dudes, including two new Dodgers:

Isn't this like basically the same player? Why did Colletti get both of them?

But the highlight of the pack was this:

Another legend shorty short-print.

The card is very odd. Roger Maris looks like his arm and leg have been swallowed in sparkly quicksand.

At any rate, I'm beginning to swim in sparkly Yankees cards. Drop me a line Yankee fan! I can hook you up!!!

So, to sum up, this what you do at Walmart:

1. Park near the side entrance
2. Grab what you need without losing your soul
3. If you must buy something Bowman-related, buy something else that you know won't disappoint you.
4. Sneak a glance at the poor people growing moss in the main entrance check-out lines.
5. Check out via the side entrance and get the hell out.

Now, if you can get your cards elsewhere without hitting Walmart, that's good, too.

But I needed wiper blades.

I noticed that when I was sitting for 10 minutes behind someone trying to turn left.


  1. I don't have a Walmart anywhere near me anymore, but I remember all the same problems as you mention. But as far as I recall, nobody who goes to Walmart walks there. That might be the difference. How are you supposed to get that brand new 39-piece cookware set for $19.99 home, if you don't have a car? I always tried to use the side entrance when available - either the "garden" side or the auto side sometimes. Everything that's wrong with people ends up at Walmart. Target's usually a little better, but not by much.

  2. How in the world can you turn writing about a trip to Wal Mart into an epic adventure that should be on the shelf next to Homer? Helluva job on that.

    In fairness to Helton...the man is 38 and has not lost a single hair yet (in fact I think he has more than he had at 25). I would never wear a hat either if I had that much hair left.

    BTW, I do need that card along with the Ellis Update if you are willing to part with them.

    word verification: latte...Great now Starbucks has infiltrated Blogger.

  3. I didn't want to drive to Target tonight, so I went to the Walmart nearby. Ay carumba. It was jam packed.

    For whatever reason, the cards are on the shelves associated with checkout line 16. So, I go get the groceries I needed and head back to line 16. Alas, there were 4 folks with full carts in line. Aisle 17? One guy with half a dozen items. I figured I didn't need cards that bad and just took the short line.

    I really shoulda just gone to Target.

  4. Are we venting? I'm in exile in a small town. Today the drivers here were as bad as Chicago, the McDonald's screwed up my wife's coffee order (is it too hard to put cream and sugar in the cup?). The library had a moron talking loud in the front and an older dude blabbering loudly to his older dude friend in the back. And after a pretty cold walk we came back home to find the TV, internet and phone out. On top of that our cell phones wouldn't connect to the cable company's customer service number. They're different companies so I still haven't figured that one out. Anyways, I have a fairly big order on it's way from COMC so I'll have a bunch of card posts in the next few weeks. Everyone have a nice evening now, won't you.

  5. I am another one who likes to use the side entrance at Wal Mart. Bummer of a Bowman pack. So far I have been real good about sticking to my vow to buy vintage cards only (except complete Topps sets each year) that I made last year. I don't do as many purchases, but I haven't been disappointed yet.

  6. Do you want to part with that Anthony Ronaldo Atomic Refractor. I know they are not called Atomic Refractors anymore but I still cal them that.

  7. If I'm picking up just a few things, I've found the tire entrance extremely helpful. It closes at 8 though so you have to check the time. It's all the way in the back corner or our store so it usually requires a longer walk inside the store, but I more than make up for that with parking 10 feet from the door. The tire guys can check you out with anything as well so I avoid the hassle of having to wait in line forever because out of the 40 registers, 3 are open and everyone is crammed into them.

  8. I like the Maris! My Dodgers inventory is nill right now, so I'll keep it mind if I pull anything cool in the near future.

  9. Ha! I took the kid to school, picked up a co-worker and carpooled into the office, had a relaxing day at work where there weren't any stressful crises occurring, set up some Christmas decorations including a miniature town, had an excellent lunch of garlic knots and new york style pizza, picked up some beer on the way home (no traffic because we worked the afternoon shift) and drank Guinness and watched Eastbound and Down and now I'm listening to Boards of Canada, drinking more beer, blogging, and later tonight I will open up a package I got from you, maybe even video it and at some point draw a pony.


    Life. It is good.

  10. LOL - LOVE the happy dance! PS - My wife love love loves walmart. I used to buy cards from them, but decided to stop. However, I did one time pull a purple refractor Strasburg from a retail pack ... oh yeah, that was from walmart.

  11. They are all rusing into wal-mart! I will say this - we went to times square with my wife's parents last week on Black Friday(they were in for Thanksgiving, we went to a show, didn't really think through how problematic that would be) - and it was the same way. People. Just. Stop. Wherevery they feel like it. Thousands of people walking behind them? No matter.

    Glad you pulled a card of the true 2011 NL MVP.