Monday, November 12, 2012

Walgreens isn't as lame as I thought

I hold grudges against drugstores.

I grew up during a time when it was pretty much a given that if you ran a drugstore, you were going to offer trading cards in your store for the kiddies. I can't remember walking into a drugstore that did not sell cards for the first 25 years of my life.

That isn't the case anymore. And it pisses me off.

It annoys me so much that when I'm in a drugstore and I notice that it doesn't sell cards, it goes on the mental list, and I make it a priority to never frequent that drugstore again. Emergencies excluded, of course.

There is one drugstore that is prominent where I live that does not offer cards for which I make an exception. It happens to be very close to me and I can't afford to not shop there periodically. But I won't tell you its name because I'm not giving it free publicity because IT DOESN'T SELL CARDS!!!

But for all the rest of you drugstores, either you better hope I'm stranded miles from home with a 104 temperature or you sell cards, or you ain't getting no money from me.

Walgreens has been on the boycott list for some time. I don't buy things there because it's lame. It comes in with your typical chain-store attitude, forces all the mom-and-pop drugstores to struggle or go out of business, and it doesn't even sell CARDS? Lame.

I'm not above giving drugstores second chances. But I've been in several Walgreens and it's been the same everywhere. (Every Walgreens is a clone anyway). Lameness in every aisle. It's just so disappointing. You're ignoring your heritage, Walgreens! And Topps Heritage, too!

So I stopped going there.

But Saturday night I just had to get out of the office. There was a lull at work and nobody was posting anything on the blogs for me to read. Twitter was dead, too (yes, I read blogs and Twitter at work). I thought I'd stop by Rite-Aid and grab a few cards.

The only problem was it was 10 at night. Rite-Aid had wimped out and was closed. "Crap," I thought. "I've got to drive all the way to Walmart?"

I didn't have time to drive to Walmart. But I wanted a snack, and Walgreens was right there. So I gave in. It's all your fault, Rite-Aid.

I felt all my principles disappear as I walked into yet another bright, antiseptic Lamegreens. "At least it's still open," I rationalized.

I got my snack, and on the way to the register, I walked by the toy aisle. My Night Owl senses started tingling. Something made me turn to the right and look to my left. And there they were.

Two lonely Fairfield repacks.

Yeah, I know, Fairfield.

But you gotta start somewhere. And it was so unexpected that I think a tear almost came to my eye. Walgreens! Finally! You're HUMAN. (Well ...)

I waited until I got home for the night to open the package -- yeah, I left the other one on the shelf, it's Fairfield, you know.

I got the usual.

Fairfield likes to do the "bait and switch," feature two nice-looking cards on the top and then stuff a bunch of junk wax in between.

But junk wax doesn't bother me, given my sudden appreciation for '88 and '89 Donruss (don't send any to me!). And as a veteran of these repacks, I know there will always be something in there that I can use -- and I can't say that when I open a 2012 pack.

Besides, if a Bowman Jake Peavy is the best thing available, my expectations aren't all that high anyway.


So I got fun little stuff like this. My most forgotten set -- 1986 Fleer. Cliff Johnson is about ready to club someone who is 8 feet tall.

Just about every 1996 Topps reminds me of all the fantasy baseball team flops I drafted. Yes, Jon Nunnally was one of them.

I know I am the only person on the planet who can still see a 1987 Topps card for the first time. But I just love where the ball is here.

Two of the baddest sluggers at the time. Kevin Mitchell had 40-plus homers the previous year, and Dawson 40-plus homers just two years prior.

There were three of the very weird Emotion cards in the package. This was the best one.

I love 1985 Donruss and there were four of them in the package, plus a checklist. This is definitely a "Future Set To Collect."

Finally, the ultimate reason I buy repacks. For the chance to get a card from 1977 or 1979 or 1982, the three Topps sets from my initial period of collecting that I have yet to complete. Any card from these three sets that I don't have is like the card collector's version of discovering cadmium.

Mr. Cappuzzello was one of the cards I unlocked on one of those Topps Giveaway sites. I never got it shipped, I don't remember why. Probably shipping costs.

And there were a few other cards in there that I need, too.

Overall, a fun time, something I never expected to say after a trip to Walgreens.

It's still not my favorite place to be. I practically want to lay down every time I'm in one. But at least the next time I find myself there, I won't abandon all hope. I'll do what I do for any other drugstore. Conduct a hard-target search for cards.

Now it's up to you, Certain Unnamed Drugstore Closest To Where I Live. Are you gonna start living up to your heritage?

Don't be lame.

I mean Walgreens has them now for crying out loud!


  1. Even Wegman's down here has cards. They also do the bait and switch - '12 Gypsy Queen or '12 Bowman Platinum - prominent enough in front to block '88 Donruss and '07 Upper Deck First edition.

  2. See you gotta love a repack box!

  3. I bought (or rather was bought) a lot of cards in drug stores over the years.

    As my kids reach Little League age I think my outrage will be even greater if the snack bar doesn't sell cards. May stock it myself if I have to as a quasi "donation"

  4. I've found myself frequenting Walgreens a few times a month for this sole purpose. The Walmart near me is pretty slim pickings right now, and I've gotten most of the "new" cards I want in trades, so the 100 cards for 4 bucks is appealing. I'll never need to see a 1987 Topps card again, but I've found some good stuff in there, it's a fun rip.

  5. The only stores in my town that have cards are Wal Mart and Meijer and there is a sporting goods store that has a few repacks. The drug store, yes there's just one Rite Aid, does not carry cards of any kind other than greeting.

    The thing that shocks me more than anything is the presence of a Rockie in a repack. That is one of the main reasons I avoid repacks is because I never find my team. I already have that Galarraga, but I still would have been happy to get it out of a repack.

  6. Yep, it's pretty sad day that finds certain drug chains only able to muster a stinkin' Fairfield repack. But you are 100% spot on. Lame, lame, LAME.

    I remember charming my mother into buying me a good many packs at our local Thrift Drug or CVS back in the '80s and early '90s. Nothing was more exciting! I feel bad for kids today.

    That being said, I've walked past these repacks on several occasions at our area Walgreens and disregarded them. But you have inspired me!

  7. I used to get most of my cards from a CVS as a kid in the 90s. I may have also stopped going to drug stores because they stopped selling cards. I am sort of against pills or over the counter meds also. I prefer the drugs that you can't buy at a Walgreens.

  8. Growing up, the drugstore was the ONLY place I knew of to get cards. We had one just a block from my elementary school on the far north side of Chicago. If you've seen a late 60's-early 70's card on my blog it came from that store. They also had Peanuts Fawcett Crest books. As for the repack I still think UD make some awesome looking cards in their early years.

  9. I've lamented before that down here in the Houston area I can only get cards at Target or Walmart. I never thought to look in drugstores. We don't have Rite Aids here although there is a Walgreens or a CVS on just about every corner in my town.

    You've inspired me to post some results from a Fiarfield repack tomorrow.

  10. Believe it or not, I never really bought cards at drugstores. They were always at small convenience stores and I'd go there after school on my way to bowling (yes, bowling. Gotta love the 70's). Later on I would buy them at grocery stores. Now it's essentially Target and Walmart, although my LCS will have 1500 count boxes of commons for 10 bucks. A '78 Topps Jamie Easterly might not be a hit to them, but it is to me.

  11. My local Walgreens' locations have been selling Fairfield repack boxes (cartons?/packs?) for at least a few years now.

  12. When I was a kid in the 70s there were some of the drug stores and a news stand that carried cards. The news stand carried those Peanuts books that Hackenbush mentioned I still have a couple in poor shape. They also carried comic books, non-sport cards and the Pinnacle "Doctor Who" books, part of my introduction to Doctor Who although at the time I didn't pursue them at that time.

    My Target often has the Fairfield Repacks most often the 4 pack & 100 cards + a bonus pack I have blogged about:

    That reminds me I have one of those 4 pack boxes that has been sitting around for several months and I haven't opened it yet.

  13. When I was a little tyke, you could find baseball cards in grocery stores, liquor stores, convenience stores, some gas station stores, drug stores and any "five and dime". Hell, the feed store had them on the counter. I had maybe a dozen places within biking distance where I could buy cards. Not today.

    I have no idea why no one other than Target/Wal-Mart sells baseball cards now.

  14. Our Walgreens stores just have the little $3.99 hanging packs that don't contain any unopened product. I just have always assumed they're full of hot garbage.

    I'm not above buying repacks (far from it) but at least throw me a bone and put something with some mystery inside instead of what I can only assume is just 97 different Kevin Elster cards.

  15. Just an FYI... I work at a walgreens, and can say that we've had cards since I started there in 07, in the toy aisle. We usually get really big packs for Christmas, too (for $9.99, though that could be geographically based)... So next November, look up with all those toys on overhead shelves!