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The card aisle on the other side of the fence

What would you do if you had that fully stocked Target card aisle that featured the very most up-to-date card product that you've read that other collectors have?

What would you do if you had one of those monthly card shows that you hear about from other places?

What would you do if you had a card shop just down the road, like some lucky people?

What would you do if you could drive easily to a flea market once a week or a month?

I know what I would do.

I'd be at that card aisle every day. I'd have a collection you wouldn't believe because I'm at a card show once a month. I'd be sharing vacation pictures with the card shop owner because I'd be there so often. And I would be able to drive to that flea market blindfolded because I knew the route so well.

But would you? Really?

Or is that just jealousy talking?

Here is what I mean.

A couple of days ago, I read a post on I Love the Smell of Cardboard in the Morning. Tim apparently lives in that North Carolina sweet spot where the second new product is created, it's pumped directly to that area. This wasn't the first time I had read about the latest card issue -- this time, Bowman -- on his blog.

It didn't help matters that he pulled two different Kenta Maeda cards. I probably wouldn't have even left a comment if he didn't. But he did and I saw green, and not the money kind. Arrrrrgh! He got the new cards! He got MY cards!

It probably doesn't matter much in the whole scheme of things. I mean it's Bowman. I don't collect Bowman anyway. But, when you live where I do -- with no card shop, a mediocre card aisle, a card show twice a year if I want to drive the hour-plus, and no idea where I could find a decent flea market, you get a little flustered once in awhile.

And then, not more than two days later, I found out what it was like in one of those glorious places -- in this case, in the card aisle on the other side of the fence. And it's not necessarily greener.

Just yesterday, I traveled to a town about 20 minutes from New York City. Even though it is a relatively small village, it featured things you can't find where I live. For example, book stores. The last book store abandoned ship around here maybe 3 to 4 years ago.

While wandering around a mall there with more restaurants than I have ever seen in one enclosed area, I discovered a Target. I had to check out the card aisle. So I did. It wasn't as impressive as I had imagined in my brain as I walked over there. But it did feature some card items that probably won't be in the card aisle back home for a number of weeks.

I picked up one of those Topps National League team sets in the blister packs, with Clayton Kershaw on the front ... and then put it back.

I picked up a pack of brand, shiny new 2016 Bowman -- me, the guy who doesn't understand Bowman could have been like the second or third blogger to show a pack of Bowman -- and then I put it back.

I just didn't care.

Maybe it was because those products aren't the most exciting. But that's never stopped me before. I think it was more because of all the things that were going on around me at the time. I was so busy with other things and so overstimulated by what was available to me, that suddenly the cards didn't seem that important.

That might be what it's like for a collector with so many other options where they live. It comes down to "what do you feel like doing today" instead of "this is my only chance I got to go NOW."

So that was my glimpse at life on the other side of the fence.

But I still think if there was a monthly card show, I'd be there every damn month.

Oh, you still haven't seen a card have you?

That's from a one-card PWE from Weston at Fantastic Catch.

He said after combing my want lists, this Bowman Chrome prospect card of Alex Verdugo is the only item he found that I needed.

Don't worry, Weston. When Bowman finally does show up here, I'll break down and open a pack. And then you'll see the inevitable 2016 Bowman want list.


Tim B. said…
Sorry NO, I didn't meat to elicit such jealousy...
Billy Kingsley said…
Palisades Mall, I'm guessing. Next time you come through let me know, there's a place here in the Hudson Valley that has early 70s Topps Baseball for cheap, only open on the weekends. All cards the dealer got new and has been in pages for a long time. I know I've seen the 1970, 71 and 72 Topps sets in his binders, and I haven't even really explored them too much. He's got older stuff, back to the 1940s, as well.
Mike Matson said…
I know what you mean, Night Owl.. The closest card shop that carries more than a box of Flagship Topps is in Toronto, an hour and a half away. They have somewhat regular card shows as well, but hockey seems to be the major focus..
WalMart has more football than baseball and more hockey than the rest.. Target abandoned Canada.. I'm in that "sweet" spot of south Central Ontario where sports cards don't sell.. lol
Stubby said…
There are no card shows where I live. Ever. I'd have to drive many hours to get to one and I just don't have it in me. When I lived up north, I went to any card show there was...and watched as they dwindled from large shows every month to small shows a couple of times a year with maybe three or four dealers with nothing vintage to offer. I still went, but it was sad. If we had card shows here, locally, I'd go to every one. I suspect it would last a couple of months before I'd be declaring bankruptcy. So its probably good we don't have them. As for flea markets, I understand them less than you understand Bowman. I have given up buying cards at the Big Box stores and feel better for it. We do have an LCS, though, and I realize how lucky that makes me. I can't afford his vintage but, if I get the urge for some new--or just to talk sports--its there. I think there should be a federal law guaranteeing an LCS within a 20 minute drive of any town or city with a population of at least 1000. Just sayin'.
night owl said…
That's where I was. Thought about looking up card shops, but there was very little time.
I was thinking Palisades as well, although I thought NO lived further up in the state. Being in Bergen County, it's not that far of a ride. If it's any consolation, the Target in Hackensack didn't have any Bowman either. Did buy a pack of GQ, got a Bryant Framed Blue.
Tony L. said…
You think you'd go every month to your local card shows, and maybe you would. The problem I've run into is, well, the card shows tend to have the same sellers from month to month. Even though they get some new stuff in all the time and add it to their boxes for sale, it gets tougher and tougher to find cards at the same local show that you actually need for your collection.

And this includes vintage too -- at least affordable vintage.

Sure, there are random oddballs from time to time that show up, and new one-off vendors too. But, even then, I find my thoughts wandering to taking the four-hour ride to Nashville or Charlotte for a show there just to get some different vendors in my life -- some different dime/quarter boxes to pick, some different vintage sellers, etc.

See -- it's not all nirvana!
Weston DeShon said…
I just opened some 16 Bowman so I hope you put your want list up there soon.;)
Fuji said…
Even though 90% of my card purchases are on either COMC or eBay... it's nice having the option to go to a card show whenever I want... or go to the flea market every weekend... or go to a decent card show a few times each year. As for Target... the selection in my neck of the woods is below average at best.

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