The Kmart in my town is closing.
This was a long time coming. Kmarts all over the country have closed or been in disrepair for years. My Kmart, while almost completely empty just about every day, kept itself up and was worth visiting just to get away from the atrocity ... er, mass of humanity at Walmart and sometimes Target.
It had also recently emerged as a baseball card option. So I'm going to miss that, too.
When I saw some of those poor souls displaying signs proclaiming "up to 75% off!" by the side of the very busy road the other day, I knew I had to visit Kmart one last time, if only to see if there were any baseball cards discounted.
As I walked in, I saw several bins containing a variety of unrelated small items. I spied some 2016 Topps sticker books immediately. I rummaged around a bit more in the nearby bin and spotted several 36-card fat packs of 2016 Topps, Series 2. Each one was a buck.
That is too good of a deal to pass up. And that's how someone who had sworn off buying any smoke-filled 2016 Topps more than a year ago, ended up with five fat packs of the stuff. Come on! That's 180 cards for 5 dollars! That's less than 3 cents a card!
I didn't expect to find much in those packs and I was right.
The collation was horrible. In two particular fat packs, I received 28 of the same card. Here is a look at the similarity between the two packs:
Out of those two separate runs of cards there were just eight unique cards. And one of those unique cards I pulled in another pack.
Because there were other doubles, too.
I don't know how well this shows up even if you click on the image, but that's a look at all of the duplicates I pulled.
This is of no surprise to anyone. Collation is terrible and it's Topps' way of making you spend more money in order to complete a set -- you few remaining saps who want to complete sets by buying packs.
Not even the inserts/parallels, which were the rational for me buying even deeply discounted cards from a set that is among my very least favorite flagship sets that Topps has ever issued, were of interest to me. The gold parallels are no longer worth showing and the inserts were pretty boring in 2016 Topps, too.
All of this made me sorry I ever paid full price for any of this. At least I came to my senses pretty early in '16 and shut down the pocket book.
Yup, less than 3 cents a card is just the right amount to pay for this stuff.
But I did get a blender for 30 percent off.
Kmart has been part of my card collecting journey since at least 1982 when they issued that MVP boxed set and oh, how I wanted that thing. Kmart was a force as far as cards went throughout the 1980s. And Kmart was where I first spotted Topps' 2004 All-Time Fan Favorites set when I was first starting to come back to cards.
So long, Big K. It's been fun.