I was supposed to take at least two days off from this blog so I could travel in order to enjoy some more holiday merriment.
However, I live in lake-effect snow country, which, every year means: "here comes a storm that we didn't know about even 12 hours ago and it's going to dump 3 inches to 3 feet on you depending on your 'locale' and, oh, by the way, if you're driving, you're F'd!" This is the message that travels across the bottom of your TV screen in lake-effect land, except they don't use "F'd," they use the actual word. ... or maybe that's just the vibe I get.
So, we had to cut our merriment in half and I have returned safely to the home nest, and, lucky you, you get an extra blog post out of this affair -- I'm going to tell you how I got scammed over my Christmas vacation. Well, actually, my sister-in-law got scammed, but there's no way I'm telling her that.
My sister-in-law bought a bunch of cards for me from the nearest Target card aisle. These are dismal times for card availability at the local card aisle so just about everything that I received was 2017 Topps flagship and Update product. It's the only baseball cards on shelves anywhere. If I don't stand a chance of finding anything good, my sister-in-law definitely doesn't.
But she gave it a shot by also grabbing one of those Fairfield "autograph edition" hanger boxes.
I normally stay far away from these boxes, because, really what good can come of it? A signed Kris Bryant card? No way that's coming out of that box. This is the card world's version of click bait. But somebody buying it for me is a different animal. Why not? Just give me a moment to brace for my Jeremy Giambi autograph.
If you've ever bought one of these, you know they're a bitch to open. There are two side panels glued to the back of the box and that's the only way to open it unless you stab the center of the box open with your pocket knife like an angry psycho.
But I finally got one of the panels open and was immediately confronted with what appeared to be white wrapping paper. When I pulled the paper off, I realized it was actually two small, plain, white envelopes that were housing the LOOSE cards.
That's right. No sealed packs as advertised. Just 28 loose cards.
Twenty-eight loose PANINI cards, and three stickers.
All right, you probably all know what happened here. I did, too ... pretty much as soon as I saw the white envelopes.
I had been scammed.
There was no autographed card in the box. Someone apparently had purchased this box already, removed the packs and autographed card, inserted the Panini rejects, resealed the box (upon further review I could spot some adhesive on the outside of both panels), returned the cards for a refund, and then a store employee returned the box to the card aisle where it was purchased by my sister-in-law.
I cannot conceive what kind of soul-less, brain-void imbecile one must be to go through all that trouble to get his $19.99 back, reseal a used package and screw someone out of their advertised cards. There needs to be a deserted island created just for people like this.
I was able to hide my disgust from my sister-in-law and it's much better that she doesn't know, but Fairfield needs to fix how they're packaging cards, especially if they're advertising autographs.
Since I am a collector who doesn't care much about autographs, enjoys base cards and history, these cards didn't horrify me.
Although I didn't like the design of Panini's Cooperstown product (cutting off the tops of heads is not a solution to your lack of a license), I do like getting new cards of Home Run Baker and Red Schoendienst.
Sure, I'll take cards of Earl Weaver and Bob Gibson.
The inserts are the best part of the Cooperstown cards. I can't complain about these.
But I'll ignore the Triple Play and Prizm Draft Picks cards that also were discarded in there.
As for the packs that my sister-in-law bought, very little of interest came out of those. The end of 2017 is only two days away after all.
I did get a short-print out of the Update pack, and, best of all, I recognized it right away.
I hate it when I have to show inserts as the most exciting part because in a perfect world the base cards would be the stars of the show. But that's 2017 for ya.
And these? Well when I pull any of these, I feel as scammed as buying someone's returned used product. Topps is trying to convince collectors that these are "new" cards when they're actually repackaged 10-cent items from the '80s with a stamp placed on them. That definitely sounds scammy.
This Fairfield box was my first experience with some other collector's card scam.
As scams go it's not as destructive as most of the ones you hear about in everyday life. But it will sour me on buying some Fairfield products and make me more wary than I already am about advertised autograph products.
Now that I think of it, what I should do is actually tell my sister-in-law what happened. If you knew her, you'd know she would track down the bastard that repackaged those cards in less than a week ... and glue his hand to his face.