Why Target is suspending the sale of trading cards is not very moving
Chances are, you’ve already seen the news: Target has announced that MLB, NBA, NFL and Pokemon trading card suspensions in store from May 14, Citing an outside incident at a Wisconsin store as a tipping point. The fight started in the parking lot a gun was sold, although not used.
That’s hell. Fights and guns because of baseball cards.
It’s crazy. Complete and utter madness.
It’s not really moving. Actually, the camel saying was just straw that broke his back. The hobby – which mainly involves retailers like Target and Walmart – has been building for almost a year in the wake of such a parking incident. I was actually shocked to hear that there was only one gun, not a real shot.
I’ve written several times over the last year about the explosion of the commercial card industry, where people were recovering from nostalgia for the coronavirus pandemic when they were forced to stay home. It’s been a good thing for most people. People went looking for things that made them happy and for many of us baseball and basketball and football and hockey tickets broke that itch. People found their old binders and boxes full of cards, then went out in search of a real way to feed their interest in the real-time hobby.
Add a couple of stimulus controls to this mix of turns – almost everyone got it, even though not everyone lost a job or lost a job – and went to the hobby of newly found money in unprecedented waves. Prices went up for almost everything, from the old ticket market to the new and new press cards.
Let’s bring it back to Target (and to Walmart and other vendors, though we’ll use Target as an example, because the gun happened where it happened). People didn’t spend much time realizing that they could buy these new cards in some type of package (blaster box, hanger box, fat packs or whatever) and immediately resell them on eBay for good profits.
The “flippers,” as they are called, went into a Target, bought all the shelf packages, then took them out and made money selling them on eBay. The shelves were much more empty than full, or even half full. So people started asking – or guessing on their own – when the shelves were equipped. The outlets appeared when the store opened, cleaned the shelves and did it again.
So Target stores began to limit themselves to three items per customer and per trip. This didn’t have much of an impact, as it meant “three items per trip” that you could buy three items for $ 10 each, go to the car and leave those packages and then go in and buy three more. And you can repeat that process until an employee notices and protests.
Then most of the Target dropped that number to one purchase per person and some moved everything behind customer service. This slowed the tide a bit, but not completely.
Here’s the thing: there was still money to be made. Lots of money, in some cases. If you join Target earlier this week, you may encounter Topps Heritage and Topps Open Day Day cards. Maybe if you were really lucky, Donruss had a baseball pack or two.
But do you find the Panini PRIZM basketball package or the Select football package? Damn unicorny.
Let’s look at a real-life example: The Panini PRIZM fat pack, which has a total of 15 cards, sells for $ 9.99 at Target. Do you know why they sell on eBay? At least $ 40. Lots of PRIZM with two packs of fat sell regularly for $ 100 or more.
Think about it. – Well, maybe – you can spend $ 10 on a product, get out of the car, take a picture with your phone and post the product on eBay and you can immediately make a $ 30 profit. Immediately. There is nothing on Target that offers anything close to that opportunity to make money. Now, PRIZM basketball is an extreme example.
Select fat packs are on sale at Target for $ 10 Selling on eBay for $ 25. He sells 30-card Donruss basketball grease for $ 5 regularly sells for $ 20ish on eBay. The 2021 Bowman blaster box sells for $ 25 They’re selling for $ 45.
There is money to be made. It would not be surprising to see the pursuit of anger and violence.
You get the picture. Look, “flipers” take a lot of hobbies into the hobby, and they deserve a big chunk of what they send, but it’s hard to blame someone for making that kind of money for very little, other than setting off an alarm. a little earlier than normal and making the trip to Target. And just taking business card sales online won’t solve the problem of leaving the product out of the hands of the flip, but I think Target knows it.
Cost issues aren’t just with Target and other vendors. Prices are everywhere. When the 2020 Topps base Series 1 came out last year, you could buy a box of 24-pack hobbies for $ 70 or so. Boxes 1 of the 2021 basic series hit the market for at least $ 120. Part of that was an increase in the cost of the seller, but mostly a reflection of what people were willing to pay.
Same with Panini PRIZM hobby boxes. When the 2018-19 hobby boxes came out, they were selling for $ 300 or so. These had rookies from Luka Doncic, but prices went up in the secondary market. The 2019-20 PRIZM set had Zion Williamson, and the hobby boxes started at least $ 1,000 north. This year? Panini’s PRIZM hobby boxes were selling for $ 2,000, and they didn’t last long.
So what happens next? That’s a great question. The market cannot continue to grow at the same pace as last year. Is the bubble bust coming? Or maybe a slow decline, similar to a market correction? Will events like the Wisconsin Target disgust you enough to stop people from buying tickets? That is doubtful. Will retailers figure out how to store products on shelves? It also feels questionable. Will Topps and Panini come in and invent their products to make sure they are available for children with pocket bonuses and not for adults with stimulus controls on hand?
I would like to give a good answer to these questions.