My disastrous 2010 Topps Chrome box break got me thinking. What are you actually buying when you slap your hard earned cash down on the counter to purchase a box of trading cards?
I’m not a prospector. I don’t purchase cases of product to bust and then flip on eBay. I’ve got a limited budget and therefore have to be selective when it comes to what I buy. I have fun opening oddball sets just as much as I do anything else. So, what happens when you open a box of cards and it becomes a chore instead of a pleasure? Does the manufacturer owe you anything more than a replacement for all of the damaged cards?
No, the card companies don’t owe a collector anything more than the cards promised to come in the box. That being said, it would be nice for them to acknowledge that this is a hobby, one that can be pretty expensive, and people collect cards as a way to relax and enjoy themselves. If people give up on this hobby then that’s it for these companies, but often times it doesn’t seem like card manufacturers think that way.
When I sent back over half of a box of Topps Chrome to Topps for replacement, I included a note explaining that this is supposed to be a fun hobby for me, I was robbed of the fun of opening packs and asked if there was any way that they could make that up to me. I didn’t care what it would have been. It could have been half of a hobby box, a blaster, a handful of random Topps packs or a single redemption pack. I just would have liked for them to do something.
What did I get back? Replacement cards for all of the damaged cards that I sent. They’re all still as curved as the ones that I sent back so apparently Topps doesn’t deem that as a defect. It must be a feature of 2010 Topps Chrome. I also got the typical bullshit form letter from Topps explaining what the procedure is that I just went through to get these cards replaced. No acknowledgement of the letter that I sent to them and nothing from them to say, “Sorry you had such a bad experience with a Topps product. Please let us make it up to you.” So much for their renewed commitment to customer service. It’s all just PR smoke screen to cover their asses on some cheaply made sets and burned collectors who paid way too much money on pre-sells amidst the Strasburg hype.
The only thing that made this whole process slightly better than just tossing all of the cards in dumpster was the fact that Topps is out of base versions of the Strasburg card that I sent back and so I got a refractor instead. They also sent me a purple Tyler Colvin. If I had gotten a purple Strasburg then this might have been worth my time, money and frustration.
Since this set is so ridiculously cheap these days, I purchased a complete set on eBay. I now have a ton of extras for this set so if anyone is looking to complete it, drop me a line and I can help you out. Also, if you won my last contest and don’t have this year’s Chrome cards of your favorite team/player then let me know and I’ll throw what I’ve got into your prize pile.