Aren’t You a Little Old for Baseball Cards, Sir?

Posted: June 18, 2013 by Crackin' Wax in General
Tags: , , ,

Some of you might have caught my tweet earlier about going out about town to see if Excell (a distributor that stocks retailers like Target and Wal-Mart with trading card products released by companies like Topps and Upper Deck) had leaked ’13S2 a day early. Since Excell has taken over with product distribution, early retail leaks have been curbed fairly well. As we all know, however, it wouldn’t be all that far-fetched to catch a release hitting shelves before “street.”

Today being an actual full-fledged day off with no Varsity Trading Cards jobs, Crackin’ Wax pimpages or tables to wait, I lined my day up with plenty of chores to keep me busy. A bunch of laundry, a bit of yard work and some light shopping. Whenever I have chore days and shopping to do, I like to consolidate trips. Fill up the tank, go to the post office to pick up Take My Cards SASEs, go to the hardware conglomerate and then off to Target for a few groceries. If you remember, any and ALL stops at Target and/or Wal-Mart include an obligatory stop at the card aisle, even if I was just there.

As per usual, on my way out of the store, I stopped by the card aisle. Today, I noticed that a lady not dressed at all like a Target employee was unloading a shopping cart full of Pokemon-type products onto the card shelves. When I gave the card section a decent glance-over, I noticed that there was no S2 there–but there was an empty spot. I began to walk towards the non-Target lady (I assumed she was with Excell) to see if I could spy any Topps products in her cart–specifically Series 2. Before I could utter a word to her; before I could pose the question of whether she would be stocking baseball cards today, she looked up at me and nailed me with the following nine words:

“Aren’t you a little old for baseball cards, sir?”

I’m the type of guy that likes to respond by delivering sharp, biting barbs (although some of those barbs end up dull and flat). I like to stand up for myself. I don’t take crap from anyone ever–sometimes to a fault. However, for some reason, I decided to suck it up and be the bigger person today. Instead of dishing it right back to her, I decided to respond in a more mature manner–cower behind my laptop and complain about it in semi-anonymity where the non-Target lady will never see.

There are a few things that did go through my head–some of them not so nice. Those things will just stay in my head. What I’m wondering, though, was what was going through her head? I don’t need to justify my purchasing and collecting habits to her. What I buy with my money is my business. What I do with what I buy with my money is also my business. Even further, a lesson in Economics 101: I am a consumer that buys trading cards. You are a trading card shelf stocker. You want me to buy cards so that your company keeps paying you to keep stocking the cards that I buy. As a consumer of the products that you stock, I would appreciate if you would keep your snide judgments to yourself.

My reasons for collecting are my own. Besides, if it’s so hard for her to fathom that a middle-aged man-boy buys trading cards, it might also be too difficult for her to conceive of the possibility that I might be buying them for a child. Maybe they’re for my nephews. Maybe they’re for my own kids (which I don’t have, but she doesn’t know that). Maybe I’m buying them so I can give them away on my blog to other collectors as a way to try to raise money for great charities.

I didn’t tell her any of those things. Instead, I looked back at her, smiled and walked away with my cart. If I were going to buy any cards that day, the Target she was stocking today would have lost a sale. I won’t be made to feel inferior by someone who has never met me because of a baseless stigma that baseball cards are meant solely for kids.

Have you ever run into this sort of public judgment by an employee? If so, what was your response?

The boxes for the 10-box mixer haven’t been shipped yet, but if all of these slots are gone by the time those boxes get here, I will be throwing a jumbo box of Topps 2013 Series 2 into the break FOR FREE! So, let’s get these slots gone! Remember, $5 from each slot will be donated to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Give to a great cause, get some amazing cards and have an awesome time!

  1. WTF says:

    For real bro, contact Excel and report her. Don’t let her treat another collector like that.

  2. Toby J says:

    i agree with my wife…. she said i would have told her your right i will just spend the thousands of dollars i spend every year with your company else where lol

  3. Baseball Dad says:

    I would have said ” At least they are ‘manly’ sportscards and not those silly game cards you’re playing with !” ( I’ll probably hear about that remark !!)

  4. Mark says:

    Great Scott, what a B-word! I’ve never had anyone so brazen as to say something like that to me, but I always assume that question is going through the head of anyone who glances at me ogling the card aisle. I kinda get self-conscious for whatever reason. And, I must admit, I have once before used the “I’m buying these for my son” (Note: I don’t have a son) line with a Target clerk

    What the hell is wrong with me?

  5. Kyle says:

    Wow, that’s amazing. If I were her, and saw you looking, I would keep my mouth shut, because that means there is the possibility of you buying something. Like they say, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it. How old was this person? And were they speaking nicely – as in a joke they wanted you to smile and reply “For my nephew, ma’am!” to? Also, if she was a doll stocker and saw a woman buying a barbie, what would she say?

  6. Kyle says:

    I am also VERY shocked that she said that to someone who she should have respect towards, as ab adult and customer, and that she said that to someone with money, someone that could actually BUY something if they wanted. What I mean by that is people (mostly younger) that go to the card aisle doesn’t really have the choice on what to buy as it is their parent’s money most likely, but when she saw you had the choice to purchase something, if I were her I would try and give you the best possible experience to persuade you to buy something.

  7. Man, and just when I was getting comfortable with buying packs of cards without using other items as “cover”. :-)

    I’ve never had anyone make a comment like that, except when I imagine nearby people thinking it. The best spin I can put on it is that perhaps she thought you might be one of those guys who would go through her displays, feel up the packs, leave a mess and take all the good stuff? Just playing devil’s advocate here.

  8. P-Town Tom says:

    This is a great point and you should have led with this:
    “You are a trading card shelf stocker. You want me to buy cards so that your company keeps paying you to keep stocking the cards that I buy. As a consumer of the products that you stock, I would appreciate if you would keep your snide judgments to yourself.”

    Well-worded, concise, makes a fair point, and it would certainly hit home with individual.

    In the end, I would say you did well to take the high road.

  9. brad says:

    At Toys R Us I cleaned out all their Topps Series 1 this year (was a good time). The lady at the checkout kinda had a quizzical look (I’m 28) so I said I would lie and say they are for some kid or something but they’re for me.. that got a laugh and I went about my day.

  10. tronfnknblow says:

    In addition to sports cards, I also collect Magic cards, Lego and Hot Wheels… so the ‘kids’ section of the store is the main stop for me! I probably get some looks, but I guess I don’t notice anymore. The Hot Wheels have gotten me more questions at the checkout than any of the other stuff, but never anything rude.

  11. vonscards says:

    As someone who keeps his mouth shut a lot more than he should, I want to tell you that I am really impressed by your self control in that situation. I would have been tempted to go double Paul O’Neil in that situation.

  12. Jon says:

    Honestly, you should have told her off. It is a hobby, to be enjoyed by all. Like hobby trains, or comics, or movie memorabilia, there are far more adults buying all kinds of sports collectibles today than there are kids simply because of the high dollars involved. It is a hobby, it is fun whether you’re 8 or 80. Seriously, what is a life without hobbies and interests?

  13. A: “You think KIDS can afford to buy these??”

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