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My Challenge To The Card Companies

Posted by houstoncollector on November 20, 2009

With 2009 almost over, and only a handful of products left to come out (other than basketball and hockey, which I don’t collect), it’s time to look towards 2010. Personally, I have a challenge for Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, and the rest.

1) Innovate: For the past few years, there’s been a lot of Me-too and one-upsmanship going on, with little actual innovation. When Topps came out with DNA relics, Upper Deck had to come out with something better to fire back. The only real innovation that’s come out recently has been the shadow box cards in 2009 SPx football. Most products have looked remarkably similar from year to year, other than the card design itself.

2) Design Better Cards: Set designers have fallen down on the job in the past few years. We started with the explosion of ‘gimmick’ cards, starting with the (presumably accidental) 2006 Topps Alex Gordon and then the upside down rookie cards, Joba Chamberlain with the wrong team mentioned, Kazuo Ishii, Poley Walnuts, and so on. Not only that, base cards are designed, and then that same design is replicated for almost every variation possible. The same applies to insert cards.

If a card is meant to have an autograph or GU piece, or both, then make the version with the AU/GU different than the normal version. Don’t just slap a sticker or swatch on the card wherever it fits. It’s lazy, it makes it look like you just don’t care about your customers, and it’s insulting to us. While I’m at it, if you can’t make a reason for two sets to be different, then don’t bother putting one of them out. If your set is a rehash of last year’s, don’t bother.

3) Stop recycling set designs: Base sets are one thing. It’s perfectly fine to have your base baseball and football sets looking similar. Your other sets, though? No. Not at all. Panini’s bad about that most years. Prestige looks the same in both football and basketball, as does Rookies & Stars. Upper Deck isn’t as bad, especially since their hockey line looks completely different than anything else they’ve put out. This won’t be quite as big an issue in 2010, with Topps not putting out football or basketball, but it’s still going to be an issue if someone doesn’t step up.

4) Stickers: For the love of god, stop using stickers from three or four years ago, just because you have them available. For that matter, stop using stickers period. Most of the time, they look completely stupid (Triple Threads, a number of Panini products), and they don’t last. Not only that, they’re an easy out for someone to make fake cards, and we all know it by now. Redemptions fall into this as well. If an athlete cannot meet his contractual obligations to sign cards (or stickers, if you must) within a reasonable amount of time, then stop paying them money. I realize you can’t sue them for breach of contract. One way around this is to have single-year contracts. Hold these guys responsible for what they do. If they don’t have time during the off-season to sign things, or can’t take a few hours out once in a while, then find someone who can. While we’re at it, hold the athletes to a higher standard on the signatures. CJ, BS, Squiggle McSquiggly …. these don’t cut it as signatures. I’m not your bank, I’m a collector. I want your signature because I prize it, and dammit, I’m worth the time it takes to SIGN the card. If you don’t give a rat’s ass about signing it? Maybe I’ll stop collecting it. And post Youtube videos burning it.

There’s probably more I’m forgetting, but I have surgery today, and I really can’t bring myself to care much more. But dammit, give us a reason to be excited about collecting. Give me a reason to buy packs of wax, instead of buying cards off eBay. Give me a reason to buy a box of 2010 product instead of 2002, or 1998, or 1985.

Act like you give a crap. Please. I’m begging you.

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