Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Redemption Report -- Special Edition Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk

So today, as I do every day, I read and re-read twitter posts from within the trading card world to see what's topical, what's hot and what's not. Today I saw a post from our friends at Upper Deck and it made me cringe. It was a post that promoted this link. The post is about upcoming product with redemption cards that are about to expire. EXPIRE! Think about that for a second, please. First, as collectors we are expected to shell out big money for products that MAY or MAY NOT have the cards that are supposed to be on the checklist. That is WRONG in so many ways it is not even funny. Do you buy video games with the premise that it is only 3/4 complete? Do you by a gallon of milk and only get a quart? No. In fact this is about the only industry where such a crappy, unacceptable standard is accepted.

I don't care if a guy/girl doesn't sign. I don't care if he/she returns autos late. I don't care if they are smeared, cut off or horrible signatures. If they aren't ready or not up to standards when the product is packed out, then replace them with something else. Period.

Now, not only has the redemption card become a standard, it has a second tier issue that seems to be ok with collectors too. Now, you might get the card your redemption card is for, or YOU MIGHT NOT! That my friends is nothing more than a bait and switch. A false promise, a cardboard ponzi scheme. Shame on any company that uses them. To give credit where credit is due, some companies have worked diligently to make sure the collector gets something better if their original card never becomes available, but for crying out loud, it should NEVER, EVER HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE! Also right after I wrote a snide comment, Panini America stated that if they have the cards, they'll ship them, if they don't, they will issue a replacement. That's at least an effort, and a step in the right direction.

Are you with me so far? You may or may not get the card(s) solicited on the sell sheet and the checklist. Then to add more fuel to the fire, you may not EVER get the card you were supposed to, and may or may not get something else in return.

Now let's move on to the next phase of the ultimate rip off...

Most redemption cards have expiration dates. Can you believe it? Yes just like the milk in your fridge, the bread in your pantry and the meat in your freezer. I didn't think cardboard would deteriorate much unless you stuck them in your spokes, flipped them, left them in the sun, or ran them over with your car. Once again, I was proven wrong and collectors ACCEPT THIS!

Now we're getting warned when certain products redemption cards expire. Warned! It's like the butcher telling you, if you don't cook up those ribs soon, they are gonna rot and get covered in maggots, or hey eat that cottage cheese quickly or it will get more moldy than it already is. In other words, we've already screwed you by not getting all of the cards on the checklist into this product, but if you buy it after this date you aren't getting squat. Nada, nothing.

I am a grown ass man and I know not to eat moldy bread, spoiled meat and now I know, I won't spend a dime on Upper Deck products that contain any redemption cards. The real problem is that you don't know what's actually in the product and what's a redemption. Sounds like something my friend Paul Lesko should allegedly look into.

To my knowledge, the only company that doesn't EVER have redemption cards is SAGE and they never have, unless it was for an item that was too large to fit into a pack. That I can understand. What I cannot understand is how can it be friggin' legal to say something is included in a product when it is not. I cannot understand how it is legal to put an expiration date on something that is supposed to be part of the product in the first place, and if someone was to purchase it with the intent and hope to find said something, they are wasting their hard-earned money because the time to find it has expired, and they have no shot at all of finding or receiving it.

Wow. Astounding. 

And people wonder why there aren't as many collectors today...



  1. Well said, though I think the way it's "legal" is they have a "subject to change" disclaimer. That's crap, I agree, but it would satisfy the lawyers I guess.

    This is particularly bothersome from the secondary market. Someone could buy a card because, say they are a Jalen Rose collector (like me). Sending a card of equal or greater value - say Richard Hamilton - doesn't help. I don't collect Richard Hamilton. I bought it on eBay because I wanted the Jalen Rose card you said you were gonna provide on that redemption card.

  2. I'm not too hurt by redemption cards -- I understand the challenges of producing cards, dealing with athletes across the globe, etc.

    I can also understand the replacement issue. If some guy decides to be a knob, there's not much you can do to force him to make good on his contract to sign. Companies may have to replace cards occasionally -- VERY occasionally.

    What galls me is expiry dates. I see that Panini has now put on the boxes of Titanium hockey that redemption cards will expire in 18 months. THAT'S IT?!? You only want to give the product 18 months on the shelves before devaluing it?

    Look, when you made the product, you wrote into the cost you are charging consumers the cost of acquiring and producing those autographs. When we buy boxes, we're paying you for those autographs, whether you have them in or not.

    So where the heck do the manufacturers get off then saying they can't afford to let those autographs sit around until someone pulls the card? YOU WERE ALREADY PAID FOR THOSE CARDS WHEN YOU SOLD THE BOXES OUT OF YOUR WAREHOUSES -- IT'S IN YOUR BOTTOM LINE FOR THE PRODUCT!

    Okay, I feel better now.