Klein’s Korner: Thank you for complaining! – You know the old line about, “if I had a quarter for all the times I heard ‘my mother threw my cards away,’ I’d be a millionaire“? Well, If I had a dollar for all the times back in the 1990’s that I heard “Beckett sucks” or “Beckett is killing the hobby”, I’d have retired to my own private island about 20 years ago.
And yes, we eventually learned a standard response to those comments: ask if you could specify about why this is true. If the person said, “I don’t have anything in particular,” you could just shrug off those words and move on; but if the person said, “You guys are killing the hobby because you are listing pricing for 1992 Pinnacle Slugfest,” that was always worth a listen.
For those who don’t remember or know: Slugfest was an insert exclusively in retail packs and not available. Of course that scenario created a schism in which some dealers, especially on Sportsnet, said this was a death knell for the hobby. Others, meanwhile, were happily buying and selling those cards because they could make a nice profit by doing so. We could understand the hobby dealers’ complaint as there was little doubt that anything not geared towards store owners was a negative in their eyes. And on the other hand, our job at Beckett was to price cards without making an editorial comment.
We understood this was a hot button issue for many dealers, but as our job was to price cards, that was truly a no brainer. Let’s see, insert cards in an important product from a major manufacturer certainly checks all the boxes for listing. Today, those prices are more reasonable but back in the day they were sky high.
On the other hand, there is also a gratitude to people caring enough to complain about your policies.
I’ve discussed in the past how important the month of Elul is to Jewish people as that is a 30-day period before the 10 days which comprise the High Holy Days. One of the aspects we discussed in our recent Torah Study class was the need for gratitude about everything we’ve been blessed with. While we can’t wait for our actual in-person sessions to return, and we discussed some of the seemingly minor aspects of our group get-togethers we all now miss, we’re still here and we’re still talking about events. For us, it’s a safe space to discuss important topics without devolving into yelling and screaming.
There’s no doubt criticism is difficult; we never like to hear anything negative. (Of course if you are married, please disregard this sentence when it comes to your spouse). You can, however, ignore any critiques from your mother-in-law; and that’s why in 2020 with all the challenges hobby businesses have faced the issues are hard to comprehend. In many ways, the hobby may be stronger than ever as we’ve gone back to happier days to relive our youth or gone out and looked for new boxes at the big box stores to flip or even just to open.
And of course, companies such as PSA received so many items they officially fell 1.5 MILLION cards behind in grading. You have physical distancing issues and a ton of steps between the package arriving and then being returned to the owner. Now, if you actually take a step back and think of all the moving parts involved, any reasonable person would realize they are doing the best they can and give them whatever benefit of the doubt is possible on that level.
So yes, it’s okay to complain about things going on, but it’s not okay to think anyone who fell behind or did not get you product is out to get you. Instead, these are unprecedented times and we need to be understanding. In the 1970’s there was a terrible song by a group called Think titled “Once You Understand”. Now if you don’t want to listen to this song, and I do recommend you avoid listening unless you are willing to say at the conclusion that is five minutes of my life I’ll never get back, I will understand. But if you want to hear bad 1970’s top-40. enjoy this drivel.
Rich’s vast experience and knowledge of the hobby has been well documented through the years. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Klein’s Korner. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.