Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Search...High...Search Low......part 1.

So a lot of feedback has come in regarding those darn pack searchers. I spent nearly 4 years of my career visiting mass retail stores, 3-5 different ones each day, 4 days a week. Which is equal to a crap load of stores, so I have a pretty good idea of our customer. Each time I ran into one of these pack searchers it was a very stereotypical conversation.

Me: "How is it going?"

Pack Searcher (PS): "Good, you have anything new?" Eyeing that big cardboard box I have with me, very similar to my dogs when I put food in their dish and make them wait.

Me: "Don't know till I open it."

PS: "I always leave this nice and neat. I always put the packs back" PS thinking that justifies his actions. I will get into the signals, technics, etc in part 2.

Me: "Well I am sure the store personnel appreciate that." Even though I am thinking yeah right, otherwise you would end up searching the same packs over and over because your intellectual ability is very limited. Not to mention have you showered today?

PS: "Do you know when "X" product is coming out?" PS thinking his knowledge of the industry will get him a even better chance at the contents of the box I have with me.

Me: "Don't know, I just put out what comes in." As I purposely stall opening the box and all of a sudden need to go to the backroom or what really gets them going is when you start with the TCG's (pokemon, yugioh, etc).

PS: "Do you know when your going to be putting out the sports cards that I see in there?" PS is now wanting to get back to searching the Internet and finding out how much his Malcomy Kelly Relic he searched out in the previous store.

Me: "I dont know"
Sorry, just wanted to relive some memories. So do pack searchers piss me off? YES, but not because they are doing it. They piss me off because it removes a future collector from our hobby. Can you imagine if MOM bought a pack and gave it to her child and there was a relic of a player in there? Wow that would be his or her newest favorite player. Thus adding a new person to the hobby. I want to grow the industry not shrink it.

Don't think that PS'rs are only in Retail also. Believe it or not their are alot of Hobby PS'rs also. The saddest part is that they are usually the owner also. Now I know alot of people are not this way but there are some.

The industry will always have PS'rs until we ultimately decide that there will be no single packs sold. That is not going to happen. Also for the manufacturers to engineer a way to place dummy cards in every pack that would mean the cost will be absorbed somewhere else....usually through less content. That is not going to work either.

The PS'rs are such a small percent look at this retail its typically 1 hit per 24 packs. So if we look at 2008 UD NFL Heroes if the PS'rs searched every box that would be roughly 5000 stores between Walmart and Target. Well if no one bought packs because they were searched that means the one hit was purchased from every box resulting in 5000 packs sold. Between both retailers there were probably 125,000 - 200,000 single packs sold on that product. Meaning PS'rs counted for at the most anywhere from 1-4% of the sales.

Final note...our service people are not allowed to purchase packs from our retailers. Any instance results in immediate termination. This eliminates the opportunity for our employees to cherry pick or pack search prior to being on sale.


  1. Yeah I know of a hobby shop, BallMart in Addison, IL, that the owner uses a digital scale and micrometer to search pack before putting them out. He is sol bold to then have all the newest product's "hits" on sale singally in his display case.

  2. The simple way to get people to stop searching packs is to stop putting in artificially scarce cards that are supposedly more valuable than other cards in the pack.

    Nobody searches Topps Heritage packs...

  3. Um, lots of people search Topps Heritage.