This post about Revco box sets over at Squeezeplay cards got me all nostalgic. Revco was one of the places I first bought all my cards from when I was a kid. In the summer I'd hang out at my grandparents place a lot and I'd tag along when they went on their errands. They went to a small grocery store, Matthew's Supermarket, to get meat. Matthews had the wax box of Topps for 35 cents each, which was a pain when you wanted three packs and only had a dollar. Grandma would usually chip in the extra dime though. For regular shopping they went to Winn Dixie, which had the huge display of '83 Donruss rack packs. Next door was Revco, the home of Fleer cello packs and the ubiquitous box sets. Eckerds was also good for a few packs here and there. Occasionally we'd go to the mall which had McCrory's who had the huge spread of rack packs, wax and oddball stuff like stickers and albums. the real deal though was Atlanta Sports Cards over on Green's Corners shopping center. That was the place to get old cards. They had a bunch of cases of star cards but I always liked the bricks of old 50's, 60's and 70's cards. Fifty to a hundred old ratty no name cards for just a couple of bucks, awesome! A huge chunk of my vintage Topps collection came out of those packs. These are all the places I became a collector.
Revco is now CVS. The Winn Dixie shopping center we used to go to went downhill and it's now a discount store. I think McCrory's filed for bankrupcy in the early 90's. Matthew's is looooong gone. It's now a Napa auto parts store. Atlanta Sports Cards relocated to a Kroger shopping center on Pleasant Hill in Gwinnett, but it moved/disappeared again and I don't know if it's still around. I still had Eckerd though as a link to my card collecting past, well, until they all turned into Rite-Aids a couple months ago. So now all the places that I bought cards from as a kid are gone.
That's how things go. Things change and you have to deal with it. I'm actually in as good a card collecting place as I have ever been in my life now. The drug and grocery stores have been replaced by a Super Target and two, yes, TWO Wal-Marts within a 5 mile radius of my house. There's a flea market a little way down the road that has one full time dealer who has been selling cards since the 50's, and two others who show up once or twice a month. Down the interstate is a great hobby store, Champion Sports Cards, and there's another one up a couple exits in Kennesaw. There's two more down in Marietta too. I read a lot of comments on how a lot of collectors don't have a single hobby shop anywhere near them, and the one they do have sucks, so I'm pretty dang lucky. Plus I can find stuff that I could never find in shops on the internet.
So do I wish that I could still get packs of 15 cards for 35 cents at the grocery store? Sure. Do I wish I could buy bricks of vintage cards at the hobby shop? Sure. So I wish the hobby was a little more about collecting and less about gambling for the big hit? Yeah. The state of the hobby could be a lot better, but overall it's in a decent place right now. There are definitely problems, but it's not all that bad really. You just have to have some fun and not take things so seriously.