A hot tip from reader Joe advised me to be on the lookout for Target loosey Heritage packs. Specifically ones with a barcode that ended in 01849. Apparently these packs all had either a SP, insert or red tint variation when he ripped about a half-dozen of them. Other packs had a barcode ending in 3-something-something-something. I've gotten quite a few looseys with bupkis in them so the promise of a SP was welcome. I am always up for testing out a scientific theory, so I snagged a couple of packs with the 01849 code and did indeed get two SPs. Johnny Cueto and an Alexei Ramirez All-Star. I also got one of the other barcode packs (I really should have saved the wrappers) and pulled a Red tint and a Chrome of Pedro Alvarez. So much for a control group.
I have two theories regarding the Target barcode variant and the proclivity for those packs to provide some sort of non-base card.
1) While Wal-Mart's looseys generally only come in gravity feed boxes, Target often gets gravity feed and individual boxes of product. The two different products have different barcodes and the two got mixed up while cleaning or in consolidation by the distributor. Due to the fact that most Heritage packs have at least one SP or insert in them and the low sample size of our packs, we just got lucky and got an insert in every pack and there is no advantage in the 01849 code packs.
If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know which theory I support.
At any rate, as long as you are not one of those hardliners who believe that anything other than closing your eyes, grabbing randomly in the card aisle and buying whatever happens to fall into the cart is pack searching, it couldn't hurt to check the barcodes and grab a pack or two next time you're at the local Target and you find that THEY STILL DON'T HAVE ANY ALLEN AND GINTER SERIOUSLY WTF. Surprisingly, my three packs completed two pages.
This one here was missing four cards prior to my purchase, including the Braun! I don't think I've ever come close to knocking out a page like that before. Not from only three packs.
Why, yes, I am including Red Tints in my main set. Basically, I don't give a flip anymore about variations. Back in 2004 variations were fun, there were less than a dozen of them and they had old school logos on them that were kind of neat. Now we have green tint variations and red tint variations and blue tint variations and I think maybe purple variations exclusive to Rite-Aid packs in Montana and black border variations but they don't really count because they are a variation on the Chrome set and Jesus H. Christ, we got like 500 variations and some of them are super short prints and eff all this noise. So yeah, tinted cards are in the set. It kind of looks like a '52 Topps background now that I think about it.