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Monday, November 5, 2007

Upper Deck's Redemption Redemption

I frequent the Topps and Upper Deck message boards looking for neat card tidbits from people who have the money to open cases upon cases of cards. While we gripe about stupid designs and contrived error cards and lament the death of cardboard stock, the biggest complaint on those boards is easily about redemption cards. They take too long, they don't get the card they want, they do get the card they wanted but it's scratched... lots of complaining about redemption cards. Upper Deck is sick of redemption cards as well and last April they changed their policy toward them to try to get them shipped out faster. We're still waiting on them to return odds of inserts to wrappers so who knows.

I've never had a problem with redemptions. I've gotten maybe 10-20 redemption cards in my collecting career and I've been happy with them most of the time. The only two problems I've had were with an Eddie Belfour Topps stick card and an Upper Deck Legends Mel Blount autograph redemption. I bought the Eddie redemption card on eBay around 2001 or so with the idea that it was for a Belfour stick, not a card with a little bit of a stick on it. That was totally my fault and I'm not sure what I was thinking at the time. I sent it in, waited a while and got back the note that "we could not process your request for this card bla bla bla." Instead of Eddie, I got a hockey auto, a jersey card and a pack of Stadium Club Hockey. Not bad. The Mel Blount was another bonehead move on my part. You can't redeem it if you misplace the thing and don't find it again until 2 years after the expiration date. So in the time I mailed in my first Topps BlackGold set redemption card to now, I've only had 2 bad experiences with redemptions and both were caused by stupidity on my part.

Then again, I'm not the type of collector that would have problems with redemptions. If I pull a high-dollar card I think "wow what a cool card, what a lucky person I am" not "ok, there's another one I need for that set, let's finish opening these cases then I can hit eBay for the rest". For player collectors, high-end insert set collectors and dealers trying to flip the card for a profit, a slow redemption or no redemption for the card they are seeking can be maddening. The ball is certainly in the manufacturer's court on this problem. A little extra time and effort in planning out the autogamer inserts would go a long way to eliminating redemptions. Print out the autograph cards first to get them signed, and have a backup supply of autographed stickers to use. A sticker auto is better than a redemption card for all parties involved. Don't promise a game used card if you don't have the thing in stock. There have been too many half-assed rush jobs lately, especially in my favorite brand. If redemption card must exist, a reorg of the process like UD is attempting is a good start to fixing the problems.

Here's the reason why I'm posting about this instead of doing my 2008 Topps review. Less than 12 hours after being in Wal-Mart at 7:30am looking for pads I was back in Wal-Mart again to resolve the ZOMG we're out of milk crisis of '07. I was sick of Wal-Mart at this point and I decided to go to the other one near me (yes, I have two SuperWal-Marts within about 4 miles of my house) to buy a box of something dammit. Still no Topps U&H, and nothing else that really caught my eye. I was getting some cards no matter what so I grabbed a couple packs of Topps Basketball (got about 8 cards for my set) A couple packs of Goudey (Manny Ramirez SP) and a Pack of Artifacts. I opened up the artifacts and saw that familiar green and silver card:

Woot! a reedemption card. Let's flip this puppy over and see who I got.

Jeter Autograph! All right! That was worth spending half my weekend in a discount store. The card books at $75-$125 in the October Beckett and there's an auction for the Jeter redemption card online for $90 right now. I briefly considered selling the thing but decided against it. A Jeter in hand is worth a bird in the bush or some such thing. I scratched the sucker and after spending a few minutes racking my brain for my forgotten Upper Deck password I sent in the redemption code at about 2am Sunday morning. The card is in stock, so let's see how long it takes to get here. Here's a real life test of UD's new policy. I'll post a scan of the card when (if?) it arrives. The clock is ticking, Upper Deck...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is an awesome pull. I feel your pain on just finding something to open. Sometimes the pickings are slim.