Friday, June 13, 2014

Snookered On SP's

I wanted to go to a card show this past weekend, but some car repairs took care of that. I've had intermittent overheating problems over the past month, and I thought just low coolant was the problem, but with the warmer weather it was happening more frequently. It would be fine when I was driving, but the engine would run hot when idling.

I took it to one garage and they could not duplicate the problem. On Saturday, I noticed when pulling into the parking lot at my apartment, that the engine was warmer than it should be. I found a garage that was open on Saturday, so I took it down. Their diagnosis was I needed a new water pump. Water pumps are expensive, so this was not good news. The garage was not able to get a new water pump until Monday, so I could not get it fixed that day. I did not want to bring my car back on Monday, because the garage is on the other side of town and I still would have to get to work.

There is a garage within walking distance from my place of employment. So on Monday, I brought my car to Garage #3. I told them about that two other garages had already looked at it and the previous diagnosis was a bad water pump. The mechanic asked me if I just wanted him to change out the water pump. I told him no, I would like him to make his own diagnosis that if possible, does not involve changing the water pump.

I left the car there and went to work. They called me a little after 10 in the morning and told me they could not get my car to overheat. (Apparently I have a gift.) I told them to put the AC on as the car had started to overheat once with it on and cooled off once I shut it off. I also was doing some research online and found it could possibly be the cooling fan, as the symptoms of a bad cooling fan matched exactly to what was happening to my car. I didn't know how much a cooling fan was, but it sounded like it was less than a water pump. I was praying for the cooling fan.

I got a call later that afternoon and it was the cooling fan, which ended up costing me $357 as opposed to the over $700 that it would have cost for the water pump (not the mention the fact that the problem would not have been solved). I'm not a very trusting person when it comes to taking my car to a garage (I always feel like I'm being screwed, and this inevitably leads to me cursing myself that I should have learned how to work on cars).

So I dodged a financial bullet in that instance, however the story I'm going to tell you now was a between-the-eyes direct hit.

A few weeks ago, I bought one of those $19.99 repack boxes at Wal-Mart. Lately these boxes have provided me with some packs of Gypsy Queen, Archives and other stuff from the past couple of years. This box was full of packs from 2008 and 2009. One of the packs was 2009 Upper Deck SP.

I went to open it and noticed this.

Nice, a pre-opened pack! I love it when someone does all the work for me. Now if I could only get them to organize my cards as well.

So the pack had already been searched. So I knew that any inserts or memorabilia cards were definitely long gone. I was not expecting this though.


Five cards from 1988 Topps.

Snookered, bamboozled, hoodwinked, okey-doked, whatever you want to call it, it all had been played on me. I've had some nefarious attempts to sabotage my collecting enjoyment before, but I merely laughed at this one.

Has anyone else had something similar like this happen to them?


  1. I've heard of blasters being opened so the "hit" could be removed and then resealed. I've never run across one, but I always check to see if the shrink wrap looks "tamper" free.

  2. The pack searchers have made it very difficult for me to buy any cards at Target locally anymore. Even if they don't open the packs, they smash the cards around trying to feel the center of the pack where the inserts are. I guess if you run your thumbnail along the surface of the cards you can feel the bump where the sticker auto is affixed, but in the process you ding the corners, smash the edges, and scrape the foil on the 'worthless' commons. They do it to the rack packs too.

    I had never heard of them actually replacing the cards. That seems like a lot of work. I bought some cards yesterday at Target and found several cards with pack-searching damage. I would think you'd have to feel up a lot of packs of Topps Series 2 in order to find that $5 autograph.

    I shouldn't get so irritated by it, but people who violate the social contract of mutual courtesy and respect really bother me. Maybe it's the Army coming out in me, but no one is so special that they deserve to ruin another person's right to a decent experience, even when it comes to relatively meaningless things like baseball picture cards.

  3. If that was one of those $20 repacks, I would guess that the fine folks at Fairfield who packed the box must have done that. I mean, was the repack box still in its plastic wrap?

    1. I was also wondering about the plastic wrap.

      I opened a pack from one of those before (a sealed one) and one of the packs was partially opened on one end. The cards Inside were all mint but the insert had damage in a few places on the edges and corners that was inexplicable what with the other cards not having the same damage. Soured me on repacks to this day.

  4. I had the same thing.

    Pack of 2010 Series 1, the base cards were still there, but the insert/parallels were gone. At least I didn't get 87s

  5. This is the downside to retail products, they are shelved and restocked by retail employees who do not care and it is easier for them to re-shrink wrap an open box then to do anything else that would require them to pay attention.