I grab my phone and catch up on all that I've missed while I was asleep. I check emails, Facebook, the news, eBay, and then Blowout Cards forums. I spend the next twenty minutes lying in bed, slowly waking up as I read various threads of interest on the forums. I'm specifically looking for talk on 2013 Topps Prime and 2013 Panini Prizm Football which have officially released to the public. Of course, the information I'm seeking isn't just your general information which your average card collector might be seeking. No. I'm looking for specific information regarding the retail versions of the products. Stuff like where the retail versions are starting to hit in the United States, how many cards are in each pack, and how I can find the hits in each pack. Hah, even twenty minutes into my day I'm already doing prep work for future pack searching.
There isn't much information to be found right now on either Prime or Prizm retail. Prime is a Topps brand, and Topps releases its retail at the same time as hobby. Retail Prime should be in stores now, but surprisingly I'm seeing very little talk of it on the forums or many hot packs on eBay. Prizm is a Panini brand and Panini has been holding back the retail versions of its products about two weeks after hobby releases to give the hobby-only collectors an advantage on the re-sell market. There is are no signs on the internet that Prizm Football retail has officially hit the streets yet.
Well, what to do on this wonderful day off? Oh, how about a little pack searching? I've been pretty busy the last week with family commitments and so I haven't been able to get out much. In fact, I've missed out on 2013 Topps Update Baseball because I've been so busy. So this one very rare day off is a welcomed gift, and an opportunity to go out and do a little searching.
I get dressed and plan the day. I decide that I'll start with the closest Target. If they have Prime, then there is a good chance that all the other retail stores in town probably have Prime too and I'll make my rounds. I doubt any Prizm is here yet. But you never know.
It's only a quick seven minute drive to the closest Target. I listen to the radio on my way over. Katy Perry's Roar is on the radio. I think about how the Cincinnati Bengals were considering using that song as the team's intro music until the fans shot down that idea faster than a hijacked jet on its way to the White House. I get a chuckle imagining the ferocious feline Cincinnati Bengals running out onto the field with Katy Perry belting out her song over the PA. That would have been hilarious.
When I arrive at the first Target I take a look around at all the cards in front of me. It's been well over a week since I've been to this Target. A retail box of 2013 Topps Prime sits out on the shelf in front of me. It doesn't look searched. All the packs are stacked neatly, facing up, and not upside down. I quickly count how many packs are in the retail box. There are 25. That's odd. Because there are supposed to be 24 in a retail box. I'm puzzled. Perhaps there was a second retail box and someone bought 23 packs, and then a Target employee consolidated the remaining packs into another new retail box? Or perhaps this is a weird retail box with 25 packs in it? I don't know. It doesn't matter really. I quickly search the box for a hit. Nothing. The box doesn't say anything about a guaranteed autograph or hit per retail box. Oh well. Moving on.
I see that there are some 2013 Topps Update rack packs hanging from the racks. I'm sure those have been searched by now. I decide that I'll search those last. In the mean time, the rack packs of 2013 Topps Prime have caught my attention. I grab a bunch of them off the racks. I am literally just about to get my search on with them when I hear a child's voice off to my left. The child is declaring his desires for some Magic or World of Warcraft cards which are adjacent to the sports cards. A woman's voice responds to the child, telling him that he can't have this or that. I only hear that brief sentence spoken by the woman, and my head jerks to my left. My eyes glance at the child, but immediately go to the woman. I recognized her voice. It's a client of my employer. Holy shit.
It's not every day that I run into someone I know from my professional realm. In fact, it's very rare. Actually, it's never happened ever. Well, there is a first time for everything, right?
I'm very surprised to see this woman here at Target. I know where she lives. She lives a good 20 minute drive from this Target in a small town south of here. There is a newer, bigger, and better Target much closer to her house. It seems very odd to me that she would come to this older Target when there is a much better one only five minutes from where she lives.
In the two seconds it took me to recognize her voice and see her, I quickly turned away from her and left the card aisle. I had to. I didn't want her to see me. She'd definitely recognize me and if our eyes met, I'd have to acknowledge her. I've helped her before. In fact, we're pretty much on a first name basis. I did not want to go through explaining why I wasn't at work today, and what I was doing in the sports card aisle. I walked around Target, mindlessly, sort of lost, carefully but casually peeking around aisles to make sure she wasn't there. What to do?
I didn't want to leave Target. I wanted to pack search! Today is my day off and I was planning on using it to get some quality search time in. I decide to mindlessly wander around Target for about ten minutes waiting, giving her time to possibly leave the store before going back to the cards. So I spend ten minutes looking at food, cleaning supplies, kids toys, car stuff, and then mosey on back to the sports cards. As I walk through the store, I'm still careful, casually peeking around aisles and corners. When I reach the sports cards, I grab a hand basket, stuff it full of all the Prime rack packs, and leave the aisle. I don't want to search the cards in the card aisle. If she was there once before with her grandson, then there is probably a decent chance she might be back. You know how kids are these days, always gravitating towards toys and the things they want. Plus, the cash registers are by the cards so I didn't want to park myself over by the cards and have her see me if she was in line checking out.
I take my hand basket into a secluded aisle towards the back of the store and get my search on. I know I'm taking a risk. I know that any moment, she could randomly come down the aisle and run into me. It's a risk I'm willing to take.
I find two rack packs which might contain something good. I'm 90% sure one has a hit. The other either has a hit or it could just have an extra base card in it. I probably shouldn't risk buying it, but I decide to get both anyways. It's been a while since I've bought some cards. I decide that I might as well treat myself to a few packs.
I make my way back towards the front of the store to the checkout lines. Still no sign of her. Maybe she left. I get into the shortest line I can find, and hope it moves quickly. Thankfully, it does, and I'm out of the store in a few minutes.
In my car, I check out the goods. I start with the rack pack which I wasn't sure about. And I was right. It was nothing. One of the packs just had an extra base card, just like I thought. I should have listened to my gut and not bought that pack. Oh well.
I open up the second rack pack. Now that the packs are free of the outer plastic wrapper, I quickly give each individual pack a quick search. Yup. A hot pack!
2013 Topps Prime Football
Quad Relic /99
I tear into it to find... a Ryan Nassib quad relic! Pretty cool! I'm a bit surprised to find a fairly low print hit (/99) in retail. The odds of a quad relic in retail is 1:2,650! Wow, pretty long odds. Too bad this wasn't a quad combo relic. I guess I shouldn't complain too much though. I'm lucky to find hits nowadays since I'm so busy. I'll take what I can get.
Energized and excited, I know I must continue my search. I decide to hit up the Walmart on the other side of town. I'm already 1/3rd of the way there, so I might as well hit up now rather than another day. I put my car key in the ignition and drive off.
... To Be Continued ...