Today I took my daughter shopping. Actually, I had to run some errands, so she came along. I did no shopping for her. She liked it and had fun.
Our first stop was to Centerfield Collectibles in the next town over. They've been there for nine years. They'll close down at the end of this month. I've never been there and I wish I had before today. But if I'd gone before today I wouldn't have realized the discounts they were passing on to their customers.
I walked in, pleasantries were exchanged with the young clerk behind the counter. Typical stuff.
Nice weather for a change. Nice shop. What are you looking for? Hershiser and vintage. Oh, we don't have much of those. Okay, I'll look around, then. Okay.
It was basically a run-on sentence with the both of us speaking.
They had a large bin in the center of the store. Starting Lineup figures. Half of sticker price. I picked up a 1990 Orel Hershiser for $3. A 1990 Rickey Henderson for $2.
I looked through the 'star' cards. No Hershiser. I figured as much. My daughter was on the floor playing with her Dora the Explorer Old Maid cards. She was happy. The clerk asked if he could give her some WNBA cards. She came away with three. Actually, she put them on the floor and walked on them. I picked them up, dusted them off and put them in my shirt pocket.
The clerk was kind enough to offer some crayons and coloring books. That kept her happy for a few minutes while I looked through their 1960's Topps notebooks.
"Daddy, come here. Please color with me." "In a moment, dear. I'm almost done." "Okay." We don't carry on run-on sentences.
I found a few Earl Wilson cards, including two 1967 League Leaders cards. I also picked out a very rough looking Sandy Koufax card. It was a 1966, but it had been folded in half, vertically, and into thirds horizontally. It was rough. But it was Koufax. Then I found a Brooks Robinson card. The front was rather clean, but the back had about 20 % of it ripped away. Could have been tape, I don't know. I also selected a 1966 League Leaders card with Koufax on it.
My daughter was trying to decide whether to color in the princess coloring book or the dinosaur coloring book.
A family arrived so I wanted to finish the purchase to let the clerk deal with them and I could be a good dad and not walk out of the store and forget her. (note: I jest there. She is very dear to me and I'd never leave her.)
The first thing the clerk does is pull out the latest B*****t and start perusing.
Clerk: Koufax - $20.
Me: What? Look at the condition.
Clerk: Yeah, but it is a $100 card.
Me: Not like that it isn't. Not even close. I was thinking maybe $5.
Clerk: I can go $18.
Me: We'll set it aside for now.
Clerk (checking B*****t again): Robinson... I can let you have it for about $20.
Me: What? Half the back is ripped off.
Clerk: Yeah. What about $18?
Me: We'll put it with the Koufax.
Clerk: You know, if the owner was here he wouldn't have have been as generous.
Clerk: These other ones, the '66 League Leaders - $2. Fifty cents each on the others.
Me (not wanting to argue more) : Okay, I'm good with that.
We finish up and I go and color a princess with my daughter and then head out for lunch at Dairy Queen. As I drive up, I secretly hope that they'll be running a baseball card promotion. "Buy a Blizzard, get a relic card for free." They weren't.
A trip to the mall to get my wife's engagement ring cleaned and inspected. A stop in a racing hat/tee shirt/jacket/collectible store on the way out. Nothing that interested me. Some scale cars, but I don't collect them. A few Peyton Manning football cards. Not for $2 each. They did have a nice set of University of Tennessee football cards, all autographed. $139. Probably a very good price, but I don't want to own them, nor did I have the money in my budget. (side note: visiting the jewelry store just before Valentine's Day can leave one's wallet lighter. I'm living proof. My wife will be happy.)
Then to Target to pick up some bird seed. I head directly to the sports cards section by the checkout registers. 2009 Topps is the only thing that is new. Another guy is looking at the Mayo boxes. We talk about the problems with the preproduction checklist and the actual product. He used to be a card dealer in South Carolina. He's out the business. He collects only quarterbacks now. He thinks that the manufacturers are charging too much for cards, especially since they "don't give us d*** crap." I nodded, fingering a pack of the new Topps. We talked about buying cards online, blogging, stuff like that. He told me that he sent a 3x5 card to Donruss with his name and address to get a free card as is often advertised. He figured what can go wrong with 42 cents? He said that the week before the Superbowl he received a Rothlisberger jersey card. He was pretty happy.
I put the pack in my cart and went off looking for bird seed. I kept telling myself that I didn't need to buy the pack, that I could use the $2 for more cards at sportlots.com. I ended up buying them. Pack break for another post. Sorry.
So what happened today? I picked up some Earl Wilsons, 2 Starting Lineups, some League Leader cards, a pack of 2009 Topps. I learned that another card store is closing. I learned that gold is expensive. I learned that some clerks just don't get it (grading-wise). I learned that I love my daughter even more than I did yesterday.
The last one is the best.