Each year for the last 3 or 4 years I have started a thread in this very forum on this site outlining the often times ridiculous, insane, outlandish, and down right crazy things that customers have said at my shop. There have been some real doozies over the years. Many of these encounters have left me with a look of....... Others have provided us all with hours of entertainment. There have been tall tales of safety deposit boxes filled to the brim with autographed Babe Ruth rookie cards and other rare treasures. There have been many silly questions that have proven that while the customer may always be right, they often times still have no idea what they are talking about. These stories are meant to give everyone a chuckle and even more, a look inside the things that dealers have to go through on a daily basis. For every good solid educated customer that knows sports and sports collectibles, there are 10 that have no idea if a football is pumped or stuffed but who are more than happy to talk to you about everything and anything. Mark Twain once said, "I prefer to remain silent and appear to be a fool, than to open my mouth and remove all doubt". I'll be honest, I don't know anything about how to fly an airplane, so you won't catch me having a conversation about my piloting skills. Still, some of these customers relish the opportunity to educate me about the world of sports collectibles. Luckily, I have learned a lot in my 25 years in the hobby, but I know I still have a lot to learn If you are new to this site and haven't followed the saga, I linked the past threads below. Now its time to sit back and enjoy the latest installment of Things Overheard at the Shop.......2012 edition.
Things Overheard at the Shop.....2009
Things Overheard at the Shop.....2010
Things Overheard at the Shop.....2011
Two weeks ago I relocated my shop to a new mall that was recently renovated and reopened after being empty for the past 7 or 8 years. This place is right on the very busy I-40 corridor between Nashville and Knoxville. The location could not be more perfect. Local traffic studies put thousands of cars per day passing by this area. I already love it. My previous location was out of the way and I had to work non-stop to establish myself and build up a client base. It's hard to believe but I made it work at that location for 10 years !!! I had been ready to make the move to a better spot for years now, it just had to be the right opportunity and the right situation. I got a U-Haul and a buddy to help me and we carefully loaded and unloaded my entire shop inventory all in one day. My new shop looks like a disaster zone behind the counter but the storefront is coming together nicely. The first two weekends at the new location have been awesome. I have already met more knowledgeable sports fans in two weeks there than I did in 10 years at the other place. The 2 locations are only about 11 miles apart but they are like different worlds. Nonetheless, I still have met some folks that will no doubt provide me with lots of material for this thread in the coming months. The first 2 memorable encounters from my first 2 weeks are outlined below. Read at your own risk. Once you start reading, there's no turning back
My very first weekend at my new location came and went without much of the strange and unusual encounters that I had become accustomed to at my previous locale. Sunday evening just before closing time, a guy about my age came in walking with a cane. I greeted him and we exchanged hellos. He seemed like a fairly normal guy. Surely, he wouldn't ruin my perfect game? He wouldn't spoil my shutout this close to end of the business day? I had made it through my grand opening with only positive experiences. No crazy stories or tall tales or ridiculous questions. My high school English teacher had a saying, "If it seems to good to be true, hey baby, it ain't true!" I should have known my streak would come to an end sooner rather than later. The guy looked around and then it began....."Do you have any Michael Jordan cards?" he asked. "I sure do. What type cards are you looking for?" I questioned. "I have a card of his and I'm not sure what it is worth" he continued. "I have never seen another one like it" he affirmed. My mind began racing, oh boy, we are about to go off the tracks, I just know it. "It is the one where he is dunking the ball" he stated with a straight face. There it is folks! I knew it was coming! This guy has the card where Michael Jordan is pictured dunking the basketball. You know Jordan rarely did that, so this MUST be valuable! "I think it is from 1989" he continued. "I would just have to see it and then I could give you an idea of what it might be worth" I replied. "It is put up" he nodded. "I've got it in my safe with my rare Emmitt Smith gold card" he said. "Do you know what that Emmitt card might be worth?" he asked. "It is 14 karat gold" he continued. "It is the one that shows him running with the football" he confirmed. Oh no he didn't! There it is again! I knew it! Emmitt only made a living running the football. Why would he ever be pictured on a trading card doing such a crazy thing? "I would just need to see that one too" I said filled with a familiar feeling of deja vu. The guy poked around for a few more minutes. He may have mumbled some other things but by that time I was tuned out. He shuffled off and I thanked him for coming by. Mostly I was just thankful for his contribution to this thread as the very first entry of 2012 !!!
Last weekend a couple teenagers came in. They were blown away by each and every item they saw. They were filled with the usual questions......"Do you buy cards?", "Are these autographs really signed?", "Is this card $10 or $5 because it has 2 prices on it?" You know the usual stuff One of the kids who had a nice set of Bama Bangs covering half of his face, declared that he loved the game of basketball. Before you know it that had turned into a game of 50 questions, all of which began with, "Do you have any cards of (insert basketball player here) ?" After showing the kid my selection of base, inserts, RCs, and GUs of every player he asked about, he was ready to make a purchase. You see this kid had wasted a good 2 hours of my time and now he was about to reward me with.......$2.00........in dimes and nickels. I could tell from our conversation that he knew very little about basketball and even less about cards but he was determined to spend his $2.00 in change and he was prepared to go ask his mother for as much as another $1.00 if necessary. His sidekick was of the same ilk. Very little knowledge about sports or cards or life in general. He disappeared for a few minutes and returned to ask the question of the day....."Do you have any cards of Mickey Rooney?" Now I was without a shadow of a doubt certain that he had no interest in any Donruss Americana cards so I assumed that he was perhaps looking for another Mickey that some sports fans may have heard of. "You mean Mickey Mantle?" I asked. "I don't know his name. My mom said he was some famous baseball player or something." "I'm sure she meant Mickey Mantle" I affirmed as I showed him a stack of modern Mantle base and inserts. "I'll be right back the kid said" as he disappeared again. He then returned with $1.00 of his own, and be still my heart....he even had paper money! He picked out a Mantle base card and left. He then returned several more times asking each time for a different baseball legend whom his mother had told him about. All in all I made about $8.00 off these 2 kids for a couple hours of aggravation and frustration. The best part is that they both said they would be back every weekend. Maybe I can teach them a thing or two and they may even turn into solid members of our hobby. Who am I kidding, I hate to say it but I miss Packlets already.......