Saturday, December 2, 2023

Why doesn't mine look like that?!?

 Last month my brother and I made a trip down to North Carolina to visit the Winston Cup Museum, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and do some shopping at the Lionel store. Although we did do it in one day last year, we decided it was better to break it up in two days and stop overnight in Virginia. (it's a 12 hour trip one way) While we did that this year, we had some time so we visited the Wal-Mart in Woodstock, Virginia. 

Their Wal-Mart was fully stocked! It went off to the right more that I couldn't get in the photo because of the people checking out whose shopping cart you can see in the right side of the photo. 

I have not seen a retail store this well stocked since...maybe ever? Certainly the 1990s glory days. 

My local Wal-Mart usually has on average 3 blasters. Not three different sets...3 total. No space for hanging packs. it's a disgrace compared to this! The rest of the store was fully stocked and clean, too. Not only that, they restocked between Wednesday on the way down and Sunday morning on the way home. My local Wal-Mart has restocked the NASCAR diecast twice...since the pandemic began. That's not an exaggeration unfortunately. 

Walking through this Wal-Mart was actually fun. I wish it wasn't six hours away. 

Of course, I bought some cards. I was saving money on the way down and nearly broke on the way back after the shopping in Carolina, but I still did OK. 
Unfortunately the current state of cards means the pickings were pretty slim, while there were a lot of sets most of them were not sets I particularly like. 

I got my hands on 2023-24 Upper Deck for the first time..

They upped the price and lowered the total number of cards you get in a blaster, which is a disappointment, but the card design is nice. The bottom border is team specific, which I always like. 

I got a blaster of 2021-22 Ice on the way down and liked it so much I got another on the way back. While the base card above isn't all that spectacular, the parallels really make up for it. 
Orange is nice...
gold is nicer...

but Green is spectacular! Unfortunately the green ones are not the most common, that is Gold, but I still pulled 5 of them, with one pack left to open. (I scan an example of each pack before I open them all, and I have not gotten to that yet even though the trip was now two weeks ago)

I do believe I'll be chasing these parallels on COMC. There are other colors that I didn't get, too. (at least not yet)

Both of the above sets I really like. 

Less liked are Metal Universe...
While it is an improvement over the previous two years which were just mirror foil. Upper Deck really doesn't get the concept of Metal Universe. The 1990s Metal sets were some of my all time favorites, which makes the new version even more disappointing. With that said, I WOULD still buy more from this, the 2022-23 set. I KNOW you can't tell from the scan, but this is Marcus Foligno by the way. These look OK in hand and scan better than I expected. There is also a blue parallel I pulled two of but I have not tried scanning yet. 

Then there's Allure, which is Upper Deck's take on Finest/Prizm. I am not really a fan, these cards are chrome, but they are super slippery, even more so than Prizm, which is hard to believe. You can't stack them, you can't sort them with other cards, you can't store them with other cards, and they are completely made up backgrounds, not real photo, which I don't care for. One blaster is enough for me to spend money on. If I got them as gifts I'd be ok with that, but I won't spend my own money on any more of them. 
My favorite part of the set is the Rainbow insert. A 100 card insert, it's available in 9 different color combination, some of which are extremely rare (two different 1 of 1s). I got three different colors and I'm going to show them all here:
Green and Blue, which is Serially numbered. It's on the back, and I somehow managed to miss that it was numbered both the time I got it, when I wrote it into my paper listing, and again when I wrote it into my Excel listing! I only discovered it when I scanned it. 
Yellow and Green, which is my favorite. My two favorite colors, although I prefer green over yellow. 

and finally red and orange. As an added bonus this is my first card of Phillips, I believe. I can definitely see myself chasing these on COMC as well. 

Because I got these at Wal-Mart, there was a NHL Sheild 2005 parallel in every pack. Different places have different parallels, you could only pull this parallel from blasters sold in Wal-Mart. 

Finally, we have WNBA Prizm. 

shown are a base card and the Prizm parallel. 

I really dislike Prizm. I dislike the fact that this is the ONLY set Panini bothers to produce for the WNBA even more. I think that fact actually prevents me from enjoying these cards.  I actually remember seeing these at my local Wal-Mart, but not buying a blaster because I was waiting for the real set. Not knowing that Panini wouldn't bother to produce a real set. I ended up saving myself three dollars, because this blaster was marked down to $17. Like Allure, I wouldn't turn them down as a gift, but I will not spend any more money on Prizm. I did not yet scan the very generic inserts that are pretty much the same in every Prizm set in every sport every year.

I actually skipped over NBA prizm which they had for sale in the Wal-Mart. It is the first time ever, since I began collecting the NBA, that I skipped getting a set on purpose. Now, I'm not saying I would skip it forever, but money was limited and I had to make choices. I don't like Prizm enough to choose that over a second blaster of Ice.

I DID get a couple hanging packs of Chronicles, which has also been dragged down with Panini's obsession with Prizm technology, but I have not scanned the packs yet so I cannot show what I pulled yet. 

Although I have not scanned them yet, I did get a box of the Star Rookie box set as seen in the bottom of the photo leading off the post. It was down low and I was in too much pain to bend down and pick it out, so my brother grabbed one for me. I ended up pulling an autograph, which is one per case! That hopefully will be shared in an upcoming post...

Maybe it's better this Wal-Mart is 6 hours away from me. Because if I lived closer I would certainly end up spending a lot more money on cards than I do currently...


  1. I like those rainbow cards! That Walmart looks incredible. Glad that was such a good trip for you.

    1. It was awesome. I still need to write the post about the trip.

  2. Panini also released an Origins WNBA set this year:

    I like the Alanna Smith card. Glad you had a good trip.

    1. I saw that but I'm pretty much limited to blasters and it's not a real set- just cutouts of players over computer generated backgrounds. I'd still get them if I could, but meh.

  3. It's a shame our local WalMart is as terrible as it is with the card selection. (And I wouldn't even attempt to look at the one that's on the other side of the river.) As for the WNBA cards, did you get a Maddie Siegrist in that box? If you didn't know, she's a 2019 graduate of OLL HS in Poughkeepsie. I didn't know her or her family, and she was 2 years ahead of my son there (and I don't recall him knowing her) so I doubt I'll collect her cards, but thought you might want to know if you didn't already.

    1. I did not know that! I didn't get any of her yet but I still have one pack left to open. Fingers crossed! The Target in Newburgh doesn't even stock cards. The one in Kingston is good, but it's a haul to get to. If I don't get her card in the last pack I will try and grab a parallel or two on COMC.

    2. Figured you'd be interested in collecting a local person.

  4. I've seen signs of card aisle revival at my local Walmart/Target where the shelves are fully stocked. It never lasts long though. If I go a week later, it's in various degrees of shambles.

    1. Better than mine, at least you have stocked shelves to peruse sometimes.

  5. The shelves of the two closest Walmart's have been well-stocked for as long as I've lived here. Even the boom/flipping craze didn't change that. It's too bad that I don't care about any of that stuff though.

    1. Well, that'd be lucky for you if you were into them. I would still like to collect Hoops, Donruss and Chronicles if I could get them locally.

  6. Such a beautiful shelf display. I haven't seen anything like it in years. Are flippers not a thing in Virginia? Or did you just have incredible timing/luck?

    My local Target is usually half that good, with a lot more non-sports taking over. No $20 blasters anymore (and repacks/discounted older packs are long gone) Can't speak for Wal-Mart, I rarely go there. Might be better but I doubt it.

    2023-24 Upper Deck is a crushing disappointment--particularly the price point, which *might* have made sense if Connor Bedard were in S1. It's just a blatant cash grab, and hockey is not  popular enough for UD to be messing with their product like this. The base card photos are nice, lots of reverse retro uniforms. I pulled two YG's out of a four-pack blaster so that's something. 

    The Ice base are plain compared to past years but the parallels really pop! I want that orange Bratt lol.

    1. I'm not sure. They restocked between the Wednesday night on the way down and the Sunday morning on the way back so it may just really be that good. My local Target does have gaming cards but I am not too interested in those. I miss repacks. I built a large portion of my NBA collection via them and planned to do the same with hockey, and I did a grand total of two before they disappeared. I pulled one YG out of my blaster but I still have a pack to open there too.

  7. I rarely go to my local Walmart... but unless they've changed their store policy, they haven't carried cards in years (got rid of them because of theft). The Target near my house had a few blasters (maybe 5 or 6) over the Thanksgiving break and I'm pretty sure WNBA Prizm was one of them. The good news is they have plenty of blasters online if I ever get the urge to open packs.

    1. I've had bad experiences ordering from Target online. Enough that I decided not to do that anymore. Hadn't ordered cards but still.