Monday, March 14, 2011


I recently read about a collector's trip to the local card store and saw pics of the 'successful' hits he landed.

He also explained how he was able to beat some of these 'odds'. It left me sitting on the fence as to what he did would be considered 'box searching' or if he just asked smart questions.

Now, when it comes to pack searching, I am against it. I hate it. I hate people who do it. I feel it's ripping everyone else off by taking all the 'good packs' from a box or in some cases - from the entire store.

Box searching is something a little different. Heck, I don't even know if it exists.

When a case of cards is opened (be it 8 boxes, 10 boxes, 12 boxes - whatever they come in), it generally has a certain number of 'hits'. Hits per box and hits per case. With me so far?

So if a person goes into a store and looks to buy a box from a half full case.....and this is the key....after asking if the case hit has been pulled, if the answer is 'no, the case hit hasn't been pulled - wouldn't that greatly improve your odds of getting the case hit?

Is that cheating? Or is it asking a very clever question....doing your research?

So, it was no surprise when the case hit is revealed shortly into his box break. What great luck......right? Well, there's more.

He then sees a box of cards about half full of packs. Again, he asks if a certain insert has been pulled from the box. 'Nope'. Well, he buys up the packs and sure enough - boom, box hit.

Part of me thinks 'just buy the packs or boxes and get what you get'. Another part of me thinks 'good on you for doing your research and not jumping into the purchase right away...asking questions'.

It's not the same as pack searching in my opinion, but it's like tilting your odds when it comes to the lottery.

Is it wrong? I'm going with no. While it's not pack opening in it's most innocent view, there's a lot more in this hobby that outrages me than a person asking a few questions about the product he's about to buy.

What are your thoughts on 'box searching'? Bad form, or asking timely questions?


  1. I don't think there is anything wrong with asking questions, but I had a shop owner (still in business) tell me he always answers those questions the same way. No. He never says yes even if the case, or box, hit has been pulled because it kills sales. I imagine a lot of shop owners do the same thing.

  2. I don't know too many shop owners who would answer those questions. if they answer 'yes' no one buys the remaining packs/boxes.

  3. When I buy I box I almost never asks unless he has some sort of neat story of a super good hit one of his other customers pulled...

    Bad karma IMO (even though I dont really believe in that) :P

    Other than that, it's usually opposite, he usually asks me if I pulled anything in previous boxes for his own personal record.

    Then again, I think everybody should have their own collecting style so if that's how some people do it, go for it...

    But I never asked when I bought my first two boxes of Score back when they came out and I got a case hit...and then I bought another box from a fresh case and got another I prefer not asking as it usually makes those hits feel even better!

  4. I don't have a problem with it, because you're still trusting the word of the dealer. There's still a risk involved, plus you're taking the remainder of the product. Pack searching is worse, because if successful, you're leaving product for others to go through with no chance of a hit.

  5. I think there is zero wrong with this; it is just being a smart, informed, and savvy consumer.

    There have been numerous times when I've asked the local shop owner if anything good has come out of the box and have based my purchases accordingly. However, I know of some shop owners who won't tell you if the hits have come out of a box yet or not so that dry boxes won't sit around. I find nothing wrong with that either.

    What I would have a problem with is owners opening packs until they got the hits and then combining half-opened boxes with other hitless boxes.

  6. As a buyer, you always want to have the best deal possible. To do so, you get all the informations that are available.

    If you buy a cereal box, you'll read the labels and see if it's worth it, pleasure and healthwise. Oh wait, there's a surprise in it. They are 10 different surprises, and I want a specific one : shiny and rare ! Under the box, there's a way to know which surprise is inside.

    Shall I blindfully buy box-after-box of cereals hoping hoping for the gimmick i want, or shall I take advantage of the information available and make a choice based on facts rather than faith ?

    Information, beeing written, oral or tactile, is a priceless tool. Cheating is opening the cereal box, grabbing the gimmick and putting it back on the shelf.

    In the case of cards, UD, ITG and Panini should put decoys in every pack. Remember Bowman ? The decoys were parallels. Tactile search was voided and the decoys were cool.

    Also, they should suggest to sellers to answer "I dunno" to all questions regarding earlier pulls.

    Buying with knowledge is the smart thing to do.