Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What Is Your Take On The Subject?

Today I just want to ask a question, what is considered pack searching?

In the last few weeks there has been some hub-bub about Topps using a certain UPC on Heritage loose packs sold in Target. From what I have seen there really is no big deal about what you pull from these “special” packs with most being just a not-so-short print SP or low-end insert. Topps has really taken the parallel and insert baton from Panini and run with it and you pull an insert, parallel or gimmick card out of almost every Topps pack nowadays.

But apparently some people consider checking a UPC to be pack searching. Really? Based on this logic anything you do to a pack besides picking it up and purchasing it is considered pack searching. You pick a certain pack position and you are pack searching, you go for the thick pack you are pack searching, you pick any pack besides the top one on the stack and you are pack searching.

Over the years I have varied my pack selection technique including grabbing a pack that is thicker or thinner than the rest, picking packs based on the pack location or on its aura or energy, letting someone else pick my packs and even letting other people open my packs. I have had very little success but for some reason I still tend to pick packs out this way and I have never considered myself to be a pack searcher and honestly if I knew that a company was marking “hits” with a different UPC or marking the pack differently somehow I would look for these markings, it is just the logical thing to do and it is what most people would do. Think about it this way, if cards came in a clear cello wrap with the hits on the top wouldn’t you stick to the packs that you could see the hits you wanted? Would you consider this cheating? Nope.

When someone says “Pack Searcher” I think of the person sitting in the aisle with a stack of packs in their hands bending each pack, tossing the damaged packs back in to the box, or the ones who will weigh each pack with a digital scale looking for the weight variation. I might consider the person who feels up the pack more than a prom date, moving the individual cards to try and find the relic in the center, to be a pack searcher. Basically if you do damage to the pack or use specialized tools or skills to find the special packs you are pack searcher. Years ago I knew someone who did what he called “Wal-Mart Pack Searching”; he would grab packs of cards and put them in his child’s lap in the cart. Together they would open each pack and take the cards they wanted, putting them all in to one pack then leave the rest of the packs somewhere on a shelf and buy just the packs with the cards and inserts they wanted. This was almost 20 years ago before relics and autographs were inserted but still the same premise as pack searching today but add in a criminal element.

 Weigh in on the subject, what is your take on pack searchers?


  1. I see this a lot and to me, real pack searching is someone fanning out cards, bending packs or using a fingernail which WILL damage cards. I've opened retail packs that had cards with a line down one side of the top card and I would almost guarantee that was from a fingernail. I've also seen people with little scales at Wal-mart AND Target. That's pack searching. Picking a pack based on a code on the pack or because you can see that Strasburg or whoever is on the outside of the pack isn't what I would consider packsearching. Opening packs and taking the cards you want, whether you buy the "loaded" pack or not is stealing. You're taking money out of the stores pocket by tearing open packs and making those impossible to sale. That's not packsearching, that's a criminal offense.

  2. In regards to the collector I knew who would open packs at Wal-mart, I was floored when he told me. He was a toy and comic book dealer and always had the best and newest cards so I asked him how he came across the cards, knowing that he did not have a lot of money, and he told me like it was expected standard procedure known to everyone.

    What really bothered me, besides the obvious theft, was that he did it with his children. That was the last time I allowed him in to my store (I was a retail manager at the time).

  3. Opening product and picking and choosing cards to make your own pack is theft. That would be like opening bags of MnMs and taking only the green ones.

    As for other things, if you're handling a pack in ways that women don't want their breasts handled, you'r probably pack searching. Seriously, doing anything that damages the cards just messes things up for everyone else. If you're weighing or fondling packs, you're pack searching. But it's not pack searching if you can see in the pack, or it's obvious - thicker packs don't guarantee a relic, anyway. The whole UPC thing seems worthless, since most packs contain "something" of value anyway, usually an SP or insert.

    But face it, pack searchers are scum. They're self-centered douches who only think about themselves. It's an easy way to make an extra buck. The only way to stop them is to keep the packs behind the counter with the cigarettes.