Help a reader out

30 11 2008

Reader Dan writes: 

I purchased a box of 2007 Topps Heritage in August 2008 fom a local hobby shop. The sealed and untampered box had 6 packs missing. On top of my dealer trying to get me a credit from his wholesaler, I called Topps Customer Service and was instructed to send in the UPC from the box and original purchase receipt. I did as instructed. My rejection letter from Topps Customer Service starts out as “The product you sent in for replacement is now considered obsolete by this plant. We can replace defective products that have been manufactured during the current year, but we do not carry any stock for products made in prior years.” It then goes on to “suggest” that I must check any purchase I make as soon as possible so they can replace any defects for me while they have a supply.

I opened this box in front of my local hobby shop owner, who is a Topps HTA dealer. He and I both inspected the box for tampering. There was none. This is clearly a manufacturing shortage, a 25% shortage on an expensive box of cards. On top of them denying my request for replacement, they didn’t even offer a substitute, or even ask how they might be able to fix their error in manufacturing. Their answer was insufficient, unprofessional, and patronizing. I have been buying Topps cards since 1966, and this is perhaps the last straw in a decaying and declining industry that is seeing more and more unprofessional behavior and interference by MLB.

Other than writing back to Customer Service with my edgy response to their lousy QA/QC and Customer Service, how do I make them feel so embarrassed that they not only correct their manufacturing error in total for me, but feel obligated to apologize for their pathetic replacement response and try and make this up to me in even more terms than a simple pack replacement? I am really bummed to see such a sure thing company sink this low in Customer Satisfaction. The BBB is my next step, but I am not sure they even care about that.

Well, Dan, I’d love to see your collection if you’ve been buying since 1966. Imagine pulling a 66 Mantle, or a 1968 Ryan, or even a 68 Topps Bench (I am a Reds fan, after all) from a wax pack. The mind reels…

Sadly, there’s not much I can think to do for you in your situation (which is why I’m throwing it open to readers who may have missed your comment). I know Topps only replaces products within a year of their release, and it sounds like this is the roadblock you’ve hit.

I’d call back customer service and tell them what happened. Ask to speak with who you spoke with the first time, too. Tell them what you were told was false and now you are out packing and shipping charges because of it. If they can’t do anything, ask for supervisors and work your way up until someone solves your problem. They may not replace what’s missing, but they may give you something to try and make up for your trouble.

One other suggestion:  Don’t go into this looking for more than what’s missing.  Sure, it’s tempting, but if you start to be greedy, they’ll think that you are just hunting for free stuff rather than someone with a legitimate complaint.  That’s the reason (I was told indirectly) that Topps introduced this new replacement policy program:  people looking for free things.  So keep that in mind as you make your calls.

Sorry I don’t have more for you, Dan. Hopefully one of the readers here will.

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Biography of a (hockey) Season for 08/09

30 11 2008

Upper Deck is once again releasing the Biography of a Season hockey set at their “Diamond Dealer” locations. Much like the Topps Trading Card History release for baseball, Biography of a Season chronicles events that happen from the end of the 2007/08 and throughout the 2008/09 season. The cards are released one a week and given free to those who purchase Upper Deck hockey products from Upper Deck “Diamond Dealers.”

My nearest Diamond Dealer is 49.86 miles away, so I won’t be driving every week to pick up a new card, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
Check out here for the images and here to find out how far you’d have to drive to get them.





2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Hobby box break Packs 23 & 24

29 11 2008

Sorry there hasn’t been as much commentary here as usual on this one.  After the blaster battle and two jumbos on top of this box, I’m actually getting a little burned out on the whole thing.  My preliminary numbers show me about 75 cards or so away from the set.  Hopefully I can knock those off in these last 16 packs.

Disclaimer: Base cards may be depicted as Gold or Black bordered parallels. I just needed the image.

Pack 23

UH67 Jamey Carroll
UH253 Josh Johnson
Uh130 Mike Cameron
UH93 Chris Coste

08costeuh

Coste actually sits on my fantasy squad right now along with his teammate Carlos Ruiz. Both were throw ins as part of trades I made this year. Coste actually hit pretty well, but would see his numbers decline the more regularly he played. Ruiz ended up a starter when I cut an ailing Brian Schneider for bench space. You can see that C is not a strong point for the team.

UH183 Greg Reynolds
UH243 Joe Mather
UH24 Tony Armas Jr
UH219 Damaso Marte
UH264 David Ortiz All Star
FC-18 Rutherford B. and Lucy Hayes

hayesfcuh
Checklist

Lucy’s the one who started the Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. Rutherford signed a bill that allowed women to argue before the Supreme Court. I tried to pick the nicest things I could find about them both.

Pack 24
UH296 Gabe Gross
UH284 Curtis Thigpen
UH98 Denny Bautista
UH262 Brian Wilson All Star
UH125 John Smoltz Highlight (3000 K’s)
UH232 Geovany Soto All Star

sotouhas

Here’s one reason why I’m so weak at catcher. In ’06, Soto was in the database but a free agent. I put him on a watch list, but another team added him before I did. I learned my lesson, though, and was a bit more aggressive this year.

UH17 Russ Martin All Star
UH41 Joe Mauer All Star
UH53 Justin Duchscherer All Star
UH75 Matt Treanor Gold Foil

treanoruh
Toppstown

Why Mr. Misty May? So I can link to this. Go watch one of the most impressive double plays by a catcher I’ve seen.

The box so far:

Base: 206 out of 330 – 62%
All Star Stitches AS-JES Joe Saunders
Black Border parallel: 1 – UH300 CC Sabathia 26/57, damaged
Gold Border parallel: 3 – UH31 Marco Scutaro 0015/2008, UH78 Dallas Braden 1415/2008, UH167 Justin Morneau Home Run Derby 409/2008
Gold Foil Parallel:12
First Couples: 3 – FC16 Eliza and Andrew Johnson, FC18 Rutherford B. And Lucy Hayes, FC40 Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton
Mets Ring of Honor: 2 – MRH-DJ Davey Johnson, MRH-GC Gary Carter
Mickey Mantle Story MMS68
Word Baseball Classic Preview: 4 – WBC12 Carlos Zambrano, WBC14 Carlos Beltran, WBC16 Paul Bell, WBC21 Carlos Lee
Year in Review: 4 – YR145, Tom Shearn, YR158 Alex Rodriguez, YR161 Marlon Byrd, YR169 Matt Holiday
Toppstown: 12, including one gold





Mail day! Two packages to be thankful for.

29 11 2008

Anytime I see someone needs ’87 Topps cards, I drop what I’m doing and dig out my boxes. It was the first Topps set I ever finished by hand, and I have a ton of cards that do nothing for me but sit in the closet. Any chance to move them out is a happy occasion.

So when I saw Cliff at Capewood’s Collections‘ wantlist had ’87 Topps, I dug ’em out and mailed ’em off. He sent me some ’90 Topps cards and a few from a set I’m surprised I don’t get more offers on, ’94 Fleer. I absolutely love the ’94 Fleer cards with their simple design and good looking photography.

Since Santa still has yet to come, I have no scanner and am unable to track down images of the cards sent. But that doesn’t mean I’ll enjoy them any less. Thanks, Cliff.

The second package actually came before Thanksgiving, but time kept me from mentioning it. Reader Hank noticed my need for three 1991 Leaf cards to complete my set, and he sent an email offering off up all three. 1991 Leaf was a set I put together because I had them. I bought a box cheap somewhere for $5 because I wanted to open something. The rest of the cards I needed just came to me, much in the way these did. And now, hopefully a new set of mine will end up with that same odd draw (I’m pulling for ’59 Topps).

moseby

There’s Lloyd Moseby showing off improper catching techniques. Remember kids, use both hands. What you don’t see here is the ball falling out of Moseby’s glove shortly after this photo was taken. I remember Lloyd being a better player than the stats on the back of here would suggest he was. I guess I’m thinking of ’83 and ’84 Lloyd and not the Lloyd in the years that followed.

Anyway, thanks for the help, guys. It’s always nice to knock cards off the list, and even better to knock out a whole set.





A Thanksgiving feast

27 11 2008

dinner3

Ah, Purkey with a side of Throneberries and Minty Beans. What could be better?

Happy Thanksgiving





2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Hobby box break Packs 21 & 22

27 11 2008

Disclaimer: Base cards may be depicted as Gold or Black bordered parallels. I just needed the image.

Pack 21

UH206 Russel Branyan
UH320 Heath Bell
UH80 Erik Bedard
UH185 Joey Votto Highlight (Joey hit 3 HRs in a game)

vottog3uh

If Geovanny Soto hadn’t a) played for the Cubs and b) wasn’t a catcher, I think that guy there is Rookie of the Year.  I’m not sure how two of the writers who vote on the award could ignore Votto’s numbers (which were better than Soto’s) and not vote for him at all, but I’m guessing that they are two of the three guys who voted Volquez, who was not a rookie at all.  What a silly system to allow that one.

UH214 Carlos Zambrano All Star
UH22 Brian Moehler
UH23 Cristian Guzman All Star
UH210 Joe Saunders

saundersuh

Saunders was another “where did he come from?” type guys last year who my fantasy team hopes returns in 2009. What I will remember Saunders for, though, is pitching in his old Virginia Tech hat shortly after the campus shootings in 2007 against the Mariners. The Angels (and Joe) won the game 8-4. Saunders was (and still is, I believe) the only Hokie in the majors.

UH281 Chris Aguila
UH79 Willie Harris gold foil
Toppstown

Pack 22
UH134 Joey Devine
UH33 Carlos Marmol
UH173 Randy Johnson Highlight (Johnson moves into 2nd on all time K list)
UH285 Kosuke Fukudome
UH16 Paul Janish

janishuh

Ah, there’s that high school track that was on the Jay Bruce promo pictures for this release. Were he a bigger stud, then Janish would probably have a highlight card, too, as his first major league hit was an extra inning game winner for the Reds. I like to imagine Soft J here is hitting rocks at runners warming up on the track.

UH319 Ruben Gotay
UH324 Ken Griffey Jr.

griffeywsuh1

Good memories, no matter how injury prone he was as a Red. Too bad it didn’t work out with the White Sox, though. It would have been nice to see Junior in the World Series, even if he is on the decline. Someone’s gotta sign him for ’09, right?

UH167 Justin Morneau Home Run Derby Gold Parallel 409/2008
YR158 Alex Rodriguez Year in Review (Most HR by 3B)
Checklist

arodyiruh

Things I would have guessed: Mike Schmidt held the old record for most HRs by a 3B. Things I would not have guessed: Adrian Beltre co-held the record with Schmidt.

The box so far:

Base: 188 out of 330 – 57%
All Star Stitches AS-JES Joe Saunders
Black Border parallel: 1 – UH300 CC Sabathia 26/57, damaged
Gold Border parallel: 3 – UH31 Marco Scutaro 0015/2008, UH78 Dallas Braden 1415/2008, UH167 Justin Morneau Home Run Derby 409/2008
Gold Foil Parallel:11
First Couples: 2 – FC16 Eliza and Andrew Johnson, FC40 Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton
Mets Ring of Honor: 2 – MRH-DJ Davey Johnson, MRH-GC Gary Carter
Mickey Mantle Story MMS68
Word Baseball Classic Preview: 4 – WBC12 Carlos Zambrano, WBC14 Carlos Beltran, WBC16 Paul Bell, WBC21 Carlos Lee
Year in Review: 4 – YR145, Tom Shearn, YR158 Alex Rodriguez, YR161 Marlon Byrd, YR169 Matt Holiday
Toppstown: 11, including one gold





Dye-d Red

26 11 2008

Rumor is the Chicago White Sox have approached the Reds and the teams are now talking about a Homer Bailey+ for Jermaine Dye deal.

It all depends on the extra player the Reds would throw in, but I wouldn’t be opposed to this deal. Bailey may turn into a flameout, and rumor is he’s unwilling to listen to coaches about making changes. If that’s the case, there’s not much of a positive future for him anywhere. If he lives up to the hype, then it’s a bad trade. But there’s no way to know the future unless you’re looking back on it.

Dye is 35 years old. That’s his biggest drawback. He hit .292 last year with 35HRs, which is something that Homer Bailey will never do (he’s no Micah Owings, after all). Those numbers would come close to replacing
Dunn’s production last year. And since the Reds mantra every year becomes “If a few things fall into place this year, we’ll contend,” Dye would be a pretty big piece. If he falls behind the couch instead of in place, the Reds would then trade him at the deadline to a contender. No real harm.

I’ve also been reading the Rafael Furcal rumors and see the Reds referenced as a possible dark horse. I think that’d be a bold move by the Reds, but I imagine their horse is so dark on this one that it’s sucking in matter and light that comes anywhere near it.  It would also give the Reds a glut of IF and no place to play Chris Valaika.

For those curious, here’s the Reds 2009 lineup as it stands today:
C- Hanigan / Wilkin
1B Votto
2B Phillips
3B Encarnacion
SS Alex Gonzalez/ Janish / Keppinger
OF Bruce

The last two OF spots right now are between Dickerson, Freel and Hopper. I’d much rather see Dye out there than two of these guys.