Monday, November 24, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'll save you my ravings about Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the ills of American consumerism.   While the rest of America upgrades their 60 inch HDTV to a 70 inch super magic plasma 3d thingamadoodle, I'll be sitting in my underwear at 3am Friday morning buying a bunch of baseball cards.

COMC's Black Friday sale has become one of the highlights of my card buying year.  Those cards I've been keeping in my cart all year may finally come down to prices I'm willing to pay, and with a little luck some sellers will blow out inventory at dirt cheap prices.  

I spent a few minutes reviewing my purchases from last year, just to get a little idea of what kind of prices I might expect this year.  And it was fun to revisit some of the finds from last year as well.

After a while, you start to forget what you bought when and where, and for how much.  The "how much" part is sometimes best suppressed.  But I was pleasantly surprised at some of the sub $1 prices I found on numbered cards.  I also noticed I didn't buy that many autographed cards last year, instead finding the best deals on inserts and numbered cards.

But there are definitely some factors that make this Black Friday different from previous years, which could work for or against buyers.

- Loss of Beckett data
When COMC and Beckett parted ways earlier this year, it had an undeniable impact on the site.  I say good riddance to anything Beckett-related, but the lack struggle to rebuild a complete database of cards has hampered the site's functionality.  And I know that when my "Pirates" search brings back Wade Boggs DRays cards and autographs of Rangers, there are probably an equal number of Pirates cards that are being mistakenly filtered out of my results.

And the one thing I will miss is the "search by percentage off" function.  It's still there, but what determines those results would make your guess as good as mine.  Some of my favorite pickups from last year were Steelers or Pens cards I only came across because there were heavily discounted from meaningless BV.
I just hope I can still discover some of those hidden gems this year.

-Fewer incentives
Last year saw a number of incentives for buyers, including buy $100 of store credit and get a bonus $5, and a bonus $5 (bringing it up to $10) for every 100 cards shipped.  Both those promos are gone this year, with the only real incentive being random store credit giveaways that most us will likely never see, and the free shipping promo that pops up every so often.

There has been a lot of speculation about the health of COMC's business model.  And who knows, really.  But the combination of a rough year for the site's functionality and processing times undoubtedly had an impact.  And the fact that the site basically wiped clean the incentives it has built in over the last few years and don't replace them with anything new isn't exactly clamoring to bring in buyers.  I imagine if Best Buy stopped posting discount movie sales on Black Friday, its customers would start speculating as well.

- Longer Promos
As Black Friday rapidly creeps up the calendar to become Black November, COMC jumped on board.  The traditional Cyber Monday/Black Friday weekend sales have supplemented with two weeks of "pre-Black Friday" sales.  I'm curious to see how sellers respond to this.  Will they slowly increase the percentage off, still offering top deals on Black Friday?  Or are the current prices the best deals some sellers are willing to offer?  And perhaps more importantly, has some of the best inventory already been grabbed up?

I found some good deals, but I've noticed sales have been slow.  I think buyers are waiting for Black Friday to get the maximum deals.  But it definitely adds an extra variable to the equation.

There isn't anything that caught my eye from the "mainstream" Black Friday sales.  I already have X-Men: Days of Futures Past and the Avengers on Blu Ray shipping from Amazon at the Black Friday prices.  And I've never been one to care much for the big item deals people go crazy for.  So yep, after the turkey coma starts to wear off, I'll be grabbing another slice of pie from the fridge and picking up some $.50 cards.

What is everybody else looking for on Black Friday, cardboard or otherwise?  

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully the same thing as you, lounging and browsing COMC!