Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Birthday Card Store Trip Part 2: Something Good, Some Things Bad

My experience at Alameda Cards & Comics (see my post from earlier today) was exactly what I thought it would be - a short stop with a small sampling of stuff for fun. I was hoping I might come across a nice quarter box or something, but I didn't count on it.

With such a brief stop at this card store, and plenty of time left in the day, I worked the public transit system to get myself to M&M Cards & Comics, a dark, old-feeling shop nestled in a 1960s-feel strip mall. I've been here before - only once, in the year + that I've lived in the bay area. Sure, there are other stores in the area I've only visited once, but those were discovered only recently. Now that I think about it, there are only a few far East Bay stores that I haven't visited more than once at this point.

Why haven't I been back in the past year, until yesterday? It's not a friendly location. I feel like I'm a bother. Plus, it doesn't feel like the kind of card store I'd like to just browse in. Honestly, I could have probably spent an hour or more browsing through cases and boxes, but it didn't feel right.
And, the store reeks of cigarette smoke. Reeks. As I'm writing this, all my clothes from today are in the washing machine. Yuck.
And I remembered most of this from my previous visit. I'm surprised the place still exists, and I'm sorry Dave's Dougout (yes, that's how it was spelled) in Albany disappeared and this place still exists. I wouldn't have made the trip if I hadn't noticed all the set-building singles in boxes sitting under the cases the last time I went. Cigarette smoke can be handled for a little while if I can finish a set.

So I headed down and asked about 2011 Topps Update singles. He pulled them for me, and he had every card I needed to finish the set (6 in all). More on this later.

I asked about 2009 Upper Deck, but he had nothing, so I browsed around a bit. He had a 3/$1 box near the register, so I flipped through those. Lots of basketball and football, but I found some baseball I needed:
 Two cards for set building...
 Two cards for the type collection (I hope - I probably have them already but I didn't check my list)...
 Two cards for the project (still need two 1952 Topps cards and a '64, plus some more modern stuff I'll be getting today)...
 I don't know why I took this Darren Daulton. But I did...
And five cards for the awards and leaders collection.

I also picked up a Billy Beane '86 Fleer and two '94 Pinnacle inserts, to make an even $5. But when I went to check out, he took back the two Pinnacle inserts, saying they shouldn't have been in the box. Uhh??? Apparently the box should only have commons and cheap inserts. I could tell he almost took the Bagwell out of the stack too. Bastard. So I took Beane out of the stack too (he didn't really have a place in my collection anyway). Well, whatever. I don't think I needed the Pinnacle inserts, and they would have been trade bait (they looked cool). So $4 for these random cards, plus the Topps cards to finish my set.

But I needed 6 cards to complete my set. How many are in the scan?

Five. Did he short me a card? Nope. The only card I'm missing is Javier Lopez, a pitcher for the Giants. He's a reliever who's been around for 9 years now, and as forgettable a member of the Giants as Miguel Tejada. Maybe moreso, though I think Lopez played in more games with the Giants this year. Let me check the stats...Ooh, close. Tejada: 91 games, Lopez: 70 games.

He had the Lopez, but the cheapest price he sells Giants (and A's) for is $1. A whole buck for a common? Just because I'm in the San Francisco bay area? I think not! I bet I could get it with shipping on Sportlots for less than that. So I bought the five cards above.

Total spent: $6.50

Yes, the old geezer charged me $2.50 for 5 commons from 2011 Topps Update. Oh, wait, Carlos Beltran was in there. I bet he charged me $1 for that.

Someone recently emailed me (sorry, I'm a little behind in that department) about this store, and here's your response:

M&M Cards is not worth my time. I feel sorry for those in the area who don't have a shop like Stevens Creek Sports Cards, Peninsula Sports Cards, or any of the other great stores in the bay area near them. Even Alameda Cards & Comics, with their limited inventory, was at least welcoming, and not overpriced. The store has so much potential. There's great inventory in there somewhere, but the place just feels so uninviting. Overpriced, stinky, dark, and rude. (Pricing note: my Bowman Draft pack was $4 at Alameda, and they were priced $4 here, so pack pricing isn't too far off the next-nearest store.)
And my 2011 Topps Update cards smell like cigarette smoke. But at least I'm almost done with the set. Could have been done with the whole set, but .. well, it's over with. I should be done with the set today with my visit to San Jose!

1 comment:

  1. Hey just checked through my collection, I've got J-Lo, plus the 5 cards you scanned. All free of cigarette smoke...