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Saturday, August 20, 2011

More Fun With The Futility of Redemptions

Oh, Upper Deck.  This love/hate relationship we have together is beginning to wear thin.  Sure its' a one sided affair.  You don't even know who I am, and yet you sit idly by, taunting me.  You mock me at every turn, bringing me back into the fold with your clever little gimmicks and sweet pull potentials.  Then, like a prized fighter in the 5th round of a championship fight, you knock me down once again with your dud boxes, poor production quality, and wicked hatred for the general populace you claim to service.

It's time for another in a long line of blogger rants about redemptions.  Yes, my friends, I was again a victim of the industry's slap-in-the-face known as the redemption card.  Although it would seem I have actually had better odds than most collectors out there in cashing in those evil cards that have become the bane of collector's around the world, it's hard to say for sure since most of us only talk about the bad experiences and not about the good.  I have probably about a 85%+ turn around rate which is definitely going to rank in the top tier.  Today, we continue that all too familiar saga.

For some reason I needed to bust some packs the other day.  You would think with all the boxes I broke from the National, I would have been satiated at least until some new hockey releases started to appear.  I guess that "while" was up the other day as (you know the feeling) hands went clammy, heart started racing and the blood began pumping while strolling past the card aisle in [insert retailer name here].  I had to bust something so I began to peruse the welcomed, yet rarely seen well stocked shelves.  I had lots of choices but I already knew I was overburdened with Donruss, Pinnacle, and Upper Deck from last year, as well as this years Victory.  Plus, the latest Topps Football release still hasn't amplified it's siren song loud enough for me to hear, nor have the other early football releases peaked my curiosity.  I therefore decided, once again against my best judgment, that I would take another shot at a franken-box of hockey cards.

You all know the franken-box.  I believe I have talked about them many times before but these can usually be found in one of three ways (or more if you look hard enough), a random packaged box with 15-16 packs for around the $20 mark (which isn't entirely a bad deal all the time; just most of the time), a plastic cube-like box for between $5-10 with a random amount of cards (at least you get a neat carrying case), or a blister pack hanging on a peg hook offering 4-10 packs for $5-15 (I have no need for another sixth line defenseman's autograph). 

I decided on the first, making my way to the self-serve checkout (I can't let anyone see the shame).  I had a good feeling about this one, too.  If only I had a time machine.  16 packs were in the box ranging from regular Upper Deck releases from the last 4 years to Ultra, to Artifacts, to ITG.  I think there were a few older Victory packs in there too along with the pack that I had never opened before, 2005-06 UD PowerPlay.

Powerplay was a 172 card set that was issued I believe for the first time in 2005 with six card packs for about $3/pack.  You can still pick up a box if you so desire.  I'm not going to endorse any one site here but you can Google it and probably find a box for less than $50.

As far as I know, there were not differing hobby and retail versions but I could be wrong on that one.  In the set, the first 90 cards feature the typical range of veteran players listed alphabetically by team name.  The rest of the cards are spread between In Action, Cup Celebrations, and Goal Robbers.  The Rookie cards are 133-172.  But my point is not to review the product here.  I'm focusing on the redemptions that fell about 1:12 packs.  These were lettered A-D and were supposed to be good for 10 cards.  Yes I said 10 Cards!!.

My card that I had the unfortunate luck of pulling was labeled Group C.  Pulling a Group C card would have entitled the lucky owner to cards #153-162 in the set.  Yeah for me.  Who are the fine gentleman associated with such cards, you ask?  Well let me show you.

153  Corey Perry

154  Alexander Perezhogin

155  Zach Parise

156  Mike Richards

157  Braydon Coburn

158  Cam Ward

159  David Leneveu

160  Andrew Alberts

161  Petteri Nokelainen

162  Lee Stempniak

I guess if it was a bunch of scrub, nobodies, that never made it to the NHL or at best, were relegated to an occasional call up from the minors, I wouldn't have cared as much.  As soon as I did it, I knew I shouldn't have gone and looked to see who was on this list because it was only going to fuel my ire.  But I did.  And now here I am.  Not that this matters one bit but you have three $6 cards, a $5 card, a $4 card, and some commons on that list.  No Crosby or Ovechkin but not a bunch of garbage either.  Translation...probably about $10-12 worth of rookie cards that will never be seen.

So what does Upper Deck plan to do about expired redemptions for product that has never been recalled or bought back off the market in order to be repackaged to prevent false hopes and failed collation?  Nothing.  Sure, it's a subject that comes up all the time.  Sure it is bad publicity when collector's go on their rampages about the frustrating nature of the situation.  Sure it makes a collector want to throw every card manufactured by them out the window.  It was even discussed at the uhh, umm, Industry Summit held in Vegas back in March.  But for now, they are content with this...

"This redemption offer is now expired. Unfortunately, late entries cannot be honored and our inventory is now depleted. We apologize that we can no longer assist you with this promotion."
Well since you are sorry, all is forgiven.  NOT!!  Here are what my redemption cards would have looked like.  This just makes me sadder because I really like this design.  It's busy but somehow works.



  1. Agreed....Why not wait to release the product when the cards are available...after all they aren't auto'd or anything.
    I was burned on a 06-07 Fleer Ultra Redemption...IT actually meant more to me than the BV as it was Travis Zajac

  2. There has to be something that these card companies can do knowing that their product will sit on shelves for eons after production has stopped.

  3. I'm glad I'm not the only one who uses the self-serve checkout, especially when I'm only buying cards. When I have a bunch of other stuff the regular lanes are fine, but when I'm feeding that need to rip packs I'm trying to get out as quickly and unnoticed as possible.

    I have yet to be burned by a redemption but I know the day is coming. I wish the manufacturers would list the cards that didn't make pack-out so we can be better informed when buying older wax. Then again, that would be collector-friendly, so why would they want to do that?

    There should never be an expiration on the intentional redemptions like this (and Fleer Ultra rookies) since there wasn't an issue that created the need for a redemption like an athlete not signing in a timely manner.

  4. Agreed!! There should never be an expiration..." PERIOD.


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