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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What We Learned - - The Aftermath of the Community Group Box Break

Now that the group break is done, I have a few observations that I thought I would share for anyone else attempting such a feat.  I had fun doing the break and I hope everyone had fun watching my messed up videos.  The response I have gotten from both participants and other readers was actually more than I expected.  Mostly positive...with a few "constructive" criticisms that I desperately deserve.

So here are my random thoughts, in no particular order of importance.

1.  $10 is a good deal...IF YOU ARE A PARTICIPANT.  If you are the host probably won't cover costs.  No, it definitely won't cover costs.  If you are in this to make money...don't even bother.  I wanted to have some fun and get some rarely seen cards into the hands of some of my fellow collectors.  I knew I was basically going to take a bath on this but I didn't care.  For those of you maybe looking to do this same thing sometime soon, let me give you an example of what it might take...

(names have been changed to protect the innocent)  

Let's say "Tom" is doing a break.  He drops, lets say...$150 on boxes and offers up 2 teams for each entry at, let's say...$10.  We have a healthy mix of participants, including Tom himself but one spot remains unfilled.  That leaves Tom shy $20 to break even on the boxes.  No big deal because it is going to a good cause, right?  Well, we haven't even begun to calculate shipping yet.  In our mix, lets say we have 10 people from the USA and 5 from Canada.  With everyone getting about 50 cards each, after packaging them up securely that comes to about $2.80-$3.00 for US shipping based on the weight and size of the packages and $4-$4.50 for Canada.  That's $48 minimum, not including the cost of packaging materials.  So with $150 on the boxes, plus $48 for shipping, plus we'll estimate about $8 on supplies, that's $206.  With two spots open in the break, that leaves us in the hole $66.

Fortunately for me, 66 is the greatest number in all of hockey so I am alright with it.  But for some of you, you might want to rethink the entry costs and what you will be willing to sacrifice in order to have some fun.  The lower the entry fee, the more people will participate.

2.  Doing a break with more than a couple boxes is a ton of work if you want it to turn out good.  My goal was to at least attempt to show every card that came out of the boxes and show off the "hits" and non-base cards.  To do that, the videos were long, sometimes broken in two, had to be edited, and the cards scanned.  We did nothing different than we normally would with a video box break other than the fact that it was 6 of them crammed into a 17 day period.  If you want to go quickly and you have a full time job, a wife/husband/significant other, and kids...chances are you are going to have a heart attack before the end.  I paced myself somewhat and it still took me quite a while to finish.  I definitely have work to do for next time. 

3.  Equipment is key.  If you don't have a good video camera to record the breaks, you should probably get one.  I have been meaning to get a better camera for a while now but it hasn't really been that big of a priority.  For around $50, I'm sure there is something much higher quality out there than what I have.  Oh, and make sure you have good lighting.  That can make all the difference in the world.

4.  Always plan as far ahead as you can.  You never know when something will come up.  As mentioned already above, work, kids, spouse, etc. can all interfere.  I tried to record one in advance.  That way, after I posted one, I could work on editing the other.  There is less stress that way.  The last thing you want is for a break like this to be stressful.  You should work at your own pace too.  Everyone needs to be patient and wait for the updates.  Don't let the participants dictate your speed.  That can make it become too taxing and no fun.  Sure it may seem like it's taking a long time but in the end, it will be worth it.

6.  Have clear cut rules for the break.  Think far enough in advance of different scenarios for what may be pulled from the boxes.  Do the research and see what you may have to deal with.  This is one area where I didn't think it through all the way.  I came up with ideas as the break went on but by then it was too late.  This becomes apparent when you get multi-player cards, multi-team cards, or in the case of things like A&G or Champs or Goodwin there are many more cards featuring non-traditional players.  Figure out how "ties" are handled and make everyone aware.  The last thing you want is anyone getting upset from not getting a card they thought they should.  Keep everything as simple as possible but as clearly defined as you can.

7.  Communication is key.  Keep everyone in the loop at all times as far as what is going on.  Use a mass email, use Twitter, use the blog, but just do it.  Get addresses, emails, etc. as soon as you can that way you can be ready to go when it's time to ship.  See #4.  I am still waiting on 1 person to send me their address since it wasn't on their Paypal receipt.  If you got an email from me recently, get me that address ASAP.

To all those waiting on their "wares", they were all mailed out this afternoon (except the one I don't know where to send).  Those of you in the US should probably see your stuff before the week is out.  Those north of the border, hopefully by next week sometime.  And hopefully in one piece!!

Let me know if anything is amiss at the Circle K.


  1. I certainly know where you are coming from, when I did a break a little while back it was quite a bit of work. I will say you did a great job and I really enjoyed the break and that says something since I barely collect hockey. With a couple of tweeks Light and sound) you will be awesome. Thanks for all the hard work!

  2. Rule #1 - it's your break and your decisions are final
    Rule #2 - see rule #1
    Rule #3 - F*%$ 'em if they can't take a joke.

    just my thoughts... thanks again for doing this.

  3. I thought this was great! I knew 6 boxes would take some time, and the suspense was half of the fun. This is the first time I participated in something like this, and I had a positive experience, so, I would participate in the future. And when it comes to the blogging community(I am in the toy sector), most of us aren't doing this to make money. I have received packages, and sent packages with no money exchanging hands. It's all part of the sense of community, helping out fellow collectors. While I collect cards occasionally(I watch every game though!), this break upped my interest in starting a card blog. Again thank you, great job DFG! Hope to do it again!

  4. First off, thanks a million! Secondly, considering all you had to do and what you were willing to do (make sure we all got hits) I think raising the price of a similar break to 15 bucks wouldn't be too crazy. Personally, I was in no matter what, but at that price point it is pretty reasonable. Other option, is give a small discount to anyone willing to drop their base cards is 10 for those that just want hits and 15 for those wanting the base....

    Just ideas anyway, but I was pleased with what you did and it was a blast!

  5. So does this mean the next break isn't going to be The Cup at $10.00 a slot??

    I rather enjoyed these breaks, getting to see some cards I missed out on before entering the hockey world. I thought everything was done well, so no complaints here. Looking forward to the next round, even if it goes up to $20.00.


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