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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.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Final Card Counts from the Group Break

I figured I would post the FINAL COUNTS for the group break.  These include all the previous cards tallied as well as the last box and the few multi-player cards that were pulled.  I arbitrarily divided them up amongst the represented teams.  As for the one hit we got with multi-players...The Flames were the first team on the card and the Flames didn't have another hit so Calgary is awarded that hit.

Here is the breakdown.

1.  Casey from Drop The Gloves - - 50
Boston Bruins  - B 18, IPR 3, H 0
Los Angeles Kings - B 22, IPR 7, H 0
2.  Me from The Real DFG -- 59
Pittsburgh Penguins - B 18, IPR 7, H 2
Dallas Stars - B 23, IPR 7, H 2
3.  Sal from Puck Junk - - 57
Chicago Blackhawks - B 27, IPR 2, H 0
Minnesota Wild - B 22, IPR 6, H 0
4.  Captain Canuck from Waxaholic - - 59
Detroit Red Wings - B 31, IPR 5, H 1
Florida Panthers - B 14, IPR 8, H 0
5.  1967ers from Diamond Cuts & Wax Stains - - 58
Toronto Maple Leafs - B 25, IPR 8, H 1
Carolina Hurricanes - B 18, IPR 6, H 0
6.  Dave H from Wax Stain Rookie - - 50
Ottawa Senators - B 23, IPR 7, H 0
Washington Capitals - B 17, IPR 2, H 1
7.  BA Benny from BA Benny's Baseball Card Buffet - - 43
New York Islanders - B 22, IPR 6, H 0
Phoenix Coyotes - B 12, IPR 3, H 0
8.  Dave H from Wax Stain Rookie - - 44
Columbus Blue Jackets - B 18, IPR 7, H 0
Calgary Flames - B 16, IPR 2, H 1
9.  Brad from Brad's Blog- - 54
Philadelphia Flyers - B 27, IPR 3, H 0
Anaheim Ducks - B 18, IPR 5, H 1
10.  Jason from Jasonvorhee's Blog - - 46
New York Rangers - B 21, IPR 5, H 2
Buffalo Sabres - B 16, IPR 2, H 0
11.  Michael from Collecting For Kicks - - 55
Vancouver Canucks - B 24, IPR 2, H 1
Tampa Bay Lightning - B 25, IPR 3, H 0
12.  Alfredo from The Cardboard Don - - 48
New Jersey Devils - B 22, IPR 3, H 1
San Jose Sharks - B 16, IPR 6, H 0
13.  Kevin O. from Kevin's Collection - - 67
Colorado Avalanche - B 31, IPR 10, H 1
Edmonton Oilers - B 23, IPR 1, H 1
14.  Nick B. from Part's Unknown - - 59
Atlanta Thrashers - B 15, IPR 5, H 0
Montreal Canadiens - B 30, IPR 8, H 1
15. Unclaimed Teams - - 54
Nashville Predators - B 17, IPR 4, H 0
St. Louis Blues - B 27, IPR 5, H 1
Multi Player Cards - B 0, IPR 4, H 1
The interesting thing is that there were only three entries without hits in the boxes.  Everyone else got at least one hit either for their paid team or their bonus.  So that was pretty good.  Don't worry if you didn't get one because you will.  I will take care of that.  If I hadn't gotten two of each, we may have broke even.  Overall, things worked out to between $.17 to $.24 per card for everyone, so we made it under a quarter per card.  Not too shabby considering the amount of cards that were pulled (which, if you were keeping count, we ended up with 4 more cards than what was advertised.)

As I mentioned at the end of the last video, I still don't have addresses for a couple people.  I will email you individually if you are one of them.  Or, if you know you are it, send me an email first.  Otherwise, I will be working on getting these all packaged up and sent out to the various participants hopefully this week.  I will let you all know when they get sent out.

Thanks for playing!!