Monday, September 13, 2010
How Topps MCG Could Be Better
[My apologies if many of you have written something similar recently, though I don't recall seeing anything related--I've got a couple opinions about this and I have nothing else to write about for now]
Topps' heart was in the right place with the Million Card Giveaway promotion in 2010 Topps baseball (since extended to 2010 Topps Football in the form of the Gridiron Giveaway). Getting a code every few packs, which you'd enter on a web site to redeem for a buyback card, seems like a pretty cool idea at first--a bonus for buying their product. The totally* random nature of what you might get adds a somewhat exciting slot machine feel to the process.
But that's pretty much where the fun ends, at least for someone like me. I'm thrilled at the chance I might get a 1950s or 60s card, or even some random 70s player since I don't have that many. Sadly, most of the time you get some junk wax crap that's going to sit in your virtual collection until Topps inevitably refuses to honor redemption of these cards.
Some collectors might remember that Topps did something similar for their 50th anniversary back in 2001. In that case they actually inserted most of the cards into their packs (the bigger hits and oversized stuff was done via redemptions). Did you or anyone you know actually pull anything that was worth keeping? I know I didn't, even though I opened a ton of baseball packs and football rack packs. The biggest difference for me this time is that I've actually been blessed with a few decent 60s and 70s pulls. But that makes this current incarnation only slightly better than the previous one. Here's how I think Topps could and should improve things, to make a good idea a great one:
1. Let us view the collections of other users so it's easier to make trades
There's a reason I'm making this #1: I have a couple cards that happen to receive pretty good demand for whatever reason--mainly my 60s stuff, plus a 1973 Pat Corrales. I'm happy to trade these--hell, I WANT to trade them. But when this is the typical offer for one of them,
well needless to say I start to get a bit disillusioned [by the way, if you're one of my readers and made this offer, I'm not ridiculing you, I'm making a point that you're just as negatively affected as me, and I'm getting to it]. This is one of several offers the same user has made for the Corrales, and none of them has been very good. But if I could click on his username and see his collection, who's to say I wouldn't find one or two cards I'd be happy with so I could make a counter-proposal, knowing that he's already interested in?
That brings us to a related point...
2. Topps, your search sucks. I'm talking Carlos Mencia when he's not stealing jokes, or even when he IS sucks
Scenario 1: we're somewhat new to collecting, you don't know what you want to trade for. Let's hit the "Make an Offer" link and get started searching for something we might like:
FUNKY BUTTLOVIN' that's a lot of pages to flip through, and some cards don't even have thumbnails? And you get to see 12 of these suckers at a time? F-, Topps.
Scenario 2: we're smart collectors, we know what we want. Let's say we psychically know that Willie Horton's '64 Topps RC has been unlocked (God help us if it hasn't).
3. Enough with the junk wax crap and cards from the last 2+ years
If this is going to be anything special, make the buybacks entirely 1950s-1970s cards, or at most, throw in some of the key RCs from the later sets--Henderson, Ripken, Mattingly, Gwynn, etc. I literally do not need any more junk Topps cards from the 1980s and most of the 90s. And how excited should I be to redeem a code and pull a card from all the way back in 2007? I'm just an unfrozen caveman lawyer*, Topps, your Transmogrifier technology frightens and confuses me. Come on, guys, make pulling these cards something special, not an excuse to dump your crap overstock on other collectors (that's my job--enjoy your trade packages chummmmmmmmps!).
*Google Image Search result for Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer:
Just those three improvements, off the top of my head, would go a long way towards making the MCG useful and fun, not soul-crushing and inevitably disappointing. What else would you guys like to see Topps do to make this promotion better?
As a reminder, please refer to my previous post if you have any interest in trading with me (not that it's possible for us to look each other up on the site or anything)