Every collector’s been there. You’re surfing eBay late at night and you come across a can’t-miss bargain on a card you’ve been longing for. Let’s say it’s a 2003 Upper Deck City All-Stars triple jersey Mark Prior/Jay Williams/Anthony Thomas.
You’re collection is undeniably incomplete without it. You must have it. It’s a steal at just 10 cents. And it ends in five minutes.
But there’s a catch. Shipping is $3.50, bringing the total cost to $3.60 – or approximately nine times what any reasonable person would pay for that card.
You rationalize. “The Beckett book value is $15 so it’s not that bad,” you tell yourself. But you know full well that no one has paid $15 for it since Anthony Thomas’ sophomore slump (that somehow continued for seven years), Jay Williams’ career-ending motorcycle accident and Mark Prior’s achilles, shoulder, elbow, shoulder, oblique and shoulder injuries, all of which somehow happened within six months of the card’s release. You pull the trigger anyway, and as you go through the PayPal checkout process you realize what a sucker you are for paying $3.50 to ship an item that cost less than a postage stamp and weighs half an ounce.
I’m not saying sellers are making up some of the book value vs. actual value difference in the shipping costs…
…………………….. But it gets pretty annoying paying five times the real life value of a card on shipping alone.
The issue is that the average seller posts everything on eBay with their default shipping method:
One card, purchased for $0.50.
One penny sleeve.
One bubble mailer.
Place card in penny sleeve, then in toploader. Slap a strip of scotch tape across the top. Drop it in bubble mailer and seal.
Then drop a ridiculous amount of postage on it because the bubble mailer weighs five times as much as the card.
I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here. I just think it’s kind of dumb to mindlessly drop a card that sold for less than a buck into an envelope that cost almost as much and slap two bucks of postage on it.
So here’s my plea to eBay sellers: When you’re dealing in low end crap, just put the cards in a penny sleeve and toploader, sandwich it between a couple pieces of thin cardboard and put it in a plain old envelope (you can get 60 of them for like two bucks), slap a single postage stamp on it and you’re done.