I pay a lot of attention to the packaging of hobby products. In fact as a kid I based my pack purchases solely on this aspect.
Now I’d been away from NBA cards for more than 12 years and just recently got back into it late this year (2010). Back in the day, there were only a handful of brands from the 4 main manufacturers, Fleer, Skybox, Topps & Upper Deck. The most expensive products then were Topps Finest & the Skybox E-X releases. Game-used jersey cards were next to impossible to find and only Skybox products offered autographed pulls on relatively easy odds via their cross-brand Autographics inserts. So upon my glorious return to collecting, I discover that GU cards and AUTOS are pretty commonplace especially if one buys high-end products.
I am aware that the hobby demanded these premium cards and were very much OK to shell out the big bucks for them. High end cards sure look tasty and the card stock used is 4-5 times thicker than what I’d been used to. Then I watched a few box-breaks on youtube and I have to say I was pretty disgusted when I discovered how these products are packaged. For example we have the Exquisite Collection from Upper Deck. You have seven cards inside a cushioned box wrapped in plastic. This box sits inside a tin container which is inside another cushioned box again wrapped in plastic. Everything then is contained in yet another bigger cardboard box wrapped in plastic! What a shameful waste of materials! In this age of eco-friendliness and consciousness, how can we stand by this travesty? Is all this necessary to make consumers feel they are getting the appropriate bang for their buck? I think not.
I say Panini and the rest should set an example by being a little more ‘green’ and conserve on packaging which will no doubt lead to lower prices and “de-alienating” the rest of the hobby folk from the high end releases. Even if they choose to maintain the high prices, I wish they’d show more responsibility and maybe use recycled materials. Another idea would be to run a redemption program and let customers return the packaging in exchange for collectibles or cards.
Disclaimer: I am not a hippie nor a tree-hugger. I just care.