Monday, July 30, 2012

Group Box Breaks; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

With the popularity with online trading and buying, someone out there thought of an idea that boomed a couple of years ago. Online Box Breaks. When you first heard of it you were a little weary. Then you saw a couple of posts or videos and you wanted in. Fun, exciting and someone else doing all the work of breaking and sorting your cards out for you. Seems like the best possible scenario, and it is if you find a reputable company/person/group to do it with.
I have been involved with numerous group breaks in the past and currently hop on a few if I like the product and group running it. In fact I just was apart of one this past weekend. Each one I have been involved with has been different and good experience. What I hope to share with you is the ins and outs on Group Breaking and what to watch for good and bad. 

The Good:
The main reason I like the Box break is the cost. Most are relatively decent pricing, with of course the added cost to certain teams depending on the product. You can buy a team anywhere from $5.00 for a random selection up to $200+ for a team with a lot of hits. I like both the Random and selecting a team on these breaks. if you get in early enough on a new product and get your favorite team it's great. Or if you want to try and hit that big one and flip it you could choose the more money option. It's all preference.
Randoms are fun too, again it is a gamble but you could end up with one of those big teams with a lot of hits. Prices on the randoms are also good too because they are in the mid-range and some people prefer to go this route and take a chance.
Most Box Busters are really good with live video feeds to see the hits come in as well as taped versions. Shipping out of the cards is also great as the busters are most of the time collectors too and take care of the cards they are shipping out to customers.  
With Group breaks you aren't forking out all the money to buy the case yourself and you just sit back, relax and watch the show.
The main reason I find I like Group breaking is the community. We have a great one out there, group breaks provides an outlet to discuss anything from cards to the weather in your area. I have met a few great people through breaks and it makes it very easy to enjoy a break once you know some people involved to chat with.

The Bad:
With all good things there is another side of the group breaks that isn't great. There are a few out there that try to scam anyone, whether its cards, other collectibles or anything else you can think of off the net. Box breaks have had this happen. Some of the cases aren't factory sealed, they might have hit the "white whale" already and replaced the box from another case. Or you might just have people ready to take your money for nothing.
You need to make sure that you find a box breaker that has followers or references from other collectors. Card forums are great resources for this. Posting a simple question like "Have you ever done a group break before?" This will prompt a lot of responses, however I have seen in the past some sites deleting posting with group breaks in them because they don't want to have any liability or association with them. You will find some forums have their own group breaks from time to time. Just make sure you do your research before buying into a break.  

The Ugly: 
There is an ugly side to box breaks. Skunked, yes it has happened and happens a bit more then you would like. The toughest part is when you get a really good team like the Yankees, Cowboys, or Oilers in either a random break or selected team and pay the highest cost to get them. Nothing is a guarantee in any product you buy. Remember everything is left to chance and luck. Whether buying a single pack, box or buying into a case break. Now most of the time I have seen breakers offer a free hobby pack to a customer not receiving a hit. This is great customer service, but keep in mind you just spent anywhere from $5.00 to $200+ for a break and come out with a hobby pack instead of a hit. The odds are in your favor on case breaks but you can have a few people in this situation. The good thing in this is that you won't be skunked on every break you go into.

In summary I encourage Group Box breaks. They are good for the hobby and the card making companies. It creates interest in the products being produced and generates revenue to the companies and breakers. It is us that keeps the hobby alive and Group breaks are a very good way in growing our community. You might meet a whole new network of collectors out there that you might not have known existed before. Could develop relationships with some for trading or talking about the hobby. Once you have been involved in a few different ones you will have a preferred breaker and stick to them. This could be driven by the cost but mainly I find it's the customer service you receive and the group you are breaking with. It is a very diverse and great community we have out there. Group Box Breaks brings us closer together.

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