30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Life Lesson @ the Flea Market

A missed opportunity.  An idiotic mistake.  A vintage collection hijacking.  One event can be interpreted in a variety of ways.

Personally... I choose to view my experience at the flea market on Sunday as a life lesson.

The tale begins at my local flea market that many describe as ghetto, dirty, and full of junk.  I've been off for over a week and hadn't reached my daily steps goal once.  So I forced myself to get up and walk around the flea market in 30º weather.

There were more vendors than I expected, but definitely less than average due to the holiday weekend.  I found one guy who had a ton of old Becketts and some boxes of baseball cards.  After a few minutes of digging through his stuff, I found a 1968 Topps Game insert of Willie Mays in pretty nice condition.  However... as soon as the guy told me he wanted $20, I knew that we weren't in the same ballpark.

About halfway through, I noticed a guy sifting through a huge stack of 1975 Topps Minis.  He had several stacks of vintage piled up in front of him and I was a little bummed out that I hadn't gotten there earlier.  Not wanted to crowd him and disrupt his find, I turned around and noticed a stack of 9-pocket pages.

It was like a dream come true.  There were tons of off conditioned late 60's to mid 70's hall of famers.  My heart immediately started racing.  I decided to play it cool and grab the top page to get and idea of what the vendor was going to want.  He took a few seconds and came back with $5/page.

Within those handful of seconds, the other guy who was flipping through the 75 Minis had stood up and grabbed the stack of 9-pocket pages right from under my nose.  I was so upset with myself for not holding the whole stack, that I didn't even bother saying anything to the gentleman.  And to be honest, this isn't exactly the type of place where people call dibs on things.  Bottom line is I dropped the ball and missed out on a huge opportunity.

I turned around, gave the vendor a five dollar bill, and walked away with this 9-pocket page:

I realize that I was able to add some cool Aarons and Clementes to my collection for a really good price and I'm happy about that.

However... I've gotta be honest.  It's been two days and I'm still a little perturbed about the whole situation.  Part of it has to do with the fact that I lost out on some cool vintage cards.  And I'm a little surprised that a person would grab an item he knew somebody else was inquiring about without blinking an eye.  But most of it has to do with the way I handled the situation.

I shouldn't have left that stack on the crate and I probably should have at least told the guy politely that I was still looking at those pages.  Oh well.  Like I said earlier in this post... let's just call this whole awkward situation a life lesson.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. I get your frustration. On the other hand maybe you'll find something else great to spend that money on. You usually do. As I've learned from losing a million Ebay auctions, there's always more out there I want.

  2. Yeah, I'd have been perturbed with that situation too.

    Then again, being the obnoxious lawyer/person that I can be, I'd have almost certainly said something to him. :-)

  3. Alternatively, they probably saved you from spending more money.

  4. You definitely have the right to be upset, that's a pretty low move by the other guy. However, I can't say that I'd have handled the situation any different. Karma will take care of it all.

  5. Still a great find but definitely a dick move by the other guy.

  6. You ended up with some nice cards, but the other guy was really uncool.

  7. It amazes me how many people in this world don't know basic human etiquette. At least you managed to score at least one of those sweet five-dollar pages.

  8. Here Here on the page of Aarons'. I try to be polite, but I would have had to say something to the nimrod if nothing else but to let him know the his Karma is coming.

  9. I've had so many regret situations with cards this year that I finally just gave in to letting go. Whether it's days or months it'll pass and what you'll be left with is a nice Aaron pickup with 1975 bookends. The next greater find is right around the corner.

  10. Ugh. That would have pissed me off. Let's hope all those cards were fake except the ones you purchased.

  11. that's a nice page, but too bad about the rest. i had a similar thing happen to me at a recent card show, but the roles were reversed. i picked up three cards that were in front of a box (there was a 1976 topps steve yeager buyback that caught my eye) and the other guy at the table took the cards from me and said that they were his - he had set them aside while he was looking through another stack on the table. fair enough, even though they were in the box when i picked them up.

  12. hackenbush - love the positive outlook. you're 100% about finding something else to spend my money on. now i just need to get back out there in the cold and find it.

    tony l. - talked to my buddy who sets up at the flea market every week and he told me i should have said something. i'd like to think i would if i had another opportunity.

    zippy - yeah. my guess is i would have spent close to $100 for the stack

    tony b. - huge believer in karma... maybe the cardboard gods will allow me to find something sweet at de anza this weekend

    jeff & snorting bull - thanks... couldn't have said it better

    nick - i've thought about that (human etiquette thing) a lot these past few days. the world would be such a nicer place if everyone respected each other. unfortunately... money and flea market finds can change a person's character for the worse.

    john - glad to add both aaron and clemente to my vintage album... yeah firm believer in what comes around... goes around.

    steve - you're totally right. i've already put this situation in the past. doesn't help to dwell on it... gotta look forward to this weekend's flea market finds.

    matthew - totally. that guy bought a boatload of counterfeit off conditioned 60's and 70's cards. serves him right.

    gcrl - man... you're getting me fired up again. if they were put back into the box, he had no right to grab those card from you. not cool. what the heck is wrong with people?