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Retail Review: 2007-08 Fleer Hot Prospects 2-Box Break

June 8, 2011

Back at the beginning of April I decided that it was time to seriously rein in my hobby related spending in advance of the Toronto Spring Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo that I was heading to on May 1, making a promise to myself that I would not make any purchases on eBay prior to the show.

I was pretty pleased with myself for not only achieving that goal, but stretching it all the way through to June 1st when I finally caved in and gave myself a couple of small birthday presents.

In fact, outside of what I bought at the show and what I bought on my birthday, I have only made a single other hobby related purchase since March 30th, which is finally getting a review roughly two months later.

That purchase was a pair of 2007-08 Fleer Hot Prospects Blaster Boxes that I came across for around just $7 a pop during a clearance sale at the local Toys ‘R Us.

Unfortunately, even at a price that was discounted in the neighbourhood of 70% from the original retail price, these boxes left me wishing that I had just saved my money and put it towards something at the show.

I’ll detail my issues with the product below, but first here is a breakdown of what the combination of the two boxes delivered for my investment.  At eleven packs per box and four cards per pack (three if there’s a memorabilia card), I received:

  • 78 of 100 base set cards
  • 6 Doubles (3 damaged)
  • 1 Triple
  • 1 Jersey (Meszaros – damaged)
  • 1 Hot Commodities SP (Radulov)
  • 0 “Prospects”

 

First off, the name of the product is a complete oxymoron when you look at what was actually in the packs.  While the name would lead a person to believe that this product should be filled with the latest batch of NHL up and comers, not a single card that I pulled can even be considered to feature a “prospect”, let alone a hot one.

Secondly, as is often the case with Upper Deck retail products, I was disappointed in the collation.  Really, getting 78% of the base set out of the boxes nothing to be overly upset about since past experience has shown me thing can be much worse with blasters.

What I do have a problem with is when the doubles (and triple) came from a single box.  When a base set is 100 cards and the most you can pull from a single Blaster Box is 44 individual cards, it is absolutely inexcusable for duplication to occur.

This ties into my third issue with the boxes, which involves another common theme I have noticed in opening Upper Deck products in recent years, and that is lacklustre quality control.  While not nearly as pathetic as the example shown in this article from another Upper Deck retail product, the fact that nearly 5% of the cards in the boxes came out damaged is less than pleasing.  Luckily the damaged singles were among the inexcusable doubles, so no cards were removed from the base set that I am fairly close to finishing off.

More disappointingly, the lone “hit” in the two boxes (if you consider Meszaros a “hit”) was also damaged.  It’s tough to see in the scan, but the red on the left side of the card is peeling back, which was also the problem with the damaged singles.

While really only a minor nuisance given the player featured on the card, Upper Deck claims there is nothing they can do to replace damaged product that is more than a year old.  I find this pretty hard to believe seeing as the company regularly sends out cards older than that to substitute for redemptions they cannot fulfill (see the blog “I Am Joe Collector” for more on this topic), so I will be adding these cards to a growing pile I plan on sending to Upper Deck merely as a protest to their poor quality control and even poorer excuses when it comes to remedies to that situation.

I don’t mean to pick on Upper Deck, but this has been a growing frustration of mine when it comes to how they do business, and I know for a fact that I am not alone in my dissatisfaction.

On the plus side, which is something I would prefer to focus more of my time on when I post reviews on this blog, is that I really enjoy the design of the base set.

While certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, I am often a fan of clean, symmetrical designs that eliminate background distractions and make the player stand out significantly from his surroundings on the card.  In that way, this design reminds me somewhat of the various Ovation series released by Upper Deck, though the use of colour is much more toned down and the embossing that is so prevalent in Ovation is missing from this product.

Another plus is that in the end I am pretty close to finishing a base set.  Like I said, I have experienced far worse when buying a pair of Blaster Boxes, sometimes ending up with near complete duplication between the two. All told, this actually turned out pretty well.

I wasn’t able to knock anything off the list below from the handful of singles I already had on hand, so here is my list of needs:

3, 8, 12, 13, 14, 20, 27, 30, 35, 41, 48, 58, 61, 63, 67, 81, 85, 86, 88, 89, 90, 91

If you have any of them, please let me know, I would love to get this set finished up as soon as possible and regain even a fraction more desk space once it’s done with and put with my other sets.

**********

On the whole, these boxes were a pretty significant disappointment, though not entirely surprising.  No matter how often I tell myself that Blasters are not the best way to go, my craving for breaking open packs usually wins out and I buy something that I know I shouldn’t have.

Thankfully, the return from these boxes was enough to put at least a temporary stop to my ill-advised Wal-Mart/Toys ‘R Us purchases as I have not made a single hobby related purchase from a retail outlet since opening this product.

Also on the positive end of things is that I did manage to find some redeeming qualities in the design of the cards that made a tough pill a little easier to swallow.

What has you experience with retail card products been like?  Is you luck with collation, quality control, and lack of return on investment mirrored mine, or am I just unlucky when it comes to these sorts of things?

Share your story with me by leaving a comment below, e-mail me at bb_bros@hotmail.com, or connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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