Hello! Usually, in this space I try to fill you guys in on what I have been up to as my collection grows. However, today I wanted to share a little story that made me excited. Not about my collection growing, but how it is growing.
A couple weeks ago I was in Edmonton. A city a few hours west of Saskatoon. Of course, I went to some of the local game stores in the city to peek through binders in search of some treasures. One of the stores I visited is not really a local game store. Instead, it is sort of a shop that sells...everything. Cards, toys, books, taxidermy, a giant Ronald McDonald head (yes, for real). The store is just effing cool! I would totally post a link to their website, but here's the kicker: they don't have one! What does that mean to you, the curious reader? It means if you want to see what I am telling you about, you have to physically go to the store. Or a store like it. You have to dig through binders of cards and that is the coolest thing for a collector.
Here's why I say that:
The internet has made getting the cards we want so easy. You log on to a website of choice, you fill a shopping cart, you enter some numbers and then you wait and that's great. But, I think that every collector of any thing should have the experience of going to a place that is untouched by the modern mode of buying. There is really something to be said for being able to see the old cards and feel the history. To know that all that cardboard used to be dropped on dirty-ass boot room floors and played with (unsleeved) on the sidewalk. It is one thing to go to a website and add something to your cart. It is a totally different thing to flip through a binder that might be older than you are! In some cases, those rare, super expensive cards are just there too! You like Lake of the Dead? There were a bunch!
Food Chain? There were five or six stuffed into the same binder slot. They were probably sitting there since people ran screaming from Masques Block Standard. It is totally cool to leaf through an Alpha binder and actually have the old cards be there. Then to switch to something modern and have it be barren because you aren't in a "Magic store". You are in a store that sells collectibles, toys, games. Magic just happens to be one of those games.
I think it is a refreshing to be reminded that while our game might be the biggest game to us, it is just one of a million other hobbies out there. I think it is really neat to spend a little time in an old school shop where Magic isn't the bread and butter. Where it is just another cool oddity. It is a throw back to a time when cards were all over the place and not so coveted, or treated with such investment-driven reverence. There is really something to be said for being able to take a look back in time at our game and experience a small part of the early days. AND it is a great way to get a good look at some of those hidden gems from the old sets. Then, get them home and run them right away, as opposed to waiting for the mail, like a sucker.
The moral of my meandering story here is simply this: the next time you get a chance, take a look at those old binders in the stores. Spend an extra few minutes to really take in the fact that you aren't just upgrading a collection or a deck. You are looking back at history and interesting art and you're doing it in a very cool, very authentic way. While that illusion melts away at the till, (ouch!!!) it is still an excellent thought experiment and a really cool way to spend a couple hours in an afternoon. Also, when the store sells all that other stuff I mentioned, there is lots for the partner to look at, so they don't get bored.
Do you have a store like the one I am talking about in your town? Are you like me and are limited to sanitised, online-lite local game stores? The kind that don't let you touch anything. They just tell you they have the card you want or they don't. Hit me up on Twitter @CCOBrando and share your stories about stores near you or with any cool treasure-finds you have had!
Thanks for taking the time and I'll see you next time!