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  #1  
Old 10-09-2009, 11:53 AM
BleedinBlue BleedinBlue is offline
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Default Baseball cards and Addiction

(Originally posted on the PSA boards Oct 08, 2009)

I need a little support here. I know there must be at least one other person out there who has experienced a similar fate and I'm hoping that with your support I can get through this.

The last month has been a bad time for me and my bank account. It's not my fault really but somehow a few weeks ago I got bit by The Monster. Not just any monster, The Monster. It was careless of me. I knew it was out there but I had always been able to keep it at arm’s length and admire it from afar. But, somehow the past few weeks have transformed me from a normal collector into somebody I don't recognize.

The T206 set has always been something I wanted to take a stab at. And when I picked up the last card for my 1953 Topps set a few weeks ago I had a void that needed to be filled. What am I going to do next? I guess that is how things start with other addicts as well. Anyway, I took what I thought was not an irrational step and bought a card. One card. Nothing fancy or expensive but I bought one. Ed Abbaticchio with Blue Sleeves in PSA 2. Piedmont 460 Back. $20 bucks. No Big Deal. The first card (alphabetically) in the set. As I envisioned things, this was the first step in a very long and sane journey toward a lifelong ambition.

Up to this point I'm real clear but soon after things start to get fuzzy. I remember that while waiting for my new card to arrive I started to do a little reading about The Monster. I read about things I "knew" but didn't really know. 524 cards. Sizable but manageable given time. 76 Hall of Famers. 48 Southern Leaguers. 4 Ty Cobb’s. 3 Cy Young’s. 2 Walter Johnson’s. Tinker to Evers to Chance. Eddie Plank, Sherry Magie, Joe Doyle. And Honus Wagner. The Card. Just to be clear, my name is not Donald Trump. I'm a collector but also a realist. Reality says this will be a 520 card journey rather than a 524 card journey but hey, who's to say I won't win the lottery in the next decade? Anyway, I'll cross that bridge when the time comes. But then things start to get murky. I started to learn things I "knew of" but didn't really know. 40 different backs. Piedmont and Sweet Caporal. Old Mill and Polar Bear. Sovereign and Tolstoi. Drum, Broadleaf, American Beauty, Carolina Bright, Cycle and El Principe De Gales. Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb back. Brown Hindu and Red Hindu? Brown Lenox, Black Lenox? Uzit? Factory 42? Over 5000 known front-back combinations? Nine different Sweet Caporal backs? 150 Series, 150/350 Series, 460 Series? Super Prints? O'Hara and Demmit in St. Louis but only with Polar Bear backs? Horizontal poses? The information overload left me woozy. Like most things in life, the more you learn the about The Monster the more you realize how much you don't know. Knowing my tendencies I should have predicted where this would lead. But I was naive. I thought I could control things.

A couple days later I went to my mailbox with life seemingly in check when reality stepped in to remind me who is boss. There it was. A seemingly innocuous Bubble Mailer mixed in with a couple of other Bubble Mailers. I sat down as I do many evenings to savor my daily take. I can't tell you what else came that day. It doesn't really matter. All I can clearly remember is opening that special package and seeing my new card for the first time. It is beautiful. Ed Abbaticchio. Piedmont. I couldn't get enough of this 100 year old piece of cardboard. I showed my family. I showed my friends. “Who’s he” they asked. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. They all heard me but they just didn't understand. They still don't. I tried to explain but they couldn't know how I felt. Unfortunately, just like most "high's" this one started to fade. I still love my Ed Abbaticchio with Blue Sleeves and a Piedmont back but I needed another hit. I needed to feel that high again. So in all my wisdom I hatched a plan. I thought "I'll do these cards one at a time to stretch the experience out and keep things under control. I'll do them in alphabetical order picking them up one at a time." This seemed like a good plan. It would be nearly 100 cards before I hit the Ty Cobb sequence and nothing up to that seemed unreasonably priced. So I went to my local drug dealer, ebay, and found card #2 in the set. Ed Abbaticchio with Brown Sleeves. PSA 3. Another Piedmont back. Piedmont 150 this time. $30. No Big Deal. And irrecoverably the second step down this infernal path was taken.

The card arrived and the high was exquisite. I'm telling you it is better than sex. Heck I've been married 16 years so I don't really remember sex anymore but from what I remember this is better. But I needed another hit. And another. Card #3 Fred Abbott. Card #4 Bill Abstein. Easy scores. Quick highs. Low cost. Then the trouble began. I blame Card #5 Doc Adkins and I blame the Dodgers. My dealer was out of stock. How can this be? What do you mean this is a "tough common"? What do you mean you don't have any? I NEED DOC ADKINS!! My Dodgers are choking in September and I need something to get me through the regular season!! So, with my hands trembling slightly I decided to rethink my plan. I know, I'll expand my list. Sure, no big deal. I'll look for all the cards of players who's last names start with "A". There are only 10 more and it will give me more options. So with Doc Adkins (temporarily) unavailable I set off in search of my next hit. Atz, Armbruster, Anderson, Ames Portrait, Ames Hands at Chest, Ames Hands above Head, Adkins (finally), Alperman, Arellanes and Arndt all joined my stash with surprising rapidity. And fatefully my first back variations began to show up. A Sovereign, a Sweet Caporal and a couple of Polar Bears joined my Piedmont backed cards. With the "A" players having all been acquired I needed a new list. I took the next 10 cards and put them in my saved searches. And I started looking for Back Variations. And what the hell, while I'm at it I figured out a Brooklyn Superba's team set and decided to track that down as well. This really was my fatal mistake. With so many options I quickly bypassed the difficult cards and started buying with reckless abandon. I began making back alley deals with shady characters including some of you reading this. I needed that next hit. I needed to score. I needed to recreate that high. And I went on a buying spree like never before. I bought those 10 cards (the ones I could find), I bought 21 of the 27 Brooklyn Superba's. I bought a Cycle back, an American Beauty back, all the Piedmont backs, all the Sweet Caporal backs, all the Sovereign backs. An El Principe De Galles. Old Mill, Old Mill Southern League. I bought cards for no good reason other than the seller had them and I needed them. Hey, I'm saving shipping charges if I buy 2 aren't I? It's like the cards are on sale!! I had to have them all and I just kept buying.

Reality is a mother and facing reality can be a sobering experience. For me reality came in the mail yesterday. After quickly ripping through the large stack of bubble mailers last night I came across a very thick envelope from somebody called MasterCard. Maybe some of you know him? He acts like a friend but really he's just using you. Anyway my former friend MasterCard said it was time for him to call in his favors. It was time to pay the piper and oh what a steep price it was. As I stared at the sheets and sheets of charges I thought that surely somebody must have stolen my identity. Then I prayed that HOPEFULLY somebody had stolen my identity. But after carefully cross checking my records I realized there was no one else to blame. I had done this to myself. Somehow I had taken an innocent little adventure down the T206 path and turned that first slow step into 90 quick ones. Didn't I realize The Monster is a marathon and not a sprint? I had bought 90 T206 cards in only 6 weeks. Nearly 20% of the set in such a short time. I had figured it would take me 2 years to get this far.

So, as I sit here recovering from the shock I realize there is only one way to get over this addiction. I need to quit cold turkey. No cards of any kind. 30 days. I should probably do 60 or 90 days but those numbers seem too daunting. 30 days. I can do it right? After all collecting is something I do right? Not who I am? It's a hobby, not an addiction right? Fortunately I have the post season to keep me occupied. Damn those Dodgers better knock off the Cardinals this week. I don't think I can make it without them. If they can just get to the next round that would give me a couple more weeks of distraction.

30 Days.

This is day 1.
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  #2  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:00 PM
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There is help available. Partake of it.

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  #3  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:02 PM
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There is help available. Partake of it.
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  #4  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:11 PM
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He should collect E cards instead. There are only 25-30 cards in most of those sets.
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  #5  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:22 PM
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Very well written, kind of like a short story.

Here's my advice: don't look at this in such black and white terms. Instead of buying everything in sight and then quitting cold turkey, pace yourself. Buy a few cards each month so it won't kill your budget. You will enjoy it more.
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  #6  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:27 PM
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Well written and a nice twist at the end. I thought for certain we were heading towards the "so, that is why none of you have gotten paid for the cards I bought" finish.
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  #7  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:35 PM
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I'm tempted to send him an Old Judge, just to see what happens...
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  #8  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:35 PM
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Dude, there is not much we can do for you now. Perhaps, if you came to us earlier??? But with 90 cards in, you have no hope of a recovery and will soon relapse. My condolences to your family...

By the way, I have a "sweet" T206 Cobb bat on shoulder for sale .

Lovely Day...

Last edited by iggyman; 10-09-2009 at 12:41 PM.
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  #9  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:44 PM
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I would say lean on your wife for support, but if yours is any like mine (if indeed you have one), you'd lean over, she'd move right out of the way, and gladly watch you smash your face right into the ground.

Good luck with the therapy.
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  #10  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrysloate View Post
Very well written, kind of like a short story.

Here's my advice: don't look at this in such black and white terms. Instead of buying everything in sight and then quitting cold turkey, pace yourself. Buy a few cards each month so it won't kill your budget. You will enjoy it more.
Sage advice. I can't pinpoint a single reason why I finally threw in the towel about halfway into the set, but burnout was certainly a factor. The Monster is a massive undertaking, especially if you're meticulous about keeping up with Super Set-style checklists, scans and so on. As I was, and as you probably are judging from your post. I don't think my pace ever approached yours - except for the few times I was able to buy large groups of T206s - but even adding a couple cards a week on average just got to be too much. Time. Money. Energy.

So take a break, recharge your batteries and your checking account and come back when the playoffs are over. Or even in 2010. The cards you seek will still be out there.
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  #11  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:54 PM
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Great story that I can relate to. Back in the day, and I mean way back in the day, when I started the monster, it was equally, if not more so, the addiction you describe today.

I'd hurry home every day after work to be thrilled by what had just come in the mail. While it was a different time, no ebay, no grading companies, everything raw, it was exciting. Oh, and the anguish if my SCD hadn't arrived on time.

I went from 0 to the 520 in about a year and had another 1,500 dups to boot.

Boy, was it fun!!!
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  #12  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:55 PM
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I've learned not to use credit cards to fund card purchases for this very reason. One late night eBay card binge can get pretty expensive (and shocking) when the bill comes. My best advice from experience is to use a debit card for your purchases. The worst case scenario is that you might end up emptying your bank account, but that's better than getting yourself so deep in credit card debt that you can't get out all because of collecting cards. The best solution is to pace yourself, but I'm sure most of the people here can say that's easier said than done.
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  #13  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:59 PM
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Steve Y.

Nice to see you posting again. You ave been sorely missed.
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  #14  
Old 10-09-2009, 01:08 PM
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Thanks, Steve M. The "take a break" aspect of this thread was very relevant for me. I have picked up a few cards this year, but have generally been in hibernation for most of '09. Slowly emerging from my slumber, though.

Just in time to see Matt Holliday become the Cardinals answer to Bill Buckner. Well, maybe not that bad, but unless the Cards can come back, which I seriously doubt, that will be an epic error in franchise history.
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  #15  
Old 10-09-2009, 01:20 PM
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My advice for the cardboard addict is simple, try collecting scans for your fix. I rarely pull out my Maples and others to view them, my photobucket page is satisfying enough. I find this way of collecting cheap and efficient besides you can save up for the card you really want.

Last edited by V117collector; 10-09-2009 at 01:24 PM.
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  #16  
Old 10-09-2009, 01:21 PM
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I still haven't seen video of that ghastly error, I missed the end of the game..and I just went to youtube and they can't show it due to copyright law. How can you have a copyright on something in the news? I don't get it.
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:23 PM
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Try.

www.mlbnetwork.com

its probably somewhere on there.
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  #18  
Old 10-09-2009, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrysloate View Post
I still haven't seen video of that ghastly error, I missed the end of the game..and I just went to youtube and they can't show it due to copyright law. How can you have a copyright on something in the news? I don't get it.
http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=7027385

or if you want the TV and both team's radio calls:
http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=7029197
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  #19  
Old 10-09-2009, 01:26 PM
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http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?t...ent_id=7027385

Not exactly a can of corn, but not more than 4 in terms of degree of difficulty. In that situation, ya gotta make the play.
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  #20  
Old 10-09-2009, 01:32 PM
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You can tell right at about the 19 second mark of that video that the sun is just above the rim of the stadium behind home plate. He was looking into a major glare. That's what happens with these odd west coast start times necessitated by television. I'm guessing it was a much tougher play than it appeared from watching it on television.
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:32 PM
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i'm not jinxing anything, but that was probably the play of the series...having said that cards still had an 87% win probability after the error. bullpen fail ftl
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:35 PM
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Thanks to all...never went on that site before. Boy, that's a play that may define Holliday's entire career. What a shame.
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  #23  
Old 10-09-2009, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaddurbin View Post
i'm not jinxing anything, but that was probably the play of the series...having said that cards still had an 87% win probability after the error. bullpen fail ftl
True on both accounts. Franklin has not exactly soothed Cardinal Nation's nerves lately.
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  #24  
Old 10-09-2009, 01:36 PM
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Default Lost in the sun?

Not in LA it wasn't. The sun comes in from over the 3rd base bag and shines right in the eyes of the right fielder. So far I've heard 3 excuses. He lost it in the lights, he lost it in the sun and he lost it in the waving white towels. All crap. He missed it. The sun is over 3rd base and the fans were walking out, not waving towels. The lights might be a problem but it was not dark there yet. He missed it.
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:09 PM
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Default Holliday

Matt Holliday now has more in common with Fred Snodgrass than anyone else for the pre-war era!!!
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  #26  
Old 10-09-2009, 02:09 PM
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Don't Stop!!!! Remember..."If it feels good, why not?"
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  #27  
Old 10-09-2009, 02:28 PM
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I am NOT addicted. I only got 2 cards in the mail today.....
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  #28  
Old 10-09-2009, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrysloate View Post
Thanks to all...never went on that site before. Boy, that's a play that may define Holliday's entire career. What a shame.

The off season will be interesting for him. His fielding prowess demonstrates as a Free Agent that he may be better suited to be a DH but an earlier stint in the AL for him this year proved to be less than stellar. This is the same left field where Pedro Guerrero stood and looked up in disgust as Jack Clark's home run off Tom Neidenfeur (sp?) sailed deep into the stands sending the Cards towards the WS. Ah, the circle of life.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:00 PM
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This story had me laughing so hard that I had to wipe my tears away. I feel your pain but it's also such a funny story. I usually always calculate maximum my bank account can sustain before bidding. Unfortunately I usually lowball my wife's spending activities.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:31 PM
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He thought it was coming in slightly higher and he could catch it with his glove turned up, then at the last minute it sunk on him and he had to flip his glove down and just wasn't set properly. A Jack Dunn moment.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:52 PM
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I liked Vin Scully's call:

"Hopefully, he's wearing a cup!"



Steve
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:08 PM
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Right after he made the infamous "muff" Snodgrass made a tremendous running catch to temporarily save the game which everyone forgets. Snodgrass was always bitter, even in his last years on earth, that people didn't remember that catch.
The thing about Holliday's muff was, as pointed out, that there were still 2 outs and the Cards up 1 run. This is reminiscent of the fact that even though Buckner made an error in Game 6 there was still a game 7 to play (and the Sox actually led in that game). I bet 95% of the people who even know who Bill Buckner is think the boot occurred in the fnal game of the Series.
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Old 10-09-2009, 05:42 PM
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Keep in mind that Buckner and Snodgrass made their muffs in the 6th and 7th games of the World Series. Holliday's was only in the second game of the first round. So it wasn't at quite such a dramatic moment...but it still was pretty bad.
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:17 PM
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Remember the Monster wants you to quit.
Don't listen to it.

I got my first T206 around '82 and bought my first around '84 and 'tamed' the Monster around '08 and learned two virtues of patience and perseverance by having to practice them again and again.
And yes, I'm still practicing them again and again but they've become friends rather than foes.
****
And May I say a RESOUNDING WELCOME BACK to YAWIE.
Things haven't been the same without you, buddy!!!

Best,
barry
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:27 AM
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A well written story and great follow up posts. I have come to realize I can't even check my email without opening eBay, Net54, SCG, and a few other sites. I too have over-extended at times because I felt the "card" at the time had to be purchased immediately or would forever be missed. When you finally come to terms with your limitations, you will find that the "card" of the day will be back tomarrow or soon there after. Unless you veer to the obscure, mainstream sets will be there when you can afford the cards. Let's face it, these cards and sets waited 90+ years to inflict their venom upon some of us. One thing I have done recently to help calm the hunger pangs is to still bid on a lot of cards, but low-ball the bids. If I win, I win twice...get the cards and get them at a steal. If I lose, I try again. It has worked for me. Good luck with your set. But more importantly, good luck with your self control. This is a great hobby.

Lance
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:00 AM
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very well written,
john
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:05 AM
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I feel your pain. There are so many awesome cards I like, but patience. Good Luck!
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  #38  
Old 10-10-2009, 09:49 AM
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The moral of the story is don't use the CC to buy cards unless you have the cash to back it. Then you are simply getting the 2% back or the miles or whatever. Besides, half the fun of a set is the chasing rather than the having.

My last bit of advice to you is to start drinking heavily.

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Last edited by Exhibitman; 10-10-2009 at 09:52 AM.
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  #39  
Old 10-10-2009, 10:42 AM
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This happens to me from time to time too. I JUST paid off my last round of buys on Friday and last night I did a swing through ebay and found some raw SLers and a CB common with a not exactly unfair BIN.

I suddenly owe the CC agian, but I got some pretty sweet stuff for the stack!

Hello, my name is Bob.
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