16 July, 2012

08 July, 2012

Hello Kitty Dodgers bobblehead

My girlfriend and I went to Japan Night at Dodger Stadium last week.  The Dodgers were giving away a Hello Kitty bobblehead.  Here are some photos of it:

Front of box.

Top of box.

The cat.  Front.

Fat.  Back.

It was good to be back at Dodger Stadium again, and it was a win to boot!  I would even say that it was an exciting game.

Also, Dodger Stadium security is a bit lax.  I always carry around a Benchmade utility knife with me, but this was the first time I forgot to take it off and leave it in the car (as I usually do when I go to a sporting event, music venue, or airport).  But, nope, dude waved me right in.  No way a skinny hipster-looking Asian dude would have a super sharp knife, right?  It's not like I was trying to sneak it in or carry it for nefarious reasons, because I would have left it in the car if I remembered before I sat down.  Obviously some people (the "wrong" element at ballgames) could do so though?  Troubling.

06 July, 2012

Panini comes through in a big way

In my experience, Panini products can be inconsistent as far as quality of hits and value are concerned, but they are generally good in terms of card condition, collation, and entertainment.  Most importantly, however, Panini has a great customer service infrastructure - especially compared to the other heavy hitters in Topps and Upper Deck.

Redemptions are super annoying.  One could even venture to say that redemptions are decidedly immoral and dishonest in a business sense.  Card companies should be obligated to fulfill their redemptions.  If only they were legally, and not just morally, obligated to do so (and not even then) - right?  Perhaps at this point many hobbyists deem them to be a necessary evil.  None of this is news.  When I have had to deal with redemptions, though, I never had any major issues with Panini.  Compared to Topps and Upper Deck, Panini just does their job, as any card company should do.  Panini took the time to build an efficient, organized online system for customers to submit redemptions, get replacements for damaged cards, make quality assurance requests, request authentication, and even to just ask random questions.

I have an apoplexy every time I deal with Topps' customer service.  I'd rather get punched in the testicles repeatedly by Manny Pacquiao than deal with Upper Deck again.  The amount of disrespect these two companies have shown me in the past is akin to them punching my sister in the face and then taking a massive dump in my favorite Dodgers hat.  Also, after reading numerous interactions and customer experiences online, it seems like you have to brown-nose Topps or bribe Upper Deck to get any help with your redemptions.  Yes, if you watch video box breaks on YouTube where someone opens old Upper Deck product and receives an expired redemption, you will sometimes notice someone who comments about how they mail the expired redemption card along with a Pizza Hut gift card so that the employees at UD will hook them up.  Fucking Pizza Hut?  Just do your jobs.  We all know the cards (or equivalent) are already there, you criminals.  I once pulled an expired redemption card for a Fred McGriff Sweet Spot autograph and Upper Deck sent me back a Michael Young single swatch jersey relic.  Really?  That was really the best you could possibly do?

Before this post gets too long... bottom line, Panini isn't perfect by any means, but at least they try.  Any of these companies could take almost two years to get you your redeemed card (which was the case for me here, and if at all the same one you redeemed in the first place), but I have never felt like Panini secretly hates me for some reason and is punishing me for some imagined slight.  Like how Michael Bay punished us all with Transformers 3.  No, I am not overreacting to any of this.  Also, I can't be the only one with such shoddy customer service experiences?

Left: Bill Walton, Private Signings on-card autograph.  Right: Kevin McHale, Private Signings on-card auto.  A pair of Celtics greats.  I do not know what set these cards come from.  Preferred?  Hoops?  Black Box?

I originally redeemed two Tom Gola signature cards from 2009-10 Panini Hall of Fame.  Imagine my surprise when I saw these two beauties come in the mail instead!  Absolutely awesome.  Panini came through in a big way for me, and I appreciate it.

2011/12 Panini Limited Basketball box break

I purchased this box from my local card shop.  Panini Limited is only the fourth basketball release from Panini for this past season.  Slim pickin's!  Dumb lockout and dumb Miami Heat.  Here's the video box break:

Sorry, image is a bit blurry. I was filming it too closely.

Boo yah.