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Searching for Pauper Cards at My LGS

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Lasraik

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I've become a mark for Pauper.  I love the format and having a tournament next week with some people in my playgroup.  My window for getting cards here is small, because if I buy them online I was worried about them shipping in time.  So I figured I'd give a local LGS or two a few bucks and go through their commons.  I usually buy cards on eBay and get them for below TCG mid prices and free shipping, depending on the card.   But why buy online when I can support a local game store and maybe meet new people?

When I first starting playing MTG, it was while I worked in Reno, NV.  The local store that we walked into was small but the owner was really friendly and after we talked with him a bit we worked out a deal that the 4-5 of us who played got booster boxes at cost.  He even cracked packs and played with us once in a while.  I've been to the largest LGS in my area and they price gouge (in my opinion) and are generally unpleasant.  I thought to myself there has to be a better environment and maybe I'll find a place to play FNM or other events.

I looked up card stores around me and found two that I had not been to yet.  The first one told me they have a ton of bulk commons and I'm free to look through them.  They have a Pauper event every Saturday, maybe I can feel the place out and try to make some of them and an FNM now and then.  The second place told me they had organized boxes by set that I can look through.  

The first place I went to was the closest to me but had so-so reviews online.  It was a small store and I was greeted by an employee who was playing Legacy with her friend.  I asked about their commons and I was directed towards a corner with about 10 3,000 card boxes.  She said they are kinda organized (they weren't) and they have a special going that if I buy 1,000 cards or enough to fill a small box it's $5.  I spent about 2 hours going through commons and found lots of cards.  I even bought this card because it reminded me of someone on the forum, I'll let you decide who:

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And I found this copy of Unholy Strength with the pentagram in the art.  I remembered reading about this and thought it would be a nice addition to my collection

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After going through about half of their boxes and having a large stack of cards (probably around 800), I walked up to the front desk and she started counting the pile.  She looked at me and said, "is it OK if I just charge you the $5 for this?  You have about 1,000 cards here."  I wasn't going to go through more boxes to get a couple hundred more cards that I probably wasn't going to use and $5 sounded good to me.  I picked up a couple of packs of Conspiracy 2 and was on my way.  I picked up about 40% of the cards that were on my list so I called this a win.

I drove across the city to the second store and the manager (or the only employee there) was arguing with a teenager about his card prices.  He was telling him he should be checking his phone for TCG mid prices because that's what the store uses and basically stop bothering me with questions.  I asked if I could look through their bulk and he snapped, "We don't have... bulk.  We have commons and uncommons.  if you are the guy who called on the phone I tried to explain this to you already.  I'll get the set out that you want to look through."  I lifted up my list and showed him how many sets were on it.  He walked back and brought out one box at a time.

After looking through about 5-6 set boxes I found this much easier to find what I needed.

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I found some other cards I thought were interesting and pulled a few, like Sunlance in the picture.  I was finding what I needed faster but having to bother him every few minutes to bring out the next box meant I sat waiting for a good portion of the time.  I had a stack of about 200 cards at this point, all commons for my Pauper decks.  Progress.

The employee walks over and says, "I'm going to ring up what you have so far so you get an idea on what you have."  At this point I just figured he would eyeball what I had and give me a price.  I was wrong and maybe a little naive to how this works.  He spend about 20 minutes looking up cards and walks back over to me.  "Dunno what your budget is but you're up to $125 and I'm only halfway through your stack."  I was a little surprised he looked up every single common and that it was that much.  I had a good portion of what I needed for the decks I'm building and I wasn't going to start over again.  So I told him I would take out my needs and put back what I don't need, just stuff I wanted for decks I'll probably never build, only think about.

After I told him this, he balked and said, "Well, I have to pay someone to put all of this back so I'll give it all to you for $150.  All those cards add up, man."  I had everything organized by set anyway, so I told him to bring the boxes and I'll be happy to put them back.  I'm only going to buy what I needed.  He wasn't too happy with that, even after I offered to put everything back that I wasn't going to buy.  

I went through the cards I absolutely needed and it added up to $65.  I was already a few hours in and I figured I'd just buy what I needed and get the rest online. Even when he was checking me out he was lecturing me on card prices and kept repeating "Those cards add up."

I came home and browsed eBay for about 30 minutes.  Ordered ever card I needed and only bought from sellers that guarantee arrival by the date I needed.  (Saturday 8/3)  It was painless.  I didn't have to deal with unhappy employees or digging through a thousand cards to maybe get what I needed.  I spent about 6 hours going through boxes when I could have just bought them online for a few bucks more.

Overall I'm happy with the first store, it's small but it's close to where I live and the employee was friendly.  I won't be back to the second store.  It was a learning experience on dealing with different stores and bulk.  I was a little surprised they deal with pricing it so differently.  After the first store I didn't expect stores to spend 30 minutes pricing a bunch of commons they have in a back room somewhere collecting dust.  I  took my 11 year old with me to sort through cards.  He was on the fence about MTG before that but after spending hours searching for cards for his Pauper Slivers deck (he's playing in the tournament) he's pretty excited and already "borrowing" my other Sliver cards 

How does your LGS handle commons and bulk?  Comment and let me know if what I found yesterday is common.

 


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Sorry you had such a bad experience at the second store. I wouldn't have bought anything from him with the attitude he had. The first one sounds awesome. They just want someone to have fun with the cards. My LGS back in Brockton, MA sold bulk commons for 10 cents and uncommons for 25 cents. If you found something that was actually worth a dollar or two, he just gave it to you for that price! A few times he gave me free cards for finding a few cards that should have been in binders. That's the best kind of LGS!

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3 hours ago, Wintargetgame said:

Sorry you had such a bad experience at the second store. I wouldn't have bought anything from him with the attitude he had. The first one sounds awesome. They just want someone to have fun with the cards. My LGS back in Brockton, MA sold bulk commons for 10 cents and uncommons for 25 cents. If you found something that was actually worth a dollar or two, he just gave it to you for that price! A few times he gave me free cards for finding a few cards that should have been in binders. That's the best kind of LGS!

The thought did cross my mind to just walk out and tell them to fly a kite.  But I already spent about 3 hours sorting and it would have felt like a waste.  So I guess I learned a lesson and won't be back to that store.  It's too bad, it's a big store with lots of space and MTG events almost every day.

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One LGS has all their rares and staple commons and uncommons cataloged in a computer system and boxes of less-desired lower rarities sorted by color only in a variety of boxes.  The other LGS has chase cards in cases, higher dollar/slightly less sought after cards in a designated "hot box", standard legal sets in their own 2-row boxes, and older rares and uncommons sorted by color and older commons by color in their own respective 3-row boxes.

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10 hours ago, Molimo said:

One LGS has all their rares and staple commons and uncommons cataloged in a computer system and boxes of less-desired lower rarities sorted by color only in a variety of boxes.  The other LGS has chase cards in cases, higher dollar/slightly less sought after cards in a designated "hot box", standard legal sets in their own 2-row boxes, and older rares and uncommons sorted by color and older commons by color in their own respective 3-row boxes.

How much do they charge for the less desired cards?  Do they price them individually?

 

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The former LGS looks up the current "market value" price at the time of purchase, the latter store usually prices the lesser commons around 10-25 cents each and uncommons 50 cents each.

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I've dealt with 3 different LGS concerning bulks.

LGS 1: The first LGS I ever went to, spent time at ext, they sold every card by price, didn't matter if it was a total junk card, they looked it up and priced it. They even did this for lands (The reason I bring this up will become apparent soon).

LGS 2: They didn't sell bulk per card, they had 1,000 count boxes of commons/uncommons from all sets and colors for $5 take it or leave it. So going in wanting a couple specific commons/uncommons was literally impossible here, but that being said I never flipped less then $15 off a $5 box from them. Lands, oh boy lands were money at that LGS, they sold "land packs" 50 of each color for $2, do you realize how much some lands are worth? not even counting full art lands you can make some nice change off basic lands, even more so when you start hitting Ice Age lands.

LGS 3: They have a small (1,500 count) selection of bulk commons/uncommons/rares, everything in those boxes is 7 for $1, so a nice middle of the road price, and if you only need one or two the owner will just give them to you most the time.

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Sounds like there isnt a standard for each store.  That surprises me a little.

$5 take it or leave it box is too tempting to not try a couple out

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4 hours ago, Lasraik said:

Sounds like there isnt a standard for each store.  That surprises me a little.

$5 take it or leave it box is too tempting to not try a couple out

I think I bought 10 of them, I was able to build the base of a lot of EDH decks and still make a minimum $15 profit from them, they were fun boxes (that was an LGS back home so I can't go there anymore). Obviously you ended up with alot of the same cards but I don't think I ever got a box with more then 7-10 of the same card in it which was nice.

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On 9/2/2016 at 3:17 PM, Real_Life_Dad said:

I think I bought 10 of them, I was able to build the base of a lot of EDH decks and still make a minimum $15 profit from them, they were fun boxes (that was an LGS back home so I can't go there anymore). Obviously you ended up with alot of the same cards but I don't think I ever got a box with more then 7-10 of the same card in it which was nice.

Sounds like a pretty decent deal.  I have a newfound admiration for bulk lots now that I'm playing Pauper haha

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My golden rule always helps, I spend big amounts of money on magic, so first before doing so, I scout the store, go inside talk to whoever works there, make a couple of annoying requests. If I get a shitty treatment then they don´t really value costumers so  I just take my business elsewhere or online. At the end of the day I don´t really care if I buy what I need in one place or another. They are the ones who need to sell, so politeness gets you mah dollas B)

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6 hours ago, Koakka said:

My golden rule always helps, I spend big amounts of money on magic, so first before doing so, I scout the store, go inside talk to whoever works there, make a couple of annoying requests. If I get a shitty treatment then they don´t really value costumers so  I just take my business elsewhere or online. At the end of the day I don´t really care if I buy what I need in one place or another. They are the ones who need to sell, so politeness gets you mah dollas B)

I agree.  Too often this means im buying what I want online :wacko:

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