OK, so as even infrequent readers of this space no doubt have figured out, I have obtained a bad habit that involves both eBay and Pokemon cards. A long time ago (in a universe far, far away) I used to totally pooh-pooh eBay, thinking it was silly that folks got excited to "win" things, when all they were "winning" was the right to purchase an item at a particular price. Likewise, some years back I had a total dislike of anything from the world of Anime, including Pokemon, although I still don't much like the style, I've grown to "know the characters" of the Pokemon world. These both changed back when Daughter #1 decided that she really wanted to get some Pokemon cards because her friends at summer camp were into them. The Wife initially got her a pack (at about $4.50 for a mere 9 cards) and I suddenly was on a mission to find some way to get her these things without such a brutal investment ... enter eBay, where I found that I could get blocks of cards for pennies a piece, if without the "adventure" of opening up packs to see what's inside.
Now, to be the best "eBay shopper" that I could be, I found that I really had to learn about the Pokemon cards (because if you don't know what you're bidding on, you can really get screwed), so I spent quite a bit of time Googling my way around the web to find out info on the cards. Coming to this from the "collector" rather than the "player" end was frustrating, because the vast majority of sites out there are done by kids who are looking to share tips for ways to win the games. Frankly, I could not care less what the hit points are for a card, or what effect a "trainer" has, what I wanted to know was what the difference was between a holographic 006/101 Exploud and a holographic 003/106 Exploud (to name two cards I recently "won"), and what they were "worth".
I eventually found a number of sites that actually sold individual cards, etc., on the web. As anybody who reads these particular postings knows, I have been amazed at the variation in pricing between sites, where one place might sell an Emerald set holograhic 009/106 Rayquaza for $5.00 and another would have that same card listed at $59.99! Up until just recently, I had four sites that I could predictably "triangulate" the "street value" of any given card.
So, why am I blithering on here? What's my kvetch? Well, at the moment, only one of those sites actually has the latest set of cards (Unseen Forces, which came out on 8/24), listed, and that's the "high site". This is making it very difficult for me to bid on stuff from that set ... sure, if I'm getting a card that they list for $39.99 for under two bucks, I figure I'm doing OK on the deal, but I really would feel better about this if I had the low sites' pricing to compare it to. Of course, with the Internet, it's hard to tell who you're dealing with, some site might be somebody's "hobby", and they just never got going on a particular set (I guess pre-ordering multiple caseloads of boxes is the only "cost effective" way of doing the card business, and maybe they just didn't have the $$$ to spare when it came out), or if the site is just the web presence of a small chain of comic/card stores, but it's frustrating to suddenly have just ONE reference site to go by!
There, that's the kvetch of the day. I'm sorry if you actually read all the way down here, since it was no doubt a long way to go for a pretty flimsy "pay off".