However, there have been a couple of new sets out in the past few months (Unseen Forces came out on 8/24 and Delta Species on 10/31), so I've been in there to scoop up some of the "early deals". The card traders, ones with resale licenses who can get distributor pricing (yeah, I'm thinking about it) can get a case of six "booster boxes" (with 36 packs each) for about $120.00 ... which works out to about $0.60 a pack with shipping ... compare that to the $4.49 a pack that Walgreens charges down here and you get the idea of what a deep discount that is. These guys typically buy a couple of thousand bucks worth of the new cards when they come out and spend a week opening packs and sorting the cards, primarily looking for the high-value holograhic cards (and the various "ultra rare" cards which might come 1 to a case). In the process, they end up with vast numbers of the Common, Uncommon, and Rare cards. In the first few weeks after a release, they are just happy to get these out the door, and some even pre-sell complete "non-holo" sets. Now, I've grabbed some of these before, but I noticed that the pre-sale price was often quite a bit higher than what was out there after the release date, so I waited. I didn't get the best deal on the new Delta Species set (I got a very good deal on the Commons/Uncommons but then got outbid with like 6 seconds left on the Rares from the same vendor), but ended up getting Daughter #1 the whole non-holo set for less than what it would have cost to have bought four 9-card packs at the store!
Another typical "deal" starts showing up when the card trader guys start analyzing their inventory, seeing what holos or reverse holos they have "too many of", at which point you'll see eBay lots of 10-12 of these cards. Since #1 starts out without any holos/rev-holos, these are good pickings as well, and I just got 46 of these for her at about 10¢ each (for cards that "retail" from $1 to $7 a piece).
Of course, Daughter #1 just loves actually getting to open up new packs for the "discovery" thrill of finding the high-value cards (if any), so I'm always keeping an eye out for packs going at a "reasonable" price. Of course, were I to get the resale paperwork set up, I could get her cases of packs (which would no doubt get her sick of opening them up in short order!), but that's a separate issue. Anyway, I have been "watching" various auctions for "Booster Boxes" of the new set, and have been amazed at how "the market sets itself", with auction after auction closing in a very tight range around $72.00 (with shipping, the actual bid adjusting for the shipping charges), which works out to $2/pack. Obviously, if you're a dealer who'd paid around $20 per box, selling it at $65 is not a bad mark-up ... and makes me think that if you buy three cases, you could sell off one case and make enough to have the contents of the other two "for free" ... hmmmmmmm.
Oh, well ... just thought I'd share.