Retail Cards May not be as Scarce as You See

A Guide to Help You Find Product
  • September 07, 2020

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EVERY time you go to Walmart or Target, you see the same thing - empty shelves.  You're convinced that collectors are camping out in the store, hoarding boxes; you may not be wrong.  You may still find product IN the store and elsewhere, though!

Empty shelves every single time you try to go find sports cards; we know exactly what you're going through.  Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the card industry has boomed!  Whether boredom during quarantine or a necessity to help make ends meet, other collectors have gotten back into the hobby you love.  The downfall for you - the stock in every store has dried up.   Don't worry - we have a little inside information and a few tips that will help you find the product you're looking for!

Don't forget about our sister company, Vintage Breaks, big event where you could win over $15,000 in prizes including a T206 Ty Cobb! Read about the Vintage Breaks Event

This blog is sponsored by Just Collect where we specialize in buying vintage cards, autographs, and collections. If you have cards on the Just Collect Buy List, we'd love to chat!  If there is something you have like brand new product that isn't on our buy list, we may still be interested! 

Where the Cards Come From

The cards you see on store shelves come from a company called MJ Holding.  This company partners with retailers like Walmart and Target, along with brands you collect such as Topps and Panini to distribute the cards. Your blaster boxes, fat packs, hangers, etc. - all come from MJ Holding. A mixed box will arrive at the store for a vendor to stock. 

Why are the Shelves Empty

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As you know, re-sale prices of cards have SKYROCKETED.  Basketball cards from this season are seeing historic prices on the secondary market thanks to rookies like Zion Williamson and Ja Morant.  Collectors trying to cash in on valuable packs and boxes will attempt to time the vendor by waiting in the store to purchase entire displays of product the second cards are available. You may have heard rumors or know employees that are "on the take", knowing exactly when deliveries are set to arrive and are purchased before packs even get to the shelf.  We have seen collectors standing in line, waiting for a product t be stocked!  Empty shelves and hoarding collector rumors are only partially true... 

Stores MAY Have Product


Store employees aren't fools; workers know a hoarder when they see one.  We were in a local store recently - we can't ell you which store, but it may or may not rhyme with Shmarget.  Looking for 2020 Topps Fire for personal collecting only, an extremely nice employee, saw how ecstatic we were to see hanger boxes ON the shelf for once and let us in on a tiny secret - more boxes were in the stock room.

This local store and the employees would see the same people venture in every stocking day and wipe the shelves clean - every week.  Legal - yes. Ethical - debatable, and we'll get into that shortly.  The sweet employee knew we saw our first packs since March and quietly told us that to prevent the same handful of people emptying the shelves, only a few boxes were being put out sporadically throughout the week!  We were also told the store truly received only a few packs of basketball and no boxes, but baseball was available. Employees at this store are not allowed to buy the products themselves until scanned in and placed on the shelf; employees, here at least, are not "on the take."  

A few moments later, the employee walked into the stock room, and brought back a Topps Fire blaster box for us!  Two more hangers and a blaster box were put on the shelf for the next customer, too.

This purchase took place on a Sunday afternoon; not even a stocking day!  Now, this is just one store and one very kind employee - do NOT assume all stores do this, and do NOT bug the employees to "check the back" or act snarky if you're told no. Be kind, and ask politely; you might go home with a box of cards!

Are Cards Every Person for Themselves?

Is it wrong to wait in the store all day and buy a whole display of cards?  We are not going to tell you yes or no; there are always two sides to every story.


  • Extra money during a pandemic; re-selling cards to pay bills
  • Collecting - everyone needs a hobby
  • You're actually keeping the store IN BUSINESS; store makes sales
  • Legal - you're only shopping


  • Collectors cannot build sets or obtain cards of favorite players
  • Prevents kids from learning the hobby; our hobby would stall 
  • Inflated prices on the secondary market 
  • Ethics 

There is no right or wrong - just your own opinion!  

Where Else You Can Get Product

Aside from being kind and gracious to store employees, there are a few other ways you can get new cards!

  • Facebook Groups

We have told you how easy to is to BUY and SELL on Facebook in this BLOG

No need to bother store employees.  Shop at your leisure.  Avoid eBay fees.  Talk with other collectors that appreciate what you do - the list of positives are endless!   Relax - shop on your schedule, and find the best deal.

We are fond of THIS buy and sell Facebook group.

  • Facebook Market Place

This morning, we met up with a seller found on a local Market Place and had a smooth transaction for two more Topps Fire hanger boxes.  On our own time, we searched the market place in this Zip Code, and found the $9.99 hangers offered for $15.  While other sellers asked $30 or more, this mom & son duo had a nice price. We picked a public place, in the daylight, and swapped information with which cars we drove.  We avoided paying auction fees and shipping to save money.  Naturally, we took precautions (as you should!) so you wouldn't see our faces on the next Lifetime movie.  Just take your time, and search our the right price for you.

  • Vintage Breaks

Our sister site offers packs, set breaks, and spots into just about anything you could dream of! The fun part our sister site, VB, is they go LIVE with breaks right on their FACEBOOK page. You'll see your breaks happen in real-time with exciting content.  Daily prizes and bonuses are always offered, too! 


Product IS out here.  Shelves may LOOK empty, and maybe they are, but we hope you know there are cards out here for you; we'll help you find them :) 


Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. We are also buying tickets and ticket stubs from sporting events, concerts, and other famous events such as Michael Jordan's NBA debut. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace. Check out the Just Collect Buy List.

We always offer a FREE APPRAISAL for your collection here at the Just Collect site. Just click here:


We offer may ways to evaluate your cards other than using our website, too.

We will evaluate your cards for free. Once appraised, if you choose not to sell, we will return your cards at charge to you. With our FedEx account, we will ship your cards fully insured with 2-day shipping. 

  • Travel to Us

If you can make the trip here - we can make a deal at the office. We once met a father-son duo that drove eight hours from Virginia to meet us to sell a Michael Jordan rookie card stored in Tupperware since 1986 - great read here

  • Come to convention

We keep a LIST of card shows we'll be attending.  Come stop by the Just Collect table and chat.

  • Meet in-person

If you have a valuable collection and want us to come to you, we'll hop on the next plane out.

  • Meet in New York City

We have another location in New York you can meet us at; read all the information here.

Contact us ANY time for any of the above options!


We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 25 years. Although Just Collect is known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage baseball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, we understand the feelings that you're going through and will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.


Whether you have vintage cards or modern wax you want to sell, you can reach out to us any time! 


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