Are You Losing Money Selling PANINI PRIZM Basketball Sports Card BLASTER BOXES?
May 04, 202110 min read
So is buying sports cards at Walmart or Target actually profitable? That's what today is going to be all about. It seems like finding blaster boxes at Walmart or Target is almost impossible. I guess you're better off finding a yeti in the wild it seems. I mean these things are just very hard to locate. People are camping out for hours waiting for this product which just seems insane to me, but there can be big profit margins that can be had if you find this product at its original MSRP. But again, it's very difficult to find, and if you're lucky to score this product, are you actually making money? That's what we are going to be diving into today. Again, these are just my own thoughts to get you guys critically thinking about the hobby. Always do what's best for you and your collection.
So before we dive into the numbers and see if it's actually profitable to make money off these blaster boxes, let's talk about the product that I'm going to be using in the example today. Yes, there are other products that you can buy at Walmart and Target, other cards and all that kind of stuff, but for the purposes of this video I'm just going to be talking about probably the most popular product in 2021. That is the 2020-2021 Prizm basketball blaster box. This is LaMelo Ball’s year.
Now what is in a blaster box? It comes with six packs per box and you get four cards per pack so 24 total cards. On average, there's that term again, you can find one autograph or one memorabilia card per blaster. They typically retail for about $20 plus tax and shipping so about a dollar a card. So very, very, affordable, and you can sell these on the secondary market for about $200 or so. You can see how these are very, very, sought after and very popular to get.
So where can you find blaster boxes? You can find them online. You can find them at big retailers like Walmart and Target. However, buying them online is very, very, difficult. You almost need a bot to actually buy these things. Which is actually kind of sad, bots are these software programs that basically do the ordering for you. It works way faster than any human being ever could so people use these bots to basically outperform any of the humans. They get all these boxes and they buy them in bulk, as many as they're allowed. It's just crazy. I definitely don't approve of them but it's just what people are doing nowadays. Your only other option is do what these other people do and go into the big box retailers and find them there and buy them at Walmart and Target and other places like that. However, timing it can be very difficult. You gotta time it basically right when the distributor gets there, or you just gotta be lucky and happen to walk by and there's some cards there, which almost never happens anymore. So people are just trying to time it when that distributor gets there so they can get line and get this product. Again, it's very difficult. Even if you show up you're not guaranteed to get the product. It's just insane. All for a $20 or so box of cards.
So can buying blaster boxes be profitable and worth your time? Well this depends on where you are buying them and what you decide to do with them. So if you've got a bot and you're lucky enough to buy them online at the base MSRP price, yes, of course these can be very, very, profitable. Take for example the 2020-2021 basketball blaster box or the one we're talking about today. You can purchase it online for about $20 and the last sale I saw on this one, as of the making of this, was for $175. So that's a big time profit. You're talking 800%, minus your shipping and selling fees. So if you can do that and buy them and sell them obviously that's a no-brainer.
Let's go ahead and talk about getting it from the physical store which is what most people I end up trying to do. So if you're driving to Walmart or Target to do some grocery shopping and you just want to check the card aisle out and to see if there's any cards there, you happen to get lucky, okay that's one thing. It’s similar to buying online from a time perspective. You're already doing your shopping there, it's not costing you really any extra time to go look for these things. However, and this is where I think probably most of us fall into this category. If you're making specific trips to Walmart or Target only to see if there are Prizm basketball cards there, my guess is you may actually just be breaking even. You may actually be losing money. Even if you score product every now and then.
Let's go ahead and break down these numbers real quick and you can see if you agree with me. So target recently has a three box limit on what you can buy on a certain card product. So if you're able to score three boxes on one trip that kind of changes things, but for this example I'm just gonna assume that you're gonna get one box. Assume your goal is to sell these right away. So your goal is you want to get $175 for it. You're gonna have eBay selling fees for about $20 minus about $10 to ship priority mail give or take a few bucks, and of course you got your costs. Let's assume we're paying $20 for this thing. So that leaves us with a net profit of $125. Assume it costs us one tank of gas to get back and forth. We'll call that $3 depending on where you live in the country and what you drive. So that leaves us with a net profit of a $122. For the purpose of this example let's assume that at your everyday nine to five job that you work at right, now let's say you make the median wage which in 2019 was $19.33 an hour. So we're just going to call it $20 to make it simple for this math. To make the one trip to Walmart or Target back and forth, let's just say it takes you 30 minutes. Assuming you live somewhat close to it. You don't have to wait in line for any extravagant period of time. So if you consider your time to be worth $20 at your regular job then it costs you $10 to make this trip. You're making $10 every 30 minutes all right so that brings down our net profit on this transaction down to $112. For valuing our time at that equation however, I would argue that your time outside of work is probably more valuable than your time inside work. Reason being is outside of work you could be working on your side hustle, you could be working on some freelance work, you could be working on other stuff to further your career. I assume probably most of us don't want to be making $20 an hour for the rest of our lives so my argument would be that our time outside of work is probably, if not just as valuable, if not more valuable than our time in work and of course you know you can spend time with your family and all that kind of stuff. I know that's kind of a sad sappy thing to say, but listen, time is our most valuable resource. As I've gotten older I've definitely taken it way more seriously. We only get so many hours in a day. So each trip to Walmart and Target costs us $13. $10 for our time plus $3 for our gas. Again, assuming we're not waiting in line for product it may actually end up being longer depending on how close your Walmart is or Target is to where you live. I've seen people wait for up to two hours or three hours waiting for this product. That's no guarantee that you actually get it there so if you're valuing your time at 20 an hour and you're waiting two to three hours for this product you can see how it can start getting really expensive very, very, quickly. Of course every time we go to Walmart and Target we're not getting product every single time right? So if we know our net profit, not including our time, our gas is $125 and it costs us $13 to make one trip. With our time and our gas we can make nine total trips to break even. So $125 divided by $13, that equals 9.6 okay. We can't make half a trip so that gives us nine total trips. If we make 10 trips, now we've lost money.
You see how that works? How many of us have made 10 trips to Walmart or target looking for product and never found any? A lot of people out there I'm assuming. So at that particular time, if Prizm was what you're after you've probably obviously lost money at that point. Now yes there are other products that you can potentially find at Walmart and Target that can be sellable and profitable on the secondary market, but assuming our cost is $13 every time we make a trip, some of the lower tier stuff there like some of that Topps stuff, there’s not a ton of profit margin on some of those. It's just something to consider. With that three box limit, is it actually worth it for you to go buy those other products that are not Prizm. That's something that you're gonna have to do the calculations on and see if it makes sense for you.
So what should you do if you want to buy this product? I’ll give you some options here. So given these numbers and the odd chances that we actually find this product in the stores, what should your game plan be? If you want to resell this product, well first option is the easiest one. We want to buy it online if possible. At the original MSRP that's a no-brainer. That's going to give us the most amount of options.
Second option is we can buy it obviously at retailers like Walmart, Target, et cetera. However, given the bad odds of getting this product, we’ll be lucky to even get it. Now, I would suggest only going to Walmart or Target to buy with the game plan that you are going to be holding them. Just given that we're not going to be getting them on the first try, it may take us 10 tries to do this. So the plan is to probably hold this box, not open it for at least a year or two until you can make some money on it that it makes sense for you to sell it.
For example, let's say you made 10 trips to go get this product which is not out of the realm of possibilities right and you found one box. So $13 a trip you're at $130 okay, plus the $20 in product and now you have $150 total cost. Add your $10 to ship it and you're at $160. So you should probably be looking to sell this for $300 to $350 to make it worthwhile for you because you're gonna have selling fees off of that if you choose to sell on eBay.
Here's some recent sales on some other years of blaster boxes. So 2019, this is Zion's year. Last one I saw sold for $600, that's a pretty darn good return right there. 2018, this is Luka’s year, $710 all right. That's also Trey Young's year. 2017, Jason Tatum's year which is probably a little more accurate as far a comparison to this year's class. That one just sold for $350. So there is definitely money to be made by holding blasters and not opening them.
This leads me to my third option here which is just buy the product at the $175 dollar price point on eBay with the plan of just holding it. This is a little bit riskier because your cost of goods is higher. Assuming you aren't able to hit it going to Walmart and Target in the first couple tries there, but buying at $175 with hopes of selling for $300 to $350 in a year or two, I think that's definitely doable. I don't see any problem with that. It all depends on what the draft class does. If the draft class is an extreme flop then of course prices always come down. If the draft class ends up being really good, of course prices will definitely go up. The downside is you’re going to have to be patient. You're going to be staring at that box just wanting to rip it open. Trust me, that's why I don't buy sealed stuff if I'm not planning on opening it. I don't have the strength to not open it. So it's definitely not for everybody, but again this is great because you don't have to waste time going to retail stores, you just buy it on eBay, you get the product, you hold it, you don't open it, and you're done with it. You don't have to waste a bunch of time.
The fourth option is just to buy the product wherever you can. Wherever you can get your hands on it whether it's your local card shop, retailers online, and open it hoping you're going to hit something big. With only 24 cards there's a very, very, slim chance that's gonna happen. Don't get me wrong, I really like blaster boxes. They're probably one of the best parts of a hobby. I really do because you've got a really low cost of goods and you've got some product that you typically cannot find anywhere else, but with only 24 cards the odds are just not in your favor. Again, I would suggest just holding on to them long term and not opening up the box.
So conclusion. Again, it just really all comes down to what you value your time at and as I've gotten older I value my time way much more than when I was in 18, 19, or 20. I mean, geez man I just wasted so much time there. It's amazing the stuff I would do back then. It just comes down to whether or not you think this product is worth your time and worth your investment. First you need to decide what you want to do with it and then decide if your time is worth it. Again, my hope of this video is just to get you guys critically thinking about that in a different way. I really hope this helps you in deciding whether or not you want to kind of pursue the retail product there, or just buy it online. Again, do what's always best for you. Don't just listen to some dumb YouTube person like me. I’m just trying to present some options to you and get you guys thinking in a different way.
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